10 L.A. Activities That Are Fun Even When You're Sober

Chinatown Summer Nights
Chinatown Summer Nights
Photo by Tessie Navarro

On an average weekend in L.A., some of my favorite activities include patio drinking, beer garden drinking, before-noon drinking, bar hopping and beach drinking. But I also see the value in non-alcohol-fueled activities, if for no other reason than it’s good to change it up and give my vital organs a break once in a while. And shocking though it may seem, there are some things I actually prefer to do without a drink in hand. (I know some people can go to the gym drunk, but I will personally never be coordinated enough to mix booze with an elliptical machine.) So whether you don't drink at all or you just like to forgo cocktails every now and then, here are 10 L.A. weekend activities that are still fun when you’re sober.

Some even have a sense of humor.
Some even have a sense of humor.
Photo by Maya Kachroo-Levine

1. 24-hour Korean spas
Scattered throughout Koreatown are magical places that have saunas and hot and cold baths running 24 hours a day. If you’re looking for a place to spend the night without getting drunk, go spend the evening soaking, getting scrubbed or even working out, if that's your relaxation style. (A lot of the 24-hour spas have terraces, fitness rooms and restaurants.) Wi Spa on Wilshire is an option, but the possibilities in Koreatown are honestly endless. Various locations.

We're going to need a bigger boat. Just kidding, this boat is huge.
We're going to need a bigger boat. Just kidding, this boat is huge.
Photo by Michele McManmon

2. The Queen Mary
I have an affinity for the Queen Mary because it stirs up fond memories of Arrested Development. (Tobias buys the Queen Mary club, not the boat, but I still feel drawn to the ship.) Anyway, make a day of it in Long Beach and explore the Queen Mary because, as I understand it, it offers everything. It has tours (including a nighttime paranormal tour), food, ice skating in winter and events for pretty much every holiday. It also presents the perfect opportunity for ironic “I’m on a boat” jokes, even though they’ll make everyone around you feel like they need a drink. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach. queenmary.com.

Try dancing without drinking. It's possible.
Try dancing without drinking. It's possible.
Photo by Tessie Navarro

3. Chinatown Summer Nights
Chinatown Summer Nights 2016 are happening on the third Saturdays of the month, which this summer are June 18, July 16 and Aug. 20. Chinatown’s best food comes out in full force, alongside L.A.’s best food trucks. A few blocks of Chinatown light up with culinary demonstrations and cultural activities you can participate in. It’s easily enjoyed sans alcohol. 943–951 N. Broadway, Chinatown. chinatownsummernights.com.

You don't have to drink to like watching strangers get murdered.EXPAND
You don't have to drink to like watching strangers get murdered.
Courtesy Cailley Formichella/Speakeasy ... and Carry a Big Stick

4. Murder Mystery Dinners
OK, I will admit that alcohol can be part of the fun here, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of revolving around alcohol, these mystery parties tend to revolve around dinner. (And the show, of course.) And while there is often a cash bar, you just end up saving money if you’re not drinking. One of the most popular murder mystery dinners in L.A. is Keith and Margo’s at Matteo's in West L.A., where professional actors perform the “murder mystery experience,” and then the suspects join in with clues and all that jazz. Your dinner comes with a “murder mystery guide and solution kit,” so it sounds like the ideal night in my book. Various.

It's cheesy, but so are lots of things you do.EXPAND
It's cheesy, but so are lots of things you do.
Photo by Prayitno/Flickr

5. Universal CityWalk
For many of us, there is a long list of activities we might have done a long time ago if they weren’t so damn touristy. While Universal CityWalk is almost always cluttered with tourists, there’s something to be said for the sensory overload involved in having corporate neon signs bearing down on you from every direction. If you haven’t seen the not-so-hidden gem of the Valley yet, definitely go, and go sober so that you can escape quickly (and with your wits about you) if necessary. 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. citywalkhollywood.com.



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