They say it takes a village to raise children, and these cities will help you find your people.
There’s just something about a mom friend. You can rely on her to always have an extra container of baby wipes for when your child’s hands are inevitably sticky. You can complain to her about the expectations of gentle parenting (and also ask what her favorite gentle parenting accounts are on Instagram). But, most importantly, she’s the one you’re in the trenches of motherhood with — and it would feel pretty isolating without her.
But unfortunately, making mom friends isn’t always a snap. Because kids tend to take up what seems like every spare moment (and let’s face it, every conversation with a “mom!” “Mom!” “MOM!”), it can be challenging to find and keep the connections you make with other mothers. Though it’s certainly possible to make mom friends anywhere in the country, we’ve scoped out the top communities that make it a bit easier on busy parents — with enriching children’s libraries that have fun programming, top-notch youth sports programs or simply being near dozens of parks.
Looking to find a place to become part of a mom squad or thinking about becoming a parent and searching for a kid-friendly community? Here are the five best places to meet mom friends.
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis is known for being warm and friendly (in direct contrast to their winter weather), so it’s no surprise that it’s our top place in the country to find your new mom bestie. Besides the warm midwestern cheeriness, Minneapolis makes it easy for busy mothers to get out and meet other moms trudging through motherhood (with snow boots in tow, obviously).
So, where do Minneapolis moms meet? It will most likely be at your kid’s hockey game — because the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area is one of the country’s best locations for youth hockey. With 163 ice sheets in the city and over 50,000 youth hockey players (with nearly 10,000 of those being girls), it’s safe to say that you’ll be putting on your parka and offering a cup of cocoa to a fellow mom on your kiddo’s team.
Outside the rink, you can also introduce yourself to another mom at the Minneapolis Central Library, where there are many children and teen programs like theater workshops, early literacy activities for young babies and plenty of family storytimes.
And when the weather is warm (or when you and your babies are bundled head to toe), you can also meet a mom friend at a nearby park, which is easy to do because 98 percent of Minneapolis residents live within a 10-minute walk of one. Your options are plentiful, with 65 playgrounds, 100 splash pads and 44 basketball hoops in city limits.
2. Aurora, Illinois
Located 45 minutes west of Chicago, Aurora is a mid-sized suburb with plenty of mom-bonding opportunities. For starters, it’s easy to meet a fellow mom in Aurora simply because there are a lot of them. Children under 18 make up about 29 percent of the city population — putting Aurora in the top 25 cities with the most children. (Compare this to San Francisco, which has a 13.4 percent population of children under 18.)
But beyond just pure numbers, it’s easy to meet fellow mom friends the good old-fashioned way: At a soccer game. Whether you’re the mom bringing the orange slices or yelling at the ref (just kidding; don’t do that), Aurora is a great place to meet other soccer moms. And in fact, it was named one of the 10 best cities for youth soccer in the country because it not only has 75 soccer clubs within 75 miles of the city, but it also is an affordable city to drive to and from all of the Mighty Mighty Unicorns’ soccer tournaments.
3. Cerritos, California
A small suburb in Los Angeles county, Cerritos has big things to offer families — and is a great spot to befriend fellow moms. One of the main draws for families in Cerritos? Hands down, it’s their world-class children’s library.
If you had to describe the children’s library in Cerritos in one word, it would likely be magical. With over 85,000 titles to peruse, a 12-foot high Tyrannosaurus-rex replica, a scale-model NASA Space Shuttle called the “Spirit of Cerritos,” a lighthouse and a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium with colorful fishes and sharks, yeah, we’d have to say it’s pretty darn magical. But the real magic is in the programming at the Cerritos Public Library, which hosts pajama party nights, family nights, children and teen read-alouds, any of which you could easily spot your newest mom friend. So, of course, it is no surprise that with a library like that, Cerritos would also have one of the top-rated public schools in the country (that undoubtedly hosts a dynamite PTA, where you could meet your new BFF).
4. Cincinnati, Ohio
Beyond the friendly faces and the chili spaghetti at Skyline (any 7-year-old’s dream dinner), Cincinnati has a lot to offer for families of young children — all of which are conducive to meeting your mom friend soulmate. For starters, a whopping 88 percent of Cincinnatians live within a 10-minute walk of a park, according to the Trust for Public Land. This will make it a lot easier to start a conversation with a mom at the monkey bars or introduce yourself to the mom with the exact stroller you were thinking about upgrading to.
Beyond parks, Cincinnati also houses some of the best children’s entertainment in the country — including the Children’s Museum, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (home to the famous Fiona the hippo!), and the Play Library, which is a library that lends toys, games and hosts family game nights, all with the intention of creating a sense of community for families.
5. Irvine, California
Located in sunny Orange County, Irvine is a mid-sized California city with plenty to offer young families. Just 15 minutes from the beach and about an hour south of the big city (okay, on a good day), Irvine is ripe with opportunity to meet your new mom BFF.
So, where exactly will you meet your newest mom friends? You’ll likely bump into them at one of the 68 parks in town — a very easy thing to do because 89 percent of Irvine residents live within a 10-minute walk from a park. You’ll also likely get introduced to other moms at a Saturday morning soccer game. Irvine has 72 soccer clubs within 75 miles, and we’ll bet that even if your kid isn’t exactly a future Messi, they’ll be partaking in this favorite city pastime.
Outside the soccer field and the playground, there’s also Pretend City Children’s Museum, an experiential playspace for small children that also doubles as a community center for parents to meet and learn from the museum’s education team.