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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: March 17, 2015

13 Fun Meetups in/around Portland: Meet new people who like doing what you like doing!

Written by: Shannon Bryan

Meeting people. It can be tough, especially if you’re new in town – or if you’ve been in town forever but you’ve only recently realized that you don’t much enjoy the folks you hang out with now (lovely people, of course, but they’re way into miming now and that’s just not your thing).

So now you’re on the prowl for new chums, a task that can feel like life’s most awkward social scavenger hunt. (But the payoff – meeting new people, making new friends – is totally worth it. And we’re here to help.)

The best way to meet people who you’re likely to like is to do stuff you like to do. Joining a local club/social group is an excellent and easy place to start. And thanks to the internet and sites like, finding groups of people who like doing what you like doing is easy (and definitely faster than building a humanoid robot friend that laughs at all your jokes, is fun to travel with and wears the same size pants – because double the closet, right?!)

And because we want to be the friendly, helpful sort, we even went ahead and rounded some of them up for you. (Note: There are a ton of Meetups in Maine. This is just a sampling. Check them all out on

The Maine Sports and Recreation Meetup is all about activity - from dayhikes and white water rafting to indoor rock climbing and an afternoon at the lanes. Courtesy photos

The Maine Sports and Recreation Meetup is all about activity – from dayhikes and white water rafting to indoor rock climbing and an afternoon at the lanes. Courtesy photos

If you like to hike and camp and raft (or want to start doing those things):
Maine Sports and Recreation MEETUP

They also do stuff inside, like indoor rock climbing and bowling, but on the whole they’re geared toward the glorious Maine outdoors. There are Meetups for a range of levels – from easy day-hikes for the novice to backpacking trips into the mountains for the more experienced outdoors person. The point: Whatever your level, and however old you are, you’re welcome.
How they describe themselves: “The Maine Sports and Recreation Meetup Group is for people looking to make friends and find people to enjoy sports and recreation….Meet up with people who enjoy participating in and or learning about hiking, walking, camping, kayaking, paddling, backpacking, white water rafting, trail running, bowling, rock climbing, disc golfing, fitness, nutrition, personal development, healthy living, work + life balance, nature, photography and other sports/recreation activities.”

If you and your dog are looking to make friends together:

Greater Portland Dog Recreation Meetup

People who don’t have dogs just don’t get it, but life with dogs is better than life without them. And while you might be fine leaving your dog at home now and then while you go off and socialize with your two-legged friends, you’d prefer it if you and your dog could socialize together. Because dogs!
How they describe themselves: “This is a group for anyone who wants to get outside with their dogs and meet some new people in the process! Meetups will be planned at off-leash parks in Portland and the surrounding areas, so come hang out and bring your furry friends!”

Portland Funners: Running because they like it. Courtesy photo

Portland Funners: Running because they like it. Courtesy photo

If you enjoy running:
Portland Funners

Running can be a divisive thing: There are those who love it and those who – ahem – don’t love it. For the former, here’s a running group that focuses more on the joy of a casual run rather than personal records and finish lines. Sounds like you’ll also get a nice tour of Portland along the way.
How they describe themselves: “This meetup is an informal, low key group for people who enjoy running / jogging in a social setting. We live in a beautiful city let’s get out and enjoy it! All fitness levels are welcome.”

If you’re a runner and you’re conscientious about the planet:
The Maine Trash Runners

Part run, part trash pick-up, The Maine Trash Runners allows members to get in a good run while also doing good for the ol’ environments. Sometimes they pick a specific location, sometimes they follow behind a local road race, and always they pick up what they can.
How they describe themselves: “Ever notice how much trash there is when you’re out on your morning walk, jog, run, bike ride, hike, skip, etc.? Well, there is A LOT! That’s where the Maine Trash Runners come in. We come from all walks of life and all different backgrounds, but we have a shared passion for taking care of our environment. And it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you think you may be, it’s all about getting some exercise, picking up some trash and having a fun while doing it.”

Volunteering, socializing and enjoying happy hour with the Southern Maine Young Professionals Meetup. Courtesy photos

Volunteering, socializing and enjoying happy hour with the Southern Maine Young Professionals Meetup. Courtesy photos

If you’re a young professional looking to socialize over a beer, a game or some volunteering:
Southern Maine Young Professionals

Networking groups are awesome for professionals of all kinds, but they’re often all “worky worky” and “here’s my card.” And that’s as it should be, except when you’re new to town or just looking to meet other smart young people outside of the professional arena. This Meetup is all about the social aspect – and having a good time while you’re at it.
How they describe themselves: “If you are under 40 and interested in getting to know some young professionals for networking or just socializing (without the pressure of passing out your business card), this is the group for you….We usually schedule meetups at least once a month, and we like to rotate between happy hour events, activities like bowling or sports games and volunteer opportunities.”

