Hello everyone! Lately I’ve been asked a few times how I find new things to try and so I thought I’d share a few of my tips here.
Now, I’ll admit, I’m mostly asked these questions IRL, not on the blog. But I thought maybe someone would enjoy these tips here! I’m going to try to include budget friendly items and more splurge items, but also some potentially free options too!
How to Find New Things to Try
Now there are two options to this. One could be to focus on stuff you know you already like, and start there. Another is to just keep an open mind and try out anything you can find! I’ll give ideas on both!
How to find new things to try based on what you like
This is always a great way to start as you’ll be excited to try out something you’re interested in already! Let’s say you like being outdoors. In which case you might want to look for a hiking group to try out new trails. Or if you like reading you might look for a book club, which will get you to try books you may not have otherwise considered. Alternatively, you might decide you want to try something beyond hiking so you might look up opportunities to go kayaking near you instead. Or you might decide to try a creative writing workshop to write books of your own instead of reading them. It does depend on you and what you are comfortable with!
I do want to add a quick point here that if you live in a more secluded area you may have more limited options nearby. I recommend you take an honest look at your current living area and consider broadening your search if you don’t have too many options, so you may search for any outdoor activities rather than only wanting to try one specific hobby for example. You might be surprised at what is offered nearby since sometimes you really don’t know until you go search for it!
Once you pinpoint what you like and what kind of activities you might want to try, begin a search! I always use Google and social media. Google can be great because of the “near me” option but sometimes it can be tricky to find what you want.
I’ll take a moment now to remind you that, as with anything, you’ll want to keep your safety in mind! Social media is great for finding groups that share similar hobbies but it’s better to be cautious!
Okay, so some free options for finding things you are interested in can range widely and you will want to really consider your chosen activity. If you like reading and want to search for that book club, for example, you may try the library first. Even if the library doesn’t host book clubs themselves, they may have leads for local groups. Or you can search online for a virtual book club. In general, locally or independently organized events and groups will likely be free to join, but again just be cautious!
Low cost options could include things like park districts or other government funded places. In my experience, libraries are government funded but free, while park districts are also government funded but include fees, albeit usually reasonably priced. I would highly recommend this option as you can try out different activities and not spend too much if you don’t end up enjoying it. For example, I dance ballet and I go to a park district in a nearby city as mine doesn’t offer it for adults. I pay slightly higher fees due to living out of the district but the classes are still very affordable. I also recently signed up my new dog for dog training classes at my own park district and those classes are very well priced! Some downsides to this option though may be limited offerings in terms of variety of activities or times that don’t fit your schedule. I know with my own park district they don’t offer too much beyond sports for adults and all the more creative focused classes like painting are offered in the middle of the day when I work! Plus, park districts are generally more, well, parks focused in terms of offering more fitness and sports activities, although I have noticed that they are trying to be more well rounded culturally in recent years.
More expensive options would be to find a group or organization specifically dedicated to your chosen activity, or even a school just for that! Back to the ballet example, I could take classes at local dance studios which offer only dance classes. I have found that these are more hit or miss though, as they mostly focus on the children’s classes that bring in the most money for the studio. But from time to time they do offer adult ballet and I’ve even seen the occasional tap or musical theatre dance classes for adults too! If there is something you really want to try I would recommend you keep an eye on those in case they offer a class or group for that and it fits with your schedule. Or you can even call them up and ask! I would say music schools could be great options for private lessons for instruments or voice lessons, acting schools for drama or improv, and other things like that. However, they can sometimes be more costly because they will be more focused classes and you’re typically buying an entire series of classes upfront. Sometimes you can do drop-ins though, and just pay for the one class to try it out first so keep that in mind!
One other thought I had was a local community college. I wasn’t sure if I should put this in the low cost or more expensive options since I do think it will depend on the type of class you pick and what your budget is. Typically you pay the course fees, which can be pretty small, but for the more creative courses there are usually materials fees that can get costly. I have taken film photography at a local community college before and while the class was cheaper than my usual classes at my university (I did it for college credit over the summer), the costs for the paper, film, special plastic binder pages for the film, and even lab fees really added up! If you do something like welding or glass blowing, I’m sure those fees would be higher as well. Things like creative writing courses though, especially if you do them as non-credit courses, will be cheaper! And these are also great options for dance classes, professional workshops, theatre productions, and more!
How to find new things to try in general
If you don’t really know what you want to try or just want to find new options in general, a lot of those places I listed above will be great places to start looking! I would probably recommend searching your local library calendar, a nearby forest preserve, or park district first, as they will be close to you and for little to no cost. I think if you try to start with social media searches or the community college option you will likely get overwhelmed with all the options. Plus, those generally require weeks of commitment or even larger fees (mostly for the college route) so I wouldn’t recommend them as good places to just try stuff out.
Another great option to find random stuff is to go into your local public buildings, such as the library but also it could be places like your city hall, and look at the posted flyers. You might be surprised to learn of a theatre you didn’t know was in a nearby town, or of a new group coming together for DnD/painting/whatever else you might be into. Plus, sometimes local community members might be offering well priced classes in different areas they are good at as a side hustle, such as guitar lessons or yoga.
If you see something you are interested in, but it isn’t offered at a time you want or the age group you need, I would recommend you reach out to the organizer and nicely ask if they would consider adding in a class that works for you or if they may have plans to do so already. They might see there is a need for that option if multiple people reach out for it so they may add it to their own offerings or may point you in the direction of a place offering that option which you may have missed. The key here is to be nice and polite, and even if they say no it’s worth asking them to keep your info and let you know if they ever end up offering it after all!
I know I talk a lot about classes as that’s generally what I search for but that won’t be all your community has to offer! I’ve found things like meditation nature walks, local outdoor movie nights (in the summer), dog meet ups, hikes organized by local forest preserves, and so much more. I think the key when trying anything new is having an open mind, and that starts from the moment you start looking for something new to try.
If you have something in mind but not quite sure where to start your search, feel free to let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to suggest a place where you can begin. Or let me know if any of these tips were helpful and what you’ve found! Have fun out there!
Thanks for reading!
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