The Best Non-Drinking Dates, Ranked


If you’re entering 2023 as a singleton, you’re probably already dreaming about all the cute babes you could meet and all the fun dates that you’ll go on. However, seeing as we’re starting the year off right, what about trying some non-drinking dates?

“I definitely prefer a non-drinking date,” says my colleague Sangeeta. “A coffee date is just short and sweet. I don’t like drinking on weeknights anyway, and with a drinking date, I always feel like it’s polite to have two drinks.”

Sangeeta says it’s all about making your first date as comfortable as possible for yourself, and, for her, that means not drinking. She also tries to plan her dates after doing an activity she enjoys, like Pilates, and in locations where she knows she won’t run into anyone.

But back to the non-drinking. First dates can be intimidating and therefore emotionally exhausting, so do you really need a bad hangover the next day, too? With that in mind, here are the best non-drinking dates in POPSUGAR Australia’s teams’ opinion, ranked.

1. Park Date

This could mean a takeaway coffee and a walk around the park, a picnic, or even just a quick kombucha under your favourite tree in your favourite park. Parks are one of the best places for a first date (whether drinks are involved or not), because you’re totally free to be yourself without the social expectations that come with being in cafe. There are no waiters asking you questions, no external pressures on the best way to behave in a sit down setting and no people at the table next to you that can tell you’re on a first date. Plus, you’re surrounded by nature, which is always more relaxing.

A park date gives you a chance to get to know someone purely for their vibe. They have the potential to go for as little as 15 minutes, or for the entire afternoon. They provide no expectations and endless opportunities, which, in my opinion, is the perfect first date mentality.

2. Walking Date

While this could also be classified as a park date — if you’re walking in the park — a walking date encompasses walks of any kind. You could go on a leisurely stroll by the river, a hike, or even just a walk around the block. Walking provides an activity, which can help to alleviate any awkward silences or anxieties. Plus, you don’t have to look at each other the entire time. One of the most intimidating parts of a first date, is sitting directly across from someone you don’t know at all but find attractive. It can be so revealing and anxiety-inducing. But, if you’re walking, you need to watch where you’re going! So, you have more opportunities to be genuinely yourself.

It’s important to keep in mind that with walking dates, you should go somewhere that has lots of foot traffic — especially if you’re meeting up with someone you met online. It’s always best to be safe.

3. Cafe Date

As far as venues for non-drinking dates, cafes are the most obvious and best choice. That being said, you’ve got to find the right kind of cafe. A cafe with a courtyard is always a great shout, so you can sit outdoors and have a bit of privacy. One of the best things about a cafe, is that they have so many options of things to eat and drink that you don’t need to make any decisions before you get there.

You might feel like a drink an hour into the date, and most likely be able to order a spritz. Or, you might order a coffee, then decide you don’t want to be there anymore — and it’s totally okay to leave. Or, you could order food — if you’ve finished your coffee but you don’t want to leave yet. In short, cafes work for you, not against you. Plus, the service is always more chill than at a restaurant or bar.

4. Movie Date

So yes, a movie date can involve bevvies… but it doesn’t have to. You could go to the drive-through or the cinema and go full 1950’s first date: indulging in popcorn, choc tops and soft drinks. Cute, right!?

Movie dates are a bold choice, as you can really get to know someone based on their choice of film. And there are definitely films you don’t want to watch on a first date. But it can be a super cute date idea, too. And a great excuse to make out!

5. Zoo Date

My colleague, Alana, went on a first date to the zoo in 2017, and she’s still thinking about it.

“We met there in the morning and just spent a few hours wandering around,” she tells me. “It was a really fun way to get to know someone, and there were no awkward silences because any time we ran out of things to talk about we could just look at the cute animals and then comment on them!

“Plus, she was from England and had only recently arrived in Australia, so it was her first time seeing platypuses and echidnas and animals like that. Which made it extra cute.”

If you’re into animals, a zoo date is a great idea. It’s super wholesome, too.

6. Beach Date

It’s the perfect time of year for beach dates. The beach is one of the most calming, beautiful places in the world — which makes it an epic spot for a date. Plus, it’s a good excuse to see your new crush in their bathers.

Take some lemonade, buy fish ‘n’ chips, go for a long walk, a swim or even a surf. Surely going on a beach date is an Australian right of passage? Maybe I just love beach babes. But the beach is such a huge part of our Aussie lifestyle, that it seems only right to go on at least one beach date in your single life.

Also, is it just me or does everyone look at least 10% hotter when at the beach?

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