5 More Places To Meet Women (That Aren’t Bars or Clubs)

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Friday can be one of the lonliest days of the week when you knock off work or get out of class only to realize that you’re staring down the barrel of spending yet another weekend doing the same old thing: sleeping in, too much time on the Internet or Xbox Live, maybe catching up on Breaking Bad or Dr. Who reruns via Netflix… it’s enough to make you go mad. You want to get out and meet people, but you simply can’t stand the bar or club scene… so what’s a single guy to do?

Well, as I always say, online dating is a great way to meet people, but if you really want to improve your success with women, you need to live an interesting life… so why not improve yourself as a person while maximizing your chances of meeting new and awesome friends?

Dr. NerdLove’s #1 Rule for Meeting Women

I can’t emphasize this enough: the people who are the best at meeting women and getting dates are people who live interesting, engaging lives. People are naturally drawn to those who lead interesting lives because they have ambition and drive. People living active lives are fun, and they tend to want to share that fun, excitement and sense of adventure. People who lead active lives help introduce us to new and exciting experiences which is an incredibly attractive trait.

There’s a reason why this guy’s a sex symbol, after all…

Straight talk: whenever you ask a woman out, one of the first thoughts that will go through their mind is “what would my life be like if this person were my boyfriend?”1 You want to live a life that other people would want to be part of, one that will naturally attract people to it.

So if you’re looking for ways to become a better, more well-rounded individual and meet cool women at the same time, allow me to present you with five more awesome places to meet women… that aren’t bars or clubs.

5) The Park

Yup, time for some fresh air and sunshine2. In and of themselves, parks offer a relaxing, pleasant atmosphere – an oasis in the middle of urban city centers full of stressed out office workers and commuters. People naturally flock to parks to enjoy the calm, play games, enjoy the sun, go for a run, enjoy their lunch or even just take a break from the world around them. Spending some time in your local parks helps you de-stress and just enjoy soaking up some much needed vitamin D… while offering the opportunity to meet women who are also enjoying the chance to relax and recharge.

Even if it’s only for a half-hour at a time, hitting up into your local park can provide a much-needed change of scenery and reinvigorate you after spending the better part of your day bathed in the cathode-ray glow of your computer screen3. Bring a book, practice tai chi, join a fitness bootcamp, find someone to kick your ass at chess, or rent a kayak and enjoy getting out and about; spending time in the park can help you get you out of your house and your daily rut and putting you in the presence of women enjoying the same fine day you are.

Hell, in the warm summer evenings, many cities will invite everyone to bring their blankets and enjoy movies or concerts in the park, encouraging a communal experience… not to mention a great instant date. And if you happen to own a dog, you may very well find women coming up to you while you’re out taking your precious pampered pooch for a quick run.

(Doctor NerdLove does NOT endorse buying dogs specifically to meet women. They’re pets, not props. Of course, if you happen to volunteer to pet-sit or walk your friend’s dog as a favor… well that’s another story entirely.)

4) Amateur Sports Leagues

Let’s be honest: most of us simply aren’t active enough, and the prospect of spending 30 minutes to an hour on a stationary bike or treadmill while every TV in the gym blares Fox News and Keeping Up With The Kardashians is more likely to make you want to open a vein than get six-pack abs. Some folks enjoy traditional forms of exercise at the gym but others find them stupefyingly repetitive and boring.

One way to get some exercise – not to mention meeting new people – without driving yourself mad from boredom is to find your local amateur sports league.

Yes nerds, I said sports. I realize that for many geeks, the mere mention of sports produces an atavistic fear response brought on by generations of having seven shades of shit kicked out of you by the jocks in gym class, but stick with me here.

Just about every major city has a host of amateur sports leagues that go beyond the collegate standbys of football and soccer. In fact, many of these leagues are dedicated to the happy regression to your childhood: kickball, dodgeball, disc golf, pool, beach volleyball, cornhole4, skeeball and more. These aren’t for your average musclehead ex-jocks who dream of the glory days back in high-school before they realized they peaked early; the focus is on fun and socialization rather than competition.

…and a few folks who see Ultimate Frisbee as “ninja star practice”.

Joining an amateur sport league is a great way to expand your social circle; if you don’t have enough interested friends or co-workers to field a team on your own, most leagues will help you find a team to join. The friendly competition carries all of the best attributes of an action date: working together on a team promotes bonding and the endorphin rush that comes from exercise and victory puts everybody in a relaxed, outgoing mood… perfect for when you want to start building that chemistry. Even better, training together makes you both look good; when we anticipate spending time with people at future events, our brains automatically tend to focus on our teammates’ good qualities.

