Starting Over Again

Hello everyone! This seems like a pretty cool website with some knowledgeable people. Anyone have any suggestions for building a social life in Duluth? I moved up here about 6 months ago for a job, and have found it challenging to meet people. Most of my coworkers are older and/or pregnant and ready to pop. Any fun clubs or events you can suggest to a (somewhat shy) late-20s female? Thanks!

54 Comments

catz

about 11 years ago

Such a good question.  Moving to Duluth as a young but not college aged person is tough.  My wife and I struggle to create an interesting social life.

Danny

about 11 years ago

My place, next time my wife's out of town.

Claire

about 11 years ago

I moved to Duluth in my 30s with husband and no child. I started attending art openings and literary readings, because that's where my interests lie. My husband got involved in local politics. We made a lot of our friends that way. Get out of the house, do things you like doing that involve other people. It does take a while in Duluth, because unlike other towns I've lived, there's little transition in terms of people moving in while others are moving on. But you will find your tribe here.

Good luck. And don't be like the woman at the PO one day who asked me if she could be my friend and gave me her phone number. I only felt sorry for her.

HappyHippo

about 11 years ago

As an extremely shy late-20s female, I can only give a bit of advice.  If you're just "somewhat shy" you'll probably have more luck being social than me. 

Perfect Duluth Day is a great place to find fun things being done by like-minded people.  Check out the PDD Calendar for things going on - anything and everything from dog walking to political rallies to Nerd Nite, and just about anything in between.  I'm not sure about actual local clubs, but on just about any night of the week, you can find some local music playing somewhere.  Duluth had got an excellent (and diverse) music culture.  Along with the PDD Calendar, I recommend Twin Ports Nightlife for events happening around town.  I also know there used to be a Duluth group on the Meetup website, but I only went to one event before I chickened out.

And if you have any specific interests that you want to get a group of people together on, well, this is a great place to ask!  People here are very nice (well, most people) and will point you in the right direction, or maybe even start up something with you.

If I had to pick one event to go to and meet people at, I'd suggest Nerd Nite.  But, I'm a nerd.  Your mileage may vary.  Sorry I've got nothing more concrete to offer!

beatstomper

about 11 years ago

There's also Transistormag.com for local events and stuff.

BadCat!

about 11 years ago

Ignore Danny - most Duluthians are no where near as creepy...
As a introverted/shy Duluthian, I also find it hard to meet new people. I think we should have some PDD introverts meet-up.

HipCast

about 11 years ago

I moved to Duluth in 2011 as well.  I really love it here because of the access to outdoor activities, Lake Superior, and some of the things that Duluth has to offer.  That being said, it's been the most difficult place I've lived in terms of meeting people and feeling welcomed.  People seem quite a bit more standoffish than what I've encountered elsewhere.  The friendliest people have been other transplants!  I don't have any additional suggestions beyond what's been mentioned already, but I wish you well.  If you list some of your hobbies and interests, I'm sure people that post here could direct you to good events to attend or groups to join.

@Claire -- The story of the woman at the PO is sad, but if she's new to the area, I can almost understand her desperation.  This can be a lonely place when you're not from here.

Claire

about 11 years ago

Hipcast, I know that's what was going on, she actually told me she was new to the area and wanted to make friends. It was just an odd way to do it, she didn't know anything about me, didn't even start a conversation that morphed into wanting to exchange numbers. 

I remember how lonely and homesick I was my first year here -- I was ready to move back to North Carolina. This indeed is a tough place to break into after all the college towns I lived in -- it's funny how much easier it is when one has a child who attends the local schools. Not much help to CJD, I know, but, really go to art openings and literary events. You have conversation starters there -- the art, the author... If nothing else, you will **definitely** meet Paul Lundgren and myself at these things. And artists and writers are pretty open to meeting people, I think... at least the ones I know.

YouKnowMe

about 11 years ago

I've met great people through Community Education classes!

Fuku-soncho

about 11 years ago

You've inspired me to create a PDD login since I'm having exactly the same problem! I moved here over a year ago and am miserable because I feel so alienated all the time. One thing that has lifted my spirits somewhat is joining the MeetUp group, Life in Duluth. We need more people, though, so please consider joining! I promise we're not scary, but it does take coming out to a few events before you can feel comfortable. I think I've been to four so far, but it took that many for me to feel good about going because I'm quite the introvert myself. The important thing is to not give up! 

I almost don't blame that woman at the Post Office because Duluth leaves very little options for making friends apart from just tackling people and forcing them to pay attention to you.

