The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
It’s hard making friends as an adult. After leaving the structured environments of school and young adulthood, you’re no longer surrounded by people your own age who you see day after day. And in Denver—a city that feels brimming with more transplants than natives—this can feel exacerbated, with many of us living states away from familiar faces or childhood best friends whom we can grab happy hour with, or check out the new art show on Santa Fe.
Enter Bumble BFF, a platonic friends-finding feature of the popular Bumble dating app—currently the second most-downloaded match-making app behind Tinder. Since the pandemic, Millennials and members of Gen Z have increasingly embraced internet dating apps as a way to find new friends, with 15 percent of Bumble’s 45 million global users having used Bumble’s BFF mode as of the end of 2021, according to CNBC. The premise is just like regular Bumble, which requires women to make the first move and message potential matches. Except on Bumble BFF, you swipe right if you think there’s friend potential. One of you has to make the first move within 24 hours, and the other person has to respond within the next 24 hours, or the match disappears forever.
The ultimate goal (as is with romantic dating) is to meet IRL. And though the criteria for a great Bumble BFF date overlaps with those of a romantic date, there are a few key differences. Just like a regular date, it’s always great to center the hang around an activity that can serve as an icebreaker and be the initial focus of the conversation. But the activities for Bumble BFF dates can be less, y’know, romantic. For an extra leg up, in January 2023, the most popular interest terms on Bumble BFF in Denver were “Foodie,” “Going out for drinks,” “Coffee,” and “Career-focused.”
The most important difference is that, many times, more than two people will join on Bumble BFF dates. It’s extremely common for everyone to bring other matches or friends to the date, so your activity should ideally be flexible to accommodate two to more people.
To take the stress out of picking the perfect friend date spots, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite places around the Front Range to suggest for that next BFF meetup.
Make a Candle and Explore Around Town
If you’re looking for a fun, approachable crafting experience, the team at the Weathered Wick hosts 60-minute candle-making classes for up to eight participants, where you’ll select from an assortment of candle vessels and mix together a unique scent. For anyone intimidated by anything crafty, the staff will be there every step of the way from melting the wax, adding scent, attaching the wick, and pouring the wax. With candle-making, there’s no pressure for anyone to be an artiste, and there’s enough time between instructions to chat and get to know each other. The candles require three hours to set after mixing, which gives you a breakpoint to gracefully exit, or to extend it by grabbing a drink and food at nearby Señor Bear or Postino. Weathered Wick reservations are highly recommended and can be made online ; $15 deposit per person, vessel fee ranges from $30–$55 (includes vessel, wick, wax, and fragrance); 3316 Tejon St. #106
Explore the Gardens
Ditch the stereotypical Denver date activity of going on a hike (and assumptions of folks’ fitness levels), and take a low-key a stroll through the York Street Denver Botanic Gardens, where you can enjoy year-round events such as orchid and flower showcases, yoga in the gardens, classes and workshops, and more. Wander the garden grounds with your (potential) besties, and make sure not to miss the Cactus and Succulent House, the Japanese garden, or the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory. If you need a break from ogling over exotic, interesting plants, stop at the Hive Garden Bistro for a coffee and snack, and enjoy a beautiful view of the Monet Pool with delicate lily pads and flowers floating in an inky-black pond. Timed entry tickets available online; tickets are $15 and free for members; 1007 York St.
