How To Meet People, Friends, Singles in SF. Where Do Singles Meet in San Francisco? Where To Meet Men, Women. Is SF Good For Singles? Best Bars For Singles
Spend enough time in San Francisco and you will hear enough complaints how things have changed for the worst over the years and how hard it is to date and make friends.
I wrote extensively about the dating scene in San Francisco in a previous post. It’s brutal, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you have to struggle. There are plenty of great groups, volunteer opportunities, classes, team, events, social functions, trivia nights and more to meet people from all walks of life.
With that said, it’s going to take some time, effort and focus to find such opportunities, get you off your keyboard and go out and try these things yourself. Additionally, appearance matters, first impressions can make or break you. Approachability is needed as to be able to introduce yourself to others.
That means paying attention to what your grooming habits, haircuts, outfits, posture, facial expressions, and communication skills signal to others. Below are some exhaustive examples of where and how to meet people all over the city.
Scroll down to see my curated happy hour list and best spots for bar seating at restaurants, solo dining/drink spots in the city.
Is It Easy To Meet People In San Francisco? Is It Hard To Make Friends In SF?
Before one can learn to date successfully, it’s imperative you prepare yourself physically, mentally and socially so that you are confident, have a good social circle, have things to talk about and know where to go on dates.
To do that, it helps to know where to go, how to meet people, where to get recommendations and how to be comfortable in your own skin. Unfortunately this is easier said than done.
If you meet someone who seems great on paper but you have nothing to talk about, struggle with appearance and wardrobe, don’t know where to go on a date, you’ll likely struggle with dating here in San Francisco and beyond.
A lot of people have enough friends in town that they don’t actively seek others unless it happens organically i.e. mutual interest, friend etc.
Meeting people is not just know what to say or how to say it but also reading people, understanding environments, having things to reference, being able to pivot conversations effortlessly and connecting with others.
Even if you are an introvert, you still need to be able to expression interests, enthusiasm, opinions, observations and curiosity to have a change to progress superficial chats into more thoughtful conversations.
You can’t connect if you have nothing to offer, share or discuss.
Surround Yourself Around The Right People
People want to surround themselves with others that can make them laugh or smile, teach them something new or introduce them to others. Being just nice is not enough except for maybe niceguys on Reddit.
Developing skills, curiosities, hobbies, interests and passions is the best way to draw people to you. Think of how you spend your life.
Are video games, books, smarts, achievements going to attract people? Not necessarily but if you can convey passion, mastery, approachability or domain expertise then you have a chance.
Knowing how to use a food ordering app, how to look up things on Yelp, wandering aimless down the street are not personality skills. Being on the quest for the best street art in SF, knowing where to go for the best live music in San Francisco or knowing where all the best POPOS are in SF are much better things to acquire that can spark interest in others.
Practicality, accessibility and familiarity are key components of figuring out what people are interested in and how easy it is to share this commonality.
Practice Makes Perfect: Patience, Discipline & Trial and Error
Once you have a list or starting point to explore things around you, it will take patience, perseverance, thick skin and luck to go through things one by one and by trial and error become and expert in your domain.
Part of the process is having bad experience you can laugh at later, reflect upon and possibly use in witty banter. Too many people often dismiss something after one attempt. You have to give things and honest effort, get recommendations and be willing to try different approaches.
Take me for example, I took salsa lessons for years all over the Bay Area and sucked at it despite many years of lessons, failures, inability to follow directions and teachers that were too stiff and narcissistic. It wasn’t until I found a few instructors I liked and stuck with them that I eventually learned the basics enough to go out dancing socially.
After that, it took lots of trial and error to discover the best clubs to go dancing and eventually find the bands that I enjoyed and loved.
I could have given up after a few lessons or failing to master basic rhythm techniques but I had no shame and didn’t care what others thought. (I eventually got better and taught lessons myself in SF back in 2009).
I don’t aim to be the best at everything or everything but enough to become a subject expert to find people with similar interests and passions.
I may know absolutely nothing about you or see eye to eye on politics, religion, economics, social justice etc. but I can be certain I can bond with you over beer, Cuban salsa music, the best cocktails in SF, best views in the Bay Area, best camping sites in Northern California, restaurants, Bay Area Rap History, local, domestic and international travel, SF vs. LA vs. NYC topics, dating apps, sports, data science, hiking or several dozen other topics because I know them well enough and confident in my ability to seek out your expertise, compare notes or have healthy arguments.
