Dinner and drinks, like dinner and a movie, are a classic date night combo. But after an indulgent holiday season, this staple staple is just begging to be replaced. Additionally, more and more people are making the choice to stop drinking as growing movements like dry January— a month of post-holiday sobriety to start the new year — gaining momentum.
If you’re attending Dry January or already practicing sobriety, we’re here to bring you new date ideas that don’t involve alcohol. Instead of depending on alcohol to break the ice, fuel your connection with this guide to fun, alcohol-free date ideas.
Immerse yourself in art and culture
Take that extra money you save by not buying drinks and instead use it to explore Orlando’s vibrant arts and culture scene.
In late 2021, Orlando Science Center launched a new private stargazing experience perfect for couples. Available Friday and Saturday nights through March 5, 2022, this after-hours tour includes a telescope viewing and private planetarium experience.
Other notable museums include the Morse Museum on Park Ave, which offers free admission on Friday nights from November through April, and Orlando Museum of Art. At the OMA, ongoing exhibitions showcase the works of famous artists such as Botticelli, Rembrandt and Jackson Pollock. You can also see stunning black-and-white photographs by Floridian photographer Clyde Butcher on display until August 2022. Save the date for February, when the museum will display 26 previously unpublished or exhibited works by legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Do you like DIY projects? Head to Thornton Park to try your hand at candle making at Artifact Candle Foundry. Or book The Splash Room of Inspiration (locations in Oviedo and Winter Garden) to get dirty while creating your own custom splatter paint together. The latter is a favorite among Orlando Date Night Guide readers.
Explore the world of mocktails
When going without alcohol, it turns out that you don’t have to avoid the bar altogether. Indeed, in 2022, Orlando will welcome its first bar completely without spirits. The BANDBOX will be a 1920s-inspired speakeasy exclusively serving non-alcoholic craft cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic tonics, spirits, CBD drinks, shrubs and more. Look for it to open in Spring 2022 on North Orange Ave.
Zero-proof menu options are also becoming more common. Tori-Tori, a Japanese pub in the Mills 50 District, offers a non-alcoholic beverage menu, including the option to ask your bartender to create a special bespoke mocktail. Neighbors, a new spot located upstairs in the East End Market, also offers four creative non-alcoholic cocktails on its bar menu. Treat yourself to the cider donut, made with apple, ginger and cinnamon demerara. Or head to ICEBAR Orlando on I-Drive to sip the Penguin Punch, a mocktail served in a signature ice cream cup.
Are you going for a romantic dinner? Pick a place where zero-proof cocktails are proudly listed on the menu. Unique specialty mocktails including mango and lychee lemonade; virgin daiquiri; and the Lemony Snicket, made with lemon juice, barley and soda water, is on the menu at home. You can also find non-spirited concoctions to accompany your dinner at The Monroe. Tea and coffee-focused creations contain additional blends like bitters, ginger beer, Earl Gray cream and more.
Plan an adventurous date without alcohol
Shake up your usual routine with fun moments like ax throwing. The technique is easy enough to master even if you’ve never held an axe, and sharing a new experience together is a fun way to deepen your connection. The Ax Trap in Winter Park offers the chance to extend your date with coffee and tapas after the axe-throwing. Other locations include Epic Ax Throwing and BATL Ax Throwing, both located downtown.
Zipped lining is another adrenaline-fueled date idea, offered at central Florida locations like the Central Florida Zoo, Gatorland, and Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours.
Ready for a road trip? Make plans to finally watch a rocket launch on the Space Coast with our tips for experiencing a launch like a real local.
Spend time outdoors
Unwind on a booze-free date spent in Orlando’s many outdoor spaces. One of our favorite cheap date ideas is to fill a picnic basket with snacks, juices, sandwiches and whatever else is in the pantry for a picnic in the park. A few of our favorite places include Mead Botanical Garden, Bok Tower Gardens (entrance fees apply) and Kraft Azalea Garden.
For more free fun, go on a hike on a local trail. Some discoveries new to us include the Tibet-Butler Nature Reserve and the Flat Island Reserve. Lotus Lake Park is perfect if you like a good walk, and Lake Louisa State Park offers miles of serene hiking trails not far from historic downtown Clermont.
Spending the day at a farm is a more original idea that is sure to impress your date. To try goat yoga at Alaska Farms, or book lunches under the century-old oak at Bountiful Farms Bistro. We also like to head to a local U-pick farm for seasonal strawberries, blueberries, peaches, citrus fruits and sunflowers.
Finally, one of the main advantages of living in Florida is the abundance of natural springs and waterways to explore. What better way to experience this than on a unique kayak excursion? Get up close to manatees in a see-through kayak with Get Up and Go Kayaking, or watch the bioluminescence phenomenon on a guided kayak tour of Florida’s Space Coast during the summer months.
Use dry January as an opportunity to relax
Instead of taking a seat at the bar, make yourself comfortable in a unique cafe. Sip seasonal coffee flights at New City Coffee, take your drink from Citrus Coffee to the upper level of the Florida Citrus Tower for stunning views of central Florida, or sip your latte from Minch Coffee while playing with the adoptable kittens at the Orlando Cat Cafe.
If you prefer lounging by the pool, spend a bit more money on day passes for local hotel pools from Resort Pass. Think of it as your all-access pass to resort amenities without booking a full getaway or overnight stay. A few of our top picks include Omni Orlando Resort, Hilton Orlando, and Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress.
Otherwise, go out of your way and treat yourself to a luxury spa day. We’ve rounded up our favorite spas for couples here.
Feature image credit: Pinspiration