Craigslist Meet-Ups Explained and What to Use Instead

Doublelist Team

January 23, 2023 11 minutes read
Connect with straight, gay, bi and curious!

If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve probably heard of Craigslist. It’s that online place that functions like a newspaper’s back section. From ads selling an old couch to ads looking for a relationship, it’s all there. With all these services comes the phenomenon of Craigslist meet-ups. When people take their online exchanges from CL to IRL.

While there are many types of meet-ups, we will focus on those related to sex, casual dating, and relationships. We’ll give you tips for navigating them and other sites and apps for a casual meet-up instead of Craigslist.

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What Are Craigslist Meet Ups

Put simply, Craigslist meet-ups refer to meeting someone you met on CL in real life. But there’s a more specific meaning for our purposes. Here, you’re meeting up for a date, sex, or other intimacies after chatting on one of Craigslist’s personal ad sections. Meet-ups are shorthand for Craigslist hookups.

Currently, the only forum on the site where you can still do this is Missed Connections. This is a section where people post about strangers they met or saw and want to form a bond with. Then, if the Craigslist gods were on your side, the subject of your post would see it and respond.

Previously, meet-ups could also arise from the Craigslist Personals section before it shut down. The Personals were basically adult classifieds, aka personal ads. This forum functioned like the rest of the site in the same ad format.

But instead of posting about the dreamy person they saw at the park, users mostly looked for hookups. Sure, plenty of people browsed and posted in Personals, searching for a serious relationship. But most people were hoping for dating and casual encounters.


Are Craigslist Meet Ups Gay Friendly?

Yes! LGBTQ+ folks and Craigslist go hand in hand. In fact, the Craigslist meet-up gay community is thriving. When Craigslist Personals still existed, that corner of the internet was the most happening (and completely free) gay dating scene.

There, queer people could find casual hookups or relationships without outting themselves in real life. That’s because, unlike other dating websites, Craigslist Personals didn’t require users to attach personal information to their classified ads.

People could log on and find hundreds of same-minded people ready to have a good time. Even when the Personals section died off, gay users stuck around. Many people who used to frequent the Personals just moved their Craigslist man-for-man pursuits to Missed Connections.

So if you’re gay and still trawling CL for a bang buddy, you can check out that page instead. However, no matter how gay-friendly a casual dating site is or how many queer people use it, there’s always some risk. LGBTQ+ visitors should always stay alert and keep to online safety practices to protect themselves.

Don’t arrange Craigslist meet-ups unless you’re confident you’re not chatting with someone homophobic or transphobic. If you encounter someone dangerous while looking for a casual meet-up on Craigslist, report them.

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Craigslist Meet Ups Locations: Go From Online Connections to IRL

So far, we’ve talked a lot about the steps leading up to scheduling Craigslist meet-ups. Now it’s time to move from online dating to real-life encounters. So let’s dive into the best Craigslist meet-up locations. The location you choose is totally up to you and the other person (or people, if you’re craving a threesome).

For convenience’s sake, we recommend choosing somewhere relatively close. Or if you’re chatting with someone who lives further away, split the difference and meet in the middle. A neutral location is perfect for making sure everyone involved feels comfortable.

But what about specific places? We’re fans of meeting at a bar first. After all, who couldn’t use a little social lubricant? Even if you just want sex. It doesn’t hurt to Google the best bars near you and suggest it to your hookup. If you’re not a drinker or would rather meet in the light of day, a coffee shop works too.

Honestly, anything low-commitment gets our vote. That way, you can easily exit if you’re not vibing with the other person.


Choosing Safe Public Craiglist Meet Ups Spots

There’s one point we left out about meet-up locations: always meet in a public place.

Listen, we’re not trying to sound like a parent, but Craigslist meet-ups should almost always happen in public. It’s no secret that bad people scour personal ads and dating sites for victims to scam. At the end of the day, you’re talking to a stranger online. Not only that, but you’re getting personal and intimate with them.

Maybe you sent them nudes or cam footage leading up to your in-person connection. That gives this individual even more of your personal information and leverage over you. You don’t know this person. That may be part of the attraction if you’re looking for a quickie or an NSA situation. But it’s also part of the danger.


This person could want to lure you into a place to harm you. Therefore, try to select Craigslist Meet-Up spots in public, safe locations. Even if it’s just on a bench on a busy avenue or at a shopping center with surveillance cameras. Or within walking distance of a police station for emergencies.

Go to a location with others so you’re not alone if things go south. Plus, insisting on a public meet-up helps weed out seedy characters before you deal with them in person.

Of course, we know sometimes you need to meet in private for discreet hook ups. If you’re comfortable revealing where you live, let them come to your place. That way, you have the home advantage. If not, book a hotel room. No matter what, have your cell phone on you and alert someone you trust to your approximate location.


Other Craigslist Meet Ups Tips

Picking a public spot is safety tip number one for hanging out with someone from Craigslist casual encounters. But that’s not the only advice up our sleeve. Here are other top Craigslist Meet Up Tips:

  1. Plan Ahead. Before you meet, ensure you and all parties involved are on the same page. Clarify if you’re meeting for a date, chat, hookup, etc. If your Craigslist Meet-ups are for something raunchy, establish ground rules. What’s going to happen in the bedroom? Does anyone have any specific kinks or hard boundaries? What’s okay and what’s off-limits? How does everyone feel about exchanging fluids? You get the picture.
  2. Be Protected. Aside from general safety, sexual safety is key. Use protection and make sure everyone recently took an STI/STD test. If you’re HIV positive, take your PrEP and inform the other people involved. We know you might want to feel spontaneous, but you can still live it up while having common sense.

