Valley has plenty of options on the social scene

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comMay 22, 2011 

Here I am. Now, entertain me.

That wasn’t exactly my attitude upon moving to Columbus nearly five years ago, but I did secretly hope to come here and immediately find a line of friends begging to fill my social calendar.

It didn’t happen. I did, however, receive a Grateful Dead ticket stub as a “welcome to the neighborhood” present. That’s another story for another time.

Anyway, I was lucky to have a job that immersed me in the local social scene. My assignments highlighted entertainment options for 20- and 30-somethings that extended beyond the bar scene. Here are some of the things that stuck with me most.

Social groups

So you haven’t yet found a group of local comrades. Don’t worry. Friends won’t magically appear on your doorstep, but local social groups make it relatively easy to connect with people who have similar interests. Try these starting points:

The Young Professionals combine social activities with networking, volunteering and more. Members are 21 to 40 years old. Call 706-327-1566 for details.

The Columbus Museum attracts a similar set of young professionals with its Columbus Contemporaries group. The Contemporaries host a variety of social events throughout the year. Call 706-748-2563, ext. 542, for more information.

Sports

Life in Columbus has turned me into a real athlete -- that is, someone who uses her gym membership more than once a year. Don’t be fooled by the abundance of fried food. There’s a strong athletic community here, and all skill levels are welcome.

In addition to the abundance of local gyms, running stores like Below The Knee (6770 Veterans Parkway) and Big Dog Running Company (1104 Broadway) host running groups. Visit the Columbus Roadrunners’ website (columbusroadrunners.com) for a calendar of Columbus-area races.

In addition, Columbus offers a growing variety of sports leagues for adults. Among the options? GOkickball, a 21-and-older kickball program (gokickball.com). You can also try your luck on a Columbus Adult Soccer Association Team (casasoccer.com).

Pets

When I adopted a dog a month after moving to Columbus, I envisioned meeting tons of potential friends on my daily dog walks. Little did I know that I’d adopted a dog with some serious social rage issues.

Nonetheless, there’s a strong community of animal lovers here, and exploring local pet destinations is a great way to get in touch with our area. Start by taking a road trip to Kiesel Park, 520 Chadwick Lane in Auburn. The park includes an off-leash dog area.

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