Giving up the booze for Dry January? Then you’ll need to replace your nights out on the town with something very different indeed – and we’ve got just the thing.
If you’re looking for fun things to do that don’t involve drinking the bar dry, Leeds is awash with activities that certainly fit the bill. You could spend an afternoon at the Kitty Cafe, enjoy an evening of internationally acclaimed jazz music or even try your hand at life drawing in one of the city’s galleries. There’s no need to drink to have a great night out.
Make the most of the social space at The Climbing Lab
Why not take advantage of the opportunity to take up a new hobby? You can try your hand at bouldering at The Climbing Lab. Not only is it one of the best centres in Leeds, with a custom-built top-out boulder that lets you climb up and over the wall, but they offer free coaching on Tuesday nights to help you get into the swing of things. Alternatively, you can sign up to their beginner’s lessons and learn how to climb on your own or with your friends. Afterwards, head to their relaxed social space and enjoy a cup of Maude Coffee.
The Climbing Lab, Kirkstall Industrial Park, Milford Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2AZ.
Cook up a storm at Leeds Cookery School
Whether you’re a complete novice in the kitchen or an experienced pro, it’s never too late to learn something new – and you won’t find a more welcoming place to do it than Leeds Cookery School. Based at the Old Fire Station in Gipton, Head Chef Simon Chappelow and his team will get you slicing and dicing with locally sourced produce to create everything from Thai food to fresh bread and pasta from scratch. And because it’s a charity, you’ll be doing good while you learn.
Leeds Cookery School, The Old Fire Station, Gipton Approach, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 6NL.
Escape the room before the clock hits zero
Ready to test your wits and escape from a locked room before the time runs out? That’s what you’ll get at Escape Hunt, with three mind-bending rooms, all with their own unique theme. Try to stop the missiles being launched in the WWII-themed Our Finest Hour, embark on an epic quest in The Fourth Samurai, or sail the dangerous high seas to find Blackbeard’s Treasure, the choice is yours. You can tackle them alone or with friends, just make sure you get out in time…
Escape Hunt, The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL.
Treat your sweet tooth with dessert
You don’t need to go to the pub to meet up with friends, Leeds is home to some cracking dessert venues if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth. You can tuck into all manner of ice cream flavours, from your standard mint choc chip to more extravagant creations like hazelnut with tonka bean. Not a fan of ice cream? No problem – treat yourself to the likes of waffles, crepes, cookie dough, milkshakes and cakes, while having a natter with your pals.
Check out Leeds’ ice cream parlours and dessert shops…
Explore your culinary horizons at Trinity Kitchen
Replace booze with street food at Trinity Kitchen. Tucked away at the top of the shopping centre, this haven of delicious grub offers six permanent vendors, serving everything from phố to burritos, ribs and chicken & waffles. But the real magic comes from their pop-up vendors who are lifted into the venue every eight weeks giving you even more delicious choice.
Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds, 27 Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5ER.
Get your game on at Geek Retreat
Who needs a pint when you’ve got Leeds’ finest social gaming space to play in? Geek Retreat is a home away from home for anyone that loves to get their game on, whether it’s board games, role-playing activities, collectable card games or even old-school arcade cabinets. You can even settle in with a graphic novel and one of their mammoth ice cream milkshakes for a comfy evening in town.
Geek Retreat, Central Arcade, Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.
Treat yourself to a rip-roaring show
We’re lucky to have a ton of sublime theatres in Leeds, where you can enjoy a calendar of amazing shows, from tear-jerking dramas to side-splitting comedies and toe-tapping musicals. There’s the latest Broadway blockbusters at Leeds Grand, family-friendly shows at Carriageworks Theatre, cultural gems at Leeds Playhouse and a little bit of everything at Leeds City Varieties. So if you want to soak up some culture, get along to a show and see what the fuss is about.
Bounce your troubles away at Oxygen Freejumping
An adult-sized adventure playground, Oxygen Freejumping is one of the most fun things you can do in Leeds. Inside, you’ll find over 100 interconnected trampolines – you can leap around to your heart’s content, tackle the giant airbag, take on the speed reaction wall or jump into a massive foam pit. There’s even a full-sized obstacle course to navigate, so you can bounce, dodge and climb your way to the end – all with a big grin on your face.
Oxygen Freejumping, Cardigan Fields Leisure Park, Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DG.
Enjoy a film and a slice of history at Hyde Park Picture House
Hyde Park Picture House is one of Leeds’ most treasured landmarks, and for good reason. This legendary Grade II-listed cinema has been standing for over 100 years, and you can still catch all the latest blockbusters and arthouse flicks here surrounded by vintage furnishings, from the building’s Edwardian plasterwork to the iconic gas lights and analogue film display.
Hyde Park Picture House, 73 Brudenell Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1JD.
Try your hand at life drawing at The Gallery at 164
Why not join The Leeds Drawing Club at The Gallery at 164 and have a go at life drawing? They run untutored sessions once a month at Cafe 64 for just £9 and full tutored courses for £125 at Studio 232. You don’t need to bring anything with you – they’ll provide paper, charcoal and a model for you to sketch. All you need to do is sit down and put the figure in front of you onto the page.
The Gallery at 164, Munro House, Duke Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AG.