Spin and Snack
Nothing guarantees a great meet up like boosting everyone’s endorphin levels sky-high with a heart-pumping spin class choreographed to the beat of pop and EDM hits. So if you’re looking to find a new fitness class buddy, try a class at one of numerous spin studios around the city, such as High Ride Cycle. Although the loud music and dimmed lights doesn’t allow for much conversation, the experience will give you and your Bumble BFF date(s) plenty to chat about afterwards (Was it their first spin experience? Did they feel like it was a cult? Thoughts on the music choices? Or how impressive that instructor was?). Refuel with grub of your choice—High Ride Cycle’s Sloan’s Lake location is a convenient walking distance from Edgewater Public Market—to debrief after your lung-busting bonding sesh. Various locations
Board Game Night
Nearly a quarter of the Bumble BFF profiles seem to mention “my partner and I are looking for board game partners!” If that sounds like you, take your Bumble BFF date to PlayForge on Main Street in picturesque downtown Littleton. The shop has a variety of board games, puzzles, and toys, and you can reserve a table for up to 5 hours for only $5 per person. Staff are willing and excited to recommend everything from new games like Wing It, where you play as penguins saving the world, to the classic Catan (and its many expansion packs). Or, choose from one of the many available puzzles, and spend a chill, relaxed evening assembling an image of Galaxy Cats. The shop is within walking distance to local foodie favorites like Pho Real, Palenque Cocina Y Agaveria, and Viewhouse Littleton, so there’s always an option to extend the date for a pint and some bites. Playforge table reservations required and available online; tables are $5 per person for up to 5 hours; 2420 W Main St., Suite 100, Littleton
Relax with Yerba Mate and Empanadas
There are endless, delicious dining options across Denver for breaking bread with new friends, but what makes Maria Empanada particularly optimal for Bumble BFF dates? Its counter service and airy, brick interior has easy seating for two diners or large groups and on any given day, and they offer 18 different empanadas to serve even the pickiest of eaters. When it’s nice out, make sure to grab a spot at one of the bright, cheerful yellow tables at their South Broadway location’s garden patio. The founder, Lorena Cantarovici, came from Argentina to America with only $300 in her pockets and she stays true to her Argentine roots by offering other tast ytreats like alfajorcitos—a dessert featuring dulce de leche sandwiched between shortbread cookies—as well as authentic Yerba Mate service and other South American favorites. Various locations
Drink and DIY
For the advanced crafting buddies, visit Upstairs Circus which calls itself “Where DIY Workshop Meets Bar.” The great thing about crafting here is that your entire group doesn’t have to do the same project—instead everyone can individually choose, and upon arrival will be given supplies, tools, space, and a photo tutorial for their chosen project. This setup means there’s no instructor leading a class (however assistants will be available to answer any questions) allowing a perfect balance of space for conversation. Most projects can be completed in less than 1.5 hours; and you can opt to create anything from leather collars for your fur baby, jewelry, or even ombre fiber wall art. Sip something from the extensive drink menu to lubricate the social situation, or enjoy one of the several in-house mocktails, for anyone not fond of combining alcohol with pointy tools. Reservations required and available online; projects starting at $42 per person; 1500 Wynkoop St. Suite 100
Oenophile, but Unpretentious
If you’re looking for a new BFF to sit on the couch with and spill the tea over a bottle of wine, then might we suggest the Infinite Monkey Theorem for your Bumble BFF date? The women-owned-and-operated urban winery in RiNo offers 60 minute tours and tastings of their bottled, kegged, and canned wine in a proudly unpretentious space. Kick back with a glass and a small or large group in the winery’s cozy interior space or patio (which they cheekily call the “Decanter”).Or, scope out the busy weekly lineup of events and join for a comedy night, trivia, or even ASL happy hour. You and your soon-to-be friends don’t even have to feel guilty about buying up bottles of their Blind Watchmaker red or white blends, Bubble Universe sparkling wine, or Sauvignon Blanc, as they donate a portion of each bottle sale to a charity partner. Tour and tasting reservations required online in advance; 60 minute tour is $25 per person and includes a tasting of four wines; 3200 Larimer St.
Put a twist on the classic “Let’s grab a coffee” with “Let’s grab a coffee…and dessert.” Because the best dates (romantic and otherwise) involve ice cream. At Heaven Creamery their indulgent ice creams and gelatos are made with 70 percent less sugar than traditional ice cream by substituting agave, stevia, monk sugar, cane sugar, and honey in place of processed white sugar. Choose from dozens of fruit pops and ice cream flavors,including vegan coconut gelatos made with coconut milk, oat milk, or almond milk; or cure your cravings and chat over one of Heaven Creamery’s creative desserts such as sushi rolls (made with sweet rice and ice cream), banana splits, sweet and savory crepes, or a loaded waffles topped with everything from roasted peaches to Reese’s and more. Make sure to check out their rotating seasonal specialities: current and past favorites include Ferrero Rocher hot chocolate, mango sticky rice, and apple pie la mode. Various locations