9 Weekend Activities for When You Want to Take a Break From Partying

Growing older often means expanding your weekend hobbies outside of the party realm. Wait. No more red solo cups and sloppy dancing? We know, partying will always hold a special place in your heart but sometimes waking up with a hangover just doesn’t feel worthwhile anymore. There are endless alternatives to the party lifestyle for those weekends when you want to shake things up. Keep the below ideas in mind next time you want to have some fun without getting too rowdy.

1. Find a coffee shop with live music

New, trendy coffee shops are popping up in neighborhoods everywhere. They’re great places to get work done or catch up with friends but they can also be a lot of fun during the night time if they offer live music. Be sure to check out the flyers they hang up to see if any events are listed. Various local artists tend to perform in this type of setting so you can pencil in your favorites ahead of time by looking at the schedule. Grab a coffee or tea (maybe even decaf), get cozied up and enjoy the simplicity of being serenaded for a couple hours.

2. Join a book club in your area

You’re probably a pro at binge-watching Netflix but when was the last time you truly got lost in reading a book? A book club is a great way to expand your literary horizons and meet up with new people who share similar interests. Phoebe Law, a senior at SNHU, shares her experiences after joining a book club in her area. “We all brought some wine and cheese and spent the evening chatting. We talked about the book for all of 40 minutes but spent about three more hours talking about literally everything. The conversations ranged from our favorite type of wine, to opinions on current politics, and how to be  politically active in our communities.” Not only is this a great weekend alternative, but it sounds like an effective way to network and share your thoughts, too.

Phoebe continues, “It was interesting because these women aren’t women I would usually hang out with, but I met some really amazing ladies and learned interesting perspectives on things happening in our world. It was super cool. We have our next meeting in 6 weeks!” Getting involved in monthly meetings for your book club will still give you the opportunity to socialize without feeling obligated to party.

Related: How to Make and Keep Friendships as an Adult


3. Go to a concert (even by yourself)

Concerts are a must if you have never been to one before. You may be thinking they get pretty wild, and can often feel like one big party, but there are plenty of artists and bands who entertain in a more low key fashion. Katie Mullen, a senior at Boston University, is a frequent concert-goer and has gone solo to a handful of them. “I love going to concerts by myself,” she says. “Even if you have no one to go with, it still can be fun.” Attending a concert alone, no matter the size of the venue, is a unique experience if you work up the courage to actually follow through and go.

Katie continues, “It's not hard to make friends when you already have something in common with everyone in the room. I've met many people at concerts and have had a good time because yes, I went alone, but you end up leaving with friends.” It may seem intimidating to venture to a concert alone, especially the larger shows, but do yourself a favor and just buy the ticket. Be safe and aware of your surroundings, as always, but chances are you’re a fun enough person that your evening will be even better than you expected.

4. Go to a late night movie

If you’ve ever waited in line for the premiere of a new movie, you know the hype that surrounds late night viewings. Just because you don’t want to party doesn't mean you have to turn in early. Grab some of your friends, bring your favorite movie theater treats and find an evening show time. The best part about the movies is you can go dressed in whatever you find comfiest. Yoga pants? Yes. Your favorite cuddly sweatshirt? Bring it! Everyone’s there to enjoy the movie, they won’t think twice about what you’re wearing, and you shouldn’t either. This is the perfect way to still get out of the house without having to go all out.

5. Get creative

Want a more engaging type of night in? Call upon your artistic side. Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University, says, “My friends and I frequently have ‘Bob Ross nights’ where we attempt to calmly paint happy trees and cute mountains. While we usually end up cursing at our own painting and turning the night into an anti-Bob Ross night, we have a lot of fun painting for enjoyment.” This sounds similar to the popular paint nights, but you can do it in the comfort of your own home!

Not feeling like painting? There are endless DIY ideas on the internet if you’re looking for something new to spark your interest. Create decor for your apartment, make ‘just because’ gifts for your friends or try your luck at drawing. Crafts aren’t just for kids, give them a try!

6. Seek out local events in your area

Oftentimes we forget there are so many other places to hang out besides bars and coffee shops. It’s always fun to support local businesses and it may surprise you what types of random events they offer. Museums, yoga studios, restaurants and even fitness clubs host unique happenings that may be exactly what you’re looking for. Screenings of old movies, trivia nights, competitions or even themed parties where you’re expected to dress up without having to rage. These are all great alternatives to a crazy night out but will still give you stories to share with your friends when you’re talking about your weekends.

7. Adventure outside

This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes we get so consumed by work or socializing we forget how important it is to spend time in nature. Danielle Smith, a recent graduate of Emmanuel College, says, “Have adventures outside, no matter what the weather is. If it’s summer, do things like going to sunflower fields or new beaches you’ve never been to before. In the fall, go apple picking or hiking with your friends. Come winter time, explore ice castles or try ice-skating.” These may seem like cliché ideas, but if you do them with the right people or make a point to genuinely enjoy them, you are guaranteed to make one-of-a-kind memories.

Danielle continues, “I feel like anything you can do that requires adverts and exploring new things is always so fun and you don’t have to be drunk to do that.” Even if it’s just for a few hours, or a simple walk under the stars, breathe in the fresh air for a change.

8. Take a class

Now before you dismiss this idea completely, keep in mind that these don’t have to be school related. One time classes are an easy way to try new things without having to fully commit to them (or have homework). Cooking classes, DIY terrariums, or even a wine tasting are all fun options to do alone or with your friends who also want a change of scenery.

On the other hand, if you’re feeling more dedicated, sign up for a class at a school in a subject area you’ve been interested in but never pursued. Alaina Leary, a recent graduate of Emerson College, says “I know, recent grads may think this sounds like work, but my friend bought a nice camera and took a photography class and now she has a great hobby.” This sounds like an easy way to expand your interests and continue learning even after college.

9. Host a dinner party

If you enjoy entertaining and bringing your friends together, invite them over for dinner! Whether it’s potluck style or you want to wow them with your cooking, your friends won’t turn down an invite to eat. If you really want to make the night interesting, turn it into a themed party. Costumes, good food, and surely lots of laughter will be the perfect start to the evening.

Having dinner together is an ideal way to still see your friends even if you don’t want to continue the night partying with them. You can enjoy each others company and then split off into different groups depending on your plans for the rest of the night. Continue your dinner party with a game night or movie viewing. Especially during the colder months, more people are inclined to cozy up instead of making the trek to the bars.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a party lifestyle but sometimes it can feel repetitive. Your friends may even be feeling the same way. Give yourself a break and venture outside of your usual weekend routines. Cheers!