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While I highly appreciate the value alcohol can add to a date, especially a first date, and while I like the feeling of being drunk or tipsy (when in good company), I think the taste of alcohol is disgusting. All of it, yes.

Yesterday I was exploring Santa Teresa, a hillside neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, with a friend who purchased a tall can of beer because it was hot outside.

No, thank you. Water for me. I don’t understand it. The phenomenon to drink something that not only doesn’t quench your thirst but also tastes bad. At least it’s cold :p

There’s a time and place for alcohol (like the Samba and Feijoada party I’ll go to later today!), but there are more times and places to be taken advantage of in a sober state of mind.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t get drunk! In fact, it’s a great idea to get your partner drunk to see how they behave. Pro tip.


Let’s ditch the traditional date with alcohol and find some different ideas. Shall we?

I have a list of twenty-eight date ideas that don’t include alcohol (ok, one does). I’m ordering them in rough order of “interestingness”.

Try Local Fruit From The Grocery Store

Whether you or your date are in a foreign country, this makes for a good date and getting to know the local culture. Who knows, maybe you’ll both like Durian and form a lifelong connection because of it.

Even if you’re in your own city, go to a market and pick up some fruits you don’t recognize and share the experience.

Group Class (Dance, Yoga, Meditation, Stretching)

This goes double if you’re actually a good dancer or yogi because you’ll get to show off one of your skills without bragging. A bonus is that you can usually find a free pass for first-timer’s.

Psychic Reading

There are a million different types of psychic readings. Here are the most popular:

  • Astrology
  • Palm Reading
  • Tarot Cards
  • Fortune Tellers

When you do this, you’ll quickly understand that 90% are frauds so the rule here is to just find a cheap one as it’s more about the experience than the psychic.

Instagram Hot Spot

Pretty much everyone loves a great Instagram photo. Why not kill two birds with one stone by exploring your own city and finding an ‘Instagrammable’ destination together.

Simply search ‘most instagrammable spots [city]’.

Make Salsa (Or Sangria or a smoothie)

Ok, one alcoholic idea on this list. Sue me. But you must admit, these are good date ideas..

Go to the market or grocery store, buy the ingredients, and make together.

Ingredients For Salsa:

  • Tomatoes (get the orange or yellow ones!)
  • Avocado
  • Peppers
  • Garic
  • Onion
  • Cilantro and/or Parsley
  • Corn
  • jalapeño
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Lime Juice
  • Chips
  • BONUS: honey (just to pretend you know what you’re doing)

Ingredients For Sangria:

  • A bottle of Spanish wine
  • 2 limes
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 mango
  • 5cup sugar

First, pour wine into a pitcher and let it “breathe” for 10 minutes. Second, add sugar. Three, squeeze juice of one lemon, lime, and orange. Fourth, slice up the remaining fruit and add to the pitcher. Fifth, refridgerate for one hour and serve.

Go To A Dog Park

Pretty self-explanatory, right? If you feel too strange going to an actual dog park without a dog then find any park. Beware of anyone who says no to this idea without a very solid reason why not!

Go To An Arcade

Yes, an old-fashioned arcade with games. This works best if both people are competitive. If the guy is not coordinated, it’s embarrassing. If the girl acts too girly, that’s annoying. These can be found often in shopping centers.

I found this soviet-era arcade room in Moscow, Russia and turned it into an epic date idea with uniqueness (she’d never been there before), Instagrammableness, and competitiveness. Check.

Shooting Range

Only a special type of female will be down with this one: an adventurous one. Usually, you can find a gun range within an hour’s drive from your home. No experience is necessary. But, watch it! It can get expensive. Upwards of $100 per person. The larger the gun and the bullet, the costlier the date.

As an alternative, maybe you could find an archery range.

Go Window Shopping

Step One: Find popular or high-end shopping district.

Step Two: Order Uber.

Step Three: Enjoy.

Best part about this date is its affordablility.

In Medellin, Colombia I discovered Junin Street (or Calle Junín), the original upscale shopping street in the 1960s and 1970s giving rise to the verb “juninear” – in Spanish it means ‘to window shop’.

Improv or Comedy Show

I’m sitting in a café in Kiev writing this article and asked the girl sitting next to me to tell me which one jumped out at her most and she chose this one.

I recommend not meeting at the venue, first share some time together then share a laugh.