Harder to do this if you don’t bring anything to the table – good conversations require back and forth as well as equal contributions, effort, energy and passion.
What Inspires You, Interests You: Passions, Beliefs & More
This is often the first thing I ask of all clients is to see what sparks their interests. Know what piques your interests, what perks up your ears, what you geek out on and what makes you curious are great ways to build a list from which you can expand on.
Individual hobbies and interests are great but it is social activities, group functions, multi-player experiences and communal environments that connects people.
Not everyone is a social butterfly but you do need to step outside your comfort zone. Taking new routes, getting off your phone, asking for opinions, talking to elderly, baristas, drivers etc. is a great way to obtain recommendations and build familiarity.
Don’t know what you like, then trial and error your way until you have some things to investigate.
The other approach is to learn what does the area you live around you offer. I lived in LA and NYC and I gave up on beaches, rooftop bars, late night dining and Korean food because those places have all that – San Francisco doesn’t.
What San Francisco does offer is hiking, street art, restaurants, cocktails, beer, art, live music, coffee, scenic views, daytrips, outdoor fitness and so much more. Start with what your area has to offer and research the best of each niche item.
Everything is subjective, so it pays to be specific. Take cocktails for example, some people value quantity, price, ingredients, views, ambiance, crowds or even specific drinks. Unless you get really specific you will never reach a consensus on the best of X.
No one place can meet the expectations across all these factors so finding out what is important for you and what you want to prioritize will help in figuring out what are the best places for you to explore.
Things I Look Out For When Recommending Places – Where Do Singles Meet in San Francisco
The places listed below offer a unique experience to San Francisco. It’s easier to bond and connect over specific, unique places and experiences than something generic. If something is unique or limited in offerings it is usually more treasured (look up the scarcity effect).
The other thing to consider is the concept of individual vs group activities and hobbies. A hobby or interest is hard to bond over if it is typically done in homes or individually. You need a good balance of hobbies to be readily able to join others and invite others to join you.
How To Look Approachable, Dress For The People You Want To Attract In Life
The next item to consider when getting ready to put yourself out there in the real world is to look approachable. This means everything from wardrobe, eye contact, body posture, facial expressions, positioning and energy.
Low-effort, low-energy people are generally not as interesting to talk to and engage with. You don’t have be an extrovert to succeed in this detail but you do need to show enthusiasm, passion on things you geek out on. This will take time and patience, as different people will respond differently to you.
Context also matters. It’s hard to bond over swing-dancing at a cafe but if you attend the weekly social gathering in Golden Gate Park you have more of a chance at succeeding.
Some things you can do to become more approachable is to smile, look energized (work on your metabolism, watch what you eat, exercise more often), wear clothing that people can identify with (local sports team, college alma mater hat, local brewery shirt, a souvenir from traveling, a t-shirt from your favorite podcast, stickers on your laptop, book, your portable coffee tumbler or water bottle).
How Do I Socialize In San Francisco? Conversation Starters, Accessories & More
Every item conveys some aspect about your life, your experiences, your travel, your hobbies or your background. Wearing things that are cliche or too local and common like Allbirds shoes, Twitter backpack, Uber fleece, or VC vest is nothing to be proud of – no one cares about these things unless you are looking to network for jobs. These don’t make you unique.
Having a sense of style is one way to make up for your lack of energy, trouble making eye contact or trouble starting a conversation. Dressing with purpose goes a long way in SF where so many people have given up and dress up in the same clothes for walking the dog, going to work, and going to dinner.
Inject some color and patterns in your wardrobe. Make sure your clothing matches your age and ideal maturity, not just what is the most comfortable. No one has ever said nice Birkenstocks or nice generic company t-shirt to anyone, ever.
People will recognize shoes, bags, blazers, shirts, hats, dresses, watches, suits etc. This doesn’t mean you have to dress totally stiff but you can mix and match accessories with more casual attire.
You also don’t have to spend a fortune to accomplish these looks but you do need to get help to pick items based on your lifestyle, who you want to attract, your age, skin tone, hair style, physique etc.
