- Jetski to Catalina Island
- Hike Scenic Trails
- Stroll the Venice Canals
- Find Unique Gifts at the Flea Markets
- Explore the Broad Museum
- See The Quirky Two-Bit Circus
- Explore Barnsdall Art Park
- Personalize Your Sneakers
- Shop at the Largest Bookstore in California
- Discover an Up-and-Coming Comedian
- Visit One of the Premier Art Museums
- Shop for Fresh Produce
- Have Fun Like a Kid
- Are You Struggling with Alcohol or Substance Abuse?
- If you’re concerned about Los Angeles nightlife, there is so much you can do in and around the city without drugs and alcohol.
- Orange County and the greater Los Angeles area has something for everyone, including trips to museums, outdoor adventures, and family-friendly fun.
- While it’s good to get away from the temptation of places and things connected to substances, remember that completing treatment is the best way to stay sober.
Orange County and the surrounding areas are filled with exciting nightlife and things to do, many of which involve drinking. If you’re in recovery, it can be difficult to remove yourself from the activities and experiences that were tied to alcohol and drug use.
Fortunately, Orange County has plenty of events and experiences that don’t require substances and it goes well beyond support group meetings. From outdoor activities and ocean adventures to vintage shopping and museums, here are the best things to do for clean and sober living in Orange County, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, and much more.
Jetski to Catalina Island
Have an adventure and natural adrenaline rush with an all-day Pacific Ocean adventure on a jet ski. You can take off from nearby Long Beach to Catalina Island. Once you’re there, you’ll have opportunities to snorkel, swim with dolphins, and marvel at the vibrant sea life in the area. Best of all, you won’t even be thinking about drinking when you’re having this much fun.
Hike Scenic Trails
LA has something a little different than other big cities. Right next to the hustle and bustle of city life are serene green trails with stunning ocean and mountain views. One of the can’t-miss sights is the Hollywood Sign via Canyon Drive, but there are plenty of trails for all levels of fitness and experience.
Stroll the Venice Canals
Inspired by Venice, Italy, the maze of canals in Venice is a must-see attraction – no alcohol required. Wander the quaint pedestrian bridges and lush footpaths. After seeing the landscape, take a walk through the neighborhood near the marina and explore some of the local shops and eateries.
Find Unique Gifts at the Flea Markets
LA is one of the fashion capitals of the world, filled with high-end shopping and luxury storefronts. But there’s a lot of vintage treasures to be found at one of LA’s storied flea markets. Try your luck at the Silverlake Flea Market or Melrose Trading Post. If you want to plan a whole day, take a ride to the sprawling Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena – right in the stadium.
Explore the Broad Museum
The Broad Museum is one of the city’s treasures. A unique modern art museum with a twist, the museum offers rotating temporary exhibitions and nearly 2,000 works of art comprising postwar and contemporary periods. Some of the highlights include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. What’s more, the Broad Museum has free general admission.
See The Quirky Two-Bit Circus
The tech-infused Two-Bit Circus is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. In addition to a fun, tech-themed circus act, the attraction has arcade games, fully immersive experience rooms, friendly robots, and plenty of exciting events. Some of the upcoming attractions include Ghostbusters Academy, a VR experience with high-risk ghost encounters, and Hyperdeck, a wild VR attraction with turret-based combat, a tilting floor, and weather effects.
Explore Barnsdall Art Park
A lesser-known art attraction in the city, the grassy Barnsdall Art Park is located on Olive Hill and hosts local and international art exhibits within the main LA Municipal Art Gallery. There’s a lot to do nearby as well, including the Junior Arts Center, which offers art classes, and the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. After your excursion, stop by the famous Hollyhock House – one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous designs.
Personalize Your Sneakers
If you enjoy exploring your creativity, the Custom Sneaker Class is just the place to go. Hosted by Majorwaves Lab, the sneaker customization class can help you make your sneakers truly unique while making memories along the way. You can bring any shoes you want, but the host recommends Vans and Air Force 1s for the best canvas.
Shop at the Largest Bookstore in California
The Last Bookstore, which isn’t actually the last bookstore, is the largest new and used bookstore in the state. The name is an homage to its status and its iconic building, which also holds a record store, comic book store, multiple art studios, a famous book tunnel, a mammoth head, a yarn shop, and other eccentric finds.
Discover an Up-and-Coming Comedian
The Laugh Factory is one of the city’s gems. Located on the Sunset Strip, this historic spot is where Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook had a competition to see who could perform the longest. Whether you want to see a new comedian or watch big names that are slightly past their prime, The Laugh Factory is an iconic spot for a fun night out.
Visit One of the Premier Art Museums
The Getty Museum is one of the top art museums on the west coast. The broad focus means there’s something for everyone, from medieval art and modern design to spectacular gardens and city views. Along with permanent exhibits, the Getty also has a calendar of events highlighting arts or art movements, so plan accordingly.
Shop for Fresh Produce
Sundays at Great Park are host to the Irvine Certified Farmers Market. Each week, the market features fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables for sale from treasured local farmers. After browsing the offers, you can visit the Farm + Food Lab and get home garden tips from the masters at the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California.
Have Fun Like a Kid
Just a hop over to Anaheim is the world-famous Disneyland properties, including Disneyland Resort, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney. Get your Mickey ears and enjoy a day in the park riding the rides, seeing the attractions, and remembering what it was like to have simple fun. You’re also close to attractions like Knott’s Berry Farm and Adventure City.
Are You Struggling with Alcohol or Substance Abuse?
While making changes to spend time doing things that revolve around clean and sober living – rather than alcohol and drugs – it’s only part of the equation. You have to take the first step and complete alcohol addiction treatment to achieve true recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, take the first step today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. It may seem like things aren’t fun without substances, but that’s because of how long-term drug and alcohol use affects your brain’s reward center. When you use drugs or alcohol, your brain is rewired to enjoy nothing other than the euphoria that comes from substances, so it can take a bit to get back to natural sources of fun and pleasure.
Many of the events and attractions on this list don’t involve alcohol at all, but some may serve alcohol to patrons. While it’s important to understand your individual triggers, these activities don’t revolve around drinking the way a bar or nightclub does, so you don’t have to feel uncomfortable abstaining.
Dry January is an event designed to encourage people to open the lines of communication about alcohol and discuss their alcohol consumption to have healthier conversations and inspire change. While this is not intended for people with alcohol dependence, which requires detox, the goal of Dry January is to encourage people to view their alcohol consumption critically and see how they feel after taking some time off from regular alcohol use.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, September 25). Treatment and recovery. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery on 2023, December 5.
 Gardner, E. L. (2011). Addiction and brain reward and Antireward Pathways. Advances in psychosomatic medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549070/ on 2023, December 5.
 Ballard, J. (2016, January). What is dry January?. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684010/ on 2023, December 5.