24 Things to Do with Friends — Besides Hitting a Bar

updated May 1, 2019
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There are a lot of reasons to want to skip the bar for your next hangout with friends. Whether one of you is in recovery, are refraining from alcohol for health or religious reasons, or just want to mix it up because you’re over the bar scene, here are some solid suggestions on where to meet up — somewhere, anywhere — besides a bar.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Chow Down

  • Cook dinner together: Pick a dinner recipe from this site (any dinner recipe!) and make plans to make it — and eat it — together after work.
  • Make it a lunch date: Life updates go better with french fries and a pickle.
  • Head to a bakery to nibble on baked goods: Catch up over a freshly baked croissant or decadent cupcake.
  • Pop in to a gelateria or ice cream parlor: You won’t miss the booze when you’re licking rum raisin ice cream out of a sugar cone.
  • Go on a smoothie run: Two straws, please!
  • Pack a picnic in the park: Red grapes, good cheese, better bread, and a large blanket make for a memorable afternoon.
  • Head to a BYOB restaurant: Don’t bother picking up the second B and you won’t be tempted to imbibe.


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Work Up a Sweat

  • Set out on some trails: Lace up your sneakers and go on a hike. The trail mix is optional.
  • Take a walk through the city: Sometimes it’s nice to amble around a hip neighborhood and feel the sunshine on your face while you chat.
  • Sign up for a class at the gym: Best friends go together like downward dog and yoga pants.
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Shop ‘Til You Drop

  • Stock up at the beauty counter: Only your friends will let you know if that lip color is flattering or not.
  • Browse around at a thrift store: Sometimes it’s fun to just to poke around.
  • Hit the mall: Bop into Forever 21 and pretend you’re in high school all over again.
(Image credit: Emma Fiala)


  • Enjoy a mug of tea or cup of coffee at a cool cafe: If the place has free refills, well, that’s even better!
  • Get manicures: Bond while you get pampered.
  • Check out a farmers market: Go halfsies splurging on artisanal honey and fresh produce together.
  • Play host and invite your friend over to your house: Curling up on your couch or sipping lemonade on a patio is a fantastic way to connect.
(Image credit: Roman Samborskyi)

Soak Up Some Culture

  • Go to a museum: Many museums offer pay-what-you-wish days, so catching up won’t cost an arm and a leg.
  • Attend a lecture or class at a college or museum: Dive deep into a subject that interests you both.
  • Hear an author read: Keep an eye out for upcoming readings at your local bookstore or library.
  • Watch a flick at the local art house theater: You won’t get to talk much during the movie, but afterwards, you can discuss your thoughts at great lengths.
  • Score tickets for a concert: Bonus points if it’s for a band that takes you guys back to high school.
  • See a play: Take in the dramatic arts with your most dramatic buddy.
  • Cheer on the local sports team: Get into the spirit and celebrate when your team scores a goal, hits a home run, or whatever it is that sports teams do.

Where do you meet your friends when taking a break from the bar scene? Tell us in the comments!