Finding Community & Beauty in a Ghost Town

Around 200 years ago thousands of people migrated to New Mexico and other western lands in search of gold, silver, copper, and turquoise.

Hundreds of towns sprang up to accommodate the rapid migration, many of which were later abandoned with as much haste.

These deserted settlements, now “Ghost Towns,” bear structures that serve as eerie and beautiful monuments to the American dream.

Ghost Towns of New Mexico

The Photographic Exploration of Ghost Towns of New Mexico Meetup brings folks with a sense of adventure and interest in history on trips to check out the remains of these towns.

Whether your interest is in exploration, local history, or photography, this Meetup delivers. Organizer Joshua started the Meetup in November 2015, and together they’ve already uncovered many local treasures, including the abandoned silver mines of Lake Valley, an endangered historic tavern, and crumbling buildings marred by roaming bison.



But why drive hours out of your way to see old foundations and rusted metal?

Joshua put it best:

“…wordly travelers spend much money and time gazing at ancient stone ruins in Europe, South America, Central America, and Asia. Though New Mexico has been settled for hundreds of years, what remains of the abandoned settlements and mining towns is our ‘Machu Picchu’. That is the reason I wanted to form such a Meetup. Developing a photographic history of what NM has left before they crumble away. I feel there is just as much history and beauty in an old rusting car or an old Post office as is of a pile of stones that fell off a Greek gathering place.”

Wherever you live, you can find beauty and meaning in your local history. Why not explore it with cameras and friends?

Carpe Diem in the Windy City

We all have one — that long bucket list of things we’d love to do but just haven’t seemed to have the chance to do yet.  What’s on yours? Skydiving? Going on that cross-country road trip you’ve always dreamed of? Seeing the Northern Lights?

One of the biggest obstacles might be that you haven’t found the right people to take these plunges with.  Enter the Chicago Bucket List Meetup.

Founded over five years ago in the Windy City, this inclusive and active Meetup has endless amounts of wacky adventure. “Our group is diverse but we all have something in common – we love to have fun!”

Ready to go dragon boat racing? Uh, yes. Check.

dragon boat racing

What about joining in on a poetry slam? Check.

Demolition derby? Check.

demolition derby

Mountain bike through the Rockies? Check.

mountain biking

Pushing yourself to try new experiences gives you not only the chance to check some activities off the ole bucket list (with some great adrenaline rushes!), but also the ability to find that *something more* that you’ve been craving — a deeper exploration of you.  And maybe, just maybe, you’ll add some new friends along the way.  

Trash to Treasure

It’s April, and you know what that means — time for spring cleaning! We’ll sort through our clothes, we’ll purge our garages, we’ll clear out our junk drawers. But to do with all that stuff?

What if, instead of disposing of everything, we give it new life? What if we “upcycle”and turn that trash into treasure?

Well, guess what….there are Meetups for that.


The Meetup Upcycling Community is a vibrant collection of thrifty doers who use creativity and collaboration to transform that unwanted stuff into magical creations.

Take The Upcyclers – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Meetup. They transform everyday items into masterpieces of creativity.

And then we have the Gateway Arts District UpcycleJunkies Meetup. Run by organizer Senior Dumpster Diva, they pool together their discarded objects, help inspire each other, and share DIY techniques.

They create mosaics from mirrors, flower pots, frames. They turn broken costume jewelry into bouquets. They meet to create vision boards, spark ideas, and share supplies.

They also drink wine, share snacks, and gab. Now, those are definitely Meetups to treasure.

Going Green with the H2O Trash Patrol Meetup

Every single being walking the earth is unique. Even identical twins, who share 100% of their DNA, have marked differences brought about by environmental factors. That’s 7 billion individuals, each carrying around a combination of traits that belong to them and only them.

Among all of this difference, there’s one inescapable thing that joins us together, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future  — that we all inhabit planet earth.

Most, if not all, can agree on the fact that our home planet desperately needs a giant hug. As Earth Day approaches, we wanted to shed light on an amazing Meetup group that humbly give our planet some much-needed love.

