Friends fun Saint Louis

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Riverfront Times Press Club. March 06, Special Issues » City Guide. Louis native Martha Gellhorn bet her then-husband, Ernest Hemingway, that a foreigner she'd spotted on a train hailed from her hometown. Being a stranger need not be such an ominous condition, and certainly not in present-day St. Maybe you're a new transplant. A tourist. A recovering hermit. Perhaps you're feeling the sudden need to get off your couch, turn off Netflix and interact with other humans.

And that's OK! Don't let anyone try to convince you that St. Louis can't be friendly, or doesn't have a place for the outsider. It just takes that first step. And we've got nineteen steps for you — suggestions for venues, events, clubs and activities that bring people together. You might find a diversion for a couple weekends, a story to tell at a bar or friends for life. What do you have to lose?

You can always just head back to the couch and unpause Netflix. It's not a formal choir, per se, but a monthly "social drinking experience. To Engelhardt, it's not the beer, or even the music, that makes the "secret sauce" of the Beer Hall Choir so special. You're part of that. Get Cultured It might not always seem that way, but St. Louis history has much more to it than Germans brewing. Starting the first Saturday in April, the St. Louis Landmark Association www.

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If a bus tour is more your style, hop on one of the quirky tours offered by Renegade STL renegadestl. Rather not walk outside, ride a bus or spend any money? Then take advantage of free admission to the world-class Saint Louis Art Museum www. Read a Book Communally St. Louis is positively bursting with book clubs, and if you can't network into one by asking around, you'll find your local book store is often more than happy to make the connection. See our complete guide to local bookstores within this very issue.

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Your local branch of the public library also likely offers a club. And if you haven't yet downloaded NextDoor nextdoor. Get Involved in Politics Whether you're red or blue, it's hard not to look at America's current political climate as anything but a dripping garbage fire. But you — yes, you! You don't have to harbor presidential aspirations to get involved with canvassing or collecting atures for a petition or candidate, and the upcoming midterm election season is a great place to start.

Research your alderman, state reps and congressmen.

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Want to support them? Oppose them? You're not alone. Contact the state campaigns or, if you're in the city, shoot a friendly to your representatives on the Democratic Central Committee www. The next time an election comes around, you won't be a bystander. Get Jacked If improving the body politic isn't your speed, take a shot at improving your actual body at group workout sessions. Local gyms and community centers like the JCC and YMCA offer hundreds of options, but lower-cost and free sessions are at your fingertips through Meetup groups like the St.

Louis Adventure Group www. Looking for something contemplative that will also stretch your limbs at interesting angles? Yoga Buzz www. Go For the Glory No force in the world can suppress a competitive spirit, and there's no reason you can't let that spirit fly in St.

Multiple groups offer mainstays like softball, hockey, co-ed kickball and cornhole — and if you're adventurous, the St. Louis Curling Club www. Take care, as particular leagues tend to come and go, and therefore it's worth some googling around in the winter to gauge your options as the weather warms. Thankfully, many leagues include the option to as a "free agent," so you won't have to assemble your own collection of castoffs to vie for a trophy.

See www. Roll the Dice Over a Board Game Stretch and sweat all you want, but a sedentary pastime is nothing to scoff at either. Head over to Pieces STL www. Louis' dice-rolling and card-playing crowd — a crowd that easily has room for one more. Co-owner Laura Leister notes that groups have the option to al their openness to unattached players, while those coming in alone can alert others that they're willing to any group that needs them.

Flying solo on a weekday? That doesn't mean you can't play. Master Chess There are games, and then there's chess. Louis is arguably America's chess capital, and if you're keen to hone your skills or to start your journey to becoming a grandmaster, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis www. The Chess Club hosts daily classes and lectures, and the group's Central West End headquarters functions as a cerebral community center that bustles with students of every age and experience level.

Whether you're interested in casual games or tournament prep, or just taking chess instruction, the Chess Club is a sound opening move. Chase Karaoke Stardom There's a reason karaoke persists, immune to the passage of time and the fickle tastes of youth. For those two or three minutes — or six minutes, if you're one of those marvelous lunatics attempting Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" — you are the undisputed headliner, the belle of the barroom ball.

