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Alcohol-Free Activities in Hoboken + Jersey City

by Sarah Griesbach
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Even though Hudson County is known for its incredible nightlife scene, sometimes a person needs to mix it up. With many people exploring the sober-curious lifestyle, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite alcohol-free activities to enjoy in Hoboken and Jersey City. From learning a new skill to trying out an adventurous hobby, there are plenty of choices for a fun way to spend the day or evening. Read on for some of the best alcohol-free activities in Hoboken and Jersey City.

Make Coffee an Event

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Bwè kafe has coffee and so much more. The Hoboken Ukulele Appreciation Society meets every Thursday at 7:30PM in the Bwe Kafe at Washington and 10th. With a donation of $20, beginners can borrow an uke and join in the circle. “Cheaper than therapy, more fun than going to the gym,” says Dave Lambert who organizes these happy events. All kinds of pursuits — be they intellectual, athletic, or social — are way more satisfying when amped up on copious amounts of caffeine. Finding your fit for a coffee home is easy in a place where ambiance abounds. The signature sparkling espresso drinks at Sober Shot will definitely fire up neurons, motivate, and inspire.

Try an Only-Safe-When-Sober Skill

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Some activities — such as rock climbing at Gravity Vault, go-kart racing at RPM Raceway, and archery at Aerow Archery are really not advisable inebriated. Beginners and experienced rock climbers can stretch their limits at the Gravity Vault in Hoboken. At Jersey City’s RPM Raceway, thrill seekers can go fast and furious on 3,000 feet of lightning-fast straightaways and 90-degree hairpin and spiraling ramps. Aerow Archery delivers a unique and healthy way to move your body in an 8,000-square-foot open loft space that features 24 lanes of tournament-style targets ranging from 11 to 22 meters.

Read More: 9 Team-Building Activities to Try in Northern New Jersey

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Do Something New

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Patrons can book a virtual cooking class with a chef at Tony Baloney’s for a group of friends. Or, learn to box for fun and fitness. Budding artists can take a painting class at Urban Arts at Monroe Center. Or collect some friends for an open studio sewing session at Galastella Studio in Hoboken. Workshops at Blue Sky Pottery are ninety minutes of stress-free, messy fun with a take-home prize to be proud of. Despite the name, Tipsy Tie Dye, doesn’t serve alcohol and is BYOB for those who want to participate tipsy. The ticketed events — private party sessions are available — include tie-dying sweatshirts, sweatpants, t-shirts, hoodies, towels, baby onesies, dog outfits, you name it. Painting does not require sipping at Art Mango in Jersey City.

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Learn All About the Area

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The constant calendar of events at the Hoboken Historical Museum runs a vast gamut between regionally reflective artists, film showings, lecture series, and exhibitions that tell stories of the Mile Square City in more ways than there are residents. The Jersey City Free Public Library’s New Jersey Room holds a trove of documents, artifacts, and new and old tomes telling tales of regional history for the history curious. A search for information about the former homeowners of a property can become a romantic mystery for current-day residents wondering what those walls have seen.

A Hoboken Food Crawl

With all of the tasty treats in Hoboken, one could easily organize a different food tour each weekend. Salty, sweet, or savory could each be the theme. Maybe the crew missed the summertime MutzFest — just pick a handful of Hoboken’s fantastic delis and compare the mutz. Perhaps mortadella or meatballs is more your speed. There are easily a dozen spots in Hoboken and Jersey City to do an ‘around the world’ style taste test. Or organize your own pizza tour, comparing slices from all around town.

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The sweet tooths of the group aren’t left out of the fun. Hoboken is home to New Jersey’s top-rated chocolate chip cookie at Baking Mama. Pick up competitors from other local bakeries like Chip City or Dolce + Salato to see how it stacks up. And if you’re one of the people who thinks ice cream is a year-round treat (let’s be honest, it is), Hoboken and Jersey City are lucky enough to have several top-tier ice cream shops. From new school spots like il Labortorio de Gelato in Hoboken to the classic Jersey City shop Torico, the choices are anything but bland.

