Forget about dinner and drinks, try these alcohol-free date ideas instead

Dinner and drinks, such as dinner and a movie, are a classic combination of date nights. But after an indulgent vacation period, this basic is begging to be replaced. In addition, more and more people are choosing to stop drinking as increasing movements like Dry January– a month of post-vacation sobriety to start the new year – gain momentum.

If you’re attending Dry January or already practicing sobriety, we’re here to provide you with some new alcohol-free dating ideas. Instead of depending on alcohol to break the ice, fuel your connection with this guide to fun alcohol-free dating ideas.

Immerse yourself in arts and culture

Take that extra cash you save by not buying drinks and use it to explore Orlando’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

At the end of 2021, the Orlando Science Center launched a new private stargazing experience perfect for couples. Available Friday and Saturday evenings until March 5, 2022, this night tour includes telescope viewing and a private planetarium experience.

Other notable museums include the Morse Museum on Park Ave, which offers free entry Friday evenings from November through April, and Orlando Museum of Art. At the OMA, current exhibitions highlight the works of famous artists such as Botticelli, Rembrandt and Jackson Pollock. You can also see stunning black-and-white photographs by Florida photographer Clyde Butcher on display until August 2022. Save the date for February, when the museum will display 26 unseen or on display works by legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Do you like DIY projects? Head to Thornton Park to try your hand at candle-making at Artificial candle foundry. Or, book The Inhalation Splash Room (locations in Oviedo and Winter Garden) to get you dirty while together creating your own custom splash paint. The latter is a favorite among readers of the Orlando Date Night Guide.

Orlando Science Center Dome Telescope Observation | Image Credit: Beth Bell, ODNG Contributor

Explore the world of alcohol-free cocktails

When you go alcohol-free, it turns out that you don’t have to avoid the bar altogether. Indeed, in 2022, Orlando will host its first bar completely without spirits. The BANDBOX will be a 1920s-inspired underground bar serving exclusively craft alcohol-free cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic tonics, spirits, CBD drinks, shrubs and more. Expect it to open in spring 2022 on North Orange Ave.

Zero-proof menu options are also increasingly common. Tori Tori, a Japanese pub in the Mills 50 District, offers a menu of non-alcoholic drinks, including the option to have your bartender create a special bespoke non-alcoholic cocktail. Neighbors, a new spot located upstairs at the East End Market, also offers four creative alcohol-free cocktails on its bar menu. Treat yourself to the cider donut, made with apple, ginger and demerara cinnamon. Or head to ICEBAR Orlando on I-Drive to sip the Penguin Punch, a non-alcoholic cocktail served in a signature cup made of ice.

Going for a romantic dinner? Pick a location 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, barley and sparkling water, can be found on the menu at Domu. You can also find spirits-free concoctions to accompany your dinner at The Monroe. The tea and coffee-focused creations feature additional blends like bitters, ginger ale, Earl Gray cream, and more.

Alcohol-free dating ideas - the Bandbox
Image credit: The BANDBOX

Plan an adventurous date without alcohol

Shake up your usual routine with thrilling pleasure like ax throwing. The technique is fairly easy to understand even if you’ve never held an ax, and sharing a new experience together is a fun way to deepen your connection. The ax trap in Winter Park offers the opportunity to extend your date with coffee and tapas after the ax throwing. Other locations include Epic Ax Throwing and BATL Ax Throwing, both located downtown.

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

Ready for a reader? Make plans for finally watching a rocket launch on the coast from space with our advice on how to experience a launch like a real local.

Image credit: The ax trap

Spend time in the great outdoors

Unwind on a non-alcoholic 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 in the pantry for a while. picnic in the park. A few of our favorite spots include Mead Botanical Garden, Bok Tower Gardens (entrance fees apply), and Kraft Azalea Garden.

For more free fun, go for a hike on a local trail. Some of the new discoveries for us include the Tibet-Butler Nature Reserve and the Flat Island Reserve. Lake Lotus 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 on a farm is a more unusual idea that will certainly impress your date. To try goat yoga at Alaska Farms, or book reservations for lunch under the hundred-year-old oak at Bistro des Fermes Bountiful. We also like to go 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 phenomenon of bioluminescence on a guided kayak tour of Florida’s Space Coast during the summer months.

First Date Ideas in Orlando - Lunch at Bountiful Farms Bistro
Bistro des Fermes Bountiful

Use the dry month of January as an opportunity to relax

Instead of sitting at the bar, make yourself comfortable in a unique café. Sip seasonal flights of coffee at New City Coffee, grab your beverage of Citrus Coffee on the top floor of the Florida Citrus Tower for sweeping views of central Florida, or sip your minch coffee latte while playing with the kittens at adopt at the Orlando Cat Cafe.

If you prefer to lounge by the pool, spend a little extra cash to purchase day passes for pools at local hotels from ResortPass. Think of it as your full 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 out of your way and treat yourself to a luxury spa day. We’ve rounded up our favorite spas for couples here.

Featured image credit: Pinspiration

Joshua B. Speller