Don’t have a kickball league in your area? Look into other group classes such as fitness bootcamps, or running and biking groups. I have many friends who’ve met their significant others through marathon training or cross-country bike teams.

3) Cooking Classes

Women love a man who can cook. End of.

If I were to ask you to list me some stereotypes about single men – especially single men living alone – and one of the first that will come up is “a complete inability to cook”. The idea of a bachelor subsisting on frozen waffles, cereal and canned soup is endemic in western culture. The ability to prepare a meal beyond “cut vent in plastic, microwave for 2 minutes, rotate twice” is an attractive mark of maturity; it’s a sign that you’re someone who knows how to take care of himself, rather than waiting around for your girlfriend or wife to take care of you instead.

And we all know the way to a woman’s heart isn’t that different from a man’s…

And let’s face it: the ability to prepare a delicious candle-lit dinner is an aphrodisiac.

Cooking is an art – and an incredibly attractive skill to cultivate at that. You could run out to the local bookstore, load up on Jaime Oliver and Rachel Ray cookbooks and experiment in the privacy of your own home…

… or you could sign up for some cooking classes and meet people.

Cooking classes are available all over the place; you can find courses dedicated to preparing ethnic cuisine, improving your knifework, even how to create absurdly elaborate meals involving vaporizers and molecular gastronomy via some careful Google searches. Even grocery stores are getting in on the act; Central Market and Whole Foods both offer regular cooking classes for just about every level.

Cooking classes encourage socialization; these are all about the hands-on experience rather than sitting quietly and passively absorbing a lecture. You’re expected to get to know one another as you trade tips and recipes and help get down and dirty kneading dough, basting meats and chopping vegetables. Asking for help is an easy, low-risk way of starting a conversation with that attractive would-be sous chef next to you and getting some help with the proper way to tenderize beef is a great ice-breaker.

And in a worst-case scenario – all your fellow classmates are unavailable – you’re still learning a new skill and becoming a more interesting and well-rounded person in the process.

2) Volunteer

Volunteering is an amazing way to meet women and do some good for your community in the process.

The odds are almost absurdly in your favor; surveys and studies have found women volunteer far more than men do. Going out to do community service will instantly make you stand out by virtue of being one of the few men there at all.

Getting involved in politics, especially in an election year, is one way of meeting women. Not only are you helping support your candidate, but electioneering is an incredibly emotionally charged process. You can easily get caught up in the swell of emotions; passion, after all, tends to breed passion in other areas as well. Many hook-ups have occurred between volunteers and staffers on the campaign trail.

Even outside of politics, there are ample opportunities for volunteers. Animal shelters are almost always desperate for help, although you may have to be careful that you don’t end up going home with a new furry friend or two… or three. Local theater groups, music and movie festivals, symphonies and orchestras are also great places to volunteer your time and expand your cultural horizons while meeting new people. If you’re looking to do some good for those less fortunate than you, church groups and soup kitchens almost always need a hand, especially in the “off-season – that is, any time that isn’t Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Volunteering works on multiple levels: you help keep your karma positive, give back to your community, show yourself to be a caring, nurturing individual and meet women at the same time.

1) Dance Lessons

If you’re looking to meet women without going to bars and clubs, one of the best places to go are… dance clubs.

No, I’m being completely serious here.

You’re not looking for a nightclub, you’re looking for social dancing groups, dance classes and clubs that specialize in specific styles of dance: Latin, swing, ballroom, even country dancing. I’ve talked before about the value of learning how to dance and the benefits of dance lessons as a first date and these all still apply whether you’re going to Swing Night with a date or flying solo. Social dancing like Latin and swing are all about meeting and dancing with new people of every level of skill and experience. You’re actively encouraged to talk to strangers, take them in your arms and learn how to move together as one.


Almost every club hosting a swing or Latin night will start off the evening with dance lessons for the beginners and those looking for a refresher course if they’re feeling particularly rusty. Dance schools, on the other hand, regularly host group lessons and you’re expected to dance with everybody there. If you find that your latest partner isn’t someone you’re interested in, don’t worry, you’ll be switching to somebody new in a matter of minutes. If you find that the two of you have incredible chemistry… well, you’ve got an obvious date idea to invite them on, don’t you?

In addition, many dance schools offer mixers and dances specifically for expanding your social circle, even meeting that special someone on the dance floor.

Social dance groups are an open and welcoming community… but be warned that it’s very small in some ways and very interconnected. Jerks, creeps and people who are otherwise disrespectful will find themselves ostracized in short order… and their reputations will frequently follow them to other dance groups. Getting into swing dancing just to pick up women is a good way to piss off a lot of potential dance partners. However, if you’re looking to expand your horizons, cultivate a new hobby, meet cool new people, and become a more interesting person, it can’t be beat.