Image Consultant For Men, Women
Fashion Advisor, Wardrobe Consultant Specializing In Approachable & Versatile Looks For Men & Women | Personal Styling For Dating, Business, Branding & Everyday Occasions
Places To Check Out In SF, Fun Places To Explore: Where Can You Meet People In San Francisco, Social Groups In San Francisco
The list below is range of interesting, fun and diverse people. You are not going to get diversity spending all your time on Chestnut, Union Street or Fillmore between Jackson and Pine street in San Francisco.
Lindy in the Park
Free outdoor swing dancing in Golden Gate Park.
Salsa Saturdays at the Ramp, Beldin Alley
Live music, bloody mary’s and dancing.
Trivia Night at Bars
Fun bars like Laszlo, High Treason offer trivia nights. Worth checking out (go solo and find a team or make one with other singles).
Offering events and classes including yoga, pilates, salsa dancing and more. Picnic areas, board games to rent, small bites and drinks available at select days and times.
Great small venue featuring world music. My favorite is the Balkan Brass band – Kafana Balkan & Inspector Gadje. Other small venues I like are Bimbo’s, The Chapel, Amnesia, Thee Parkside, Cigar Bar, The Independent, Red Poppy Art House, The Fillmore.
Mezcal Tasting Class at Tahona Mercado
Local Hiking Spots
Twin Peaks can be a bit crowded, so I tend to stick with more local spots like Tank Hill, Corona Heights, Bernal Heights.
Become A Regular
At a few bars, cafes, running routes, grocery stores, gym etc. Get off your phone, take out your airpods and get ready to talk to people.
Join A Team
Check your work for company teams or join as a free agent in the local soccer, basketball or softball leagues. If you can’t commit, join a pickup game. There are plenty of games at gyms, parks all over the city. Ask around. UCSF, Zog Sports, GGP pickup games, rec leagues and more.
Find a cause you like and volunteer there. Not just one but regularly. It will give you something to talk about, show what you care about and ideally meet others through your efforts. Beach and park cleanups, neighborhood events, holiday drives and more.
Wait In Line At Your Favorite Place
I personally will not wait in line for anything as there is too much good stuff in San Francisco to waste your time but if you must, you surround yourself with a captive audience that presumably enjoys at least one thing in common with you (said establishment you are waiting in line for).
Communal and Bar Seats
You can’t meet anyone if your back is to everyone, if you sit at a booth, if you look like you don’t want to be disturbed or if you sit somewhere with low-traffic. Sitting amongst others increases randomness and possibility you might connect with someone and maybe someone who is also there by themselves.
People are always looking to learn something. If you get good at something, teach it. I love learning about hidden talents and specialties about others.
Express Interest, Enthusiasm & Appreciation
Not everyone is a mind-reader. You have to make something known verbally sometimes to be heard or recognized. Even if you are by yourself this is quite easy to do. If you are at a bar, compliment the bartender, ask about the ingredients (but only if they are not super busy).
If you are with a friend, mention how much you enjoy your dish or comment on other people’s dishes (ask about their order, what they think or how good something looks). If all else fails, take an improv class.
Using good manners, saying thank you and commenting on things you are trying out can go a long way. Places like farmer’s markets are a prime example of how easy it is to strike up a conversation.
These folks are natural salespeople and so learning about fruits and vegetables is one way to express interest and gain knowledge you can share down the road. There is more engagement and interaction typically at farmer’s markets than your local produce store.
Take Different Routes, Explore New Neighborhoods
You need to have things to talk about when you meet others or else you will just stand there awkwardly silent.
Take the time to explore one neighborhood in detail. Check out a few businesses, look for interesting streets, find some art or interesting homes, and wander aimlessly.
Some of my favorite neighborhoods are Bernal Height, North Beach, Inner Richmond, Outer Sunset, Hayes Valley, NOPA, Cole Valley, Mission, Dogpatch and Nob Hill. Become a regular.
Stay Current, Connected
Stay up to date on local news and events around you. Subscribe to email lists, get memberships to museums, gloss over EaterSF, SFGate, FuncheapSF and Eventbrite, follow places on Instagram even if you don’t post photos.
Many venues offer unique, one-off experiences for classes or member events. Check out after hour at museums and openings at art galleries.
Join Your Local Alumni Chapter
See if your school has a local alumni chapter in the area. These groups are great for happy hours, game watches, volunteer events, outings and more.