And even if you walk into a karaoke bar knowing not a soul, the aura of communal performance anxiety makes for a fantastic ice breaker. Plus, the venues usually attract their own cadre of regular singers to befriend. Louis' karaoke palaces range from the violet-hued disco heaven of Mike Talayna's Juke Box Restaurantwhich carries karaoke every night of the week, to neighborhood bars like Carson's www. Time to start practicing those high notes. Make a Dive Bar Your Own By definition, you can't be a stranger in a place where everybody knows your name. Maybe that's the underlying magic hidden inside neighborhood dive bars, the sort of places you might pass without a second thought during your morning commute, establishments with names like the Heavy Anchor or Rhonda's Place pro tip: Google "the Real Drinker's Guide to St.

Louis' Best Dive Bars," and you'll find this publication's finest work. Just pick one, and go there a few times. Bring a friend. Drink a beer after work.

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If they have a TV, watch a game. Tip the bartender. Talk to the bartender. Get really good at pinball. Talk to someone older and better-traveled than you, and maybe realize how little you know about motorcycles and proper car repair. Listen to the craziest stories you've ever heard. Start learning people's names before you drink so much you forget them — and that's the dive-bar magic starting once again.

Become a Soccer Louligan The story of soccer in St. Louis didn't begin with the effort to put an MLS stadium downtown, and it certainly didn't end when that effort failed to sway city voters in The city's ties to the sport go back a century, and our present-day soccer culture is in the midst of a revival that's ravenous for more fans — a fan like you, perhaps.

The St. Louligans www. To mix metaphors: Jump on the soccer bandwagon, the water is fine.

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For nearly two decades, the group — which touts itself as "St. Louis' Original Drinking Club with a Running Problem" — gathers weekly to engage in "hashing," a non-competitive "hare and hounds" running game that's practiced by clubs all over the world. The "hares" leave chalk symbols on the ground, which direct the trailing "hounds" to the route, which includes some false trails and dead ends; that route, in turn, features stops for beer. Louis' iteration hosts weekly runs open to any athletic level, with most routes including a walking option.

If you're not into nicknames, though, be forewarned: You're going to get one. Nothing so easily shatters a feeling of being "other" than reaching out to people who are spinning on the margins of survival, homelessness and poverty. For a start, consider your skills and talents. Where could they be applied?

Can you help out a classroom, mentor a high school student or help build a house? Click around the United Way 's searchable database of local positions www. Considering St. Louis is particularly strapped for resources to support its homeless population, you may find the greatest impact with groups like the St.

Patrick Center www. St. Louis' Pet People Fido probably loves going outside no matter what, but it's time to show him the world beyond the immediate blocks around your place. Get to know the region by its parks and pet-friendly bar patios, and you'll find that many, many other dogs are dragging their humans to the same places.

Or head to the far western rim of St. Charles, to Broemmelsiek Park, where the admission is free, the acreage is plentiful and the lakes are perfect for doggy-paddling. Find lots more options at bringfido. Become a Superfan It's easy to get caught up in huge musical acts coming through St. Louis — but it's the ones right here that are way more fun to follow, from small bar to bigger bar to maybe even a particular alt-weekly's annual music showcase.

Try seeing what all the fuss is about by catching the ultra-polished Sleepy Kitty, the cataclysmic rock of Bug Chaser or the joyful Bruiser Queen — and then realize you can't get the opener's third song out of your head, and before you know it you're at the opener's show, and then suddenly you're three bands down the line and shouting lyrics in a mosh pit in a basement and you are alive as fuck.

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Don't worry about being pretentious or worry that actually liking something makes you weird. Try liking a band and then being around other people who like that band too, and see where it goes. It's as simple as a three-note chord, and poses the same infinite potential. Check out the RFT 's local music listings, which run in the paper every week, to see who's playing where. Till the Earth Gardening isn't just something to do in your window box or, uh, in a locked shed containing a hydroponic weed empire.

Instead, the agricultural revolution at EarthDance Farms www. Each season, the fourteen-acre organic farm accepts around two dozen apprentices who work the land, plant the seeds and see the effort through to harvest — the result of which finds its way to the patrons of the Ferguson Farmers Market. The apprenticeship is more than just labor; it's a hands-on education with experienced farmers who will run you through a curriculum that's 12, years or so in the making.

By the end you'll learn the ropes of sustainable farming, and from there you can one of the more than gardens in the Gateway Greening Community Garden network www. Be part of a community that grows together. You might like it, and at the very least your sal will improve. Make Art Bob Ross spent a career softly shading clouds and adjusting the mood of his trees, and the guy had it right about art: "Talent is a pursued interest," he once said.

Feeling more like an upcycling Martha Stewart? Check out Perennial www.

Friends fun Saint Louis

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