Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Rock Climbing, and More Booze-Free Fun in Houston

There’s plenty of fun things to do, whether you’re embracing sober living for a month or an entire lifetime.

candlelit concert
Candlelight concerts with Fever. | Courtesy of Fever
Candlelight concerts with Fever. | Courtesy of Fever

After a season of indulgence, January ushers in the urge to reclaim your wellness, and for many, that much needed healthy kick in the behind comes in the form of Dry January. This guide of still totally fun sober activities in Houston just may entice you to join the sober-minded masses. Now’s the time to try new things instead of drinking. Rock climbing, anyone? Explore a part of the city you never have before (we hear the Buffalo Bayou’s pretty nice). Go full fan girl at one of those Taylor Swift sing-out parties. Here’s how to have a blast during Dry January in Houston without drinking.

Concert at 713 Music Hall
713 Music Hall | 713 Music Hall

Live Entertainment in Houston

Live Music

Houston’s got a bunch of awesome live music venues—713 Music Hall, Bayou Music Center, The Continental Club, House of Blues, Stereo Live, Warehouse Live (with its brand new location in Midtown), White Oak Music Hall, and fresh-faced EaDo hangout Lightnin’s Good Times, to name a few—drawing acts from nearby and across the nation. Scout sites like Bands in Town to find your next jam sesh, which can encompass anything from late-night Emo and T. Swift dance parties to a sold out stadium headlined by Playboi Cardi.

Fever Houston’s candlelit concerts are a sensory explosion, combining a super cool, glowy atmosphere with totally vibey, classical music tributes to artists like Bad Bunny, Pink Floyd, and we’ll mention her one more time because she’s everywhere, Taylor Swift.

You don’t have to have a single sip of alcohol to enjoy the hilarity that is Drunk Shakespeare, where a professional troupe of actors performs one of Shakespeare’s hits while one of them gets pretty damn tipsy off whiskey shots. It’s a fun time with or without booze. The mayhem in the intimate Emerald Theatre in the heart of downtown.

Stand-up Comedy

The Riot Comedy Show at Rudyard’s, Comedy Open Mics and Thursday Laughs sessions at The Secret Group, and Live Improv and Sketch Comedy at Station Theater and Comedy Sportz Houston are some of the live comedy nights to hit up. National acts often roll through Houston Improv, which has got Jared Freid, Craig Robinson, and Raj Sharma in the lineup this January; and both Anthony Jeselnik and Jim Breuer are hitting the stages at Bayou Music Center and Stafford Centre, respectively.

Bludorn | Michael Anthony

Food and Drink Things to Do in Houston

Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Houston

Zero-proof cocktails come packed with all the flavor and absolutely none of the hangover; and Houston’s top mixologists have perfected the game. Bludorn’s French-inspired Gulf Coast cuisine pairs wonderfully with drinks like the Dove's Nest (a grapefruit, lime, Seedlip Garden, vanilla, and chili kissed number); Tiny Champions has bomb pizza, sundaes, and drinkies like the Ricotta Dreamsicle; Verde Garden’s go Mexican eats, a sweet patio, and booze-free drinks like the Como la flor made with orange juice, lime, house grenadine, and ginger beer; and over at Wild, you can sip a coconut infused Ocean Water Mocktail, with or without the CBD mix in.

Chili Cook-off

Make your way to Galveston’s Historic Strand District for the 15th annual Yaga’s Chili eQuest & Beer Fest (minus the beer fest part, which is separate anyway), going down Saturday, January 1. A roster of legit cookoff teams will be serving chili samples from noon to 3 pm as you have the super difficult job of tasting them all and voting for the winner. Chili tasting tickets are a steal at $13.

People at Buffalo Bayou
Buffalo Bayou Partnership | Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Outdoor Activities to Do in Houston

Social cycling group HTX Bike Social provides a hub for local cyclers of all experience levels. Group members post public rides daily, from bike crew meetups lifting off from local parks to the group’s premier ride on the second Friday of every month (locations vary but rollout is always 7:20).

Buffalo Bayou Park

With gorgeous landscape and up-close views of the city skyline, Buffalo Bayou’s Eleanor Tinsley Park is a prime locale for a picnic—plus, it’s pretty cool to stroll around, with a Dog Park, Skate Park, and super mysterious Underground Cistern all in-park. As for the picnic, we suggest snagging some luxe provisions from local cheesemongers Houston Dairymaids or Montrose Cheese & Wine.


Did pickleball have one helluva glow up or what? The "it game" of the last few years is still having its moment, and pickleball hubs are sprouting all around Houston. Find public courts, join a league, or break a sweat and grab some eats at fun spots like Bumpy Pickle, Riverhouse, Pickleball Social, SpindleTap Brewery, and the upcoming PKL Social.

Get Endorphins Flowing

This month is all about doing. Break a sweat at a free Hatha Yoga or HIIT class at Discovery Green, or hit The Ice, the outdoor ice skating rink open through January 28. Throw some axes at BATL Houston or Houston Axe Throwing. Get a thrill without the fear at indoor skydiving experience iFly. Scale the soaring terrain at bouldering gym Momentum Indoor Climbing. Or glide through the treetops at Geronimo Zipline Skytrails and Adventure Park.

Golf and Batting

With or without the booze, high-tech golf game TopGolf is just plain fun. Reserve a climate-controlled bay and let those micro-chipped golf balls fly at your targets. Loser buys the next round of chips & guac. Or try your hand at the batting cages. Super cool new Home Run Dugout offers a similar high-tech experience for baseball.

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who thinks Houston is fun with or without the booze. Share your #DryJanuary chronicles with her @brookeviggiano on Twitter and @brookiafafa on IG.