Be Amongst Others
Go to festivals, picnics at parks, check out live music in the parks, explore neighborhood street fairs, ask someone for the wifi password, ask someone to take a photo of you while out at a scenic overview (or vice-versa), ask for recommendations on what to order, ask if a seat is taken, ask someone to watch your seat.
Find ways to organically increase conversation and engagement with others. If you are a single parent, join a local group in the neighborhood.
Get A Pet
Not a cat but rather a dog and hang out in dog parks.
Learn To Cook Or At Least Shop Well
If you manage to attend a potluck or party, bring something to share and make sure its good. It will show you have good taste or cooking skills.
Take A Class
Sign up for a cocktail glass at your local bar, register for cooking classes and communal meals at 18 Reasons, sign up for in person classes at city college, take hip-hop classes at your gym, take on rock-climbing, yoga, pilates, cycling or running sessions.
Work In Public, Outdoors, Parks and Cafes
Find a cafe, park or public space to work from every so often. The more time you spend outside your home the more likely you are to meet others.
I take this to the extreme as I do most of my work away from home or an office and have managed to curate the the most exhaustive list of co-working spaces in San Francisco, Marin, Berkeley and Oakland.
Never Turn Down An Invite
It’s too easy to be non-committal or unsure if you are available – this is total BS. Try something new, meet friends of friends, go to places where you don’t know anyone. You might discover a new venue, hobby, friend or miserable experience that you can laugh at later.
Build The Courage To Do Things On Your Own
Years ago, I bought a one-way ticket to your Europe and ended up meeting lots of amazing people and getting invited to dinners, drinks dancing and events just by positioning myself, asking questions (take a photo of me, asking for directions), wearing the right clothing, sitting at busy locations etc.
I am not an extrovert by any means but I do put myself out there in small groups, selective environments and have lots to talk about. None of this would have been possible had I waited for others to make a move. Sometimes you have to fight that urge to stay home try something new.
Quit Your Job
If your job requires a long commute or long hours, consider quitting your job that provides something more fulfilling and better work-life balance. What good is a high-paying job if you can’t enjoy your life or your neighborhood.
Tech life cut people off from many social interactions with their communities (catered lunches, on-site gyms, happy hours, private bus commutes etc.). Re-integrate yourself with people and neighbors around you.
Solo Dining And Drinking In San Francisco: Where To Eat Alone and Grabs Drinks In SF
Use Technology Sparingly, Meet People Offline
Use Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz modes, download Shapr, join a neighborhood group on Facebook, sign up for Meetup groups, try your luck with some Eventbrite event listings, browse FuncheapSF for last minute events, check out Eventbrite for event listings.
Best Hobbies To Meet Singles
Rock-climbing and tennis.
Final Thoughts – How Do I Meet New People, Men, Women In San Francisco, Where To Meet Guys In San Francisco, Social Groups In San Francisco
The more you invest in exploring the surrounding things, the more likely you are to run into others with similar interests and in turn, learn to exchange ideas, hobbies and interests so you can build your lists.
These things take time – it doesn’t happen overnight. You also have to be engaged in the things you take on and cannot take them on with a superficial interest otherwise people will see right through you.
If you go to a new place, there is no guarantee you will meet people or that the place, night will not suck. That is life. There is no guarantees in life.
Knowing how to screen / read people is an invaluable skill most people do not have whether it’s judging character or assessing something more from a dating perspective.
I offer clients customized, specific recommendations and action items to explore and check out based on their lifestyle, schedules, interests and more.
I offer coaching services for those new to the city. Some examples of offerings include personalized tours, styling consultations, custom guides for your lifestyle as well as access to my personalized list of events, bands, recurring events and more. Contact me today for your own consultation.
Dating Coach Services - Men & Women
First date ideas, wardrobe styling, places to meet singles, where to sit at bars & restaurants, body language, vocal intonation, eye contact, conversation skills, how to be more approachable, conversation starters, mock dates, and more.
-As seen in the NYT, WSJ & More
Additional Reading: How To Meet More People In A New City, Making Friends In SF, How To Make Friends In The Bay Area, Making Friends In San Francisco, Is It Easy To Make Friends In San Francisco
How To Meet People Offline, In Real Life: How To Meet People IRL
San Francisco Male To Female Gender Ratios: Dating App Gender Ratios in the Bay Area
Why You Should Never Stop Meeting People Offline: Never Stop Meeting People Offline
San Francisco Date Ideas
For other date ideas pre-Covid quarantine, here are some of my favorite spots to explore around the city.
