I think almost everyone would agree that Los Angeles is a tough city for dating. Everyone is so busy, and the people you meet at bars and clubs may not exactly be what you would consider “quality”.
But, there are actually plenty of single people in the same boat who don’t necessarily want to do the club/bar scene. Here are the top ways I’ve discovered to meet quality single people in L.A.
COVID NOTE: Unfortunately, many of these events are on hold during the pandemic. Some are still going on but double-check before attending.
1. Volunteer Events
It’s hard to think of a place where you’d meet a better type of person than at a volunteer event. There are tons of great young single people who sacrifice their nights and even weekends to volunteer. Here are some organizations to volunteer with:
- Hope for LA: Has a calendar where you can sign up for volunteer opportunities around L.A.
- The Compton Initiative: This is a HUGE event that happens every few months. The goal is to beautify parts of the Compton community.
- Heal the Bay: Has volunteer cleanup events.
- The Sierra Club Los Angeles: Volunteer to help the environment in Los Angeles.
- Orange County Sierra Singles: For singles in O.C.
- Habitat for Humanity: Build houses for the poor.
- Much Love Animal Rescue: Guys, there are tons of women who volunteer for animal rescue organizations. This is just one of them. They show rescued animals on Main Street in Santa Monica every Sunday.
- The People Concern: Volunteer to serve meals to the homeless on the West Side
- Tree People: Caring for trees and nature in Los Angeles.
Of course, there are many, many more volunteer organizations, ranging from political, environmental, animal rescue and so forth. Just Google what you’re interested in and you’re bound to find a cause that interests you in L.A.
I’ve been impressed at how many young single women are at these volunteer events. At many volunteer events I’ve been to, it’s been mostly single women there. Guys, time to step it up! Not only will you be doing something good for the world, but you could meet someone special.
2. Church / Religious Gatherings
If you think that only your grandma and old people go to church in L.A., think again. Many of today’s churches cater to young people and feel more like rock concerts than church. Here are some churches in L.A. with lots of young people:
- Vintage Church: This is a church that meets in Santa Monica and the West Side with lots of young professionals. I know lots of single people who go here and they love it. For their events, check out their community Facebook page.
- Mosaic: Worship in the heart of Hollywood that resembles a rock concert, but with solid preaching. Much of the congregation consists of young singles with a lot of artistic types.
- Reality LA: Also in Hollywood with lots of young single folks.
- Pacific Crossroads Church: Highly educated congregation of professionals in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Modern worship. Meets in Santa Monica in on Sunday mornings and downtown L.A. on Sunday evenings.
- Bel Air Presbyterian Church: Used to have a legendary singles group called The Foundry for singles in their 20s and 30s. That is no more but the church is still there.
- The Loft LA: Small church in mid-Wilshire consisting of almost all 20’s and 30’s singles. Unconventional services with audience surrounding the preacher.
- CrossRoads LA Fellowship Connect: This is a Facebook group devoted to Christian singles in their 30’s and up. It has members from various local churches including Vintage.
- Saddleback Church: Huge mega-church in Orange County led by Rick Warren. All ages, with a variety of services including one that has modern music.
- St. Monica Catholic Community: If you’re Catholic, many people have told me that this church in Santa Monica has great events for singles.
- Renew Church LA: Very young, culturally-diverse (Asian, African-American, white) church meeting at West Los Angeles College in Culver City.
- Venice Church: Good vibe with modern worship music and practical sermons.
- Zoe Church: The home church of such celebrities as Chris Pratt, Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Benson.
Please note that is hard to meet people by simply going to church on Sundays and leaving afterward. There are just too many people and Sunday service is not conducive to meeting them. Your best bet for meeting people is to join a smaller church group that meets outside of church.
There are also wonderful people at synagogues, mosques, and places where people of other religious beliefs meet.
3. Swing / Salsa / Ballroom Dancing
Imagine a room full of single people, and all you have to do is walk up to someone and ask them to dance – no drama or creepiness involved. That’s partner dancing, where people want to ask you to dance, and want to be asked to dance. It’s one of the best ways I’ve found to meet single people of all ages.
