By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage
I often meet people who have relocated to the Chicago area from more mountainous or forested terrain. A frequent complaint I hear is that there is nowhere to hike, bike or experience nature in Chicago other than the lakefront. Not so! You want forests, we got forests! You want hills, we got hills. You want mountains…OK, we don’t have mountains. But we have hills and steep terrain at Devils Lake and Starved Rock!
Then another problem arises. Many relocated folks do not know anyone that shares their love for activity in the great outdoors. Well, why not meet up with some new folks that share your enthusiasm and have the gear to experience the same sports and activities you like to participate in. Try hiking and outdoor activity meet ups!
What are Meetups?
From the Meetup website:
Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.
Meetup’s mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.
What Does Wiki Say About Meetups?
Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies. Users enter their ZIP code (or their city outside the United States) and the topic they want to meet about, and the website helps them arrange a place and time to meet. Topic listings are also available for users who only enter a location. Meetup.com was founded in 2001 by Scott Heiferman, Matt Meeker and Peter Kamali.
Cool Chicago Area Meetups That Center Around Outdoor Activities
For a view of several different Chicago area Hiking Meetup Group click here. You will find a number of meetups that have hiking involved..
For Chicago Outdoors, Hiking Social meet up, click here.
This group has about 1467 group members. Their page says: e strive for adventures, fun, and friendships. This group is for people who enjoy hiking, being outdoors and meeting new people. We feature hikes for all skill levels, canoeing, camping, biking, social gatherings and other outdoor activities. These events are a great way to get out, meet people, and smell some fresh air. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to contact the Organizer or post them on “ideas for meetup” on the calendar page. Most of the activities are pretty tame, but any participation in this group is at your own risk. If you want to meet fun and adventurous people, this group is for you. They are also looking for Event organizers and hike hosts. Contact the group organizers for info on how you can participate!
Membership Fee/Donations: There are no membership dues to be part of this group. For prepay events, we will sometimes add up to three dollars, normally 1 to 2, to the payment to help out with the Meetup.com monthly fees. For other events, example hikes, we suggest a 1 or 2 dollar donation at the start of the event. This is totally voluntary. No records will be kept for who donates and who doesn’t.
To get info on the Windy City Hiking meet up, click here.
Windy City Hikers is an outdoors group active in the Chicagoland area with about 2710 members so there are plenty of new people to meet and hike with!
Info on Windy City Hikers: In March of 2005, Windy City Hikers began as a couple of friends getting together for a hike. Since that time it’s grown via free and easy advertising on Craigslist, the launch of their web site in September and the fervor and enthusiasm of the hikers! Windy City Hikers is an informal, outdoors group active in the Chicagoland area. They have no membership dues. The group’s goal is to bring people together with common interests in the outdoors to enjoy activities in an environmentally responsible manner. They are all about getting outside; hiking, camping, canoeing…but say “let’s face it hiking is cheap and easy!”
Windy City Hiker outings are a combination of outdoor appreciation and coffee-house conversation all while hiking along the trail. It’s a fun and easy-going atmosphere that’s perfect for meeting new people and relaxing away from work. Currently our hikers range in age from their 20’s to their 60’s, with the majority of the group falling between 25 and 45 years old. The majority of our hikes are within a 2 hour drive from Chicago and range from 4 to 10 miles or so in length. In good weather and average Illinois hiking conditions (flat!) we tend to move at about a 2.5 – 3 mph pace. Fast enough to work up a sweat but slow enough to enjoy a good conversation! During the camping season we also head further afield for some great weekend camping trips.
For info on the Suburban Outdoor Activity group click here.
This 623-member Meetup group was created to connect like-minded adventurous people to get together for adventurous and social outdoor activities. Group members come from all walks of life, but all share the desire to do something different every once in a while. What group members do will vary from week to week, but a large focus will be on day hiking trips, and include rafting, cycling, horseback riding, skiing, weekend trips and whatever else comes up depending on the season and the interests. So if you have something in mind that you’ve always wanted to try, please suggest it! Group activities will include ALL fitness level to ACCOMMODATE all members of the group, and most of the time no special skills but a positive attitude and a desire to have a fun adventure outdoors. The group will try to keep the activities on a budget and will get the group discounts whenever possible. While they don’t provide transportation, they’ll try their best to coordinate drivers with folks that need a ride. Follow them on Facebook at S.O.S.A.G
Looking for other meetup groups, check out all the meetups in your area at Meetup.com. Other meetup website here:
- Meetup Perks Helps Local Groups Find Local Sponsors (techcrunch.com)
- Announcing Meetup Perks! (meetupblog.meetup.com)
- Meet Us in Toronto and Chicago (zendesk.com)
- Meetup.com: It’s All In Who You Know (joelcomm.com)
- Get Involved in Local Marketing Meetups (cash-bandit.com)