It happens all the time. You start out the week with pure intentions: Get your work done, Netflix, and chill. If you’re like most of us out here adulting, that’s what happens much of the time. The underside of productivity is that there can be so little time left to get out and live. But what about those Friday nights when you have more time and energy than you anticipated? When last minute events are so hard to find, it can be all too tempting to get back under the covers and binge watch Orange is the New Black. And while OITNB is definitely binge-worthy, what would you do if you had your pick of awesome local events? We’re here to help you find out. Whether you have cabin fever or your friend bailed last minute, leaving you all dressed up with nowhere to go, we’ve got you covered. Here are the ten best ways to find amazing last minute events!
1. Explore Event Apps
No event apps on your phone? No problem. It’s quick and easy to download any of the best mobile event apps at very little or no cost. We really like DoStuff, which is designed to help you find locally-curated events. Listing events for 20 of North America’s biggest cities, this app offers a wide variety of choices. The upside is obvious- more events equals more options, especially when we’re talking last minute. The potential downside is that you may have to view a lot of events to get to the perfect one for you, which can take a bit more extra time than you might like (especially if you’re a picky eventgoer). But since events are listed by category, that shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle. And all the events are chosen and posted by real local influencers, so the app has a pulse on the shared interests of people in your community.
Of course, Eventbrite and Meetup are other options that don’t require subscriptions- although they’re not without their shortcomings. We love that many Meetup events are organized spontaneously by local people who genuinely connect through shared interests. And if you’re already a part of a group on the Meetup app, you’ll constantly be in the loop of things to do. But if you go the Meetup route, keep in mind that the app can be on the disorganized side, and be specific about the type of event you search for. The same goes for Eventbrite, as there are lots of marketing events to sift through to find one that really suits your last minute fancy. Oh, and if you love seeing love music (who doesn’t?), Songkick is definitely worth checking out. Your self-proclaimed “go-to app for concerts”, Songkick actually allows you to import artist names from your favorite music libraries. This way, you can track your favorites and set up alerts to be instantly notified when your favorite artists are playing locally.
We’re super excited to remind you that we’ve recently developed our own unique event app called Plans. Like just about everyone else, we got tired of perusing cluttered feeds for events on Facebook and other social media pages. (We’ll get back to Facebook shortly, but for now let’s move forward). The information overload can be so exhausting, you hardly have the energy to attend an event once you find one! That’s why Plans is different- it’s about quality, not quantity. The events that populate your newsfeed are based on the shared interests of you and the friends you add. This way, you won’t waste precious time filtering out events that aren’t aligned with the things you love. Not only does Plans increase your chances of connecting with likeminded new people who share your hobbies and passions, but it’s perfect for finding last minute events in a pinch.
2. Submit Shamelessly to Your Fandom
No, but seriously. It goes without saying: Once you find your people, it’s much easier to find events you love (even at the last minute). We’re not just talking about your friends. Many times, the people who are closest to you are the most likely to be attending events you’d be interested in. But let’s face it- we’re all busy and inundated with information overload on the daily. There’s no guarantee that you and your friends are up to similar things on a Saturday night, or any other night, for that matter. Friends have their own separate lives that include careers, families, and plans.
So when you’re on your own, turn to the influencers and channels you follow. By following or subscribing, you can be instantly notified when an event you might like is created. Although you may be notified weeks or months in advance, the notifications will continue…and continue, right up until the very last minute. Yeah, it’s annoying as hell when it’s an event you couldn’t care less about- but you can always turn off notifications for it, right? Right. Usually, settings will allow you to stop receiving notifications about things that come up repeatedly and don’t catch your interest. And when you do like or subscribe to an event, you’ll be kept in the loop until it happens.
Whether you check in with your favorite local YouTuber’s account or peruse your fave Instagram influencer’s latest posts, you’re likely to find events. And they just may be events happening this weekend…at the very moment your Aunt Tilda called off the family potluck dinner (or whatever else left you in dire need of last minute plans).
