Sober Dates Ideas

Men's Dating

12 Best Sober Dates Ideas (2024)

Karen Belz

Written by: Karen Belz

Karen Belz

Over the last 10 years, Karen Belz has written for dating and lifestyle sites such as Zoosk, Bolde, and Elite Singles. She started her career as a professional writer by helping launch HelloGiggles in 2011. Karen graduated from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Broadcasting with a minor in Print Media Studies. She is now happily married and believes that healthy communication is the key to all successful relationships. You can follow her on Threads @karenbelz.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Some negative experiences can lead single people to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol. While a cocktail or a beer may start as a harmless social lubricant on dates, it can also impair your judgment and be a detriment to your health, especially for those struggling with addiction. If you’re in the dating scene, it’s worthwhile to explore some sober date ideas to add to your rotation. 

Sober dates are a good way to create meaningful connections and engage in interesting conversations without distraction or impairment. Staying sober can help a person honestly assess the longevity of a new relationship. Sober dating is more popular than you think. According to ABC Chicago, a poll found that 76% of single people reported going on a sober date in the last six months. If you want to skip the drinks on your next date, here are 12 sober date ideas to consider.

1. Meet at a Coffee Shop 

A local coffee shop was a popular meeting spot on “Friends,” and it’s also the hangout of choice for many sober singles planning a first date. Coffee shops are a great place to chat, catch up, and splurge on fun beverages that your Keurig at home is incapable of concocting. 

For those daters trying to watch their caffeine levels, many coffee shops also offer decaf drinks and teas that aren’t quite as strong. While Starbucks is a great location, you can also seek out local independent coffee shops to create more of a memorable date. Not only will you enjoy a casual ambiance, but you’ll also be supporting a local business. 

2. Go See a Movie or a Show 

A movie makes for a great first date if you’re nervous and dipping your toe into the dating pool. You’ll  have little pressure to make conversation during the film, and afterward, you have a key topic to discuss that can naturally lead into other conversations. 

Photo of drive-in movie
The classic dinner-and-a-movie date is a great choice for sober daters.

Going to a playhouse or opera house may be a fun alternative if you’re not into any of the movies currently playing. Check local listings to see if your town has any venues for local bands or small theaters putting on a production. An independent theater is a great dating spot because couples can enjoy seeing performances that spark their imaginations and keep drinking off the table.

3. Visit an Amusement Park

Amusement parks aren’t just for kids — thrill seekers of all ages can spend time going on rides and chowing down on carnival treats. Amusement parks can make for a fun summer date activity, especially if you and your partner like the excitement of rollercoasters. 

Visiting an amusement park or fairground can be a great opportunity to show your silly side by taking fun and campy photos. And you can indulge in nostalgic snacks such as funnel cakes and turkey legs. 

An amusement park can provide a fun setting where you can discover some unique insights about your partner. Do they prefer to plan out their day, or will they wing it and explore the park once they arrive? Are they interested in splitting some nachos, or do they have more of a sweet tooth and prefer ice cream treats? Amusement parks have a lot to see and do (and taste), so it’s a great sober dating activity for weekend fun.

4. Attend a Comedy Show

They say laughter is the best medicine, and it’s also a great way to set the mood for a date. Going on a date to a comedy show can help you get to know more about your partner’s sense of humor, and it’s a great way to become better acquainted with up-and-coming comedians, especially if they’re on their way toward a special on Netflix or “Saturday Night Live.” 

Don’t worry about two-drink minimums — plenty of comedy clubs don’t require booze to enjoy the show. Or if there is a drink minimum, you can order a soda or seltzer water as a sober substitute. 

5. Set Up a Board Game Night at Home

Whether you’re playing Monopoly or Settlers of Cataan, a board game night can be a fun way to entertain yourself, your date, and a few friends without pressure to drink. If you’re hosting the night, you might want to come up with a signature mocktail or a special snack to treat your guests for the board game night. You can even concoct mocktails that have a tie-in to the game you’re playing to create a theme. 

Photo of a Scrabble board
Couples can bring out their competitive sides during a game night.

If it’s just you and your date battling it out on Connect Four or card games, maybe you’ll want to start the night by making dinner together or ordering something special. Either way, you’re bound to have a good time.

