19 Date Ideas That Don’t Require Alcohol

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After two drinking-centric dates, Dan* told me he was going to do a sober month. I feel like nothing bad can come from someone cutting out booze, but I also wondered what that would mean for our next few dates. While I'm not the biggest drinker, alcohol typically goes hand-in-hand with the first few getting-to-know-each-other dates in NYC, so it often feels comfortable. I didn't know what this would mean for our next dates but I was excited to find out what's beyond the bar — and more about Dan.

On our first date where Dan was sober, we went to the Meatpacking District’s Annual Open Market, a fundraiser to celebrate the NYC neighborhood's business community. The event, which was essentially a vibrant indoor block party, featured food from the neighborhood's hottest eateries, live DJs, and access to sample sales from some of the area's brands. We sampled food, chatted up friendly business owners, checked out clothes, and watched updates from the silent auction (and regretted not bidding on the NYC staycation). While there was drinking at the Open Market, it wasn't the focus of the upbeat, social event. We were mostly on our feet, but we also had plenty of time to chat (and flirt).

This was just the start to the many fun alcohol-free dates that followed. The amazing part? Dates without booze are often ones where you're doing things (versus sitting at a bar) and get to know each other's ~authentic~ personality. And they actually take the pressure off tremendously. “Activity-based dates are a wonderful icebreaker," Susan Winter, relationship expert and bestselling author of Allowing Magnificence, tells Bustle. "By having an activity be the focal point of the interaction, there’s less pressure on the ‘question and answer’ aspect of a date. The format shifts to fun and adventure."

So, if you're ready for an adventure, here are 19 date ideas to check out whether you don't drink, are taking a month off, or just want to mix it up.

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