Friendships help us develop and grow. They combat loneliness and help make the world a bit brighter, especially as we get older. In fact, research has shown that adult friendships are just as valuable as the relationships we had as children.
But, sometimes, between family, work, and life in general, it can be difficult to find time to spend with our peers. When we get the opportunity, it’s often tough to figure out what to do. If you’ve come to Let’s Roam searching for ideas, you’re in luck! It just so happens we have a list of the very best bonding activities for friends.
15 Bonding Activities for Friends
Luckily, it doesn’t take a huge amount of time to keep healthy relationships going. Even better, in a mere hour or two, there are some really interactive and exciting things we can do with our friends that will help strengthen our bonds. Rather than thinking of getting together as a time to simply hang out, think of these times as an opportunity for emotional and personal teamwork.
Below, you’ll find a list of great bonding activities for friends. Since they’re designed to promote team bonding, and employee engagement, and strengthen communication skills, we’ve taken inspiration from some of the best team-building activities. We’ve then combined them with our love for travel and adventure to bring you a list unlike any other. Although this is written for adults, many of these activities can be easily adapted for kiddos of all ages.
1. Go on one of our fun-filled scavenger hunts!
Another fantastic way to bond with friends is to do a fun-filled scavenger hunt. Full of interesting trivia questions and fun challenges, these can help you learn a lot about a place and have a great time doing it! Full of the hidden gems and the top attractions in a place, you can try one of our scavenger hunts whether you’re brand new in town or if you have lived there for twenty years. No matter how long you’ve been there, we promise you’ll learn something new along the way!
2. Head out on a bar crawl.
Bar crawls aren’t just for college students and 20-somethings anymore! Our wild and wacky bar crawls will take your group to some of the best bars in a city as you solve trivia and complete zany challenges along the way. Bar crawls are a fun way to let your hair down a bit with some of your nearest and dearest as you battle it out for the ultimate award—the honor of being the bar crawl champion!
3. Channel your inner culture vulture on an art walk.
Street art has exploded all around the world with many cities boasting beautiful murals. Our curated, app-based art walks will take you behind the scenes of spectacular murals in cities around the world. As you walk by these works of art, you’ll learn more about the meaning of them and the artists behind them. You can also learn a lot about the history of a city and the issues the local residents are passionate about. This is the perfect combination of art, history, and culture to give you a multifaceted look at a destination.
4. Get spooky during a ghost hunt!
From New York City to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, our country is loaded with spooky ghost stories that can send a chill down the spine of even the most hardened skeptic. From tales of star-crossed lovers who are dying to be together in the afterlife to stories of murderous men who continue to haunt their former homes, ghost stories combine history, romance, tragedy, and much more.
Since there’s nothing that brings people together than a good old-fashioned ghost hunt, why not use this as an opportunity to bond with your friends? While there are plenty of guided ghost walks across the country, our app-based ghost hunts give you the opportunity to move at your own pace, stopping along the way as often as you please.
As you learn more about the friendly and not-so-friendly streets that are said to roam the streets and buildings around you, you’ll also learn which of your friends are ‘fraidy cats and which will lead the way in a spirited chase between the living and the dead. There’s not much that can build trust like putting yourselves into precarious positions together!
5. Scratch the surface of Adventures from Scratch: Friends Edition.
Grab your friends and get ready for an adventure! Let’s Roam has created a series of fun-filled books where you get a chance to choose your own adventure from 50+ different options. The catch is that you won’t know what you’re doing until you scratch off the activity!
Think of it like a book of 50+ lottery tickets—but even better—because every page is a winner! Expertly designed to promote bonding between friends, families, and couples, the activities you’ll find within Adventures From Scratch books are perfect for people of all ages.
6. Travel together!
Here at Let’s Roam, we take every opportunity to travel whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended adventure. So it probably comes as no surprise that this has made the list! Traveling with friends can be a great bonding experience. Even better is if you’re traveling in a different country where you have to work together to navigate through confusing streets, and likely, a foreign language.
As you make your way from place to place, you will learn more about one another’s skill sets, how they adapt to change, and how they handle stress under pressure. It can also bring about a major sense of achievement when you have successfully made it through a confusing immigration process, figured out how to take a subway in a new city, or even piece together a full sentence in a brand new language.
