In a world where it feels like alcohol is everywhere you go, there are always options for sober activities for those in recovery or people who just prefer a sober date. Drinking on a first date is often considered the norm, to the point that not drinking can be alarming to some. Even worse, someone in recovery from addiction may not have experienced dating without the use of substances so they may be completely new to a sober dating scene and have no idea where to start.
Figuring out what to do and where to go for a date can often be challenging, especially when you’re sober. It’s not uncommon to run out of ideas and default to the usual dinner or a movie—but this can get old really quick. We wanted to provide a list of fun ideas for dates whether that be during the day, at night, indoors, or outdoors! Dates are what you make of them, now you can get creative and spontaneous!
These 18 sober date ideas make it possible to create a comfortable environment for both parties regardless of their history!
Going Out to Stay In
Whether you’re looking to have a casual meal or dessert, do something interactive like painting or bowling—going out to stay in can often make up for some of the best first dates! Try to stray away from your go-to date activity and try out one of these budget-friendly options!
Coffee Shop Date
Coffee dates are always a good idea because it allows you to get to know the other person in a warm and cozy, sober environment. Almost every town has a local coffee shop, and if you’re not someone who likes coffee, there are always other options on the menu.
Ice cream or Frozen Yogurt Date
You can never go wrong with ice cream or frozen yogurt! Almost everyone enjoys one or the other, making it an equally satisfying option. This is a fun, casual first date—and of course, sober also.
Painting is a fun, light-hearted activity for a first date. A lot of places do “sip and paint”, posing the option to bring your own drink if you want. This does not have to be alcohol: it can be coffee, a soda, a smoothie, etc. As a forewarning, there could be participants in the class that are drinking an alcoholic beverage.
Cooking or Baking Class
A culinary class is a super interactive date option that will give you a little glimpse of who your partner is. Whether they are experienced in the kitchen or not, it’s a fun learning and bonding experience. Plus—everyone loves food!
Another playful, interactive date is going bowling! You’re never too old to slip on those horrendous shoes and knock down some pins. A date like this will not only be lighthearted and fun, but competitive as well.
Going to the movies is a classic, go-to date idea. It’s not my favorite option for a first date since it doesn’t involve much talking or getting to know each other, however, it is still a great sober option! If you want to do something different and something a little more personal, there is the option for a drive-in movie or a picnic movie.
Go to a Bookstore
For my bookworms, the bookstore can be your happy place and escape from reality. If you’ve found someone who shares the same interest in books as you do, this is definitely a great option for your sober date! Grab your favorite beverage—coffee, tea, or a smoothie—and take a stroll around the store looking through the different books and other trinkets.
Take a Fitness Class Together
For someone who loves and enjoys working out, a fitness class may just be your ideal sober date. Before planning this date, be sure that your date has an interest in fitness because that could end very badly if they “don’t do fitness”—which a lot of people don’t, and that is totally okay. Expand your options outside of a traditional gym date and look into a yoga class, Pilates, Zumba, workout program, CrossFit, or even goat yoga!
Leisurely Outdoor Activities
Outdoor activities don’t always mean getting eaten alive by mosquitoes or sweating profusely, it can be as simple as mini-golf or going on a bike ride! If you’re someone that isn’t super adventurous but still enjoys the outdoors, these are some great ideas for your next day date or night out!
Walk and/or Picnic in the Park
Depending on the climate and location of where you live, walks and/or picnics in the park can be very romantic and relaxing. A picnic is a simple, yet thoughtful date that will more than likely earn you some brownie points for planning something outside of the ordinary “dinner date”.
If you are someone who thinks mini-golf is a kid/teenage thing, you are so wrong. Mini golf is another interactive date that will draw out you and your partner’s fun side. It is also a great first date idea because it loosens up the nerves, making it less formal and more friendly. Activity dates are a great way to get to know your partner and bond with them.
Walking through a farmer’s or flea market is a fun, social option to browse different exhibits and products as well as try your favorite or maybe some new foods. A date like this is another unpopular yet enjoyable option for couples to get to know each other through discovering their different likes and dislikes.
Whether it be during the day to sunbathe or in the evening for a sunset date, the beach is always a promising option for a relaxed date. If you live nowhere near the beach, there is always the option for a walk or picnic at your local park.
Bike riding along the beach, in a park, neighborhood, etc. is another option for you outdoorsy people. Whether it’s getting lunch or ice cream before or after, it makes for a great, interactive day or evening date.
Adventurous Date Ideas
For couples who like to mix it up and embrace their adventurous side, this is the list for you! These adventurous activities help to push people out of their comfort zones and do something bold while still avoiding triggering environments in recovery.
Depending on whether you’re thinking of doing an indoor or outdoor wall, or maybe you’re into hardcore rock climbing—this can be a very fun, thrilling date option if activities like this interest you.
Kayaking, Canoeing, or Paddle Boarding
Whether you’re experienced with these activities or have never been before, these are great sober activities to help you get in touch with nature! Kayaking, canoeing, and paddle-boarding are all going to be enjoyable activities that require some teamwork and strategy. If you’re going for the first time, there is usually an option for a tour guide, which is often recommended depending on the location and circumstances.
Trampoline parks have become very popular with all ages. If you’re feeling nervous about a first or even second date, this is a great location and option for individuals to feel comfortable getting to know and having fun with their date.
Carnival or Amusement Park
A carnival date is another option that will never get old. If you’re not one for carnival rides, there are always endless options for food and games. Amusement parks are always an exciting option especially when a road trip is required to get there.
Date Night In
Movies and Games
Whether you’re more of an extroverted or introverted person, everyone loves a cozy, date night-in- especially when movies and games are thrown in the mix. Board or card games might seem old school, but it’s a great way to see the fun and competitive side of your date when you do so. Depending on the game, you might also learn a lot about your date that you would’ve never found out if it weren’t for the game.
Why Choosing Sober Date Activities Helps In Recovery
There are endless options for a sober day date or date night, and it is always possible to follow through with it. Feeling the pressure to drink alcohol in social settings is putting people into situations they don’t want or need to be in. You don’t “need” alcohol to calm your nerves or to make your date go smoother. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Choose to put yourself in situations that you know you will succeed in.