Skazi19

about 11 years ago

I am from Duluth and also fairly extroverted.  I think the best thing is to just go to whatever events you are interested in even if you're alone.  I know that's tough, and it even is for me but don't let that stop you because you'll meet like minded people.  Duluth can be a rather small town if you go to a lot of similar events you'll continue to see the same group of people.  

The one thing I think Duluth has going for it is the diversity of events and activities.  I went to grad school in North Dakota and it was hard to find things to do as a woman in my mid-20's who doesn't love hockey and binge drinking.

emmadogs

about 11 years ago

Wow, this brings back (sad, depressing) memories of moving here 20 years ago and finding it incredibly difficult to meet people.  I'm sorry to hear that hasn't changed.  

I made it a habit of going to a (now closed) coffee house at Fitger's, to just read and hang out; met some people, including Mr. emmadogs, there;  so hopefully you can find a place that you like to curl up and read/hang out in too.

BadCat--can we also have a PDD group for people who can't stay awake past 8 p.m.  Or am I the only poster who doesn't meet Paul and Claire et al at events, due to being in my jammies, fast asleep.

ShaneB

about 11 years ago

You could try the local meetup.com group called Life In Duluth. Not sure of the link, but you can search for it on the meetup site.

relli

about 11 years ago

Welcome to Duluth! I love this city so far, but as a single, early 30s female who recently moved here for grad school, it seems like there is a whole demographic group missing: The older than undergrad, younger than middle aged, and unmarried population.

I have no idea how to meet people here, but I do enjoy going to karaoke because even if you don't sing, you can pretend you're looking at the song book and leave without talking to anyone if you choose. The Reef on Tuesday nights can be fun - it depends on the crowd. (It's above the Labor Union and it can fill up with really drunk 21-year-olds.) I also find VFW's/American Legions to be pretty friendly to newcomers. The one in West Duluth has karaoke on Friday nights.

How about volunteering? Volunteermatch.org has a ton of opportunities for the area.

And thank you Perfect Duluth Day - you have been a great resource for newcomers! I might be interested in a PDD social event, if I didn't chicken out.

HipCast

about 11 years ago

emmadogs -- You hit on one of my complaints about Duluth.  My spouse and I like to hear live music, but almost all the live music doesn't start until 10 p.m. (or later).  We get up at 5 a.m. so staying out late, especially during the work week, to hear a band for a few hours just doesn't work for us.  I think the local bars are missing a money-making opportunity by not offering live music earlier in the evening.

Sakzi19 -- My issue hasn't really been a lack of going to events, because I'm not shy and I'm willing to go out.  I've just found that people from Duluth don't seem really interested in making friends beyond their current group. When I moved here, I mentioned to a local business owner that I was new to town.  Her response:  "Good luck.  People in Duluth can be very cold."  While I think "cold" is a bit harsh, it's definitely not easy to get to know people here.

I joined the Meet Up group when I first moved here, but before I could go to one of the events, there was a message that the group was likely going to be ending, so I removed my name.  I guess it didn't end and I should have continued as a member of the group.

Sorry, I didn't want to get into bash Duluth mode, because I really do love many things about the area.  I've just had to accept that it might take a lot longer to make friends than what I'm used to.  I do wonder how many people relocate here but don't stay because of this issue.

adam

about 11 years ago

Go. Out. Seriously. You will inevitably run into a consistent cast of characters no matter what your chosen activity. Consider those folks coconspirators and move from there. Consistency is how you bridge the gap of interacting with new people.

Late music start times: I have been begging (and will continue to) venue owners to start music earlier for years. When the 2AM bar close change came along, do you know what happened? Music started an hour later. Lucé can't start music until after 10PM because they're a restaurant, I get it. Other venues, why not 9PM — Hell why not an 8PM and 11PM show?? This is a squandered opportunity: people with money looking for entertainment who end up saying, "Oh well, let's just go home instead."

Terry G.

about 11 years ago

I'm also a recent transplant but found Duluth people (neighbors, coworkers) to be very welcoming. I thought it was harder to make friends in the Twin Cities when I lived there.

I don't have any suggestions on places to go other than to get out and interact with groups of people where you have things in common.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

+1 Adam on the let's-have-two-shows thing 8 pm and 11pm, for example.  Beaner's did an all-day music thing on New Year's Eve and I couldn't go but I was glad they did it.  This, I know, makes me part of the problem - not going to support things that I like with my presence and my dollars.  

Most of my friends are transplants, too and I am about as born and bred Duluthian as it gets.  Don't sweat that.  It's not like there's an amazing Duluth-born group of people that is better, funner and hipper than anywhere else.  