And women? They love a man who can dance.

Just sayin’.

  1. Men, on the other hand tend to worry about that somewhere after “So… how soon do we get naked funtimes?” []
  2. Or as I like to call it, the manifested hate of the Cursed Star []
  3. Yes, I know that most computer monitors and TVs are LCDs now. Shut up and enjoy the imagery []
  4. fnar []

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  • JRB

    I find it interesting that my male friends who are in relationships have done none of this stuff yet are able to attract women. But on the other hand I have to bust my balls and go through all these expensive hoops merely to be in the presence of women.

    • Gman

      It doesn't have to be expensive – I, for example, am participating in a community-based salsa dancing open group, where there is no entry fee and the operation is held and run by volunteers, who are also the dancing teachers. I did get to experience payment based lessons and I prefer the volunteer based one because:

      a. It's FREE duh! (LOL)
      b. There is no alcohol bar that the instructors remind you of its existence at the end of every lesson.
      c. The atmosphere is WAY more relaxed in my opinion, because the people feel more relaxed when they aren't paying for it and are there to truly have fun!

      You should search around online and see what comes up – I am sure that there is a free community based activity group of some kind around your area.

    • VintageLydia

      They could be naturally more charasmatic, their jobs might place them in a position to meet more women, they may have other hobbies not listed here that are as or more interesting to women, or a million other reasons.

      Long story short, some of us are better at the whole social thing and the rest of us read advice blogs like DNL and Captain Awkward to fill in the gaps.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      You neither are required to do these things, nor are you required to do them for the express purpose of meeting women. You are certainly free to continue doing or not doing whatever you do now. Your post implies that your current lifestyle, whatever that is, does not fulfill you in some way. That may just be in the meeting women department or it may be wider. You can keep your current lifestyle and your current results. Going outside your comfort zone is, by definition, uncomfortable. It can also be extremely rewarding.

    • LeeEsq

      Like I said in a previous post, romance and justice have nothing to do with each other. This means that some people have to put more effort into appearing attractive to the gender of their presence than others. Like many endeavors attracting a mate is combination of hard work and random luck. Other men have better social skills, are more physically attractive, or simply have lower standards in what they are looking for. They might have started the process of learning how to attract women at a much younger age than we on this blog did.

    • assman

      Your male friends probably have a fairly wide social circle. The number ONE way to meet women for all people across time, across space, in all cultures and in every society from the dawn of time to the present is social circle. Its much much easier than meeting strangers. Social circle is the primary strategy …. everything else is much less effective.

      • iliketowalk


    • Your male friends maybe are naturals, not everybody has to learn how to pick up women… some guys just are born with these skills…

  • Paladin

    Going to the park or volunteering is "busting your balls?" Really? The park is free, ditto volunteering. I think your attitude may have something to do with your lack of success with women. And I'm willing to bet that your friends in relationships probably did *something* like this at some point, even if it's just going to the park.

  • Tea

    I'd like to second the incredible attractiveness of a man who cooks and/or volunteers. Pretty much every guy I've had a crush on in the last couple of years I met while doing community service. Volunteering brings out the best in a lot of people– and other people notice. In a way, it's like self selection. Great, generous hearted people often volunteer, and a lot of girls (including me) dig great, generous hearted guys.

    As for cooking, well, I'm an adventurous amateur cook, and I'd love to have a man to cook and swap recipes with (and do…other… things in the kitchen with). What ISN'T attractive is a guy who sits on the couch and expects his date to cook for him like his mother, his nanny, or his maid. I remember one experience where a guy "asked me" on a date by asking if I would make dinner for him. You first, buddy, you first.

    • You know what they say about someone adventurous in the kitchen right? *nyuk nyuk*

      But yeah, food/cooking is the very cliche way to the heart. If you have some decent recipes up your sleeve that you can put together easily and quickly, earning points is very easy. If you and your date both turn out to be foodies, then you have a wealth of conversations and dates to have. Steam in the kitchen/dining room is very easy to turn into steam elsewhere.

      On the first date with my girlfriend, we spent a lot of time talking about favourite restaurants in the city, comparing notes about who can cook what, and what cuisines had the better food, weird things we've eaten, etc.

    • Bryant Turnage

      I honestly forget sometimes just how many men and women, grown adults, cannot cook, and don't even try. It's been such a simple, ingrained part of my life for so long that it's jarring to realize how many cannot perform the simple act of preparing food for themselves. I realize that we live in a culture where prepared food is easily obtained in frozen form or delivered to your door, but *everyone* should have at least a few simple recipes they can make themselves or for someone they love. It's a basic sign of maturity, in my opinion.