The H2O Trash Patrol: Paddleboarding/Surfing/Water Cleanup in Encenitas, California gets together twice a month to remove debris from local bodies of water — while stand up paddleboarding!

h20 trash patrol 2

This wonderful Meetup comes together to clean the planet. They not only remove garbage from our lakes and oceans, but they also work hard to educate others and bring awareness to their cause. Even better – they do this on a regular basis, meeting up every other Saturday to clean a different waterway. Keeping the earth habitable for future generations is an ongoing effort, and this Meetup sets a great example, all while turning clean-up into an exhilarating, fresh-air, fun activity.

Let’s all take a cue from the H20 Trash Patrol, and our earth will breathe a sigh of relief. Cheers to you, H20 Trash Patrol, for keeping a loving eye on our planet, and all those who inhabit it.


Stretch & Move Your Way to Laughter

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine and that yoga is 99 percent practice, only one percent theory. Putting the two together — in a rousing session of Laughter Yoga — is an enriching way to thaw out from the cold of winter and step into the sunshine of spring. A splendid way to treat yourself: both mind and body, with a hearty side of giggles.

Laughter Yoga Club Manchester prides itself on keeping each and every Meetup simple and playful. All you have to do is show up and laugh. There’s no pressure to dazzle others with jokes, force a smile, or even show up in a good mood. The beauty is showing up exactly as you are and relaxing into the moment.


Mustering up the courage to attend any sort of fitness related Meetup can be a little intimidating. There can often be a little bit of hesitation when stepping into a new class or workshop, asking yourself: Will I know the right moves? What will the instructor be like? Will I stick out as the “new person”? The good news is this: that’s normal! Almost everyone feels those unsure feelings about being new.

The important part is to step directly through that hesitation to find what’s on the other side. More often than not, there’s a group of people waiting with open arms.


The best Meetups are run by dedicated individuals like Maria, organizer of Laughter Yoga Club Manchester, who create a safe and welcoming environment for each and every member.

Members reveal the sort of lighthearted transformation that takes place at each Meetup. Member Tasha commented, “My soul was cleansed!” on a recent Meetup. George also wrote about the sort of community that he’s discovered: “You get a real sense of the positive values of laughing yoga, which mean you leave feeling relaxed, enriched and above all, happy! Strongly recommend.”

If you’re still unsure, that’s okay. Take a leap of faith and treat yourself to a heart-lifting, body-moving adventure. Find a local yoga Meetup — laughter or otherwise — near you.

Spring Blooms in DC’s Historical District

Spring has officially arrived, and with it comes sunnier days, warmer weather, and plans of weekend getaways.

For residents in Washington, DC, spring also signals the arrival of one of the city’s most iconic sights– the famous cherry blossoms. Since 1912, when the mayor of Tokyo gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC, the trees have symbolized the enduring friendship between Japan and the US.

peak bloom

In DC, the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival is a huge event, with crowds rivaling those of NYC’s Times Square. The blossoms are only considered to be at full bloom for a 5 to 6 day period, and at “peak bloom” only for a single day, making the sight all the more special.

The Washington, DC History & Culture Meetup, a Meetup centered around exploring the rich culture of the DC area that boasts 3,474 members, recently took advantage of this spring spectacle with a Cherry Blossom Friday Night “Peak Bloom” Walk. Seventy-one “Washingtonians” met up to take the nearly 3 mile walk around DC’s Tidal Basin, the focal point of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, passing historical sites like the Jefferson Memorial and MLK, Jr. Memorial along the way.

peak bloom 2

This is the second year that Organizer Robert Kelleman has taken the group on this walk. Attendee Jimisha, a DC resident for over four years, but first time cherry-blossom viewer, said it did not disappoint. Others cited the breathtaking beauty of the flowers too, as well as the amazing company of their fellow Meetupers.

Whether you live in the DC area and are able to catch the blooms before they disappear or not, the Washington, DC History & Culture Meetup’s Cherry Blossom Walk is a great reminder for us all to get out and smell the flowers!

‘Give First’ in New Tech Seattle

With nearly 10,000 members, New Tech Seattle is currently the largest tech-focused Meetup in the Pacific Northwest and has become a cornerstone of the tech community for the region. New Tech Northwest, which is comprised of Meetups in Seattle, Eastside, Tacoma, Portland, as well as a newsletter, has over 21,000 members in total.