Even when times can get a little tough, you can always sit back at the end of the day with a hot cup of tea or an ice-cold beer and rehash the events of the day. This is a good way to make even the toughest parts of the day feel better or easier. This will give you the boost you need to keep going day after day even if you feel way out of your comfort zone.
If you’d love to travel with friends but are a bit hesitant about it, check out our list of “Tips for Traveling with Friends.” This has been written by one of our very own travel experts who has traveled around the world with old friends and new ones!
7. Go camping or hiking.
Being out in the Great Outdoors is a wonderful way to relieve stress, clear your mind, and bond with both yourself and your friends. While we know that sounds a little corny, research has proven time and time again how being in nature can help us build strong relationships with one another, allow us to feel a stronger connection to the earth under our feet, and focus on our own personal development. During a camping trip or hiking trip, you not only get to learn what you are capable of but also what your friends are able to achieve.
If you haven’t had a huge amount of experience camping or hiking, try to start off easy at first. For example, you could do a three-mile hike along a relatively easy trail. Slowly build up your distance and difficulty as you go. If you’re hoping to hike together on a routine basis, try to have a rough idea in mind as to how you’ll continuously challenge yourselves.
The same goes for camping. Start off by spending a night or two at a drive-in campsite and see how it goes. You can then either increase the amount of time you spend camping or go a little more off-grid each time. Work together to prepare meals and pack and unpack your campsite. This helps promote problem-solving, creative thinking, and teamwork, and it just so happens to be a lot more fun when you tackle these tasks together!
8. Take a cooking class.
Classes are a fun way to create opportunities for team building and bonding while learning a new, and pretty useful, skill! They are usually also designed to accommodate large groups which can make them one of the best bonding activities for groups of friends.
There are a ton of different cooking classes out there ranging from low-key experiences where you learn to cook a few simple dishes all the way to upscale affairs where you learn from master chefs. The type of cooking class that you choose largely depends on the experience that you want to have together. Make sure that you shop around a bit before choosing one to ensure that the cooking class is the right one for you.
9. Learn a new skill with each other.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to knit, line dance, ski, speak Spanish, etc.? Learning a new skill is always a fun challenge, but it’s even better when you’re doing it with friends! Learning a new skill together can help you rediscover one another’s skills and aptitudes. It can also help promote team building by giving you the opportunity to work together to achieve something great.
One of the most important things here is making sure that you’re learning something you are both interested in. This will help keep everyone engaged in the new skill, increasing the chances of long-term bonding. Best of all, when you and your friends become better at this new-found skill, you can do the new activity together and continue to learn from one another.
10. Run a marathon.
Running a street race like a marathon is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. However, it can be an amazing bonding experience for active people who want to build up their physical fitness. Not only do you have an accountability partner who can help you make sure that you stay consistent which will greatly increase your chances of being able to finish the race. This also gives you the chance to spend more time together as you complete your training runs together ahead of the big day.
If running a full marathon is definitely not on your to-do list, you can also join one of the many five or ten-kilometer runs happening across the country. This is a fun way to boost your fitness levels which will help increase your overall energy and mood. In turn, this boost in energy is likely to help you clear up even more time to spend with friends and family. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!
11. Put your voices to the test by singing a tune together!
Regardless of whether you sing like a songbird or sound a bit more like a rooster crowing, karaoke can be a fun bonding activity with friends. There are many different ways that you can do karaoke. You can either rent a private room at a karaoke bar where it’s just you and your group of friends. Otherwise, you can go to a karaoke night at a local bar or restaurant.
Keep in mind that karaoke is usually a better activity for smaller groups rather than large groups, especially if you have a few people who are a bit shy in the group. You may also want to become the de facto team leader by singing the first few songs when you go to help everyone feel more comfortable.
If you want to have a really fun night out with friends, you could even combine this with one of our awesome bar crawls or your own happy hour! A few drinks are sometimes all someone needs to get out of their comfort zone and start belting it out like Mariah Carey!
12. Organize your own happy hour.
For better or worse, happy hours are an amazing way to break the ice and promote camaraderie between a group of friends. Having a little liquid courage often gives people the confidence to say and do things that they would normally be too shy to do. As long as things don’t get out of hand, this is a fun way to bring people together.
When you’re organizing the happy hour, try to pick bars where you can easily hear one another, even if you’re sitting across the table from each other. If there’s a lot of loud music playing or a lot of background noise, it can make it very difficult for people to hear one another which greatly decreases the chance of them being able to bond.
