Safe and Sober Date Night Ideas for Recovery

safe and sober date night couple biking

Getting back into dating can be intimidating if you’re in recovery. That’s especially true as you’re normally asked to wait at least a year before you start dating again. Once you wait that long, getting back into things can be intimidating, not only because you’re “rusty” but also because you likely have to avoid stereotypical hangouts like bars.

Luckily there are dozens of safe and sober date night options, often no matter where you are. Actual opportunities will change a lot depending on where you are and whether you’re in a city or not. However, most of the following ideas are relatively accessible anywhere in the United States.

Indoor Sports

Indoors sports like roller skating, ice skating, bouldering, and dance or spin are a great way to have fun and share an experience with your date. While these events all require a certain amount of physical mobility and fitness, they can be a lot of fun – and many are open till quite late. For example, most boulder gyms are open till around 9 PM, giving you plenty of time to have a date night.

In each case, your options depend on what you want, what’s available in your area, and what your date wants.


Learning something can be a great way to spend the day together. Of course, you probably don’t want to make that class one on taxes and accounting. However, you can take a lot of fun classes like dancing, cooking, pottery, painting, etc. and share the experience together.

It’s a good idea to make sure you aim for something that is relatively low skill, so you don’t need a lot of classes – unless you’re already at the point of deciding to see each other more often. For example, a guitar lesson is probably a bad date but a course on cooking the perfect spaghetti alfredo may be.

Star Gazing

Depending on your area, star gazing may be a great activity. Finding a clear spot to lie and look at the stars can be a fun activity – and a surprisingly romantic one. If you want to make it a bit more of an activity, rent or borrow a telescope and bring a star chart or guide from your local library.

Evening Walks

Walks don’t have to be on the beach to be romantic. Instead, you can plan a casual walk through your local parks or nature areas (or even your city) to share the experience with your date. Walks can be a great way to experience an activity while leaving plenty of room to talk and entertain each other. And, it’s a great way to keep up with your fitness goals for your recovery.

If you’re walking in the evening, try to make sure you pick areas with lighting or bring a light.

Play Games

Board games, computer games, and console games are all a great way to spend an evening and can be a great deal of entertainment for two. That’s true whether you set up an evening of chess or spend the night on Mario Kart. However, it is important to figure out what both of you want to play upfront and pick something where neither has a large skill advantage. For example, if one of you lives on computer games, try to opt for board games for a bit.

a couple jamming playing guitar

Sober Outtings

Sober outings like Karaoke, escape rooms, arcades, sober bars, etc., are a great way to get your date out of the house. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many will also sell alcohol. Therefore, if you’re still practicing avoiding alcohol, you’ll likely want to call upfront and make sure they do not sell alcohol. For example, bowling alleys almost always sell alcohol after about 6 PM. That’s also true for Karaoke rooms. On the other hand, many escape rooms don’t sell it at all. So, you can check around to see which options you have and where you can go without having alcohol present.

Go for a Joyride

Getting out of the house can be great for a date. However, if you don’t feel like going to a venue and risking alcohol being there, you can try just taking your car out for a ride. You might want to drive somewhere or figure out where you can drive so that you don’t get confused while driving. However, having time to sit, enjoy music, and talk can be a great way to have a date. You can also stop and get takeout or go through a drive through and have a picnic or eat in the car as part of a date.

Can this be romantic? That entirely depends on you and how you treat the date.


Crafting can be a great way to spend time together. For example, you can paint, build something, or even cook. While this kind of activity normally requires that you stay home or go to your date’s home, it can be a great way to bond, to connect, and to get an idea of what the other person is really like. And, it can be extremely romantic to share making something with someone. Of course, you will want to talk to them about it and see what they are comfortable doing with you but otherwise, this can be a lot of fun.

Finding things to do that don’t involve drugs or alcohol can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it often means avoiding a lot of dancing and clubs, which means cutting out many of your traditional date options. However, you’ll always have dinner and a movie (although movies are bad first date options) and other similar options.

It’s also a good idea to decide how much you need to avoid alcohol. If you can go to a restaurant where they serve beer and not be triggered, you can go. If you don’t think you can, you should avoid them for the time being. And, that’s true with bowling alleys, theaters, cinema, and other outings. Good luck with your date.

If you or a loved one is seeking help for alcohol or other substance abuse, contact us at Stairway Resource Center today. At Stairway Resource Center we provide a 60 to 90-day outpatient program that takes place in an engaging and supportive community setting. We offer dual diagnosis treatment and daily group and individual therapy for our clients, in addition to fun community-based events and activities.

About Jim Sugel

SEO and Digital Marketing Expert Jim Sugel is an SEO and Digital Marketing Expert in addition to having achieved the coveted Google Partner status for PPC expertise. Prior to focusing on Digital Marketing, Jim worked in Information Technology roles at a variety of national firms as a software engineer and consultant, resulting in many years of professional coding and consulting experience. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science, cum laude in Computer Science and Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. After relocating to Southern California from his native Chicago, he became involved in the recovery industry here, discovering a natural niche in helping treatment centers with Digital Marketing and other technology projects. Jim is the Founder and CEO of Airtight Digital, a firm that specializes in digital marketing for the behavioral health industry. His other interests include hiking, canyoneering, urban exploration, and screenwriting. Jim now lives in beautiful and sunny Orange County, California.