Solo Drinking In San Francisco
East Bay Date Ideas (Oakland, Berkeley & Alameda)
North Bay Date Ideas (Napa, Sonoma)
South Bay / Silicon Valley Date Ideas
Marin County Date Ideas
San Francisco Happy Hour List
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant for men & women and a professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, and beyond as seen in the NYT, WSJ, SFGate, ABC7News & more.
Previously an analytics professional and user of dating apps himself, he possesses unique insight into the inner workings of dating apps and user behavior. He provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, image consulting, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, and offline techniques for meeting people organically.
How To Meet People In SF, How To Make Friends In SF Bay Area, Meet New People In San Francisco Where To Meet Others in SF, Groups To Join In SF, Meetups in San Francisco, Clubs In San Francisco, Social Groups In San Francisco, Social Events In San Francisco, Where To Meet People In San Francisco. Best Places To Meet People In San Francisco, Top Ways To Meet People In SF, How To Meet People In The Bay Area, Where To Meet Friends In The Bay Area. Where Do People Go Out In San Francisco, I Wanted To Do That Just Not Alone San Francisco, How To Find A Date, How To Meet Quality Men In SF, Where To Meet Women In San Francisco, Where To Meet Singles In The Bay Area, Where To Meet Girls In SF, How To Meet Guys In SF, Find A Friend In San Francisco, Groups To Join In San Francisco, Hard To Make Friends In San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area Social Groups, Meetup San Francisco, How To Meet Women In San Francisco, How To Meet Girls In Silicon Valley, How To Meet Guys In The Bay Area, Best Singles Bar San Jose, Best Singles Restaurant San Francisco, Places To Meet Singles In The Bay Area, How To Meet People IRL In San Francisco, Where To Meet People IRL In Silicon Valley, Best Places To Meet Singles Bay Area, Best Bars For Singles Bay Area, How To Date In San Francisco, Dating In San Francisco As A Woman, Meetup Bay Area, Where To Meet People In SF, San Francisco Meet New People, San Francisco Social Groups, Meetup San Francisco Singles, Meet People In San Jose, Meet People In Oakland, Meet People In Marin County, Where Do Singles Meet In The Bay Area, How Do I Meet People In The Bay Area, How Do I Meet People In San Francisco, Making Friends In San Francisco, Making Friends In The Bay Area, Making Friends In Silicon Valley, Best Places To Meet People In SF, Where To Meet New People San Francisco, Is It Hard Meeting People In San Francisco, How To Make Friends In The Bay Area, How To Make Friends In SF, Is It Easy To Make Friends In San Francisco, Making Friends In San Francisco Reddit, Where To Meet Rich Guys In San Francisco, Social Events Bay Area, Clubs To Join SF, How To Make Friends In Oakland, How To Make Friends As An Adult In San Francisco, How To MaKe Friends As An Adult in Silicon Valley, How To Make Friends As An Adult In The Bay Area, Alternatives To Online Dating SF, How To Make Friends In San Francisco, Make New Friends Bay Area, Make New Friends San Francisco, Make New Friends Bay Area, Hard To Make Friends In Bay Area, How Do I Find Friends In The Bay Area, Is It Easy To Make Friends In The Bay Area, Where Can I Meet People In San Francisco, How Can I Meet Real Friends, How Do I Meet People In 2021, How Do I Meet New People In San Francisco, Making New Friends In San Francisco Reddit, How To Make New Friends In Silicon Valley, Where To Meet Girls In SF, Where To Meet Men In SF, Meet Up San Francisco, Fun Group Outings In SF, Is It Hard To Meet People In San Francisco, How Do You Meet People In SF, How Do I Meet Someone In San Francisco, Best Bars For Singles San Francisco, Best Singles Bars San Francisco, Best Bars For Meeting Singles San Francisco, Singles Events San Francisco, Singles Events Bay Area, Singles Events SF, Best Hobbies To Meet Singles, Meetups San Francisco, Where To Meet Guys In San Francisco, Meetup San Francisco Singles, Group Events In San Francisco, Group Activities In San Francisco, How To Make Friends In San Francisco During Covid