TL;DR: Get as freaky as you want. Just keep it safe. Okay, we’re done with the lecture portion of this post.


Craigslist Meet Ups Alternatives: The Best Apps to Use Instead

As mentioned earlier, many Craigslist Meet Ups came from the Personals. Now that that’s gone, you may be searching for a new place to find casual hookups. Online Dating apps and sites are the perfect replacement for this service.

For one thing, they’re quicker. All you have to do is download one and get to swiping. Before you know it, you can link up with someone. Secondly, dating apps are extremely popular. With plenty of fish in the sea, you’ll have no end of options.

Plus, you’ll find someone who’s into what you’re into. Lastly, dating apps are a great Craigslist Meet-Up alternative because they’re mobile. Wherever you are, you can log into your app and see who’s raring to go in your area. There are ample options for women seeking men, men seeking women, men seeking men, women seeking women, and nonbinary pairings.

Keep reading for the eight best Craigslist Personals alternatives for casual encounters and other relationship types.


Craigslist Meet-Up Alternative: Tinder

There’s a reason why Tinder is always on our list of the best hookup apps. It’s the biggest dating site out there and the most well-known. Unlike competing apps like Bumble and Hinge, Tinder is a go-to for hookups and casual dating. If you’re hoping for the same sexy, casual encounters you could find with Craigslist meet-ups, this is your app.

The app uses a combination of your location and an algorithm to determine your best match. It’s also open to all users and sexual orientations. Meaning no matter if you’re straight or LGBTQ+, you’re welcome to join. All you have to do is create an account with your email and password. Then, select your sexual orientation, add some photos and information to your bio, and you’re ready to start swiping.

You get plenty out of the app with the completely free version. But you can unlock certain features with a premium membership, like unlimited swipes. Either way, you’re almost guaranteed to find other members down for a meet-up.



If you’re a gay man looking for a replacement for Craigslist meet-ups, download Grindr. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Grindr is THE app for gay men. With over 27 million users, it’s the online version of the hottest club in town. Similar to how Craigslist Personals focuses on location, so does Grindr.

It doesn’t waste time with compatibility questions or icebreaker quizzes. Instead, it shows you the other men on the app in your area on a constant feed. It works strictly based on proximity. This makes it especially ideal if you’re trying to find a hookup fast.

These apps are the best mobile alternatives to scoring a casual meet-up on Craigslist. But what if you want to stick with a webpage? What if you also miss the unique Craigslist community? Find out next.


Craigslist Personals Alternatives: Adult Friend Finder

We’ve primarily focused on Meet-Up replacements in app form. But what about Craigslist personals alternative websites? One of the most well-known casual dating sites is Adult Friend Finder.

This online dating platform is perfect for casual dating encounters, private chats with mature content, and other explicit adult activities. You can find potential matches with the free version or pay to access the majority of features.

The main draw of AFF is that it’s strictly for mature audiences looking for casual, sexy fun. You won’t have to worry about sending the wrong message or not filling your desires. The downside is that the site hasn’t always had the best security. Much like Ashley Madison, it’s struggled with data breaches, so exercise caution with anything you input on the site.


Personal Style Dating Site Like Meet Ups: Reddit Personals Section

Ah, Reddit. It’s not just a place to discuss your niche TV show interests or argue with strangers about AITA verdicts. It’s also among the best Craigslist Personals alternative websites. The Reddit personals section functions similarly to CL. You post an ad according to your location and preferences and wait for other active users to reach you.

You can arrange an in-person encounter a la Craigslist Meet-Up or keep things online. You can be somewhat anonymous, though users can click on your handle and see posts you’ve made in other subreddits. If you want to be discreet, look at your account privacy settings and use a throwaway account.

Finally, the best thing about the Reddit Personals section is that it’s free.



Want a website even closer to the Craigslist meet-up model? Log on to Locanto. Locanto is a free classified ads page. It allows users to post anything from job opportunities to casual encounters to garage sale items. For any of those things, you can meet in person to seal the deal.

You can access Locanto in over 50 countries in multiple languages. Just log in or create an account, click on the forum you choose (like men seeking women) and have fun. As with the other sites, double-check the site’s terms and conditions to keep your account in good standing.


Searching for Websites to Meet Up Like Craigslist? Use Doublelist

There are many reasons you’d prefer using websites to meet up, like Craigslist, instead of online dating. Anonymity, for one. With dating apps, you can’t hide your identity behind a username. You can’t keep your dating or sexual preferences private because you must submit pictures and your name.

For another, you can’t get as specific as you would in a personal ad. In a personal ad, you can describe the type of person or encounter you’re looking for to a T. But on dating apps, you’re stuck answering many time-consuming but not helpful conversation starter-style questions.

And, of course, what if you just miss the classifieds format of Craigslist Meet Ups? Apps trade in simplicity for aesthetics. If you’re looking for a straightforward website that lets you privately write and respond to adult classifieds, welcome to DoubleList. We’ve got you covered with gay personals to replace Craigslist.

Last but not least, your anonymity is always protected. Just use your email to make an account and give yourself a nickname. Ready to get dirty? Sign up today

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