Great Dates (No Alcohol Required)

Looking for some going-out ideas that don’t involve lots of liquor? We’ve got you covered with these eight ideas.

by Anna David

hen it comes to dating, alcohol can mask a person’s true personality—we’ve all seen someone quiet morph into Mr. Lampshade Head or suffered from a pair of beer goggles. So, whether you are living a sober life or just need an alternative to the usual bar crawl, here are eight ideas for good, old-fashioned dates. They’re just as fun as splitting a pitcher, but even more illuminating.

Dry date #1: Get to the art of the matter
“Go to your city’s gallery row and wander from one to the other,” suggests Gail Prince, the author of Soul Dating to Soul Mating: On the Path Toward Spiritual Partnership. “The activity gives you a jumping-off point in terms of conversation by giving you a focus.” You also learn about one another’s interests while exploring nooks of your town that may be new to you both.

Dry date #2: Use your language skills for more than small talk
“Go to a pottery painting place; you can create a lifelong memory on the date.”

Word games are an easy way to break the ice, facilitate conversation and just have fun. “I used to take Travel Scrabble with me on dates,” says Taffy Akner of Brooklyn, NY. “It helped weed some dates out—like the one who challenged the word ‘choreography’ and couldn’t spell ‘thesis.’”

Dry date #3: Take to the water
One of relationship expert Athena Navarro’s all-time favorite dates was a nighttime kayaking one. “My date brought a DVD player because after kayaking, you’re all wet and can’t go anywhere, so we watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the car,” she remembers.

Dry date #4: Show each other your true colors
Channeling your inner Picasso helps uses your energy for creativity, making you more comfortable and less nervous around the new person. “Go to a pottery painting place,” suggests Jeff Cohen, the author of the e-book 30 Minute Guide to Online Dating. “You can create a lifelong memory on the date.”

Dry date #5: Stroll in the moonlight
“Courtship is very important and we seem to have lost a lot of that,” observes Navarro. “A nighttime walk is fundamentally romantic," she points out; you get to share impressions of the sky and the stars, hold hands and maybe steal a kiss in the moonlight. Trust us, this is one of the best, non-alcoholic ways to feel woozy and weak at the knees.

Dry date #6: Let the newspaper be your guide
Snagging the weekend arts-and-entertainment section lets you be spontaneous when going out—and puts you in a position to experience new things you otherwise never would. “My ex and I would follow listings in the paper,” recalls Jen Newman of St. Louis, MO. “Some of the stuff we stumbled upon was mind-blowing, like this performance on top of a mountain and a party in an old-time dance hall.”

Dry date #7: Hit the clubs
Not the night clubs, but the golfing kind. “Miniature golf is a good, goofy activity, and it lets you see how your date acts with something that can be really fun or can get competitive,” says Navarro. “If someone is competitive over the ‘small stuff,’ how will he or she handle the ‘big stuff’?” The other reason it makes a great dry date? The beverage of choice to sip while teeing off has got to be a milkshake.

Dry date #8: Try some fair play
Carnivals and street fairs are a good way to enjoy the night air, ride crazy rides, pig out on junk food, and otherwise relive your childhood. “At a street fair, you can see what material things people are drawn to, how they deal with crowds, if they’re big spenders, and if they can handle silliness,” says Rachel Luna of San Francisco, CA. You get to act like a couple of kids—quite a far cry from sipping Lychee-tini’s at a hip bar... but every bit as fun.

Anna David is a Hollywood-based sex and relationship writer.
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