Hey, when one door closes, another opens, right?
3. Use Social Media (Wisely)
We know, we know. We just lectured you on the pitfalls of scrolling through your cluttered, ad-heavy Facebook newsfeed for last minute events you’ll actually like. But there are smart ways to discerningly find events on social media- ones that don’t put you at risk of being distracted by your high school gym teacher’s latest foray into Crossfit. We suggest going in with a strategy. Decide beforehand on the type of event you want to attend. You don’t have to get super specific- just be general (i.e., “live music”, “football games”, or even “festivals happening near me”).
With Facebook, you’ll want to cut straight to the chase. Just go to the left side bar, and click on the “Explore” section. Beneath “Explore”, you’ll find “Events”. Once you arrive at the Events page, you’ll see long lists of events happening in your area. These are varied- they may include festivals, concerts, dance or cooking classes, brunches, food truck exhibits, and anything else you might be able to think of. The plus side: variety. If you’re in the mood to go out and explore your city, but aren’t sure what you want to do, you’ll have a lot to choose from. Facebook events aren’t personalized based on your shared interests, but you can search events by date and interest. So if you’re hoping to catch a last minute show or sports game, Facebook will show you any event under that category for the date you select. This makes it hard to miss a last minute event, and easy to find one.
Usually, there are popular hashtags associated with specific types of events. Some of these may even be unique to your location. They may even contain the name of a nearby city, town, or venue. But many times, influencers and people hosting events start posting about them weeks to months before they actually happen. So can be worth your while to check your favorite pages and see what everyone is up to during the time you have free. After all, word of mouth is still the most powerful way to hype an event; digital promotions just work in creative ways to spread it.
Oh, and if you haven’t already, it helps to interlink all your social media pages. This way, you don’t miss out on any events…and there are more to choose from at the last minute.
4. Be a Local Tourist
This may sound like an old-fashioned idea in a digital world, but it’s a fresh change from perusing social media. And it will likely open doors to events you may not even have discovered online. Check out your local library or tourist center, and find out what’s on their daily agenda. Most communities have a seasonal calendar on their website, listing a range of family events, farmer’s markets, festivals, fairs, concerts, sports events, charity and volunteer events.
In San Francisco, there are several tour buses, including the Big Bus. Although you may think they’re just for visitors exploring the iconic city, there are several routes that explore “hidden gems”- intriguing spots even locals may not have discovered in the bustle of their busy lives. There are also many guided tours to take. Many guided tours and hikes around the city allow guests to arrive fifteen minutes before they start and pay on the spot. Sometimes taking a new route around an iconic city helps you see it through a new, historic lens. There’s even a really cool regular event called Street Art Tour San Francisco. The event showcases the street colorful murals that add color and character to the city streets.
Tourist events offer new ways to see and explore your city. Even city dwellers can fall into a rut- how often do you hear New Yorkers complain that there’s nothing new to do? The truth is that even if much smaller cities, there’s almost always something new to do. (And if you live in a small town, your closest city is probably buzzing with more fresh activities and projects than you might think). So yeah…one way to expand your horizons without going far from home is to check out the events at your local library or tourist center.
And you don’t have to live in a big city to find new ways to enjoy it- even at the last minute. All you have to do is be aware of current events in your town or the nearest city. A simple visit to your city or town hall’s website should list plenty of upcoming events, some of them happening right around the corner.
5. Check out AIRBNB Experiences
Speaking of tourism, did you know that AIRBNB is not just a resource for finding homes to stay in while traveling? The AIRBNB website now features an “Experiences” section where locals advertise new events. You can find all kinds of new experiences, tours, or even classes and workshops happening in your neighborhood right now. If you do find an event you like, you can click on the link to its website and find out about other events being hosted by the same or similar groups.
We hope you enjoyed our expert guide to finding events on the internet, as well as our out-of-the-box (and offline) suggestions. Now get out there and explore your city the way it was meant to be explored- at the last minute! A little joie de vivre never hurt anyone. Happy event hunting!