Alcohol-free date ideas for dry January and beyond
I don’t know about you, but I feel 2022! If your holiday season was like mine, taking a few weeks off might seem like a great idea. Enter: Dry January – a whole month of sobriety to start the new year.
The dry month of January has been all the rage in recent years for a number of reasons. Stopping alcohol can improve your health and save you more money than you might think. However, this is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you are trying to maintain a social life or if you are dating.
If you’re on Dry January, already practicing sobriety, or just want ideas for dates more unique than standard dinner and drinks, I’ve got you covered with this list of date ideas that do not involve drinking. Just because you don’t drink doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Promise.
Ideas for artistic and cultural meetings without alcohol
Visit a museum
If you live in Tampa Bay and haven’t visited one of the area’s many art museums lately, you’re missing out! Pick up your date and visit the Tampa Art Museum, St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, or the Dali Museum. Another unique and Insta-worthy option is the Ringling Museum in Sarasota.
Do it yourself
For those of you who prefer to be more practical, these suggestions are for you. One of my all-time favorite hangouts is The Candle Pour in Hyde Park Village. Choose your own combination of scents and create a personalized candle that will always remind you of your romantic evening.
A short walk away you will find The Cake Drip. Live your wildest dreams of Willy Wonka and create your perfect chocolate bar or test your cake decorating skills. Either way, it’s sure to be sweet! There is also another location in the St. Pete’s Edge district. FYI: A typical Cake Drip experience includes free champagne for guests 21 and over, so be sure to let the staff know you want to avoid the champions. If you’re trying to avoid places that serve alcohol altogether, this might not be the best place for you.
If you’re a little more serious in your art, the Dunedin Fine Art Center offers adult classes in virtually any type of artistic concentration you can imagine. Learn how to make jewelry, hone your graphic design skills, or even try metalworking! Most classes are multiple weekly sessions, so this is the perfect option for a stand-up date night.
Other solid DIY options include Painting with a Twist, Color Me Mine, and the AR Workshop.
A perfect evening: a show at the Straz Center, dinner at Ulele or Steelbach, and a stroll on the Riverwalk. This combination never disappoints and is perfect for any stage of a relationship. Check the Straz Center website for upcoming shows.
Places to swap cocktails for specialty mocktails
Having a drink with dinner can be tempting, but artisanal mocktails (cocktails minus alcohol) are appearing on more and more menus. Gone are the days when you limited yourself to soda or juice if you didn’t drink! While you can certainly ask for non-alcoholic drinks at most restaurants or bars, there are some of the best restaurants in Tampa that feature non-alcoholic specialties on their menu.
With the company putting more emphasis on health in 2022, mocktails will almost certainly be added to many other menus throughout this year!
You already know Datz has some of the most delicious dishes in the Bay Area, but did you know they have mocktails on their brunch menu? Labeled as ‘Insta-worthy’ the Cinny Bunny is essentially a cinnamon bun in a drink * insert heart eyes here *. Even if you don’t refrain from drinking, Datz’s mocktails are quite tempting.
that of Willa
One of Tampa’s new restaurants, Willa’s, has a zero-proof section on its beverage menu, making it easy to choose a non-alcoholic drink. It includes delicious options like Soft Sangria and Willa’s Tonic.
If you’re planning a romantic evening, Meat Market has two “alcohol-free stones” on the menu: Magic Lemonade and One in a Melon. One in a Melon is a blend of watermelon, lime, lavender, mint and seltzer. I couldn’t wait to try this one!
If you’ve never been to Counter Culture before, you’re missing out. In addition to their amazing brunch and dinner menus, they offer a zero-proof cocktail menu and non-alcoholic beer.
Sports and adventure dates
Go to a game
In case you haven’t heard, it’s Champa Bay, not Tampa Bay, now. Cheering on your favorite team from the stands is a perfect date. I know it can be hard to believe, but you don’t have to be drunk to have fun at a Bucs game. Plus, it’s considerably cheaper when you exclude all White Claws at the stadium price. Use that extra money to get yourself better seats!
Live an adventure together
There are so many ways to be adventurous in Tampa Bay. Rent a Coast Bike and explore the Riverwalk or Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Or try St. Pete’s Pier or biking on St. Pete’s Beach. Check out our article on the best bike rides in Tampa Bay for more inspiration.
If you’re looking for a little more adrenaline rush and your date isn’t afraid of heights, check out the zipline and treetop adventure course at Empower Adventures. We have more zipline date ideas in this article.
Visiting a U-pick farm is another fun and unique way to spend a day. Depending on the season, you can pick local strawberries, blueberries, sunflowers and more! Some of my favorites within hours of Tampa are Hunsader Farms, Keel Farms and Red, White & Blues Farm.
Be part of the action
This one is for all the athletic couples out there! Tampa Bay Club Sports has a number of intramural adult sports teams, from softball to pickleball to flag football. Pick your sport, join a team and think of it as a weekly date night! It’s a great way to meet new people, stay active, and bond with your partner.
Spend a day on the water
Fact: The best views of downtown Tampa are from the water. Rent a paddle board from Urban Kai, a water bike or an electric boat and see for yourself! If you’re on the Gulf, hire a jet ski to add a little thrill to a day at the beach.
Within hours of Tampa, you’ll find plenty of natural springs, including Weeki Wachee and Devil’s Den. At Weeki Wachee, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore miles of crystal-clear water. You might even see a manatee or two! Devil’s Den offers scuba diving and snorkeling in an area that will make you feel like you are on a tropical vacation.
Cold and romantic dates for dry January
Take care of you
Is there anything better than a day at the spa? I really don’t think so. Treat yourself and your partner to a day of relaxation in one of the best spas in the region. I particularly like the Sudeva Spa in South Tampa, the Oceana Spa at Don Cesar in St. Pete, and the Botanica Day Spa in Clearwater for couples.
Be their guest
Gone are the days of sneaking into hotel pools! With Resort Pass, you can purchase a day pass to most of Tampa Bay’s top hotels, giving you access to the pool and other amenities. The prices are really reasonable, and some even have cabanas that you can book.
Have a picnic
Luxury picnics are all the rage right now and such a romantic gesture for a date. Tampa Bay is full of great picnic spots, as well as businesses that will put everything in place for you. If you are celebrating something special, this is one of my top recommendations!
Visit a market
Buy local and spend the day with your partner in one of Tampa’s many markets. Stock up on your produce, discover new local businesses, and even bring your four-legged friends. Check out this article to learn all about the craft markets near you. Or refer to this one if you like Farmers Markets.
Have a coffee (or tea)
Instead of hanging out at a bar, try a cafe! There are so many unique local cafes to explore that you could honestly go to a new place every day for a month and not repeat an option. I’m currently obsessed with The Blend’s seasonal coffee flights and the cold brew floats at Buddy Brew. Another great option is the Mad Hatters ethnobotanical tea bar. This 24 hour kava bar serves loose tea, kava, kombucha and more in St. Pete. Think trendy bar, minus the alcohol.
Photo credit: The Candle For