New Tech Seattle prides itself on its ‘give first’ attitude, where each member hopes to contribute to the community before expecting a return. Their 500+ attendees each month come together to create a one-stop social stop for tech professionals and fanatics.

We recently got to chat with Brett Greene, New Tech Seattle’s co-founder and current organizer. Greene co-founded New Tech Seattle with Red Russak in 2013.

Meetup: Can you tell us a little bit about New Tech Seattle’s ‘give first’ culture?

Greene: We believe in building relationships at our events rather than looking for business transactions. This means that a new person at an event feels like a new neighbor at the neighborhood bar-b-que. We learn what you’re interested in and try to help you move forward with your tech career, company or life. It’s a much more fun and fulfilling way to live and network.

The members of our community take ownership in creating a culture where we care about others before taking actions to get what we want. That’s giving first.

M: What are some examples of your proudest moments with the Meetup?

G: There are many small proud moments that add up like people in the community getting jobs, finding co-founders, starting events like Here Seattle and Puget Sound Programming Python, and other ways they take action based on making connections and being inspired at our events.

My proudest moment was being invited to participate at the Tech Meetup at The White House. That was totally unexpected and allowed us to share our experiences, learn from others and be recognized as a Meetup making a difference.

white house new tech

M: Can you share examples of current community outreach initiatives?

G: Outside of the events, we’re doing two really cool things. The first is that we’re building ongoing partnerships with Union Gospel Mission sending Search and Rescue vans of tech leaders, organizers, employers and techies from our community out to help our homeless friends. There are additional initiatives we’ll be rolling out to expand on these efforts. The second way we’re giving back to the greater community is working with SeattleWorks to connect individuals and tech companies in our community with hundreds of volunteer opportunities across Seattle.

Last year, our community raised over $4,000 for STEM education for underserved minorities and women as part of the Geeks Give Back campaign. Those funds were matched by a local investor before going to the state of Washington where they were again matched. This resulted in contributing over $12,000 to scholarships for kids who need the support.

M: Can you give us a snapshot of what is coming up for New Tech Seattle?

G: We’re very excited about our 4th annual special event with the University of Washington happening in April. This is our biggest event every year because we partner with UW and hold New Tech Seattle on campus. The New Tech Seattle regular community mixes with computer science and engineering students.

This year may be bigger than the previous largest crowd of 1,000 people. A past highlight was one of the past presenters selling his company to eBay months after presenting at this event. It’s a fantastic time and expands our community further. The more diverse our community is, the richer the experiences are for everyone.

new tech seattle 2

Their Meetups happen on the 2nd Tuesday (Seattle), 2nd Thursday (Tacoma), 3rd Monday (Portland), and 3rd Tuesday (Eastside – Bellevue, Redmond & Kirkland) of every month.

Nashville Hiking Meetup

This February, the Nashville Hiking Meetup, accomplished a mammoth achievement: their 3,000th Meetup! How’d they do it? Organizer Kelly Stewart says, “Just like running a company, you have to create fantastic products–or events in our case, build a loyal leadership team, and focus on customer service.” The Meetup has been going strong for ten years and currently boasts a hefty membership list at 10,599 and counting.

Browsing through the photos and reading about some of the Meetups they’ve got planned, it’s apparent that they deliver a mixture of warm company, snacks, adorable dogs, serene trails, and lots of laughs. It’s obvious that members love to take in everything that nature has to offer. But in addition to soaking up the good stuff, this Meetup knows the importance of giving back.

(c/o Mike Hicks)

(c/o Mike Hicks)

Through frequent ‘Tails of the Trail’ Meetups, members donate their time by walking shelter dogs on long hikes, in an effort to socialize them and provide them with valuable exercise. The main objective here (other than enjoying the adorable company of the furry friends) is to help reduce the stress and unease that these dogs incur through long periods of living in shelter kennels. Providing these dogs with the opportunity to stretch their legs also stretches their life spans. The end result: euthanasia rates among these animal shelters decrease as a result of happier, healthier dogs.

