Finding Local Events

Finding local events

No matter where you live there are interesting people doing interesting things in interesting venues. There was a period in my life when I accepted this and let it be. Then there was Facebook. As a high schooler, my friends and I would find parties and events on Facebook that we weren’t explicitly invited to, but that weren’t specifically unwelcoming to us. We walked in on a ton of interesting situations with people we didn’t, or only marginally, knew. We hung out with graduate students, Russian techno heads, suburban white kids, and people about to go off to war.

Since then I’ve taken it upon myself to use Facebook Events to find events that will open my mind, provide me with free food, and meet interesting people.

I’ve learned to roll wontons with the Johns Hopkins Asian Student Union, gone to a “beach” party in a house filled with sand. I ate plates from 60 fine dining restaurants for $25. I’ve gotten excessive amounts of free drinks and food. I’ve made friends with engineers, eaten as many Shake Shack burgers as is physically possible, and watched someone put their hand through a wall in anger after a disappointing sporting event.

All this I heard about on Facebook. Whether through friends or the public at large, there are events happening every day on Facebook.

The methods have changed a bit over the years. The level of detail with which you can search Facebook’s event database has gotten more robust. Here’s how you can find relevant events on Facebook.

You need a Facebook account to take full advantage of this feature, but some of it may be available to the public. The main dashboard to refer to is This has the full spectrum of events going on associated with your account. It’s primary functionality is to show the events to which you’ve been invited. As far as I can tell there are a few main aspects of Facebook’s events features:

Events near you

Learning to manipulate this url can make adjusting your searches for events easier.

Events near any particular place

This is where the magic happens. You see all public Facebook events happening in any given place at any given time. If you’re traveling or free on a particular date, you can drill down your search to accommodate you needs.


Facebook forces all events to fall into one of the following categories:

Food · Drinks
Sports · Fitness
Fine Art · Crafts
Film · Photography
Performing Arts

This allows you to sort out the type of event you’re looking for in both the time and place you’re interested. 

Secret additional parameters
Other searches not included in the Events functionality can also be helpful. For instance, if you want an event with “Free” in the title you can search within Facebook “events near me called ‘free’”. You’ll have to play around to get the correct search language as Facebook is finicky about that.

Other useful Facebook searches
“Local events hosted by my friends that are upcoming”- See what your friends hosting.
“Local events my friends are attending that are upcoming” – See what your friends are attending.
“Events near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania attended by my friends that are upcoming”- See local events in other places your friends are attending.
“Popular with Friends Near Copesville, PA”- See popular events your friends have shown interest in.

My go-to search is to dig through Food and Drink events on upcoming weekends near me. This oftentimes reveals the major events in the big cities near me and smaller events that I wouldn’t have found out about otherwise. I mark myself as “Interested” in all the events I want to attend and review my selections as I plan my schedule.

Other sites to search
Find your local events site. In Philly, the go-to is A simple Google search will help you find a good site to crawl for events. has a good listing of events. Bonus points if you can grab “Elite” status and get invites to special events around the country. Here’s an example:

Before you ever pay for a ticket at an event make sure you search the web for promo codes. For instance, Groupon offers$10 off for any new account purchase. I saved $15 at a Wine and Cheese festival by finding a code with Amtrak. Search the event name (e.g. “Philadelphia WIne and Cheese Festival”) on Google + “promo code”.

You can broaden your results by utilizing Google’s Search Tools time range function on Google Search. Search something like: “reception” “philadelphia” -$11..100 -ohio -oh for results only in the past week. Some interesting things pop up that you won’t find otherwise.

Good luck and happy event-finding!