I'm not necessarily shy but I'm extremely socially awkward and more introverted than most people know.  If you are on twitter I enjoy following and interacting with folks tat regularly use the #dlh hashtag.  I know that there are some people who may be similar to you who I have met that way.  Call me lame ... seriously call me lame (back to you Adam)  ... but social media is a surprisingly rich meeting ground if you have time to invest in that sort of thing.  

Other ways I would say to meet people are volunteering and belonging and getting active in a church, community or civic group.  I'm pretty active in all three types of organizations and to be completely honest that  is probably where half or more of my "inner circle" very close friends and I meet and connect.

edgeways

about 11 years ago

It also helps if you have specific interests: there are numerous groups around that gather to do two things (ok 3), socialize and engage in whatever the special interest is (figure out the third). Various informal sports, photography(at least 2 groups), I don't know if "Drinking Liberally" is still going, a number of Duluth Commissions are always looking for new people, crafting, cribbage tournaments, be an election judge, joining something like Wild Ones, volunteer at Hartley, if you causally play an instrument there are jam sessions at Sir Ben's a few nights a week, I'm sure there are reading clubs around, at least on brewing club around, habitat for humanity, CSAs to be involved in, film competitions to try your hand at... So! what do you like to do? List that and I'd bet you'd get options tailored to what you want. Also, as mentioned in the past this tends to be a big DIY town/area. Can't find something you want to do? Create it and invite people via pdd, see what happens. Might bomb, might take off, but at least you tried. (NACPOD FOREVER!)

Claire

about 11 years ago

I lived in Philadelphia for 3 years after college and all my friends were people who'd gone to my school or people I met at work. I find it much easier to meet people here, b/c you do see the same people over and over again if you have an interest in something and you go places and force yourself to meet people. You will find your tribe here. I know it.

Hot Shot

about 11 years ago

I say we put on a Welcome New Folks show somewhere. It can feature an art opening and a rock show that starts at 8.
I agree that shows should start earlier. So many bars feel the need to start as late as 11. By the time the lights come on at 2 in the middle of a set, the place is empty. 

I also agree that going to an event or bar consistently is a good way to meet people. You'll meet a steady group of people for sure.

vicarious

about 11 years ago

Just a random idea: if you're a dog owner (or not), post an event that says something like "Human and/or dog walk for strangers and friends. Meet at Sky Harbor at 3pm Saturday".

Could work, might not. Either way it's a win; you get fresh air, exercise and company...or just fresh air and exercise.

CJD

about 11 years ago

Thanks for all the suggestions!  I was surprised to get so many responses!  And thanks for making me feel like less of a loser!  Lol.  I think it's hard to meet people anywhere after college, not just Duluth.  

And I agree 100% on the starting shows earlier thing!!!  I was dating someone until recently who worked nights and weekends, and I think one of the reasons things didn't work out is because we were BORED on the nights we actually could hang out (and he was cheap so we never did anything that cost money)!  

Some of you suggested listing my interests...  anything outdoors!  When we finally get some snow, I'd like to learn how to XC ski, do some snow shoeing, even sledding!  Thinking about joining a marathon training group - although that is kinda scary because you have to run like REALLY far!  haha!  

HappyHippo- what's this Nerd Nite thing?  I'd say I qualify as a nerd, but not the computer geek kind.  

Claire - that lady at the PO was me!  J/K...  but starting to think it's not such a bad idea!

TimK

about 11 years ago

Potential Duluth friends are like the North American Black Bear- they are just as afraid of you as you are of them...

adam

about 11 years ago

"HappyHippo- what's this Nerd Nite thing? I'd say I qualify as a nerd, but not the computer geek kind."  

Its monthly (sort of) gathering of nerds at Teatro Zuccone (200 E. Superior) where geeks get up on the stage and offer introductions to the subjects they are passionate about via powerpoint. https://www.facebook.com/groups/339090973232/  Next nite is on February 21st.

Duluth has ample chances to meet people - theater scene is quite amazing and the music that the city outputs staggers a person.  If you want to meet people in a friendly setting, I think Lake Avenue Cafe has a scrabble tournament on mondays, and there is cribbage on at burrito union on tuesdays.

wildknits

about 11 years ago

If you are interested in running check out www.northlandrunner.com 

The NMTC Spring Series starts up in late April (trail runs, variety of locations in the Twin Ports area).

