Friday night is meant for unwinding from the week and fully embracing the next two days off. Like most girls in their early 20s, I like to relax with coworkers and friends over a drink (or two, or five). And because I'm a sucker for a lavish cocktail or fancy glass of wine that I can't pronounce, drinking usually requires me to visit a bar or club. But as I've gotten older, I've been on a constant search for Friday night alternatives for people who hate bars.
To be honest, I'm kind of over the whole bar scene. Every single time I've gone out in the past couple years, I've either been stepped on by a stiletto heel, had a drink spilled on me, had someone try to snag my Uber, or any combination of these things. Plus, the music is usually too loud to have a decent conversation, so why go out with friends in the first place?
Despite all of this, I still find myself wanting to go out on weekends. It's nice to have a night or two to just chill and let the stress of the week fall behind me, but lack of imagination leads to my friends and I to default to bars. And if my friends decide to not go out, we all just end up staying home and watching Netflix (yet again).
To replace a mundane — and quite frankly, unenjoyable — Friday night activity, here are seven stress-relieving things you and your friends can do on the weekends instead of going to a bar.
1. Sign Up For Wine And Paint Night
Those who have always wanted to try their hands at painting can complete an entire work of art from start to finish. The teachers emphasize a relaxed environment so that even the perfectionists in your crew can enjoy themselves. Plus, many painting classes are BYOB, which adds to the chill, lighthearted experience. Catch up with your mains and toast to a successful girls' night out.
2. Bring The Squad To A Trivia Night
If you're even a little competitive, trivia always makes for a fun time. It guarantees that the place you go to won't be too loud, and even if you don't win, you might learn something new. Plus, nothing brings a friend group together more than winning a game and sharing some buffalo wings.
3. Hit Up A Unique Art Gallery Showing
If you're feeling a little bougie, find out if a local art gallery is having an open showing. You can pretend you know what neoclassical contemporary art is, and drink (usually free) champagne with a pashmina delicately draped around your neck.
4. Show Off Your Pipes At A Karaoke Bar
OK, technically this option is at a bar, and it's probably going to be loud. But in my personal opinion, karaoke always makes for a more memorable night out drinking than if you just went to a bar to drink, and you can each try out your best Randy Jackson American Idol impersonations. ("It's a no from me, dawg.")
5. Take A Group Fitness Class
I know what you're thinking — "Why on earth would I want to work out on a Friday night?" — but hear me out. Group fitness classes don't always have to be sweaty and intense workouts. Many gyms and community centers offer Friday night dance parties that are a workout disguised as a dance class. So put on a pair of sparkly leggings and get your groove on.
6. Laugh Till You Cry At A Comedy Show
Instead of watching all of the stand-up specials on Netflix, go out and see comedians live. Stand-up shows usually feature a handful of comics, so you don't have to panic if you don't enjoy the first one. It's a low-pressure way to get out of the house and enjoy something a little different.
7. Set Up A Potluck Bar In Your Apartment
Some of my favorite memories with friends have been when someone opened up their apartment and asked everyone to bring over some food and drinks for a potluck night. We all collectively spent less money than we would have if we had gone out, but we still all got to hang out and unwind from the week together. Even if you're feeling a little rundown from a hectic work week, these activities are a great way to spice up your normal weekend festivities.