How to Find Fun Events and Meet New People in Boston

People standing in a softly lit kitchen socializing
Meet new people in Boston – Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Located in the heart of downtown Boston, Emerson is abuzz with city activity. While the prospect of moving to a new place is exciting, it can also be intimidating. You may be apprehensive about building new friendships, or maybe you’re not sure what there is to do around Boston. In today’s blog, we’re going to share some tips on how to find local happenings, meet new people, and feel at home in Boston.

Start with Emerson

An easy place to start meeting people is through classes. Some of my closest friends in Boston are in my graduate cohort at Emerson. All of Emerson’s graduate programs have small class sizes, so it’s easy to get to know people in your cohort. Grabbing coffee or a meal with classmates is a great way to start building a group of friends in a new place. 

The Roman style garden inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, full of flowers and greenery
Inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, where Emerson students can get free admission – Photo by Jen Shishmanian on Unsplash

To connect with graduate students from other Emerson programs, you can always check out the events listed on EmConnect, where various student organizations list their upcoming events.

Another great way to get out and about is with student discounts. With your Emerson student ID, you can get free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Whether you bring some friends along or just have a solo museum day for yourself, all three of these museums are a must-see in Boston. 

Know Where to Look Online

If you’re looking for things to do outside of school-related events, there are a few online resources you should know about. Most Boston neighborhoods have a Facebook group dedicated to events and resources in your area. Some neighborhoods have block parties, open-air markets, festivals, etc., and a neighborhood Facebook group will keep you up-to-date on all of those local events. Just search the name of your neighborhood on Facebook to see what kind of groups there are near you. 

Another solid resource is the Boston Calendar. This online calendar is regularly updated to show all sorts of events around Boston. You can select what dates you’re looking for something to do, and you can even filter events by topics like “Free,” “Accessible sports,” “Pet friendly,” and more. If you’re ever feeling bored and not sure what there is to do around town, the Boston Calendar is a helpful place to check.

Similar to the Boston Calendar, you might check out MeetUp. With this app, you select your interests, and MeetUp suggests different social groups in your area that might interest you. Once you select the groups you’re interested in, MeetUp will show you what events those groups are offering near you. If you have a niche interest or hobby, MeetUp is a great way to find other people in Boston who care about the same things. 

A final helpful resource is Bumble for Friends. While Bumble is most known as a dating app, you can use Bumble for Friends to simply meet new people in your area. While other resources like MeetUp and Boston Calendar are mostly for finding large group events, Bumble for Friends allows you to meet a handful of people and create more small-group, lowkey plans. 

Check Out the Library

If you’re on a tight student budget but still want to get out and about Boston, you might check out the Boston Public Library (BPL) for free and discounted activities. For example, with a BPL card, you’re able to get passes for discounted or free admission to several Boston museums. With a library museum pass, you can get free admission to the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science, the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, and more. Library passes often allow you to use discounted or free admission for a limited number of guests, so you and a couple friends can explore museums together. Check out the BPL website for more information on getting a museum pass.

Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library. Empty long tables are lit by vintage green lamps. Two large windows are set in the far wall.
Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library – Photo by Daniel Brubaker on Unsplash

Aside from affordable museum admission, the Boston Public Library offers many community clubs. Through the BPL’s events calendar, you can filter events by library branch, interest, and age group. If you’re a book lover, the BPL also offers lots of book-related clubs. Some of these clubs include a reading club focused on LGBTQ+ literature, as well as a silent reading session for neurodiverse adults. You can also find free fitness classes, groups focused on improving mental health, crafting clubs, and conversation groups for those learning a language. With this wide array of events, the BPL is a great place to meet like-minded people and explore your interests, all for free.

Meet New People through Exercise

Going to a gym can be another easy way to meet new people in Boston. There are a variety of different gyms around the city that all offer different classes, equipment, and perks. If going to the gym is a valuable part of your weekly routine, consider some of these top-rated Boston gyms, as well as some more budget-friendly options.

If going to the gym isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to stay active and meet new people in the city. One way to get some movement into your routine is through Boston’s Parks Fitness classes. Free and open to the public, these classes are a mix of online and in-person. You can sign up for yoga, tai chi, kickboxing, Afrobeats dance classes, and more. If you’re not sure what kind of active movement you enjoy, these classes are a nice way to sample different types of workouts in a low-pressure environment.

While moving to a new city can feel daunting, Boston has plenty of resources and events to help you meet new people and feel at home. To keep up with what Emerson graduate students are doing around Boston, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Threads, or Facebook. If you have more suggestions on how to meet new people or find activities in the city, comment and share below. 

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Olivia is a second-year student in Emerson's Communication Disorders MS program. Originally from Ohio, she is loving Emerson and city life. When she's not writing for the Grad Life blog, she loves to read, bake, and crochet.

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