There is also a group that meets each Wednesday night in the big parking lot on the corner of Morse St and Lake Ave (between Dewitt-Sietz and Grandmas) at 5:00 pm to run the Lakewalk. We are friendly folks for the most part, all ages, variety of speeds. 

The Superior Hiking Trail Association (www.shta.org) hosts group hikes starting in February. Free, open to the public and also a great way to meet folks.

Shane

about 11 years ago

The Duluth Running Company has a great Marathon training group.  The people in the group have continued to meet to run after the official group is over.

TimK

about 11 years ago

YOU, don't have to get on stage at Nerd Night (unless you want to).

HappyHippo

about 11 years ago

Yeah, what Adam said.  There's also a non-facebook website for Nerd Nite : http://duluth.nerdnite.com/ .

consuelo

about 11 years ago

Good luck. I've been here 10-12 years and have yet to make many meaningful contacts. I've dated a few people and made a couple friends, some good ones. Most of them have moved away for jobs, better weather, etc.

I've heard it over and over again from people who had moved here. The people who grew up here or at least went to high school/college already have their social lives full. They don't care about you.

There are few good opportunities to really socialize with people, and when you do, many of them fall in the category described in the previous paragraph. And then, 3/4 of the city spends the winter, aka 60% of the year, entombed in their houses when they're not at work.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

Don't let Consuelo scare you, those results aren't typical, "10-12 years ... yet to make many meaningful contacts."  But the "60% of the year entombed in their houses" is not only a great line, there is some real truth to that.  

Yes, people in Duluth can appear to be cold, but TimK nailed it (and I am stealing that line by the way)  "Potential Duluth friends are like the North American Black Bear- they are just as afraid of you as you are of them..." Genius.  If someone says "hi" to me or strikes up a random conversation at the store I often freeze.  And when I travel and interact with people who are warmer with strangers I do find it refreshing, but it could also be really fake, too.  So I don't attach much meaning to either approach, positive or negative, to either approach. 

This thing about the people who hang out with their high school/college friends ... to the extent that that does happen, to be honest, they sound like a bunch of losers or at the very least emotionally and culturally stunted folks.  Don't waste anytime trying to bust into a clique do a little cost-benefit analysis and you'll see that your effort is better spent taking some risks and try new things, maybe develop some new habits like what EmmaDogs said about going to the coffee house regularly. 

As a counter conversation piece to the "going out to bars" point I have some personal history to share.  I used to go out to the bars 5 nights a week and usually after work on the other 2 as well.  And I'd be in these places thinking "where the heck is everyone?"  You may ask yourself, is drinking 7 nights a week healthy?  For me it definitely was unhealthy so I'd say "no" for many other people, too. But I was able to change my pattern and before long I discovered that I had some different, more interesting and fulfilling relationships just like I had been craving.  That's my story, I'm not saying it's relevant to you, but I hope that the hopeful part is: When you reach out and make an effort to change something, your life just might change in the positive ways that you crave.

Adam Carr

about 11 years ago

I'm currently doing a project where I'm in town for a month and trying to learn as much about as possible, which I'll be at least attempting to meet a lot of people. If you'd like to hang out, let me know!

secretseasons

about 11 years ago

I moved here in mid-2009 (so 2.5 years ago) and have found it really difficult. I was surprised how many people were born, raised, schooled, and have never really left here.

I wonder, also, whether it's just difficult to move around at age ~30 and maybe I'd have these same troubles anywhere else.

What I think I'm saying is, some of this is specific to Duluth (like the fact that 7 months of the year is too depressing to even talk about). But some of it is not about Duluth, it's about how as adults without school, college, whatever, we no longer have built-in supportive structures that facilitate friend-finding and community-building. So if you're not intrinsically skilled at those things (and I'm not) then it is really difficult.

Ramos

about 11 years ago

If you have trouble making friends, try making enemies instead. Many memorable experiences can come from making enemies, and you meet a lot of interesting people as well.

beatstomper

about 11 years ago

Beaner's shows always start at 8 (or at least shortly thereafter). I've found it to be a friendly, mature atmosphere, being a coffeehouse/listening room type of atmosphere rather than a bar.

doubledutch

about 11 years ago

As my six-year-old recently informed me, kids are friends as soon as they meet, but with adults, it takes way longer.

Thank you, TimK, for nailing it.  I'm sad to be thought of as unfriendly or unwelcoming.  I'm not easy to befriend, as I'm a fairly shy person with extremely limited social time.  But that doesn't mean I don't *want* to be friends (and for the record, I also would like to see my existing/past friends).  It's difficult to put yourself out there and invite someone to do something with you, whether you're the new girl or the old girl.

c-freak

about 11 years ago

Go to the roller derby!

