Wellbeing

5 Things To Do With Your Mates That Don’t Involve Drinking

For a lot of us millennials, our social lives have become tightly intertwined with drinking – the two go hand in hand. There’s nothing lame about encouraging your group of friends to take a step back from the booze. It will be good for your health, it will certainly be good for your wallet – and you’ll have fewer hangovers.

A few obvious suggestions spring to mind like hosting a dinner party, binging on Netflix, joining a sports team, hitting the beach, learning a new skill or checking out some art galleries, live music or comedy. But here are five other social, fun and relatively affordable alcohol-free activities that you may not have thought of.

#1 Boardgames are making a comeback (in a big way)

Stay with us, because we know it’s easy to roll your eyes. We’re not talking about the games you’ve played to absolute death over the course of your entire life to-date like Monopoly, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit or Charades (yawn) or on-trend games like Cards Against Humanity (which by the way, is awesome). We’re talking about brand spanking new ones.

There is a thing called the Boardgame of the Year Awards that has been running since 1991 (who knew?) As you might guess, each year a winner is crowned. Use this list as a guide and you’ll have plenty of exciting games of strategy, skill and luck for you and your friends to learn and conquer. If you want to keep it local, there’s also an Australian Boardgame of the Year Award.

#2 Scandinavian park games are hot right now

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It’s summer so this one is even more enticing. Scandinavian wood games such as Klop (also called Finska) and Kubb are designed to be completely inclusive, extremely competitive and exceptionally addictive. Anyone can play, there’s arguably as much luck as there is skill involved, and you can have any number of people play. All you need is a nice flat pitch on grass or sand.

To buy a game set might cost between $40-$80 (there’s plenty for sale online) or if you’re handy in the workshop try making your own. Throwing wooden blocks at other wooden blocks is surprisingly more fun that it might sound. If you haven’t played before, you’ll just have to trust us.

#3 Go totally retro and see a movie at the cinema

Yes, the actual cinema. You’re not to blame if (like me) you had practically forgotten that cinemas are a thing. Streaming services exist now, and yet for some reason going to the movies became damn expensive. Let’s look at it like this: if your alternative entertainment is a night on the town, a $20 movie ticket and an $6 box of popcorn is only about three or four drinks worth of your hard earned cash, right? An evening screening will keep you busy during those exact hours you might have otherwise found yourself a the pub. And the post-movie banter with your friends is priceless.

Our advice for a better experience is to steer clear of the big names and choose a local cinema that has flare and character. Just like collecting vinyl records, a trip to the cinema is a pretty retro way to pass the time.

#4 Go on a food quest

Good news! With all the money you’re not spending on alcohol you can now treat yourself to some delicious quality cuisine. Write down all those talked about cafes or trendy dinner spots you’re been saying that you want to try and actually try them.

For each outing take turns in choosing the venue, or work together with your friends to curate a hit list. Even stick to a theme such as popular brunch spots, best sandwiches, best coffee, biggest burgers, cool food trucks, authentic gelato, best dumplings, best Mexican etc. Get together one night a week and start ticking ’em off.

#5 Channel Happy Gilmour and hit the driving range

Most public golf courses have driving ranges and often they are open late into the evenings. You don’t have to be a paid member to have a go and you don’t have to be skilled at the sport. It will cost you about $20 to whack 100 balls, plus a small fee to hire a club.

Together with your friends you can encourage one another, coach one another and tease one another for your ridiculous swings. It’s all in the hips.


Kate is a coffee-obsessed traveller who gets by in life as a publicist but finds time to regularly contribute to The Cusp and AWOL. Follow her travels on Instagram @katermac and Twitter @krmcc.