A big question many people ask when they first get sober is, “What will I do for fun?” Luckily, there are so many answers to that question. Below are five fun sober activities to do in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Watch Live Performances, Take Classes, and Experience Art at the Arts Barn
The Arts Barn is a renovated horse stable in Gaithersburg that has art exhibits, classes for adults and kids, a gift shop with pieces from artists-in-residence, and a 99-seat theater. Some of the upcoming performances include a puppet show, a circus, and a comedy show. I’ve found that watching performances is an immersive and distracting activity, so it’s a great thing to do if you want to get your mind off (and not be surrounded by) alcohol or drugs. Taking classes is also a great way to spend time when you’re sober; learning new things has always been helpful for my recovery.
Play Laser Tag at Castle Laser Tag
Laser tag tends to be associated with kids, but it’s a fun thing to do as a sober adult. When I first got sober, my only examples of “adventures” were the dangerous and impulsive things I did while intoxicated. Laser tag is a great way to do something different and playful without putting yourself in danger. It’s a fun group activity for friends who are also in recovery (or friends who don’t mind being sober for a night). Castle Lager Tag is open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights, so it’s a good weekend night activity—and if you’re not ready to go home after, you can get food or milkshakes at the Silver Diner, which is only an 8-minute drive away!
Go Shopping, Eat, and Participate in Lakefront Activities at Rio
Rio is a shopping center in Gaithersburg with tons of stores and restaurants. There’s a lot to do there that doesn’t involve alcohol if you just stick to shopping and eating, but Rio also offers fun lakefront activities. You can rent a paddleboat. You can walk on the walking path. You can participate in a scavenger hunt; bronze animal statues in the area hold books that say what items their character is missing, with clues to find them. All these activities are engaging and innocuous things to do on a weekend.
Hike or Bike at Seneca Creek State Park
Seneca Creek State Park offers 50 miles of trails, each trail providing a different landscape. The website says that in addition to hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking are popular on their trails (though they don’t rent out horses or bikes). I’ve found hiking to be a great sober activity that makes me feel good—both calm and energized. This may even be helpful if you start having cravings later in the day, because it can put you in a better mental state to cope with them.
Fridays at the Farm at Smokey Glen Farm
Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg is a wonderful family-owned farm. On Fridays, you can book events—catered by the farm with a crab feast and barbecue—with activities like mini golf and horseshoes for adults and kids. Smokey Glen is known for its barbecue, but they also offer great vegetarian options!
Bonus: Booze Free in DC
Booze Free in DC is a service that helps both individuals and businesses find alcohol-free options. Not every sober person is comfortable drinking beverages that mimic alcohol, but if you are, Booze Free DC suggests mocktails you can make yourself and places in DC where you can get alcohol-free drinks. Gaithersburg is about 40 minutes outside DC, so if you spend the day there, Booze Free DC is a great resource.