What if there was a WMATA DC metro map that pointed out the best places to make new friends, network, or even find a date?
Over the years, we’ve written about how hard it is to meet new people in a new city. From a resident dater-in-chief lamenting about Washington’s dating woes to the uphill climb it is to make friends after turning 30.
But despite all of the advice, there’s nothing like a visual guide to the cities most networking-friendly hotspots. You can count on these spaces to be full of both locals and visitors and lots of energy. Here’s your map of the most social hot spots of the city:
In the Checkout Line at Whole Foods
Everyone wants a great story about how they met. What better story than meeting at your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Chances are high you’ll meet eligible singles in the area who share your passion for cooking–or at least for eating.
“I was at my local grocery and liquor store when I saw a girl picking up a six pack of my favorite craft beer,” says Chris Wheatley, a young professional working in Northern Virginia. “I asked her if she had had it before and it led to a really cool conversation. We went on a few dates after that and found out we had a lot more in common than just our taste in beer.”
Maybe you’ll ask someone how the guacamole is at the sampling station or if they’ve ever tried that bottle of wine they’re holding. As you stroll through aisles of organic produce, artisan cheeses, and delicious desserts the conversation topics are truly endless.
If you’re lucky, you might even have some live music to set the mood for your romantic conversation. Check out FRESHFARM at Dupont Circle or the 14th & U Farmer’s Market for the best food, flowers, and chance encounters.
Cheering On Your Favorite Team at Nationals Park
“I met my current boyfriend at a hockey game last year,” says Claire Witting, a student at UMD. “It was actually perfect because we bonded over the sport and it was easy to hold a conversation because we were both really into the game and the team.”
Go to Nationals Park if you like baseball, RFK Stadium to see DC United play soccer, or the Capital One Arena for basketball or hockey. After you bond over having the same favorite player, invite your new friend out for a drink.
Grabbing a Cup of Coffee in Gallery Place Chinatown
Coffee shops may seem like the cliche place to meet singles in the city, but Washington is a town engulfed in not just the selling but the culture of coffee.
“People say DC is the worst place to date, but those people don’t put in any effort,” says DC Dating expert Erika Ettin. “It’s not the city, it’s you.”
Putting in the extra effort to scope out unique places means new opportunities will open up for you. Maketto, for example, features a modern, open space complete with communal tables and an indoor-outdoor design. Strike up a conversation over a cup of coffee and then peruse the bookshelves together while you explore the space.
While Sipping on a Cocktail
Many men and women feel they’ve “done” the bar scene. But don’t discount them just yet. Try going to a new neighborhood entirely or up the ante and go to higher-quality bars in luxury hotels and you may just be surprised by what you find.
Try Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons for a chic and casual atmosphere in Georgetown, Dignitary at the Marriott for scotch and bourbon tastings in a sexy setting, The Riggsby at the Carlyle Hotel for delicious drinks and a classic vibe, or the Degrees Bar & Lounge at the Ritz for fun drinks like popsicle cocktails which will surely be great conversation starters.
At a Professional Networking Event in Metro Center
Sometimes putting yourself out there can be hard, and going to a random grocery store or bar and hoping for something to work out isn’t the best option for you. Professional clubs and organizations in DC give you access to tons of singles in the area, but often in a more structured setting.
There are plenty of clubs to choose from, so pick one that you identify with the best. It’s more likely that you’ll meet someone with similar interests or ambitions as you, which will make a great foundation for your new relationship.
Organizations like Ivy Connect and the Harvard Business Club not only offer professional networking opportunities, but also the chance to meet other like-minded, young professionals. The City Club of Washington has more of an emphasis on fine dining and entertaining, in addition to the networking opportunities it provides.
Illustration by Sonia Polyzos