Why not roll from one easily walkable great food location to another with a taste-testing mission? Fresh mozzarella aficionados will attest to the superiority of one mild velvety ball over another. What could be more delightful than a great sober date themed around a tour di mutz stopping at Fiore’s, Vito’s, Biancamano’s, Lisa’s, and Luca Brasi’s? Try one shared plate from each to tally which is creamy but firm, milky sweet, and most irresistible. Or compare sizes — the bocconcini slightly smaller egg-sized balls versus ciliegine slightly smaller cherry-sized bites. If that’s too much dairy, you and yours might center an eating outing on shared cupcakes.  Pit delicious bites of moist vanilla bean lusciousness at Sweet, Baking Mama, Annie + Em’s, and Carlo’s Bakery against one another. Everyone wins.

 

There are actually professional foodies ready to take the crowd on a walking tour showcasing four or five of the best and most unique restaurants in town. Beyond the Plate seats walking tour groups around a table, to chat with chefs and owners and hear delicious stories about the local food scene.

Jersey City Art Crawl

Jersey City has a serious art scene. What could be more uplifting than gathering a group of besties to discover contemporary art by regional artists? The best-laid plan for art enthusiasts is to jump on any JC Friday or attend the popular JCAST, Jersey City Artist + Studio Tour, when nearly 150 art spaces provide a weekend of performances, installations, studio tours, and art exhibitions.

Catch a Show

Jersey City Theater Center boasts two adjacent professional theatrical venues that host an impressive lineup of local and regional artists and performers for a fun ticketed night out. Snagging a seat at a local production set in the black box theater of Mile Square Theatre is not particularly difficult, but very rewarding. The global music, vibrant regional theater productions, and raw and innovative dance acts at Nimbus Arts Center are way more memorable than barstool antics. Shows are typically similar in cost to a movie.

Pursue a Challenge

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Free pickleball or very affordable ice skating at Newport Skates is a great reason to hang out in Jersey City’s Newport area near the Hudson River waterfront. Group game aficionados can always have fun finding a way out of the ever-popular puzzle rooms of Hoboken and Jersey City like Puzzle Out Rooms.

Play Well with Others

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From billiards to board games, Play! Hoboken is a great place to have fun with friends. Symposia Bookstore has so much going on that a general theme is impossible to pin down. Open mic nights, philosophy discussions, book groups, craft-making events, and you name it — Symposia will host it.

Treat Yourself

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We all need a little help taking care of ourselves. Everybody loves a luxury treatment experience and a spa day with friends is a terrific treat for celebrating healthy living. Facial treatments, massages, and sand and pumice stone full-body exfoliation are the rewards we all deserve. Some spas to check out are Zahara Day Spa, Mia Spa, and of course the growing list of medspas in the area — Evolve, Attain, Aspen Prime, Hello Hydration, and more. We also have a list of spas in Northern New Jersey Jersey here.

See More: A List of Fun Outdoor Activities in New Jersey

Explore Your Home Sweet Home

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A group photo walk may be just the thing for exploring our picturesque city streets. Capture the beauty of cozy corner cafes and stately architecture and document the fact that Hoboken and Jersey City are home to stunning landscapes and vibrant cityscapes. Bowling in the basement of the Barrow Mansion or a trip to historic Harsimus Cemetery are very cool ways to experience local splendor. Planning for a picnic party in a stunning setting on a chilly day works if everyone wears their wool and the thermos holds steamy hot cider.

Take a Nature Bath

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Hoboken and Jersey City hold many unique park corners and green nooks to restore and refresh among the trees. There are also a few excellent locations for full nature immersion. For tips on how to get the most eco-explorative experience of Liberty State Park, it’s best to start at the Nature Center at Liberty State Park. The year-round center features exhibits focusing on the natural history and ecology of the Hudson River Estuary and offers all kinds of cool programs for exploring and learning. Lincoln Park West is home to a wonderful preserved natural habitat for birds. Jersey City Reservoir No. 3, a decommissioned reservoir atop Bergen Hill in the Heights of Jersey City just south of Pershing Field, is another great place for finding the peace that only comes in nature.

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