By Mario McKellop

One of the most confounding things about becoming an adult is discovering how hard it is to meet people. Whether you are looking to make new friends or find that special someone, it can be surprisingly challenging to form new relationships with other grownups. Luckily, Northeast Ohio is filled with a number of venues that make it easy to have friendly conversations with others who share a common interest. Just in time for International Friendship Day (July 30), here are the five best places in the Cleveland area to meet new people.

Tabletop Board Game Café
1810 W. 25th St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 512-3053

Anyone with even a passing interest in gaming owes it to themselves to pay a visit to the Tabletop Board Game Café. In addition to offering visitors access to more than 1,000 different games, Tabletop’s core concept is to foster social interactions between strangers. Every month, the venue holds mixers wherein guests can slap on a name tag, play some fun games and interact with new people. Additionally, the café serves an array of fantastic beers, wines and mixed drinks to make all those awkward first-time interactions a little bit easier.

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Loganberry Books
13015 Larchmere Blvd.
Shaker Heights, OH 44120

Locals with a passion for reading definitely need to spend some time at Loganberry Books. In addition to having one of the widest selections new and used books in the city, Loganberry also has a relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to having long and thoughtful conversations. The bookstore also regularly hosts fun events like forums, book signings and even movie nights. And in what will be of particular interest to budding writers, Loganberry hosts workshops that allow participants to hone their craft and swap stories with fellow aspiring authors.

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Downtown Cleveland Dog Park
1505 Merwin Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113

Northeast Ohio dog lovers looking to make new friends definitely need to pay a visit to the Downtown Cleveland Dog Park. Its sizeable 3,500 square foot fenced in space features a number of waste disposal containers, a fun play area for dogs and plenty of seating for humans. As such, it’s a great place for puppies and dogs to get some much-needed exercise. And for their owners to make acquaintances among Cleveland’s population of pet lovers.

Kendall Cliffs
60 Kendall Park Road
Peninsula, OH 44264
(330) 655-5489

Adventurous athletes who are seeking some kindred spirits should spend some time at Kendall Cliffs. This indoor rock climbing venue features more than 7,000 square feet of climbing surface. While Kendall’s obviously has a lot to offer experienced climbers, it’s also a great place for first-timers to get acclimated with the sport. Newbies can learn the basics of rock gym and lead climbing along with other like-minded Clevelanders in one of the Cliffs’ many affordable introductory classes.

Gatherings Kitchen
17004 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 228-2285

Cooking classes are a fantastic way to both meet new people and also master an important life skill. For locals interesting in expanding their culinary abilities, Gatherings Kitchen offers two different types of curricula. First, its four-week prep school course is a holistic program that teaches students how to do everything from identifying flavors and ingredients to practicing specific cooking techniques to creating menus that are both nutritious and delicious. Secondly, Gatherings offers a weekly supper club class that instructs attendees on the ins and outs of various international and seasonally appropriate dishes.

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