  • fancy pants

    what? aside from the park and the cooking classes the rest of the places listed are as bad as bars and clubs.

    • LeeEsq

      Why? Whats wrong with dancing lessons or the other suggestions?

    • Dr_NerdLove

      I'm really curious to know how volunteering or joining a kickball team is as bad as a nightclub. Please elaborate.

      • LeeEsq

        I suppose volunteering would be bad as a nightclub if you proscribe to objectivism, which states that you are only supposed to act in your best interest. Ayn Rand had a very disturbing view of altruism. OTOH, its unclear whether she would object to volunteerism if you only do it to meet potential romantic partners, which would be in a person's self-interest.

        As to kickball, anti-intellectualism as a parralel anti-athleticism. Its a bit rarer but more than a few people really hate anything remotely athletic.

        What always mystifies me are the men opposed to dancing. A lot of men seem to find the very concept of dancing, whether partner or freestyle, absolutely horrifying for some reason that they could never quite explain.

        • Max

          Sometimes I feel like if I enjoyed dancing, all my lady-troubles would go away. I have never ever met a girl who didn't find guys who can dance attractive.

          As it is now, I'm not very good at it (awkward, clumsy), and I don't enjoy it enough to practice. I'm plenty good at other things though, so don't read this as a WHY WON'T THE GIRLS TALK TO ME comment. However, dancing is one of those things where, if you don't like it, it severely hinders your dating life (see also: live music).

          • LeeEsq

            When I started learning how to partner dance, which was maily to humor my mom, I was very miserable at it. The proverbial two left feet. However, I really got into and found the first lesson fun. Early intervention from the teacher helped. Since then, I've learned to dance a wide variety of partner dances including the hustle and rocked my first ballroom competition.

            You can get good at dancing, it just requires practice.

          • DanceLikeNo1sWatchin

            You don't have to like to dance or listen to live music to date. Not everyone is into that. That being said, there are a LOT of girls that love both and part of being in a relationship is sharing each other's interests – trading off movie night on the couch for a night out dancing for instance. But trust me, you don't have to be good at it. Few people really are. A lot of guys will just stand there while you're supposed to dance on them or watch you from the edge of the dance floor. Personally, that's when I walk off to find a guy that'll move, even if he is awkward and clumsy. As for the live music part, I find this seriously hard (but not impossible) to believe. Maybe you're just not into huge concerts or heavy metal or something, but what about a quiet jazz scene or a novelty video game concert? If there's some music you like and some type of going out crowd you can stand, there's bound to be a venue for you. Don't give up!

  • LeeEsq

    If you can afford them, I strongly suggest dance lessons. The great thing about dance lessons is that in most studios a community forms among the regulars since its a social business. Taking dance lessons helped regularly and frequently helped my social skills and made speaking to the opposite gender easier. Plus you get acquainted with how to get away with playful touching and flirting in appropriate bounds. The down side is that you are going to have to invest a lot of time and effort because women in the dance community want you to be really good. I

    • Maggie

      Also we usually have a shortage of guys in dance classes and this is very frustrating. Guys in dance class are usually very appreciated, unless they are overtly being rude. True Facts.

  • LeeEsq

    Re dance lessons as a date; I'd recommend a private lesson with you, your date, and the instructor rather than a group class or a dance lesson that is specifically targeted for couples only. The problem with a regular group class is that you usually dance round robin with other people in the class and the teacher don't really like it when a couple elects to stay together. The balance between leaders and followers is usually never exact and round robin gives everybody an opportunity to dance.

  • Cutting a Rug

    On the subject of dancing–specifically at a club or other venue where there is no expected "form"–I will say this:

    Everyone knows how to move their body to a beat. It is not necessary to learn anything if you want to dance at a club, but it is necessary to have a modicum of confidence to actually get on the dance floor. Once you're there on the dance floor, though, you're golden. Dance is expression. You don't need anyone to tell you how to express yourself. I can count on one hand the number of guys I thought were dancing better than I was at the club. Believe me when I say that as long as you can move your body to the beat and not fall, you'll be okay. No one will laugh at you.

    Bear in mind this advice goes for any situation in which there is no expected form of dance. If you're going to a place where everyone will be doing a specific dance (waltz, tango, swing, lindy hop, etc.) I would suggest you know that dance.

