Meeting local singles can be challenging sometimes. Maybe you don’t run into many people during your daily routine. Or maybe you’ve exhausted every romantic option in your social circle, and you’re ready to branch out and find someone new.

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, it takes effort to put yourself out there and find your dating sweet spot. After all, different strategies work for different people. Some singles are outgoing and feel comfortable approaching hotties at bars or flirting at parties, while others would prefer to make friends first and then see if feelings develop.

Our dating experts have brainstormed a lot of different ways to meet single people and shake up your love life. So read on and take your pick!

1. Dating Sites and Dating Apps

Online dating is the fastest and most convenient way to meet people these days, and many people (including me) have an app or site to thank for their relationships. According to a survey conducted by The Knot, 22% of newly married or engaged couples interviewed said they met online, making it the most popular way for modern singles to meet their spouse.

To help you make a match, we’ve listed our favorite dating platforms for singles seeking a date on a Saturday night.

By Category

In 2013, experts estimated there were over 8,000 dating sites in existence, and we’d be willing to bet that number has only grown with time. It can be hard to pick a favorite in such a crowded market, so try using our navigation tool to find the best site for your demographic.

For Men

Men tend to outnumber women on most dating sites and apps, leading to high competition and low response rates, but that’s not the case on Match. This mainstream dating platform has an even gender split, and it can offer a lot of compatible date recommendations for men.

For Men
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0

Since 1995, Match has made a name for itself as one of the most successful dating platforms in the world. The (read more)

  • Find quality women with advanced search filters
  • Daily Matches highlight profiles that meet your date standards
  • Add up to 26 photos to your profile

Match is our top pick for men because it has advanced search tools, a smart matchmaking algorithm, and one of the largest singles databases in the online dating scene.

For Women

As a relationship-driven dating site, eharmony has always appealed to women looking for love and marriage. The site has inspired over 2 million romantic connections since 2000, and it welcomes single women of all ages and backgrounds.

For Women
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

It may take some time to fill out eharmony's 32-dimension personality profile, but the results are well worth (read more)

  • Designed to satisfy marriage-minded single women
  • In-depth questionnaire generates high-quality matches
  • Personalized Match Preferences on gender, age, income, religion, education, and more

One of the stand-out features on eharmony is its Compatibility Quiz, which uses a psychological assessment to pair up couples who have a shot at making it in the long run.

For Senior Dating

SilverSingles caters to singles over 50, and many of its members are retirees looking to find companionship and love online.

Senior Dating
★★★★★ 4.5/5.0

SilverSingles offers a secure dating experience for singles of a certain age. Anyone over 50 is welcome to (read more)

  • Global membership base of exclusively single seniors
  • Free members can browse matches, send smiles, and favorite profiles
  • 24/7 online customer service

Singles can adjust their Dating Preferences on SilverSingles to ensure they only view compatible profiles in terms of age, distance, ethnicity, and other important factors.

For Black & Interracial Dating

BlackPeopleMeet is a niche dating site where black and biracial singles can get better acquainted. Singles can search for dates by age and gender, and then filter the results by distance, recent activity, new members, and currently active users.

Black Dating
★★★★ 4.3/5.0

BlackPeopleMeet is among the top dating sites for black and biracial singles the U.S. and Canada. Since its (read more)

  • Over 1.5 million monthly users from all walks of life
  • Search for black dates by demographics, online status, or keyword
  • Up to 11 match suggestions delivered to your inbox

If you want to diversify your dating pool, you can join BlackPeopleMeet for free and start matching with people who share similar life experiences.

For Christian Dating

In 2001, ChristianMingle became known as the premier dating site for Christian singles, and it retains that title to this day. The site has a greater concentration of God-fearing members than any other dating platform.

Christian Dating
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

ChristianMingle is among the most recognizable names in the Christian dating scene. Its faithful community (read more)

  • Specializes in fostering God-centered relationships
  • Over 3.5 million Christians mingle online
  • Rich profiles highlight your passions and beliefs

ChristianMingle’s members share similar religious beliefs and family values, and that makes it easy for Christians to form deep, lasting connections on the site.

For LGBT Dating

Online dating has given LGBTQ+ singles the chance to privately explore their feelings and meet dates without coming out of the closet. Today, over 60% of gay couples meet online.

EliteSingles is our top pick for lesbians hoping to meet high-caliber dates in their area. This trustworthy dating site promises no spam, no hookups, and no unicorn hunters. Instead, EliteSingles uses a personality-driven algorithm to see to it that singles meet their match.

Lesbian Dating
★★★★★ 4.7/5.0

EliteSingles empowers women to pursue lesbian relationships by using an intelligent matchmaking system. This (read more)

  • Caters to executive women worldwide
  • Members receive 3-7 matches every day
  • Over 80% of members have earned a college degree

Zoosk has always been a trendsetter in the online dating scene, and its instant chat features appeal to gay men on the market for a local date. This gay-friendly dating site has over 40 million members worldwide, so there’s always someone to talk to here.

Gay Dating
★★★★★ 4.6/5.0

Zoosk is a fast-growing dating site that reaches singles of all ages and orientations. This global network (read more)

  • Over 40 million members of all orientations
  • Seamless social media integration
  • Thousands of success stories in the LGBTQ community

Any of these dating sites can offer great opportunities to meet someone new, and we’d recommend trying two or three at a time so you can get more matches, more dates, and more relationships.

