Forget Dinner + Drinks, Try These Alcohol-Free Date Ideas Instead

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Forget Dinner + Drinks, Try These Alcohol-Free Date Ideas Instead

Dinner and drinks, like dinner and a movie, is a classic date night combination. But after an indulgent holiday season, this basic go-to begs to be replaced. Plus, more and more people are making the choice to quit drinking as growing movements like Dry January–a post-holiday month of sobriety to begin the new year–gain momentum. 

If you're partaking in Dry January or already practice sobriety, we're here to provide you with fresh 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 Arts & Culture

Take that extra money you're saving by not buying drinks and use it to explore Orlando's vibrant arts and culture scene instead.

In late 2021, Orlando Science Center launched a new private stargazing experience perfect for couples. Available on Friday and Saturday evenings through March 5, 2022, this after-hours tour includes telescope viewing and a private planetarium experience.

Other noteworthy museums include the Morse Museum on Park Ave, which features free admission Friday nights November-April, and Orlando Museum of Art. At OMA, current exhibitions highlight the works of famous artists including Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Jackson Pollock. You can also view stunning black and white photographs by Florida photographer Clyde Butcher on display through August 2022. Save the date for February, when the museum will exhibit 26 never-before published or exhibited works from legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Love DIY projects? Head to Thornton Park to try your hand at candle making at Artifact Candle Foundry. Or, book Pinspiration's Splatter Room (locations in Oviedo and Winter Garden) to get messy while creating your own custom splatter painting together. The latter is a favorite among Orlando Date Night Guide readers.

Telescope viewing in the Orlando Science Center dome | Image credit: ODNG contributor Beth Bell

Explore the World of Non-Alcoholic Cocktails

When going alcohol-free, it turns out there's no need to avoid the bar altogether. In fact, in 2022, Orlando will welcome its first completely spirit-free bar. 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 so much more. Look for it to open in spring 2022 on North Orange Ave.

Zero-proof menu options are also becoming more commonplace. Tori Tori, a Japanese pub in the Mills 50 District, has a non-alcoholic drink menu including the option to have your bartender create a special bespoke mocktail. The Neighbors, a new spot located upstairs at East End Market, also features 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 on the Penguin Punch, a mocktail served in a signature cup made out of ice.

Heading out for a romantic dinner? Choose a spot where zero-proof cocktails are proudly listed on the menu. Unique specialty mocktails, including mango lychee lemonade; virgin daiquiri; and the Lemony Snicket, made with lemon juice, orgeat, and soda water, can be found on the menu at Domu. You can also find spirit-free concoctions to pair with your dinner at The Monroe. The tea- and coffee-focused creations contain additional mix-ins like bitters, ginger beer, Earl Grey creme and more.

Heading to Walt Disney World? Check out our extensive guide to mocktails at Disney World for tons of non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy inside and outside of the parks.

Alcohol-Free date ideas - The Bandbox
Image credit: The BANDBOX

Plan an Adventurous Alcohol-Free Date

Shake up your normal routine with some heart-pumping fun like axe throwing. The technique is pretty easy to pick up even if you've never held an axe, and sharing a new experience together is a fun way to deepen your connection. The Axe Trap in Winter Park provides an opportunity to extend your date with coffee and tapas after axe throwing. Other venues include Epic Axe Throwing and BATL Axe Throwing, both located downtown.

Zip lining is another adrenaline-fueled date idea, offered at Central Florida locations like the Central Florida Zoo, Gatorland, and Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours.

Up for a drive? Make plans to finally watch a rocket launch on the Space Coast with our tips for experiencing a launch like a true local.  

Image credit: The Axe Trap

Spend Time in the Great Outdoors

Unwind on an alcohol-free date spent in Orlando's abundant outdoor spaces. One of our favorite cheap date ideas is to fill up 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 spots include Mead Botanical Garden, Bok Tower Gardens (entry fee applies), and Kraft Azalea Garden.

For more free fun, head out for a hike on a local trail. Some new-to-us discoveries include Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve and Flat Island Preserve. Lake Lotus Park is perfect if you love a good boardwalk, and Lake Louisa State Park features miles of serene hiking trails not far from Historic Downtown Clermont.

Spending the day on a farm is a more out-of-the-ordinary idea sure to impress your date. Try goat yoga at Alaska Farms, or book lunch reservations under the ancient oak tree at Bountiful Farms Bistro. We also love heading to a local u-pick farm for seasonal stawberries, blueberries, peaches, citrus and sunflowers.

Lastly, one major perk of living in Florida is the abundance of natural springs and waterways to explore. What better way to experience that than on a unique kayaking tour? Get up close and personal with manatees in a clear kayak with Get Up and Go Kayaking, or see the bioluminescence phenomenon during a guided kayaking tour on Florida's Space Coast in the summer months.

First Date Ideas in Orlando - lunch at Bountiful Farms Bistro
Bountiful Farms Bistro

Use Dry January as an Opportunity to Chill

Instead of pulling up a seat at the bar, cozy up at a unique coffee shop. Sip seasonal coffee flights at New City Coffee, take your beverage from Citrus Coffee to the top level of the Florida Citrus Tower for sweeping views of Central Florida, or sip your latte from Minch Coffee while playing with the adoptable kitties at the Orlando Cat Cafe.

If you'd rather laze by the pool, spend a little extra dough on day passes to local hotel pools from ResortPass. 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.

Alternatively, go all out and treat yourself to a luxurious spa day. We've rounded up our favorite spas for couples here.


Feature image credit: Pinspiration


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