6. Find a Trivia Night at a Local Restaurant

Plenty of restaurants host trivia nights every week, and putting your wits together with a date can be fun and stimulating. You definitely won’t want to drink and put yourself at a disadvantage in the competition! 

If you happen to have a specific pop culture interest, whether it’s a sitcom or a movie franchise, you may be able to find a trivia night themed toward your fandom. Just make sure your partner is also on board for a trivia night before signing up — if they’ve never seen a “Star Wars” movie, they may want to skip the Jedi trivia night and stick to more general trivia events.

7. Play Games at the Arcade

When was the last time you challenged your date to a rousing game of skeeball? Arcades are a ton of fun, even for adults. Couples can make the date more fun by agreeing to buy each other prize counter presents with their winnings. Plastic spider rings and keychains can be pretty romantic as a keepsake from a memorable sober date. 

8. Get Tickets for a Sporting Event

While alcohol is often served at sporting events, the high prices make it easy to skip the drinks during gametime. Sporting events are a fun place to connect with people and spend quality time in an exciting environment. Whether it’s a soccer game, a hockey match, or a rousing game of golf, you and your date may want to make it a regular outing and choose favorite players to root for or follow. In a few months, you may end up investing in team jerseys and season passes. Maybe one day, your proposal may even make it onto the megatron screen!

9. Visit a Museum or Art Gallery

Museums and art galleries are great places to go on a date. Visitors can appreciate historical events, cultural artifacts, and the creative skills of local or world-renowned artists. Whether it’s a local exhibit or a national archive, it’s nice to share moments of cultural appreciation with a thoughtful person. 

Exhibit at Artechouse in Chelsea Market
Art exhibits, such as this one in New York City, can offer stunning backgrounds for romance.

Visiting a museum is also much more affordable than most date activities, so couples can save money and enjoy some entertaining sights and exhibits along the way.

If it’s a first date, it’s a good idea to talk about which museum or gallery attractions interest you most to get to know the other person on a completely different level.

10. Go Horseback Riding or Apple Picking

Horsebacking riding can be a wonderful date activity for outdoorsy couples. Even if you’ve never ridden a horse before, you can find a ranch or farm nearby that offers riding lessons and beginner-friendly tours. Visiting a farm or ranch to see the animals is a fun date in itself. Not a fan of farm animals? Then, perhaps an orchard may be more your speed. Find a place to pick apples, strawberries, pumpkins, or other seasonal fruits together, and then concoct some incredible recipes with your fresh picks.

11. Sign Up for a Cooking Class

Playing off the orchard date, cooking together can be a fun activity for an at-home date. Sharing the cooking gives couples something to work on together, and the kitchen can be a good setting to learn how your tastes align. 

Woman and man cooking and smiling at each other
Cooking together can be a fun date activity at home.

Cooking classes can strengthen a relationship by fostering new skills and teamwork — and you might create some long-lasting memories along the way. If you happen to live near Whole Foods, look for a cooking class there. Many locations offer culinary classes for all skill levels.

12. Grab Ice Cream at a Local Scoop Shop

Local bars tend to only open at night, but ice cream shops are open for sober daytime fun. You can treat your date to a decadent sundae or indulgent milkshake any time of the day. Ice cream is a favorite dessert for many people – and plenty of dairy-free options exist as well for those with dietary restrictions. 

Conduct a quick search of the local downtown area to find ice cream parlors, yogurt shops, and cupcake stores that happen to be local favorites. While chain stores are a reliable option, local shops often have a certain charm that’ll give daters more to discover and enjoy together. Can’t find an ice cream shop with the right flavors? Then maybe you can grab a pastry at a local bakery!

Find a Sober Activity That Stimulates Conversation

Our dating experts favor sober dates because they’re memorable, unique, and safe. Going on a sober date will also ensure that singles avoid morning-after hangovers and regrets. After a sober date, you can wake up the next day feeling alert and energized to send an early morning followup text to tell your partner how much fun you had. 

Learning how to communicate and feel comfortable around someone without alcohol involved is crucial in building a strong relationship., So find a sober activity that stimulates conversation, and you’ll be headed in the right direction.