2. Matchmakers and Dating Coaches

As a profession, matchmaking has been around for centuries, but the rise of online dating has led many old-school matchmaking businesses to upgrade their services. Nowadays, matchmakers and dating coaches use a combination of human intuition and smart technology to fuel introductions between dateworthy singles.

“Our clients want a more hands-on, luxury service,” said matchmaker Amanda Rose of Dating Boutique. “We also want to make our services affordable and accessible to everyone.”

Photo of a first date

Matchmakers will arrange first dates between singles who share similar outlooks and relationship goals.

The most popular matchmakers and dating coaches will take on clients of all ages, races, orientations, and income levels, and they have extensive singles networks at their disposal.

You can look up professionals in a matchmaker directory or ask around to see if your friends or family members know of a good local matchmaker.

3. Meetup.com Groups

Not ready to go on a date-date yet? Then maybe you should ease into it by attending local events or clubs. Meetup.com has a calendar full of opportunities to get involved, make friends, and expand your horizons. The site’s motto is “the real world is calling,” and it helps people organize book clubs, movie nights, brunch days, dance parties, and other fun gatherings.

Some Meetup groups are specifically for singles in town, while others are more interest-based, age-oriented, or community-driven. You can browse events and send RSVPs for free, and you’ll receive email notifications about upcoming meetups on the calendar.

4. Community Events, Sporting Leagues, and Classes

Along the same lines, you can become more socially active by finding sporting leagues, adult classes, and community events happening in your area. Eventbrite is a good resource for discovering festivals, seminars, and fun activities going on across the U.S., and you can buy tickets on the site as well.

Photo of a festival

You can come out of your shell at a concert, food truck rally, or cultural festival.

The YMCA runs adult leagues for basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, volleyball, golf, and other team sports. You can get fit while meeting athletic and competitive singles in the same age bracket, and you never know when you’ll hit it off with someone.

Whether you’re at a cooking class or tennis match, you can meet singles by getting out of the house and participating in something that interests you.

5. Volunteering

When you’re single, you naturally think a lot about yourself and what you need, and that can become awfully tiresome, so it’s helpful to get a new perspective on life by spending a day volunteering.

Volunteerism often brings out the best in people. It just feels good to be helpful, and that creates a positive environment full of kindness and generosity. Volunteers tend to be passionate about their work — whether it’s feeding the homeless or taking care of rescue animals — and those shared values can unite them for a day or for a lifetime.

You can search VolunteerMatch to learn about local volunteer opportunities. The site partners with over 127,000 nonprofits to promote good causes and inspire good people to come together to make a difference in the world.

6. Bars and Parties

It doesn’t always take a lot of planning and preparation to meet someone new. You can simply head to a local bar and strike up a conversation with someone who catches your eye.

The bar scene is typically crowded with singles who are looking for a little fun, adventure, and romance, and you can always win someone’s good favor by offering to buy a drink or starting a friendly game of beer pong, JENGA, or pool. Some bars will have board games, arcade games, or video games to help you break the ice, and it’s a good idea to take advantage of that during your evenings off.

Photo of a sports bar

Singles can spend time at a local pub, brewery, speakeasy, or sports bar to meet fun-loving people.

Another good way to meet people is by attending parties held by your friends or friends of friends. Don’t be a wallflower at these events — they are usually full of dating opportunities if you play your cards right.

Not getting invited to many parties? Then maybe you could try hosting one yourself and making sure your friends invite all their single friends and acquaintances.

7. Friends and Family

Who needs a matchmaker when you have friends? You have access to a built-in dating network through your social contacts, and all you have to do is start asking people if they know anyone who’d be right for you. In many cases, friends and family members are only too happy to play matchmaker and set up blind dates.

The newly launched Wingman dating app lets friends take a more active role in the dating process and actually swipe on behalf of singles they know.

If you’re tired of searching for dates on your own, then team up with someone you trust, explore their contacts list, and try sparking a connection that way.

8. Social Media

Last of all, singles can take advantage of the vast reach of social media networks to find romance and build online friendships that could lead to something more.

Facebook connects over 2 billion people around the world, and it recently launched an opt-in dating portal where singles can search for dates. Facebook Dating is currently active in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, and 14 other countries. Your friends will not know that you’re using this application because it won’t show up on your profile, and singles won’t know you’re crushing on them unless they add you to their Secret Crush list as well.

Screenshot of Facebook Dating

Facebook Dating has made headlines by offering singles a new way to connect and flirt.

Singles can also use Twitter as a platform to reach out to people who share similar interests and hobbies. A surprising number of couples say they met on Twitter and started a #relationship.

“She dropped me a DM in January,” wrote The Sleep Provider. “We are almost three years in with a son.”

You Can Find Date Opportunities Wherever You Go!

Of course, there are way more than eight ways to meet singles in your hometown, but we’ve highlighted some of the most popular and effective dating strategies to help you get started on the right foot.

With a little practice, singles can train themselves to recognize dating opportunities and take action when they see an attractive single cross their path. Sometimes you may have to go outside your comfort zone to build on a connection and get someone’s attention. That’s not always easy, but it can be well worth the effort.

At the end of the day, the world is full of serendipitous meetings and romantic encounters, and it’s up to you to take advantage of those incredible moments when you click with someone special. Whether you’re online or offline, you have to take that next step if you want to make something happen. Good luck!