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7 Fun Things to Do That Don’t Involve Drinking

From football tailgates and frat parties to barhopping and unwinding with your friends and a big bottle of wine, it’s no secret that drinking can be a popular weekend activity in college. But what about those weekends when you want a break from booze, or can’t afford to be hungover because of an exam or are just looking to have some sober fun? No matter where you go to school, there are plenty of alcohol-free options for you on campus to make the most of your weekend. Here are our top suggestions! 

1. Host a potluck 

You may not be in the mood to drink, but is there ever a weekend where you’re not in the mood to eat good food? Get your friends together for a classy potluck dinner so you can catch up and feast at the same time. Have every person be in charge of bringing a different dish (definitely don’t forget dessert!). You’ll be sure to get a few good foodstagrams out of it. 

You could even make a weekly or monthly tradition out of it and have a different theme each time, like Kaylee, a senior at the University of Michigan, does with her friends. “My friends and I all really like to cook, so every once in a while we will host a potluck at one of our houses,” she says. “Each time we pick a different cuisine to feature. We’ve done American, Italian and Mexican so far, and one time we had a vegan night because one of my friends is vegan. It’s a really fun way to get together and actually take the time to cook.” No cooking skills to speak of? Check out these delicious recipes you can make using only a microwave! 

2. Enjoy the great outdoors

While many weekends are spent holed up in the library, taking the time to get outside is a great way to spend a day without class. Didn’t have enough time during the week to hit the gym? Go on long walk with a friend, or if there are any trails near your campus, you could turn it into a hike. If you’re in relaxation mode, just lying outside (and catching those last few rays of sun until spring) or reading a book in the quad is a nice way to unwind. 

“I transferred to NYU last year and when I was getting used to city life, whenever I got overwhelmed and wanted a break from it, I loved going to Central Park or other little parks I found,” says Lena, a senior. “If I was alone I’d bring a book or some music, but I also loved relaxing there with friends.” 

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, check out which outdoor activities are happening in your local area. From yoga in the park to apple picking, there’s bound to be something fun going on. If your school has its own campus garden or farm (many schools with agricultural programs do), see if there opportunities to volunteer there. It’s a great way to pass time with friends, learn about nature and maybe even get some free fresh produce. 

3. Attend a sporting event 

Sure, there’s often alcohol at sporting events, but you certainly don’t have to drink to enjoy one! Whether it’s football or basketball season or you’re more of a volleyball or soccer fan, show your spirit by supporting one of your school’s teams. Dress up in your school colors with your friends and lose your voice from cheering so loudly. 

If your school isn’t big on sports, you could go to a professional game if there’s a team nearby. “Last year, a bunch of my friends and I went to a Detroit Red Wings game,” says Deena, a senior at the University of Michigan. “Even the girls who weren’t big hockey fans had a good time. We’ll definitely go to another this year.” 

4. Go to a concert 

No matter what your taste in music is, chances are there’s a concert on campus (hello, a cappella groups) or in your surrounding area to attend! You can use sites like TicketNetwork and StubHub to search for concerts (and other ticketed events) near you. 

“A group of about 30 girls in my sorority are going to an electronic music festival next weekend,” says Jamie, a senior at the University of Michigan. “We are renting a bus to get there and making a whole day and night of it.” Try getting a group together like Jamie—when it comes to concerts, the more the merrier! If concerts aren’t really your scene, then you could try something as simple and low-key as seeing a local band perform at a coffee shop.

5. Volunteer 

Rather than waste the night getting wasted (hey, we’re not judging; we just like wordplay!), carve out some time in your weekend schedule to volunteer. Find a club on campus that interests you and see if they have any upcoming volunteer opportunities. Or, if there are any local organizations that you’d like to get involved in, there’s no better time to start than this weekend! 

Check out national organizations like Habitat for Humanity or the American Red Cross to see if there are locations near you. From animal shelters and soup kitchens to tutoring centers and hospitals, there are countless places that would appreciate your help (and your resume would be grateful, too!). 

6. See a performance 

If you haven’t attended a play or musical through your school’s theatre department yet, you are missing out. Student productions are always better than you’d ever imagine they would be—for a fraction of the price of professional performances!

But if you live in a city and are willing to dish out the big bucks, you could also have a night out with the girls and see a professional play or musical. Or, maybe there’s stand-up comedy you could watch at a local bar or comedy club. “I went to see a comedian at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase with my friends during my birthday weekend, and it was an awesome time,” says Meredith, a senior at the University of Michigan. “We still quote some of the lines from it.” 

7. Get crafty 

Hop on the DIY bandwagon and get crafting. You can spruce up your room, update your wardrobe or make some personalized gifts for your friends or family. Pinterest has an endless supply of DIY ideas, like this skirt made from a men’s dress shirt or this cinnamon stick candle. And as always, you can find plenty of fun DIY ideas on HC’s Pinterest boards

Not only will you get cool new swag out of your crafting, but it can also help you de-stress before a long week of classes. “Doing anything artistic or crafty has a way of calming me down when I’m overwhelmed with work or if I just want to relax on the weekend,” says Alison, a senior at Brown University. “I was obsessed with making friendship bracelets when I went to camp, so sometimes I still make those, but recently I’ve gotten more into drawing and 3D printing.”


Don’t get stuck in the mindset that you have to drink every weekend when there are all of these awesome ways to spend your time sober. Give your liver a break and try something new!

Sammie is a student at the University of Michigan where she is pursuing a BBA. A foodie since birth, she enjoys cooking, eating, smelling, looking at, photographing, reading about, and playing with any and all types of food. Her idolization of culinary delights is complemented by her active spirit- she enjoys running, swimming, barre classes, and even spontaneous bursts of interpretative dance if the mood strikes her. She has completed two triathlons and a half-marathon and plans to tackle more races in the future. She also dreams of traveling the globe, saving the world, and marrying James and/or Dave Franco. 
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