Tired of Happy Hours? Try One Of These 8 Alternatives

Happy Hour Alternatives. NEED to do some of these!

5 p.m. rolls around after a long day of meetings, Excel spreadsheets, office banter and stale Folgers coffee.

Mentally, you’re pretty shot. Physically, well, you’re pretty stiff (sitting all day just is not good for the joints,y’all). Emotionally… well that sure depends on the day (and how well that presentation went).

Socially, you might be feeling a bit deprived and in need of contact with humans that aren’t the cast of the Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother.

The time is ripe for Happy Hour. And so it goes.

Happy Hour was just not a thing in college. Sure, many people downed beers for Dollar Bottles (Wednesdays), Thirsty Thursday, or Twofers (Tuesdays) – but those activities rarely immediately followed class or work. They began between 8 and 10 and lasted well into the night (and on occasion, the morning).

Happy Hour became a thing when making it to work at 8 am (or earlier) became expected (and usually, required). Because, well, staying out until all hours on the night and having to be functional the next morning at work is just so not happening. So getting a few drinks in right after work and still finding yourself in bed with your face washed by 10:30 is a major win for Happy Hour.

I’ve had my fair share of Happy Hours over the past year and a half of being a “young professional.”

A longtime fan of Thought Catalog, I recently picked up Chelsea Fagan’s book, I’m Only Here for the WiFi: A Complete Guide to Reluctant Adulthood.

While the book itself reads much like a never-ending Thought Catalog post/a conglomeration of all posts they’ve written with the word “20-Something” in the title (not a problem for me), Fagan makes several good points in her chapter about hobbies:

But when you graduate, when you are spit out into the world in which 90 percent of people with whom you come in contact are your coworkers or crappy neighbors, what are you supposed to do? How do you continue to dedicate time to things that do not provide you with money and, at least directly, do not contribute to your future?”

She goes on to present a few ideas about the types of hobbies that 20-somethings seem to enjoy and her suggestions are awesome.

While I’m a huge advocate of hobbies (and totes consider this blog to be my main one), I’m going to simplify this concept of “Hey, maybe on occasion we should try to hang out with our “adult” friends and do something not centered around alcohol consumption and being able to make it home before 10 pm on a week night,” by creating a list of ideas for other fun activities to do that aren’t happy hour.

Some of them could easily transform into hobbies, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

8 Alternatives to Happy Hour for Adventurous 20-Somethings

  1. Take a nature walk through a local park with a couple of friends. Bring a camera and take a bunch of silly photos.
  2. Find a local music venue or bar that features live music. This might feel like a happy hour, but it’s actually a concert.
  3. Grab a friend and drop into a yoga or fitness class at a gym or studio you’ve never been to before.
  4. Start a book and dinner club and take turns with hosting duties.
  5. Go to the opening of a new exhibit (or just check out one you haven’ t seen yet) at a local museum (St. Louis – check out the 250 exhibit at the History Museum!).
  6. Volunteer at a retirement home or church by playing Bingo. Old people are awesome. Or really, volunteer anywhere.
  7. Take a crafting class or workshop. Michael’s has them, as do community colleges and random stores, including my favorite, West Elm. I recently checked out Paint Nite and it was awesome (though there was alcohol there…).
  8. Pamper yourself. Grab a friend and high-tail it to a salon for a manicure or pedicure.

What’s your favorite alternative to happy hour? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to add to this list! 


  • Katie @ A Beautiful Little Adv says:

    It’s like you’re in my head!! I’m drafting something similar to this because one of my good friends is pregnant. We were trying to plan our first double date since the pregnancy and I kept FAILING at thinking of ANYTHING fun that doesn’t involve alcohol. It was really sad. It’s like our brains have been manipulated to believe that we can only have fun while under the influence.

    • Oh that is tough! I hadn’t even thought of that. But yeah, this applies perfectly to friends of pregnant women!

  • Erin says:

    Okay, I LOVE THIS! 🙂 I’ve been trying to plan more active type of things with my friends, especially since the weather is nice now. We can hit up the gym and try a new class together, or just walk a new park, hike a little ,etc!

    • Yessss, sometimes I feel silly for suggesting a workout as a hangout, but it always seems to be well-received!

  • Ashley says:

    My friends and I have started hosting a craft night where we take turns choosing the craft and buying the materials. Of course we drink wine while doing it. 🙂

    Also, Kier and I have boyfriends that are musicians, so we are at music shows a lot. Probably twice a week for me. I love them!

    • This sounds so fun! I love going to shows too. Musicians are so dreamy. 😉 lol

  • And this is my life now after graduating college!

    • Haha it’ll only get worse. I think the longer I’m out of college, the more happy hours/drinking-centric social events I find dominating my time. 🙂

  • Two words: cooking class. 🙂

    • That sounds so much fun! Definitely need to look into that.

  • Cassie says:

    Awesome suggestions! Since starting grad school, I don’t think any social interaction I’ve had with my classmates has been lacking in alcohol. While I love me some beer (and wine… and margaritas…), it’d be nice to branch out every now and then. 🙂

  • Vanessa says:

    Oh, I love these! After I quit drinking I had to relearn how to socialize without alcohol. My go-to group activities now are cooking dates or board game nights. They wrap up early and there is no hangover involved. Win!

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