Granted, you’ll have to invest some time taking lessons and fumbling around as a beginner. But once you get proficient, you’ll meet a ton of people. You won’t regret it!
I’m personally into Swing dancing. The best resource for swing dancing in Los Angeles and Orange County is swingdance.la. It has a complete calendar of swing dance events. For lessons, go here. If you embark on this journey, I guarantee you’ll meet lots of young single people! Here’s more info on why Swing dancing is a great way to meet single people.
The salsa scene is huge in LA, but I feel it has a somewhat higher barrier to entry for beginners. For salsa, check out Vida Salsera.
This might sound crazy, but don’t rule out country line dancing (yes, it exists in L.A.) The most famous place that I know of is Cowboy Country Saloon in Long Beach. There are single people of all ages there and free lessons before the band goes on. It’s pretty fun if you don’t take yourself too seriously.
4. In-Person Dating Events
I’m not a huge fan of dating sites and apps (although many friends of mine have found dates that way). I always preferred meeting people in person.
Match.com offers members just that opportunity with their Match.com Events. These are real-life events that you can attend for a reasonable fee on top of your regular membership. The events range from low-cost mixers at a bar to weekend ski trips.
Everyone in these events is there to meet someone, so you won’t feel out of place striking up a conversation with someone. I highly recommend Match.com events for singles in L.A.
5. Networking / Singles Events
UPDATE: A lot of these groups are on hiatus during COVID 19.
There are tons of networking events for single people, young professionals, and other groups in Los Angeles and Orange County. These are a great way to meet people. Here are some good ones where I’ve met quality single people:
- Ivy Plus Society
This is a networking event for young alumni of highly ranked universities, but actually, anyone can join (no one checks to see where you graduated from). This is not a singles event per se, but there are a lot of single people at these events, and it’s pretty easy to meet people. One young woman even admitted to me that she was there because she liked “smart guys”.
Has events of all kinds, from professional to hobbyist, and including singles events like speed dating. Sign up for their newsletter for events in your area.
- Speed Dating
I’ve never done this but I know people who swear by it. Search for these on Google, Eventbrite, or Meetup.com.
6. Fundraisers and Galas
It would be hard to find a better group of successful professional (and often attractive) people than at fundraising galas and events. Galas are usually held in hotel ballrooms or cool locations like museums, and everyone is dressed to the nines looking amazing. But, there are also informal fundraising events held in swanky mansions in Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and so on. Oh, and these fundraisers often have incredible food.
Some examples of organizations on the West Side that have fundraising galas and events are The People Concern (homelessness), Harvest Home (pregnant homeless women), and Claris Health (pregnancy counseling). Find organizations in your area that are fighting for causes that you believe in and they will almost certainly have fundraising events with like-minded people.
7. Online Dating
Online really is where people who want to date are these days – especially busy people who don’t have time (or don’t enjoy) the bar/club scene.
The downside of online dating is that you will be judged in less than ten seconds on your profile photo. If you are not photogenic or your photo isn’t good, you won’t get good results. On the other hand, I know so many people who’ve met their significant others online!
Here are some dating sites that I am familiar with and recommend:
- Probably the biggest dating site in terms of number of members is Match.com, which is one of the reasons I recommend it. There are a wide variety of folks on this site, and it does work if you invest the time in good photos and a good profile. Out of all the dating sites, I personally have gotten the most dates from match.com. As I previously said, I like the in-person mixers they put on in Los Angeles and Orange County.
- eHarmony goes with the philosophy of “quality over quantity”, giving you a small number of matches that are supposed to be a better fit. I have friends who have done well here and even met their significant others on eHarmony:
- ChristianCafe is a Christian-owned dating service. If you’re looking a Christian, check this out!
- Coffee Meets Bagel is a mobile app that requires a Facebook account. You get a group of free profiles every day at noon, and you can pay to contact more people. There are a lot of solid high-quality professionals here who want to find someone to date seriously. Coffee Meets Bagel does work! I have lots of friends who have gone on dates using this app.
