5 Alcohol-Free First Date Ideas

You're back on the market and have recently become sober curious. 

Ah! A bit nerve-wracking, isn't it? 

If you've usually relied on alcohol to loosen up before or during a first date, you're not alone!

In 2021, a survey of 1,000 people in the US revealed that 86% of respondents drank on their first date, and 37% had a drink to get in the mood and steady their nerves before starting the date. 

Let's face it; alcohol is a social lubricant. Many people enjoy alcohol during a celebration, after work with their coworkers, or during casual get-togethers with their friends. 

Grabbing a drink together has become the go-to option when meeting new friends or acquaintances. When you've intentionally set out to go on a date to vet a new partner, meeting for a drink is usually what most people propose. 

We're here to tell you that you don't need alcohol on your first date to have a fantastic time. You can consciously choose not to drink to experience the date fully from a different (and fresh!) perspective.

It's time to grab your notepad and pencil or open your notes app and start writing. Here are five new ways to get to know your potential boo. 

Visit a place that's of shared interest.

Whether you met on a dating app, through mutual friends, or IRL, you most likely have exchanged a few texts first to get to know each other. 

If you want to keep a date casual but still exciting, find something interesting for both of you to do together. 

If you love books, visit a local bookstore. 

Big fan of art? Why not visit a new exhibition at a museum or pop into an art gallery? 

By doing activities that are shared experiences, you incorporate exploring and discovering new things. A connection can build between two people authentically this way. 

Both museums and bookstores are natural conversation starters. In a museum, you can talk about the exhibits or your favorite artists. When surrounded by books, you can discuss your favorite authors or genres.

These are low-pressure activities that don't require a lot of planning and generally will not be expensive (unless you fall in love with a painting or want to take home a stack of books!)

Visiting a museum or a bookstore can allow you both to learn something new and expand your horizons. Exploring new places together is a great way to learn more about a potential partner's perspective on something that interests you.

Even if you don't like museums or books, you can still visit a new place and create a shared experience. The options are endless: check out vintage shops, go to the theater, take a cooking class, or attend a sports event! 

Get a good belly laugh in at a comedy show.

Who doesn't love to laugh? 

Laughter is essential for us as human beings. Laughter relieves stress, relaxes your body, helps regulate cortisol levels, boosts your immune system, and makes you happier. 

Now, what better way to bond with a date than over a good laugh?

If you're embarrassed about how you laugh or what your face might look like mid-laugh, don't be! By showing up as your most authentic self, (this includes even the qualities of yourself you don't love), you're committed to entering a partnership vulnerably and willing to accept yourself for who you are. 

When dating with a mindset based on self-love and acceptance, you'll attract those genuinely interested in you. 

In addition to a comedy show being another shared experience that helps break the ice and create a natural topic of conversation, it's a low-pressure environment. Neither one of you need to carry the conversation the entire time. You can relax, enjoy the show, and during intermission and afterward, find ways to connect. 

Comedy shows are also usually an hour or two, which provides a natural time limit for a date. If things aren't going well, or you realize you actually don't have the same taste in humor at all, it's easy to go your separate ways after the show is over. 

If you live in a larger city, there will most likely be many different types of comedy shows going on. You can choose a show that matches your and your date's sense of humor. You can pick between stand-up comedy, sketch comedy, improv, and more.

Comedy shows can also be a standalone date or part of a larger plan, depending on how much time you want to spend together. You can meet up for a quick bite before or after the show. 

How much time you want to invest in your first date together is up to you. 

Never underestimate a good coffee date.

Even though we have to be honest and admit that coffee is a stimulant, meeting for a coffee date takes the pressure off a fancy dinner or going for drinks.

Getting to know each other in a low-key and low-pressure environment is a great way to have honest and thoughtful conversations. A coffee shop provides a relaxed atmosphere so people generally will feel more comfortable and at ease. Being in a less intimidating place allows most people to be themselves and focus on getting to know each other better. 

If you don't drink coffee, order tea, sparkling water, or whatever drink you prefer. The whole idea of not meeting for drinks is to shift the focus away from what you're drinking and focus on discovering your compatibility without clouded judgment. 

A coffee date is also relatively inexpensive compared to other date options, which can be a plus for those on a budget. 

It's also a flexible option. 

Your coffee date can be as short or as long as you feel comfortable with. If things are going well, you can extend the date to a walk or another activity, and if not, it's easy to wrap up the conversation and part ways.

If you're new to a city, exploring your neighborhood to find a local coffee shop is a great way to become familiar with your new stomping grounds. 

Don't be shy; break a sweat together.

Yes, we know it might sound intimidating, but working out together is a great bonding experience! 

Although it's not the most traditional date idea, it's still an entertaining and exciting option for those who enjoy fitness. 

Besides being a great shared experience, which most tend to do with their friends or already established partners, it's a great way to try something new. 

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, helping put you into a positive and energized mood. It's also a fun and challenging experience that pushes you out of your comfort zone while providing significant health benefits. 

The workout itself can then be a conversation starter after the class. You can discuss the experience and share your thoughts over a coffee or smoothie. 

There are also many workout classes to choose from, so book a style that matches your and your date's interests and fitness levels. 

Like the comedy show, a workout class can be a standalone activity or part of a bigger plan if you want to spend more time getting to know each other before or after. 

Even though a workout class might not be the most conventional first date idea, don't knock it until you try it! 

Check out a local food festival.

If you live in a city, especially now with spring right around the corner, more and more culinary festivals are popping up. If you live in a smaller town, visit your local farmer's market. 

Local food festivals are a unique and fun experience for people to enjoy together. 

Food festivals feature a wide variety of food options from different vendors. Be a little adventurous and have some fun trying new cuisines together. 

It's also a relaxed and casual atmosphere that can be perfect for a date. Stroll around, chat, and enjoy the food at your own pace. 

You're also supporting your local community, which can be a feel-good factor if supporting small businesses is important to you. 

Whatever you do, go in with an open mind. 

Remember, a first date will always be a little uncomfortable at first. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! 

By agreeing to have a sober first date, you both are committed to taking a step toward creating a more authentic connection. 

Written by: Elena Rogers

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