If you love the idea of happy hour but can’t find a place suitable for it, why not have one at home? This is a good way to save money as everyone can bring their own drink and snack of choice. Best of all, it also allows you to include other friends who may not be able to make it in person. All you need is internet, a Zoom account, and a phone or a computer and people from far and wide can join!
13. Plan a fun game night get-together.
If you’re looking for a fun, low-cost activity that is guaranteed to help a small group of friends bond, a game night may be just the thing for you! Board games are an excellent way to foster bonding as team members work together to beat their opponents.
In order to make things a little more interesting, you can have everyone bring whatever classic games that they have at home. You can also have them bring a snack or dessert so that you can create your very own smorgasbord! Not only is this a fun way to spend time together on a budget but it can also bring out a sense of nostalgia that can bring old friends together again.
If you don’t have a lot of classic board games on hand, don’t worry. You can easily come up with some fun activities that you can do using nothing more than a whiteboard, markers, a piece of paper, and your imagination! From Pictionary to a DIY Wheel of Fortune, there are a lot of different games that you can play without needing much equipment. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, you can always do a Google search or organize a quick brainstorming session with a friend to come up with a list of games.
If your group of friends doesn’t already know each other very well, make sure to start off with a few icebreaker games or icebreaker questions. This will help people feel a little more comfortable around one another even if they’re miles out of their comfort zone. Don’t forget to set a time limit with these so you don’t end up spending the entire evening doing icebreakers.
Can’t get together? Make your game night a virtual event!
If you really want to bond with your friends but aren’t able to get everyone in the same place at the same time, you may want to simply plan an evening of virtual fun instead!
Let’s Roam offers Virtual Game Nights that will keep you guessing (and laughing) as you bond with your best pals. Game topics range from geography to pop culture. Decode emojis, play drawing games like Pictionary, and more. With our intuitive interface, you’ll find it easy to connect with friends near and far.
14. Create your own book club.
Book clubs have been a wonderful bonding activity for decades. This gives people the chance to discuss books that they feel passionate about, and it gives other people the opportunity to get a new perspective on something that they’ve read.
To get things started, it’s important to have one person act as a team leader who can help guide the conversation. Some books that are commonly included in book clubs will even have a set of questions and answers at the back of the book to help give inspiration to the person leading the book club conversation. If your book club is just starting, you may want to specifically choose books that have this included to make it easier to get the club off its feet.
15. Create a bucket list, or check off an item.
Back in 2007, a little film called The Bucket List took the world by storm. The true meaning of a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you… well… kick the bucket. But without getting dark and dreary, bucket lists have since been popular with everyone from kids to married couples. Basically, you set a deadline, create a list, and start checking off the items.
Who better to create a bucket list with than a friend? We’re sure you’ve had times when you’ve expressed to one another that you’d love to have time to do such and such. Now’s the time! The first step is to get your goals down “on paper.” (A note in your phone counts!)
Include everything you can think of—little things, big things, and everything in between. You could spend a day exploring a nearby cave or a week flying overseas to try the world’s best latte. Like Carter and Edward in the movie, you might be surprised by what you discover as you make your way to places you’ve always wanted to go and do things you’ve only dreamt of doing!
Ready to roam?
We hope this list of suggestions has left you inspired to plan an awesome night of bonding activities with your besties!
While you’re here, why not look around? You’ll find dozens of articles dedicated to friendship, activities, travel, and more throughout our Explorer blog, as well as fun team-building exercises to try with coworkers. This is your one-stop shop for indoor and outdoor adventures, whether you’re planning an epic road trip or trying to figure out what to pack for your next vacation!
Frequently Asked Questions
Doing activities that you enjoy and that challenge you is a great way to bond with friends. From learning a new skill to traveling together, there are many great ways to bond!
Our friends are there to help guide us through some of the most difficult times in our lives. Maintaining these friendships is crucial to our mental health. Luckily, there are many bonding activities you can do with friends!
Some of the best ways to bond with friends are things that take you out of your comfort zone such as exploring a new place, learning a skill, going hiking or camping, or even training for a marathon.
Bonding with friends simply means spending time together and learning more about one another. This includes your differences and similarities. Trying new activities together is a great way to achieve this.