One thing that can be difficult if you’re dating as a non-drinker is coming up with compelling sober date ideas. But, if you don’t drink on your dates, it’s a great thing. Drinking can make dates go off the rails sometimes, and if you’re early in the dating process, you want to stick to a tried-and-true formula for success — which is much easier to do if you don’t drink.
What is that formula, you ask? Well, back in 2011-2012, I conducted a 100-date experiment where I went on 101 dates with 52 different men and documented what worked (and what failed) on dates. After that, I used the information I gathered to create a blueprint for success when it comes to first, second, and third dates. Here are just a few quick tips to help you get started. If you want to learn the full first, second, and third date blueprints, check out my Signature Program.
- First date: Spend no more than $10, and no more than 1 hour with your date.
- Second date: Spend no money, and instead do something physically active.
- Third date: Spend a little more money for an excellent dining experience.
Again, being sober makes it much easier to stick to this blueprint. So with that in mind, here are 30 sober date ideas, broken up by first, second, and third dates.
Sober Date Ideas: First Dates Under $10
1. Coffee Date
There are lots of reasons why a coffee date is a good choice — one of them being that a strong cup of joe will make you more alert and engaged. That leads to nothing but positive vibes.
2. Boba Tea Date
If you’re looking for new sober activities to try on your next date, why not meet for Boba? Not everyone has tried boba before, which is a great thing in this situation. They’re chewy tapioca balls at the bottom of a milky, sweet tea. Boba tea establishments will usually offer different tea flavors as well. If the experience is new for either one of you, the conversation around it will be a good icebreaker.
3. Cupcake Date
If she has a sweet tooth, she’ll love you forever for this idea. So many gourmet cupcake places are popping up with shareable jumbo sizes and specialty flavors. Pick one in your area and take her for an hour filled with sugary goodness. The best part is, when she thinks back on the date, she’ll associate you with all that excitement.
4. Chocolate-Tasting Date
If your town has a chocolatier, do not hesitate to take your date for a tasting! You never know what someone’s favorite chocolate candy filling will reveal about their personality. Will she be a straight-up caramel type of gal, or something weirdly unexpected, like orange cream? Ask for several samples before sitting down to share a few of your favorites.
Lots of people love tea, and places that serve it as their main offering have a quaint and cozy feel to them. You’ll also get the benefits of caffeine just like you would with coffee, but the date will feel slightly more original, compared to coffee or some other sober date ideas you might have in mind.
6. Escape Room Date
The key to this would be keeping the price below $10, so check places like Goldstar, Groupon, Eventbrite, or your other local event listings to find discounts. Escape rooms are tons of fun and take the pressure off of having to keep a conversation going since your focus isn’t really on each other, but getting the eff out of that room.
7. Jiu-Jitsu Class
Like the escape room date, jiu-jitsu gives you an activity to focus on and something to talk about afterward — not to mention, it’s exhilarating. You’ll likely forget that you’re on an actual “date” and will embrace the challenge of learning new moves together. To make this activity affordable, check listings in your area for free classes for first-timers.
8. Free Concerts/Shows/Festivals/Live Events
These types of sober date ideas should be especially easy to find if it’s summertime. Check Facebook Events or Yelp to see what’s going on for free in your zip code. You may come across live music, dance events, themed fairs, and other happenings that won’t cost you a penny.
9. Cookie-Tasting Date
Along the lines of cupcake or chocolate tasting, you could also do a cookie-tasting date. Gourmet cookies are another trendy type of dessert spot that lends itself well to a short-but-sweet (no pun intended) first date. Get something out of the ordinary to show your uniqueness (no chocolate chip!).
10. Frozen Yogurt Date
This one is great for someone who may not be that into sugar. From deciding which flavors to put in your swirl, to which fruits you want and which dry toppings you want to add it’s a process, for sure. So you’ll have a little time to relax and ease into things before you end up sitting across the table staring at each other.
Physically Active and Sober Second Date Ideas
11. Bike Ride
A bike ride is an excellent idea if you do it all the time. Invite her along on a trip you already planned, or that you go on regularly. Assuming that you know that she rides too, the date invitation will feel natural and low-pressure.
Getting out in nature and merely walking can create a unique feeling of relaxation that can elevate a second date. As you’re hiking, you might think about subtle ways you can touch her (little things like helping her up a steep hill, maybe?). Touch helps to build sexual tension.
13. Rock Climbing
If you’re both adventurous, why not try something that’ll get your hearts pounding? Even if you’re a novice, there are easy rock climbing walls at indoor gyms that will make you both feel accomplished. The high endorphin rush will boost your mood, making it well worth it.
14. Volleyball Game
Hit the beach and see if you can join a pickup volleyball game. Not only will you get your blood flowing, but you’ll be able to watch her interact with her teammates, which could give you valuable info about her social skills.