- Bumble is another mobile dating app with a similar interface to Tinder, where you swipe left to skip and right to approve. I will say that your physical appearance is very important on Bumble. A very high percentage of the women on there are models, actresses, yoga/Pilates instructors, fitness coaches, and so forth. Others are successful business owners/leaders. My female friends say similar things about the guys on there. You’ll definitely have to step up your game (and profile photo) if you want to get any responses.
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8. Meetup Groups / Facebook Groups
If you’re not doing Meetup.com groups, you’re missing one of the easiest ways to meet single people. Sure, sometimes the events are lame, and maybe the folks that show up are not exactly your cup of tea, but stick with it and find a Meetup that fits your demographic. Just sign up for a group that matches your interest (hiking or photography or whatever), or go straight to these Meetup groups which have a very high percentage of singles:
- New York / LA Mingle Meetup
This is an active, post-COVID social group on Meetup.com that features happy hours at hip bars, often in Santa Monica.
- Los Angeles Single Professionals & Friends
- Mix Professionals with Fun Events
- No Flake Singles and Friends LA
- Los Angeles Free Concerts
Even if you don’t meet someone special, these often meet in cool venues (hip restaurants and bars) that are fun to discover and experience.
In a similar vein, here’s a Facebook group with real-life events in L.A. for folks interested in meeting friends from around the world and speaking different languages:
What I’d like to emphasize with these groups is to give them a chance. You might go once or even twice and think a group is lame, but stick with it at least a few times. Good people do show up to these but sometimes it takes time.
9. Matchmaking Services
If you’re too busy to go out and meet people organically, or just not into that, a matchmaking service can get you results faster.
Once service in Los Angeles is Matchmakers in the City. I’ve met them and they are super nice and legit!
If you’re looking for a Christian, check out ChristianMatchmakingLA.com.
10. Walking a Dog
If you live in a neighborhood that has a decent concentration of young single people (i.e., beach cities, downtown LA, and hip neighborhoods like Silverlake or Atwater Village), walking the streets with a cute dog can be a great way to meet people! I just got a very cute dog and can say that you will meet new people when you go out and walk it.
Dogs are great ice-breakers and give you something to talk about. If you don’t have a dog, I’m sure you have friends who’d love to let you walk theirs!
11. Outdoor Clubs / Athletic Teams
Want to meet single people who are in good shape? Join a sports team or club! Here are some ideas:
- Volleyball: I joined a volleyball class at Santa Monica College, and it was filled with young single people. Even better would be to join a beach volleyball team.
- Kickboxing, martial arts, karate, Krav Maga
- Kickball: I didn’t even know they had kickball for adults, but a friend of mine is on a team and she loves it.
- Yoga: Tons more women than men.
- Hiking: Somehow there are always significantly more women than men on group hikes that I go on. Check out the Los Angeles Hiking Group Meetup.
- Running: Check out the LA Running Club or many clubs like this.
- Biking: Bike shops usually run beginner-intermediate bike rides for free. Check one near you.
- 5K Races: Even if you’re not in great shape, you can run a 5K with a little training. There are plenty of “couch-to-5K” programs out there. These races always have lots of young, fit professionals.
Search on Google for more information on sports that you are interested in.
I’ve never believed that the gym was a great place to meet single people (and you can actually get kicked out if folks complain about you if you do), but I recently went to a gym class that required a partner. A lot of people showed up alone and they just paired up with other singles. I thought this might be the one good way to meet single people at the gym. Note, there were significantly more women than men in the class, so guys, check this out!
For the women, reader Jeremy says below in the comments that you should check out any major chain gym at 8:30 PM or later where there are tons of single guys.
12. Continuing Education Classes
If you want to meet people interested in the same hobbies or topics as you are, try taking a class. Community colleges have really inexpensive classes. Just be sure to take a class that is truly useful or interesting to you though, as there may or may not be single people there, depending on what topic you choose.
