Whether you prefer a sober lifestyle or are just looking to take a night off, New York offers plenty of nightlife for non-drinkers. DIY food crawls, free museum nights, and more alcohol-free fun can hardly be called dry here. In fact, sticking to seltzer is simpler than ever with these things to do at night in New York City for non-drinkers.
Experience the new “dinner and a movie”
If the idea of a restaurant meal followed by a standard screening doesn’t excite you, seek out New York City’s new “dinner and a movie.” At theaters such as Nitehawk Cinema, Syndicated, and iPic, blockbuster hits are screened alongside your favorite film classics and the latest indie releases, made all the more enjoyable by gourmet movie snacks like burrata crostinis, truffle butter popcorn, and veggie burgers.
When anyone implies sobriety and fun are mutually exclusive, we point them to Daybreaker. Technically occurring during the early morning hours, Daybreaker is a sober rave (think coffee, not cocktails) featuring all the dancing and mingling you may miss from your drinking days, as well as an optional yoga class, a secret concert by a surprise local artist, and more.
Try a candlelit yoga class
Especially great for those who eschew drinking for health reasons, a beginners-friendly candlelit yoga class is one way to have a good time while being good to your body. In Manhattan and Brooklyn, Yoga to the People’s free Power Vinyasa Flow, Traditional Hot Yoga, and Hot Vinyasa classes are popular alt-evening picks.
Go to a bar with games
If your circle includes drinkers and non-drinkers alike, make everyone happy with a trip to one of New York City’s bars with games. At crowd-pleasing places like Nowadays, Bushwick Country Club, and The Gutter, players can drink what they like while challenging one another to rounds of bocce, mini-golf, or bowling. Your decision not to drink may even give you a competitive edge!
Attend a secret musical performance
Watching up-and-coming artists perform in a stranger’s apartment, a closed-to-the-public store, or even inside a church beats beers on the couch any day. Apply online to attend one of Sofar’s free secret shows for what may be your most unforgettable concert experience.
Enjoy free admission to world-famous museums
Contrary as it may seem, the evening hours are actually an ideal time to visit some of New York City’s famous museums. Not only will you avoid daytime’s tourist crowds, but certain nights even guarantee free admission. This weekend, spend your Friday night at either the Museum of Modern Art (4–8 pm), the Whitney Museum of American Art (7–10 pm), or the Rubin Museum of Art (6—10 pm) or at a donation-based museum like the Metropolitan Museum of Art free of charge.
See stars in New York City—really
Stargazing, a classic evening activity, becomes accessible to New Yorkers at the Hayden Planetarium’s Dark Universe space show. This 30-minute stargazing session, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, provides an opportunity many locals miss out on due to New York City’s dazzling, but also darkening, lights.
Catch a show
Love to laugh? Can’t resist a burlesque performance? Still somehow haven’t seen STOMP? Whether you’re into comedy, music, theater, or another type of live entertainment, New York City has a show for you. Tip: Daring non-drinkers can always put on their own show at one of New York’s karaoke bars or open mic nights.
Create your own food crawl
Take advantage of New York’s world-renowned restaurant scene by embarking on your own DIY food crawl. You can compare some of the city’s best slice joints, tackle the local taco scene or dare to eat donut after donut on your indulgent, yet drink-free, adventure.