15. Cornhole Tournament
Even if you’ve never heard of these, channel your inner hipster and give it a shot. The game cornhole is a “bean bag toss” lawn game, and people often play tournament style. Look for games in your area (California has many).
Here’s an idea if you’re looking for unique dates without alcohol to impress a certain someone. Look up the SPCA in your area, or other places that could use volunteers, and spend a couple of hours giving back. Not only will it show her your empathetic side, but the satisfaction you’ll get from service will make you both feel great about the date.
Spark intellectual conversation by taking her to a local museum with an exciting exhibit. If an inspiring talk or museum tour is going on, you might want to check that out as well.
18. Art & Music Festival
Festivals are an easy way to do something active that’s also interesting and isn’t too physically challenging.
19. Trampoline Park
Of all the sober date ideas in this article, jumping on a trampoline is one of the silliest, but worth the risk. It has a way of bringing out the inner 10-year-old in you, and it can be super fun to bond with someone over something a bit odd.
Probably not an option for everyone depending on where you live, but if you have access to it, kayaking is a skill that’s easy to pick up, as well as enjoyable.
Sober Date Ideas: For Third Dates
21. Cook a Blue Apron Meal Together
Who said you have to have dinner at a restaurant? Services like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, EveryPlate, and others sell meal kits online with all the ingredients you need for a gourmet meal and will ship it right to your door. Order one of these, and then invite her over to your place to help you make it. Working together on the meal, as well as the anticipation over how it’ll turn out, will help you connect.
22. Sushi Dinner Date
Taking her out for sushi is a great way to impress without alcohol. (ignore the server when he offers you that shot of sake.) It’ll also give you both a chance to try something new together.
23. Homemade Italian Dinner Date
Invite her over to your place for dinner and cook her an Italian meal. The best part is, the dish will likely be effortless to prepare unless of course, you’re making your dough from scratch!
24. Cooking Class Date
Tell her you are going to check out a cooking class at a local restaurant and ask her if she wants to come. (These do exist — research places like Sur la Table and Williams Sonoma, or search Facebook Events for ones at smaller local restaurants in your town.) It’s a chance to do something out of the ordinary while both learning something new.
25. Pizza Delivery & Cookie Bake-Off at Your Place
Instead of taking her out to dinner, have her over and order pizza, and then bake a batch of cookies together for dessert. It’ll give you guys a chance to naturally get close to one another as you work in the kitchen, and playfully show off your domestic side.
26. Movie in the Park Date
Some cities, especially in the summer, have movie screenings outdoors. For example, in Los Angeles, there’s Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where you can bring snacks and a blanket and watch an old movie (in the actual cemetery!). If your city has something similar, it’s worth checking out. Sitting outside, watching a movie together is both cozy and romantic.
27. Dancing Date
Dancing is a great way to deepen your physical connection. Dance studios will often host events with a DJ spinning individual styles (think salsa, swing, line dancing, or even tango). Or, if you’re not really into partner dancing, you can always take her to a nightclub. Regardless, dancing will open up the channels for more physical contact — and who knows where that will lead?
28. Dinner and a Show
One reliable way to impress is by taking her to dinner and a show. Use Eventbrite or Goldstar to look for reasonable prices for a play, stand-up comedy show, improv performance, opera, symphony, ballet, the list is endless. It’s a classy choice that will make her feel catered to.
29. Dinner and Karaoke
Instead of a show, how about karaoke? Sharing something you’re not good at will have you both laughing, not to mention feeling closer, by the end of the night. (Because let’s be honest, how many people are good at karaoke?)
30. Dinner and Paint Night
“Paint and sip” events are becoming popular nowadays, where you learn to paint while having a glass of wine at an art studio or bar. Why not do a sober version of this at home? Invite her over for dinner, buy a paint pack, and see what comes of it. You’ll get to know each other in a way you might not have expected.
Still Stumped? Hire a Coach to Help You Plan the Perfect Sober Date Idea
Even with all of these ideas, finding the perfect sober date for your personality, based on what’s available where you live, can still be hard. You might be facing specific challenges that make it challenging, such as:
- You’re newly sober: Not many of these things will feel comfortable or familiar if you’re accustomed to going to bars as your primary source of entertainment.
- You have cultural differences: If you’re new to the country, locating unique events and determining what’s fun vs. not can be more difficult.
- You have a particularly hard time taking risks: A lot of sober date ideas tend to be more creative. Why? Because you have to think outside the standard box of “going out for drinks.” C can trigger your fears of taking risks or trying something new. Lots of people get stuck here.
Does any of this sound familiar? Then maybe coming up with sober date ideas isn’t the problem. Instead, it could be something else that’s holding you back. If that’s the case, book a 1-on-1 New Client Skype Session with me to find out how you can deal with your challenges and introduce fun, sober date ideas into your dating life. We’ll also determine if my 3-month Signature program could work for you.