If you identify as nerd:
Cheeto Stains: The Social Club for Nerds

The Cheeto Stains Meetup invites you to venture outdoors briefly to find people to do things with indoors. Meetups range from a night of Cards Against Humanity, a Cosplay Charity Spring Fling and maybe some pub crawling. “We aim to be Portland’s premier (and at this point only) pan-geek rolling mini-con on Meetup.”
How they describe themselves: “When asked about your interests, have you ever had to bite your tongue to avoid complaining about post-Grant Morrison Batman? Do you instinctively react to purple text by bidding DKP? Are you more likely to take part in a Picard vs Kirk online poll than vote for a local legislator? Then welcome home!”

If you like seeing smart films and talking about them afterward:
(Sm)arthouse Movies

This Meetup is for you, the film lover in search of other film lovers. And because a good film just begs to be talked about, this group gets together for the purpose of post-film discussion (hey, you can always go to a movie alone, but other people are essential to conversation).
How they describe themselves: “Tired of multiplex fodder? Looking to see some intelligent movies? This is the group for you. The goal here is to see the cream of current releases and then discuss. It won’t be rigidly targeted at art-house movies; anything halfway intelligent will be considered. In general, we will avoid summer blockbuster/TV show adaptations/superhero/chick flick type movies.”

If you’re part of a couple and you want to hang out with other couples:
Portland Couples Connecting

Not that you don’t love your single friends, but some couples like to do couple things with other sets of two. (Bonus: Teams are always even on game night.)
How they describe themselves: “How many times have you wanted another couple to go bowling with you or to dinner,or go with you on a cruise or rent a cabin in the mountains for the weekend…but all of your other couple friends were too broke or too busy or too BORING! All ages are welcome, however the group is mainly for mature couples in their late 20s to 60s.”

If you prefer your paddles out in the open (ocean):
Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network

Sea kayaking is awesome – but you definitely need to have the right skills, equipment and a fellow paddler. Meet like-minded paddling people, learn more about safe paddling and go on some paddling adventurers.
How they describe themselves: “An organization for sea kayakers to meet paddling friends, learn more about all aspects of safe paddling and plan trips together.”

If you’re a writer:
Portland Writers Group

Writing may generally be a solitary affair, but there are benefits to be hand from writers groups. Feedback, for one, and the chance to mingle and exchange ideas with other like-minded writerly folks. This Meetup hosts three writing sessions a month and social gatherings, too.
How they describe themselves: “Our purpose: to encourage writing and build community in a safe and friendly environment.”

If you’re living a life free of animal products (or you’re interested in doing so):
Maine Vegan Meetup

If you’re interested in the vegan lifestyle, here’s a group that can help you explore the idea (and help you figure out where you can happily dine out, among other things). Even better, they won’t keep asking “How can you NOT eat bacon?! I mean, it’s bacon!” every time you get together.
How they describe themselves: “Maine Vegan Meetup can be found organizing or participating in events across the state, ranging from potlucks and restaurant meetups, to VeganDrinks and wine tastings, to annual events like summer’s VegFest and March’s Meatout.”

If you’re single and totally shouldn’t be:
Why Am I Single?

When you’re single and looking, you can spend hours swiping and scrolling through singles apps and websites. And that’s cool – plenty of lovely couples have met that way. But there’s still something to be said for meeting people in real life. You’ll learn more in five minutes than you could in a week’s worth of messages. Plus, you’ll get to do fun stuff in the process.
How they describe themselves: “Tired of Match.Com, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid etc? This group was formed in order to provide a way for single people to meet, learn about themselves and also to take part in fun activities along the way.”

If you want to be prepared for when it all goes to hell:
Prepper Skills Group

This group might be less about meeting new people and more about gaining new skills, but if you’re interested in expanding your survival and emergency smarts, then an exchange of skills is all you really need.
How they describe themselves: “Our belief is that it takes a community to be resilient, and individuals within this group should attend with the mindset of bringing their skills and experience back to their families and communities in times of crisis.”

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