CJD

about 11 years ago

c-freak - I did go to the roller derby!  It was awesome! If I wasn't such a wimp, I'd try to get on a team!  

Why does everyone think it's so depressing here in the winter?  I know it is unusually warm this year, but it seems like a beautiful place all year round!  Put on some layers and brave the cold!  I can't wait for some real snow!  -20 doesn't sound fun, but as long as its above zero I can deal!

I'm gonna find my new coffee shop hang out tomorrow I think!

adam

about 11 years ago

+1 Ramos.

Lake Avenue Café's scrabble Mondays have ended. But, don't let that stop you from bringing your Settlers of Catan down and waiting patiently for nerds to crawl out of the woodwork.

digit3

about 11 years ago

Pretty interesting how folks' experiences vary so much with regard to meeting people. I guess that some of it has to do with personality type. 

I was just having lunch with a friend who moved to Duluth less than a year ago and we both commented on how easy it has been to meet friendly people here. I can say that it has been the easiest place that I have ever lived to make friends. I have such an interesting group of people that I now know from business owners, neighbors, and friends that I hang with. Big age range, big income range, crazy assortment of careers. 

I got to meet people when I first moved here by being physically active. UMD has good workout groups, Duluth Running groups, organized bike rides put on by Continental and Ski Hut, trail building with COGGS and the SHT, open mic nights if you're a musician, book groups.

Herzog

about 11 years ago

Then there's Mickey O'Rourke in the Barfly...

"It's not that I don't like people, I just prefer it when they're not around."

gotbike

about 11 years ago

As a lifelong Duluthian, and 50 something, I would suggest,(as others have) find your interest and join that group. Even if you're an introvert there's a good chance someone else there is an extrovert. Anyway this town has a lot of great people here. Welcome.

Skazi19

about 11 years ago

It makes me pretty sad that some people have experienced such a hard time with finding friends!  

Like I said before, I grew up here and have lived elsewhere for school. As a native I do still have a close friendship with a handful of friends with whom I went to high school and/or college. They are by no means my only friends and I am always open to more.  I do think this has more to do with personality than anything. Some people would like to only have one or two close friends.  

I think the coffee shop is a great idea and I recommend Beaner's for all of their events/coffee!

etspring

about 11 years ago

Another suggestion I didn't see above is Fuse Duluth. Professional people your age.  

I am with Digit3.  I met friends in Duluth who have become family to me but if I had been looking for my same age and income/career level I would have had a much longer wait.  I also concur with Wildknits.  If staying active is your thing you will definitley meet your peeps.  Alas, I have felt your pain.  Hang in there and you'll meet people in the Twin Ports you will want to know forever.

HappyHippo

about 11 years ago

Here's something going on this week, if you're crafty...er, if you like crafts (knitting, papercrafts, sewing, etc.)

"SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT LADIES: Crafterhours will return January 10th to the Zeitgeist Atrium from 6-9pm and continue Tuesdays in January. Bring your crafts, bring a friend, bring moo-lah for half priced bottles of wine! BAM!!"

B-man

about 11 years ago

Maybe start following a few locals on Twitter. There is a "Duluth musicians/bands on Twitter" thread here on PDD.

Most folks in Duluth are very approachable, and when in doubt just ask someone if they know where Hung is.  Find Hung and make friends with the crew.

See you out there.

spy1

about 11 years ago

Cool it, man.

c-freak

about 11 years ago

Thaaaat's right!

The Big E

about 11 years ago

Re cross-country skiing -- Duluth XC Ski Club

Skazi19

about 11 years ago

B-man is so right. Hung can get you in with just about anyone in Duluth.  C-freak is a peach, too.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

I think we scared CJD away.

adam

about 11 years ago

"I can not believe it!"

CJD

about 11 years ago

Nope, still here!  Not having much luck finding a coffee house to call home!  I live pretty far from Beaner's -- closer to Two Harbors actually.  I miss my favorite coffee shop in Chicago -- if anyone is taking a trip there go check out Nobel Tree in Lincoln Park!  It's the best!  

Joined the marathon training group, but that doesn't actually start for another month.  Looking forward to getting my butt kicked in the freezing cold!

And got a few community ed classes circled that I'm considering.  

Thanks again for all the suggestions.  Am I supposed to ask "who's Hung?"

in.dog.neato

about 11 years ago

Mocha Moose is on Scenic 61, if you live up that way ... not much else for good coffee joints outside your family restaurant up that way.

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