How to meet people in Vancouver is a question asked by many newcomers and singles; for some, Vancouver can seem like an unfriendly place or one where everyone is "already" paired up or "not looking for new friends."
That isn't true! I'm a native to this region and yes, we are less outgoing than other cultures--which may make us seem cold and aloof--but I have made many dear friends in Vancouver and you can, too!
Use this Guide to How to Meet People in Vancouver, BC, to find the best (and most fun!) ways to meet new people, make friends or find romance in Metro Vancouver.
1. First Step: Learn About Vancouver Culture
Vancouver isn't a friendly city the way, say, São Paulo is. Whenever I visit my Brazilian in-laws, they have neighbours drop by and stay for hours unannounced, they have huge families that mingle often, and just saying "hello" to a neighbour is tantamount to inviting them into your home. If you're coming from a culture like that, Vancouver will feel cold and unfriendly.
Vancouverites (like most people in the Pacific Northwest; the same "unfriendly" complaints are made against people in Seattle, too) are reserved. We like privacy. The beginnings of our friendships are formal: we set up a "friend date," if it goes well, we wait a while and then call, etc. Of course, young people at university will have an easier time meeting people in class/getting drunk at a bar, but if you're out of school and not used to Vancouver, meeting new friends can seem difficult. We'll smile at you, but we likely won't take it further.
So how to meet people in Vancouver? The key is to get to know people in an unthreatening setting and not to come on too strong. If you can get to know people through common interests and activities, and can be patient (don't push!), you will find (very good) friends in Vancouver.
2. Play Sports!
Sports and outdoor recreation are part of life here, and one of the best answers to how to meet people in Vancouver. One of my close friends played co-ed Ultimate Frisbee for years and met close friends, romantic partners, and work contacts through the sport. (She also had loads of fun doing it.) The key is to enjoy the sport you choose; do not treat joining a team like a singles-club.
Vancouver has sports clubs for every sort: co-ed, men's only, women's only, LGBT, etc.
Best Sports for Meeting People & Making Friends in Vancouver:
3. Dance (or Learn to Dance)
Like sports, dance is a great way to meet people in Vancouver. It works for making friends (it's ideal for couples who want to make friends with other couples), meeting new people and meeting potential romantic partners. Salsa is huge in Vancouver, and one on my friends met many people through Salsa dance classes and several romantic partners through Salsa dance nights at local clubs.
The dance scene is friendly and open; you can go alone and be assured of partners.
Try free Salsa and Ballroom Dance lessons over the summer (July & August) at Robson Square.
4. Go Foodie: Communal Dining & More
Communal dining has really taken off in Vancouver, as has an entire underground foodie culture of pop-up restaurants or foodie events in people's homes. Couples, singles and newcomers can all meet people (and at least have someone new to talk to over dinner) at communal dining events like the Irish Heather Long Table Series (in Gastown) and Swallow Tail dining events, which include pop-up restaurants.
To find the best Vancouver foodies events--and meet fellow foodies--strike up a conversation with a fellow diner at a Swallow Tail event and ask them who they follow on Twitter/which blogs they read.