You can live in a city and love the outdoors. In fact, there’s an entire organization devoted to that premise: Mappy Hour.
After a year ski-bumming at Alta, Mappy Hour founder Sarah Knapp came back east and organized OutdoorFest, a ten-day adventure festival that brings the outdoors to the five boroughs of New York through everything from biking to kayaking. Knapp wanted to put together a casual meetup to drum up hype for the big event. Millennials love pairing their recreating with socializing, and Mappy Hour—a portmanteau of maps and happy hour—came to life.
“We’re all multifaceted people,” Knapp told Outside in 2017. “Mappy Hour is there to feed that side of us and make sure that it’s a part of our identities that doesn’t get lost.” While millennials and gen Z are more likely to live in cities than their parents, Knapp believes urban dwelling and time outside can coexist. “I try not to think of it as a compromise,” she says.
The first Mappy Hour event was held nine years ago at Fjallraven in Manhatten, and quickly gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts in the city. Over time, the event expanded to include outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and camping, and became a platform for advocacy and education around environmental issues and outdoor recreation.
Now there are Mappy Hour chapters and events across North America, from Bentonville, AR, to Seattle, WA. Mappy Hours generally have a theme, from diversity to avalanche safety to transitioning from the climbing gym to the crag. Past meetups have ranged from a “Send It Sister” panel centered on females in the outdoor industry to “choose your own adventure” camping trips.
A recent Mappy Hour in Denver, whose chapter contains a stout 900 members, included ice skating at Evergreen Lake, which at 8.5 acres is the biggest Zamboni-maintained outdoor ice rink in North America. At another, ultra runner Andrea Sansone spoke about setting the iconic Nolan’s 14 supported record last summer.
And of course, some Mappy Hours do focus on their namesake—maps. Every third Thursday in Rogers, Arkansas, Mappy Hour members bring their favorite map for an atypical bar chat and a beer.
Built on a belief that the outdoors are for everyone, Mappy Hour welcomes those wanting to get outside but are unsure where to start to seasoned adventurers looking for new outings and friends. Upcoming Mappy Hours range from exploring the mountains and alpine lakes of Colorado with Dr. Jon Kedrowski to cleaning up Washington DC’s Rock Creek Park. Find a Mappy Hour near you.