Connection with the earth and some of its cutest creatures lays the foundation for the desirable “product” that this Meetup’s members seek time and time again. The next time you’re in Tennessee, try the Nashville Hiking Meetup on for size.

Photography Meetups: A Snapshot

Here at Meetup, we are constantly working to build new features and improve existing ones to better serve our diverse community. Some Meetups make frequent use of onsite messaging, while others prefer to share ideas in message boards. One of the best parts of working at Meetup is getting to see all of the unique ways Meetup groups make the platform work for them.

Recently, we spent some time digging into how Meetups in the Photography category make the most of our platform. Photography Meetup groups are notoriously good at keeping their members engaged both offline and online, so there’s a ton to learn from them no matter what the scope of your Meetup may be!


Photo Contests

Tokyo Visionary Photographers Meetup

(c/o george p., Tokyo Visionary Photographers Meetup)

It should come as no surprise that Photography Meetup groups love our photo tools. They create tons of photo albums documenting Meetup events and projects that members are working on together. But they don’t stop there – they use photo albums to host photo contests. While each Meetup group has their own style of contest, one thing remains the same: the interactive and (friendly!) competition of photo contests are super effective at keeping members engaged.



Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 5.58.27 PM

(c/o Houston Photowalks Meetup)

Photography Meetups are built around creating and sharing images, but that doesn’t mean that members shy away from the written word! In between Meetup events, members of photography Meetups stay connected by commenting on photos and events to share tips, thoughts, critiques, or just to chat. This is an awesome way to keep the community alive and to keep connections between members strong.


Photos of Meetups

The New York City Digital Photography Meetup

(c/o lynman91, The New York City Digital Photography Meetup)

You don’t have to be a member of a photography Meetup group to take photos! One of the biggest reasons that members don’t come out to Meetups is because they just don’t know quite what to expect! Meeting up can be nerve-wracking at first, and using photos to give new members a super clear idea about what they can expect is an awesome way to ease those first-time jitters. Not only do Photography Meetups share photos from projects and shoots, they’re also great about snapping shots of the Meetups themselves. Seeing an album full of smiling faces is sure to make any newcomer feel welcome.


Varied Meetups

Sonoma County Photography Meetup

(c/o Sonoma County Photography Meetup)

From photo walks that allow members to rediscover their city, to studio sessions and workshops where amateur photogs can step up their game, and even the occasional happy hour, photography Meetups know that hosting a variety of Meetups keeps members coming back for more. Meetup fatigue is common when there’s only one type of gathering repeated ad infinitum. By playing with venues and activities, members are more likely to feel that each Meetup will be a unique experience not to be missed.

So whether you’re long-time organizer or you’ve just started your first Meetup group, there’s a ton to be learned from Photography Meetups on how to keep members engaged and excited. Have some more tips of your own you want to share? Let us know! We’d love to chat 🙂

Political Meetups

As a platform that specializes in grassroots organizing, Meetup is a natural fit for political campaign supporters.

Every election season sees new Meetups popping up all over the country (and world) for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.


Photo from The Democratic Socialists of America Meetup

Some Meetup veterans may remember back in 2004, when people around the country self-organized through Meetup to help Howard Dean’s campaign grow as the first presidential candidate to mobilize through a major internet presence.

Dean’s rise from a small-state governor to a serious contender for the Democratic candidacy showed how powerful individual supporters can be when they gather face to face to support their candidate.

During a primary season especially dominated by interest groups and super PACs, it can be easy to feel individual voices aren’t being heard.

Campaign supporter Meetups are helping individuals to launch local communities that amplify their message and build momentum for the candidates they feel represent them the best.

Here are some ways a local campaign supporter Meetup can mobilize behind their candidates:

  • Debate and caucus/primary watch parties: Gather at a bar or a home to watch results roll in or discuss the debates
  • Canvassing: Partner with your local campaign office or make your own flyers, then hit the streets
  • Fundraisers: Host a bake sale or plan a lavish gala — whatever it takes to raise funds for your team
  • Rally!: Make posters and bring your community to a local rally or travel to a major convention to make an impact

Find a Meetup for a movement or campaign that means something to you and your community, or start your own.

In the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”