If it’s an improv show there’s a chance you can even embarrass each other by acting in the show if audience participation is requested. If a comedy show, try to sit up in the first row to increase your odds of comedian engagement.


Have to buy new contact lenses? Going to the grocery store? Why not ask your partner if they want to come along for the experience? Simply spending time with each other is just as valuable as anything.

This can even be the first date. You’re a busy guy or gal. You want to meet the other person, extend the opportunity.

There’s a psychological aspect at play here, especially if this is the first date. Who does she usually run errands with? Her boyfriend or someone she’s already comfortable with. So you’ve forced yourself into this position quite nicely and ahead of time.

Language Exchange

This works best if you both are bi-lingual, or at least trying to learn a second language. The great thing about a language exchange is that you’re always in demand as an English speaker. You can easily find these on facebook in larger cities by typing ‘language exchange [city]’ or do a google search.

Go To The Gym

Oh, you’re also really busy? How strange. You and everyone else.

Most people go to the gym, at least occasionally. Why not make it a team sport? I’ve done countless dates at the gym. Don’t feel like you have to stick by each other’s sides the whole time. Maybe warm up together and then do abs or stretch at the end together. If you know how to do handstands or any other unique skill, teach her!

Bonus: Once when I did this, I gave my date one of my earbuds so that we could be listening to the same music. Just make sure it’s clean!

Dessert Shop

I have a sweet tooth so this is a favorite! Luckily, most women also have a sweet tooth.

Maybe go to a toffee shop and each pick out three flavors for the other person to try at a park nearby?

Tea House (or Coffee Shop)

This is a clear favorite due to its simplicity. You cannot go wrong here. As always, try to find a ‘secret’ or ‘hidden’ café. I found this reptile café in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

In Moscow, Russia, I found Ziferblat (Tsiferblat) coffee shop by chance. On Google maps it was listed as a community center so it didn’t come up with my search for coffee shops, but it was a hidden coffee shop where you needed a password to get in. Once inside, you selected a clock to keep track of your time and you’d pay for the time you spend there (unlimited coffee and snacks) rather than the amount of coffee you drank. Additionally, the interior was super cool with many rooms and comfortable seats.

Explore A Neighborhood

We all tend to get stuck in our routines. I lived in San Francisco for about 8 years and barely ever ventured out of the North Beach / Marina / Nob Hill zones. It has a million neighborhoods and micro-neighborhoods like Mission, SoMa, Chinatown, Presidio, Castro, Japan Town, Little Italy, Dogpatch, Hayes Valley just to name a few (literally there are at least 25 more). I probably explored these “other” neighborhoods less than 15 times in eight years.

Simply walk down the main street and go into shops you deem worthy. People watching is always an option..

People Watching

People watching is fun. The key is to find a good vista point. This can be from a perch in a park or a balcony at a bar.

I have a game you can play. It’s called Murder, Marry, Shag. Each partner pick’s three people for the other person. Then take turns telling your date which of the three you would murder, marry, and shag (sex) AND, more importantly, why.

Book Store or Pet Store or Toy Store

Play with puppies, browse best-sellers, or relive childhood? These are sure to rouse spontaneous conversation.

Botanical Gardens

We’ve all got one. We’ve never been to it. At least not with any frequency. These are usually gigantic so you can walk and talk for days and discover new areas. Oftentimes there are some great Instagrammable hidden gems in the botanical gardens.


Bring a Bluetooth speaker, a soccer ball, and your flirting abilities. You can even help each other with your handstanding!

Other Non-Alcoholic Date Ideas

  • Go to an F Market (Farmer’s, Flea, Flower, Food)
  • Zoo
  • Hike
  • Billards

When you’re out in your city, keep your eyes open. Often times you’ll notice a new sign or shop that you haven’t seen before like a psychic just down the street from you, or you’ll go down a street you normally don’t go down to find a wine and cheese school.

You can always search for fun activities. If you do this, be specific to find specific results. If you search ‘Things to do in Milan, Italy’ you’re going to get the most perfectly search-engine-optimized article that’s probably used to drive sales and not push information.

Instead, search ‘free activities on Sundays in Milan, Italy’. This search is more likely to reveal more specialized blog posts from people like me and you just trying to share their information without any other motivations.

Using this search technique I found this city-like cemetery in Manila, Philippines where the dead live in mansions with A/C, hot tubs, running water, and all.


What’s your favorite non-alcoholic date idea?

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