- Santa Monica College Community Education: The intro photography class there had lots of young single folks. I’ve also taken volleyball and kickboxing classes there. Check with your local community or state college for continuing education classes.
- Language classes: I’ve taken classes at the Santa Monica Language Academy. Lots of young single folks take classes there. Check out language classes near you.
- Cooking classes
- Art classes: Check out these “paint and wine” classes.
If you’re more of a bookstore person than a bar person, and if you have some cajones, you might be able to strike up a conversation with a cute girl/guy at your local independent bookstore. There’s an old meme where a girl says she’d rather have a guy buy her a book than a drink, so maybe there’s something to this!
Bookstores are becoming fewer and farther between, so you’ll know that anyone you meet at one will be really into books.
I think you’ll have better luck at smaller independent bookstores rather than Barnes and Noble or an Amazon store. My recommendation is Village Well in Culver City because they’re also a coffeehouse and they have lots of young single people!
The seating is very communal, so it’s easy to strike up a conversation with the person next to you.
Other recommended bookstores include Pulp Fiction Comics in Culver City, Alias Books East in Atwater Village, Book Alley in Pasadena, Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, and of course, The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA!
14. Outdoor Food Events
Outdoor food events tend to attract masses of hungry young single people. A prime example is Smorgasburg in the Arts District near Downtown L.A. First Fridays in Venice used to be another example before the pandemic. The atmosphere there had more in common with Lollapalooza than L.A. to me.
With the fun atmosphere, it wouldn’t be too hard to meet people at these types of events given a little courage and charm.
15. High-End Grocery Stores
Don’t dismiss this one. It’s really a thing! Young single people who are financially well-off and who are concerned with keeping fit tend to do their grocery shopping at high-end, health-conscious, supermarkets like Erewhon, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts (click links for store finders). These stores have tons of single people shopping around dinner time on weeknights.
The New York Times says Erewhon is “L.A.’s Hottest Hangout” and “the unofficial hangout for the young, beautiful and bored”. Visit one after work and see for yourself.
Granted, approaching someone at a grocery store out of the blue takes some cajones, shall we say, but I know folks who’ve done it successfully. You might ask for advice on something, or give your advice if someone looks like they’re having trouble deciding.
16. Your Network of Friends
One of the best ways to meet people is through your existing friends. Why? Because the hard work is done – you’re pre-approved as part of the “group” and you’ll get much more consideration than a stranger would.
When you get an invitation, go even if you don’t want to, or especially if you don’t want to. You know that birthday party that someone invited you to, but you don’t know anyone else there? Well, go to that party. Same with that wedding, where you only know the bride or groom and no one else. Go to that wedding. You know those annoying Facebook events that people keep inviting you to and that you keep deleting? Go to those Facebook events. Utilize your network of friends to meet new ones.
I know it’s difficult and awkward to go to a party when you only know one person, so here are some tips to meet people at parties where you don’t know anyone.
But when you go, make it your first priority to have fun, not necessarily to meet someone. A person having fun is attractive, and worst case, you’ll have a good time and some good practice for the next event!
Bonus Idea: Become a Social Connector
So far, I’ve listed places and events to find single people at. But why not create your own fun? Hosting a party is a great way to meet new people if you can encourage your friends to bring their friends. It also makes you look really good because as the host, you have high social proof.
I get the best results in terms of fun and participation when I pick a theme for my party. When you have a timeframe in mind, Google that date to see what that date is famous for. For example, once I planned a party that happened to land on National Milkshake Day, so it had a 50’s theme and we served burgers and milkshakes. It was a huge hit!
It almost doesn’t matter what the theme is: it could be Chinese New Year, Peruvian independence day, national Salami day, or whatever. The important thing is to pick a theme! It makes it so much more fun and guides you on how to decorate and what food to serve. And, you’ll get a lot more interest than if you just a have generic party.
What do you think of these ideas? Any other good places to meet quality single people in Los Angeles that you know of? Here’s a list of hot spots in Santa Monica and Venice for singles. Here are some tips for meeting more single people when you go out. – Brian