Your weekdays are already pretty monotonous ― go to work, go home ― so why are you making your weekends so routine and predictable? As soon as Friday happy hour hits, you probably head straight to your standard bar (wondering where to go out is never a question in your mind) and later you hang out at your usual club. You order the same drinks, see the same people, and listen to the same songs. Isn’t it time to try something new?
This Friday night, instead of engaging in your regular routine, you should consider breaking expectations and bringing your friends to any of these unique hangout spots:
It may seem childish at first, but going to an arcade is a fantastic way to relieve stress and enjoy some simple nostalgia. Don’t you wonder if you still have your carefully honed Ms. Pac-Man skills? Plus, many arcades are receiving significant updates, adding newer consoles as well as bars that serve alcohol. Adult beverages and juvenile entertainment pair surprisingly well, which means these so-called bar-cades might be the exact place you need to go on a Friday night.
A Bowling Alley
Another location that joins drinking and playing games, your local bowling alley offers a place to relax with friends during some pleasant competition. Bowling is harder than you expect, especially while you pass around pitchers of beer, and you definitely can’t rely on bumpers as an adult. So, tie your rented shoes on tight, because a night out at the bowling alley is challenging and fun.
A Record Store
Though you can get any album you want instantly from iTunes, downloading music robs you of many joyful experiences ― not least of which is the sense of accomplishment that comes from finding the artist you want after searching through hundreds of rows. Music shops are almost always open late, giving you plenty of time to peruse their selections and find the record that will finally complete your collection. Even if you aren’t into vinyl, most record stores contain CDs as well as movies, books, and other media, so you can easily get lost in these entertainment wonderlands.
An Improv Show
Sure, you could go to the theater and see an award-winning dramatic production, but after a long workweek, period costumes and subtle subtext probably aren’t what you are looking for in a Saturday night. Instead, for a few dollars you can undoubtedly find a raucous, mindless, and utterly hilarious improv show. Touring troupes from nationally recognized improv schools, like Second City, the Upright Citizens Brigade, or Groundlings, will provide the biggest laughs, but your community improv group could be just as creative ― and insert some local humor the out-of-towners wouldn’t get.
A Hiking Trail
Instead of lacing up your stilettos, you might try lacing up some hiking boots for a late-night weekend hike. Though it sounds dangerous to explore the wilderness after dark, when you are properly prepared for a night hike, you can see unexpected wonders, like a sky full of stars or elusive nocturnal wildlife. Plus, the world simply looks different after the sun goes down, so even a familiar trail might seem foreign and fascinating, providing incredible experiences on an ordinary weekend night.
Of course, you don’t have to venture deep into the mountains to enjoy the outdoors; all you have to do is head to the nearest park. You can pack up a picnic basket with your favorite foods and non-alcoholic drinks (unless you want to apply for a public drinking permit) and lounge quietly in the park with your favorite friends, free from the noise and smells of the bars and clubs. Plus, in the great outdoors, ― unlike in a crowded bar or club ― you can freely vape on your e-cig, allowing true, unbridled relaxation.
Most museums close around 8 or 9 p.m., but on special occasions ― like first Fridays of the month or exhibit openings ― they will hold adults-only events late into the night. Admittedly, a center of learning isn’t most people’s idea of fun on a Friday night, but you might be surprised at how museums change when the lights go down. Though the exhibits don’t exactly come alive Ben Stiller–style, the art and artifacts on display are usually highly enhanced by the presence of booze.