    • vince

      i think youre mistaking the way humans respond to music for dancing. not everyone enjoys dancing, and to a lot of people (such as myself) it's not a rewarding experience, and thats coming from someone who makes club music for a hobby. 😛

      the whole "dance is expression" should be translated into "dancing feels good for people who like to dance", because that's what it really means. 😉

  • LeeEsq

    Looking at the picture, it just occurred to me that the Doctor lives in his car.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      In fairness, it\’s more like a really nice Winnebago or Airstream…

      • Ash

        It's got a pool, after all!

  • Datdamwuf

    Did you really say this crap??? "

    Straight talk: whenever you ask a woman out, one of the first thoughts that will go through their mind is “what would my life be like if this person were my boyfriend?”

    I'm so sorry, maybe some woman you know does but no, most women do NOT think this. Women btw are not monolithic, we may actually think about many different things the first time a particular guy asks us out. The last time a guy asked me out I thought why bother, he's hot, I just want to get laid and if he turns out to be any good in bed I'll get to know him.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      Did you really say this crap???

      No. None of this is real. This is blog is just a very vivid figment of your imagination.

  • Maggie

    For those who are shying away from amateur sports leagues because of horrific high school experiences… My father's office organises amateur sports teams, now and then, for the people in the office. My dad is over 60 and definitely not as athletic as most of the 25-35-year-olds that make up the bulk of the team. Despite the fact that (and I say this with all the love and respect in my heart) he kind of sucks and can't keep up, he is always without fail invited back, encouraged and supported by his team (and, incidentally, usually by the opposing team too) because the point is to have fun, not to make fun of people.

  • So True

    good women are a rare find these days.

    • iliketowalk

      as assman said, the best way by far to meet women is through your social circle.

      if you dont have a good social circle (as is my case) its remarkably more difficult indeed. so the solution to meet cool women is to increase your social circle. and the activities suggested here point in that direction.

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  • Absolutely The Truth

    if there were not so many very nasty mean women nowadays, then just maybe many of us good straight guys can meet a decent one.

  • vaporizer

    I want to thank you so much for this helpful post. I knew about the parks and such and the sports,but the cooking classes is smart and plus I love to cook so it works out for me. I also like to vape and I have been thinking about cooking special cookies and brownies but not sure which one.

    And I think that if I did the dance lessons, it would actually help me to learn to dance and then I would be able to be more able to go to parties and dance. Either way, I would for sure meet all the ladies!!!

    I think I might just create a meetup and start a cooking meetup where people come over and have sushi parties and other things of that nature, what do you think, do ladies like that? I know that my girlfriend loved having sushi parties, but how about other ladies in general? I guess I have to hit up the sushi bar! 🙂

  • joleen

    I have found that many single women who take dance lessons are desperate not only for a male dance partner but often looking for a partner in their life.

    I have also had the experience of having a single woman or two seem to gravitate towards the best available married man that they think they can attract or get their single hooks into.

  • JacobJ

    These are great suggestions.

    I think the issue many of us have, well ok I'll speak only for myself: lack of confidence to do these activities alone.
    I particularly like your amateur sports, volunteer and park suggestions. The park thing I do, actually go on hikes quite often as well. It hasn't panned out yet, but I've certainly said hello to many a lady walking by and it lifts the spirits anyway.

    It was so easy in college or university to meet the ladies, without barely even trying.
    I need to regrow a pair of brass balls. They fell off somewhere along the way.
    Good luck to everybody, really.

  • derby girl

    I realise this comment is incredibly belated, but I wanted to add a point to the amateur sports bit: women's sports leagues are almost always in need of more referees and other officials. I play roller derby, a hugely female-dominated, 100% amateur sport, and I can attest that a) we always welcome more referees/scorekeepers/penalty timers/ticket sellers/anything, and b) there are heaps of guys who wind up dating derby girls through volunteering for a league. I'm sure the same goes for most women's sports, too.

  • Jim

    it is really very hard for a man like me looking to meet a good woman today. i go out by myself to bookstores, walks on the beach, clubs, going out to eat alone, but i just can't seem to meet a good woman for me. i know other men that have the same problem, and it really seems that most of the women are not interested in men anymore like they use to be since it was much easier meeting a good one years ago. i was married at one time, and i thought that i had met the love of my life to have a family with. she was the one that cheated, and this hurt me very much since i hate going out all over again and dealing with this mess looking to find love again which it has become a challenge for me now.

  • MarieFranklin

    I know this is an old article but I just had to comment…learning to dance is the BEST way to meet people and like the Doc says, learning to LEAD is something every man should know. It will improve your sex life!

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  • crazy white boy

    Gents just go to a strip club guys like us get nowhere with woman.

  • Interesting ideas. I think the cooking and dancing classes are the best potential.

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  • shopping places are good option

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