The Best Places For People Watching In Summer

By on May 9, 2018

While you might not be basing the characters in your novel on real people, they still have to be realistic. Your readers need to relate to your characters, to connect with them, to empathise with them, even to fall in love with them.

Above all else, however, they need to believe in them. Characters that aren’t believable are impossible to understand and will leave your readers unable to enjoy your story.

There are many ways an author can practice and perfect the art of writing great characters, and one of them is just by sitting back and observing.

People watching can be a fantastic way to come across people from all walks of life, and writers can simply look and listen. Watch the way they move their bodies, look at how they dress, how they carry themselves, observe any strange quirks or ticks they might have, listen to how they react to certain situations and quietly overhear their conversations to understand how they talk and interact with one another.

Imagine if you like that you are on a safari, merely observing creatures in their natural habitats going about their business. You can learn a lot from just watching and listening; you may even happen upon someone who inspires you to make them the protagonist in your next story!

Now that summer is upon us, people have emerged from hiding, and so it’s the perfect time to get out and about with your eyes and ears open and do some serious people watching. Here are some excellent places to try.

Art galleries and museums

Art galleries and museums are fantastic spots to find people from all walks of life. In an art gallery, you might find wistful students, bustling school trips, tourists, art lovers, and people who have just wandered in on a whim. Watching how people behave in such a setting can also reveal a lot about them so make sure you take a notebook with you and write down anything about anyone who catches your eye.


Of course, parking yourself in a cafe is an ideal way to spend some time. You can people watch to your heart's content, have your laptop ready to go, and there is unlimited coffee too! Find a sunny spot and watch the people that come and go, a few hours in a cafe and you’ll come into contact with so many different people you are sure to find some that inspire you.


If you want to remember why being a writer is the best, head to the park for the day while you can soak up some sun as well as do your research at the same time! From the homeless guy slumped on a park bench to the young couple entwined in one another arms to the laughing family enjoying a picnic you can find a huge number of different people to observe here and enjoy the fresh air and lovely scenery while you are at it!

Train stations

The hustle and bustle of train station can be a perfect people watching venue. Just sit on a seat and watch. You’ll no doubt observe a whole range of emotions here too - people stressed out and running to catch their trains, people laughing and giddy who are going somewhere exciting and new. Taking a trip on a train is also great for ‘accidentally’ overhearing conversations from people you think might be interesting.

Anywhere your character might go

Of course, the best way to people watch is to think about the places that your character might go. Why not have a day in the life of your character and do what they would do, trying to see the world through their eyes? Going to the places your character would go to - seedy bars, trendy nightclubs, secluded woodlands - wherever it may be will help you observe those tiny details that make your settings and your characters come alive on the page.

Doing thorough research is all part of the writing process, and people watching is part of that. So now that the weather is beautiful use this time to get out and about and see whether you can find people to inspire your characters and make your book richer and better because of it.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *