Sometimes it feels like we’ve wedged drinking into every activity under the sun, from buzzed yoga to wine-fueled book clubs, to movie theaters that serve booze.
Sure, it can be a novelty to sip a craft beer while in Mountain Pose. But for those of us who don’t imbibe, those who are trying to live a bit healthier, and those who just want a break from an overwhelming drinking culture, the relentless booze-infused parade of weekend activities can be stressful, alienating and, if we’re really being honest, just plain played out.
Here’s the good news, though: Non-alcoholic activities still exist, and tons of them are so fun you don’t even have to alter your brain chemicals in order to enjoy yourself. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites.
Hiking (without headaches)
Spending time out in nature surprisingly gives you a ton of the benefits over tossing back a few. Scientists have found that it relieves stress and increases creativity — and, unlike alcohol, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory, improves your mental health and lengthens your life.
Once you’ve nailed down a good hiking location, you don’t need much to participate other than some sturdy shoes, a clearly marked trail and a few hours to spare.
Museums (not martinis)
There’s more than one way to alter your mind. Taking in some art, history or science expands your horizons and teaches you something new, while the buildings themselves are often peaceful and calming.
Enjoy them alone or with friends or family — and know you’ll rarely be pressured to take a drink.
Board games (instead of bored at a bar)
We’re not talking about Monopoly or Clue (although we admit those are great, too). There are shelves upon shelves of super-fun board games for adults these days that range from fun and silly, like What Do You Meme?, to super-involved and epic, like Settlers of Catan. Sure, you could drink while playing these games, but they are just as fun and engrossing with LaCroix and snacks.
Volunteer (instead of vomiting)
Here’s one activity where drinking is absolutely not tolerated — and, unlike drinking, it will fill you with joy instead of fermented liquid.
Depending on what issues you care about most, volunteering can take a wide range of forms: Think talking to seniors in an assisted living facility, walking dogs at the local shelter, canvassing for your favorite politician, tutoring kids, and more. You’ll meet new people (or dogs!), you’ll help somebody and you’ll connect with your community.
Make art (not a fool of yourself)
“Sip and paint” businesses might be popping up around the country, but creating art is still possibly the very best sober high you can get. Have friends over to paint or sculpt or knit — or, if you aren’t that ambitious, grab some adult coloring books and fancy pens and sit around the dining room table. You can also take art classes for adults. Even smaller cities often have great options when it comes to ceramics, painting, printmaking, quilting and drawing.
Pamper yourself (not exhaust yourself)
Drinking can leave you dehydrated, tired and mentally flat the next day. Whereas a day of self-care can leave you energized, calm and ready to take on the week.
If you have the funds, a spa day (solo or with friends) can include a facial, massages, manicures and more. But even if you’re flat broke, you can indulge in a home spa day that is just as relaxing — and maybe even more fun. Try making an exfoliating sugar rub and an avocado mask for starters.
Have a swap (not a Screwdriver)
There is something so wholesome and buoying about a swap with friends — and they are super thrifty and easy, too. The favorite tried-and-true clothing swap is always great, but you can have other swaps as well.
Consider a beauty supply swap, where you get rid of stuff that you just don’t use (samples, lotions, nail polish, perfume, etc.). Or how about a plant swap, where you make cuttings and pot them for each other? There are also book swaps and jewelry swaps and record swaps, oh, my!
Move your body (not your blood alcohol level)
Exercise and alcohol don’t often go well together, and that’s a good thing.
Skip the booze and sign up for a race, take a class or download an app with a physical challenge (like Couch to 5K). Exercising is a great option because you can do it alone or with a big group, and you can play something team-oriented or just go for a jog.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider hosting a backyard or park tournament — we recommend volleyball, kickball, softball or badminton.
No matter why you aren’t drinking, there are tons and tons of options for sober weekend activities. Bonus? Many of them are so interesting that no one will miss that can of brewsky or glass of wine in their hand.