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, so you’re spoilt for choice. 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 for drinking here…
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.
Meet new people over a new read at Leeds Book Club
A great way of meeting new friends and discovering new books, Leeds Book Club is the perfect alternative to drinking. They meet up at The White Swan in the city centre on the second Sunday of every month or at The Black Bull in Horsforth on every second Wednesday, so you can choose a day that works for you. Just check their website to find out which book they’re talking about next, read it ahead of the meeting and show up – you can join in the discussion and meet some new faces too.
Leeds Book Club hosts sessions at White Swan every second Sunday or The Black Bull in Horsforth every second Wednesday.
Spend an afternoon at the Kitty Cafe
The Kitty Cafe is the perfect place to get away from the booze for a while. Book yourself in for a one hour-slot and meet the 30 cats who roam around the venue. Although this is a 100% alcohol free zone, it’s still a great place to refuel. They have over 100 different varieties of tea for you to choose from, as well as kitty inspired mocktails – and if you get hungry, you can indulge in one of their delectable cakes. After all, you gave up booze, not cake.
Kitty Cafe, 8-9 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BZ.
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…
Spend a few hours on the consoles at eDen eSports Cafe
eDen is the city’s very first video game and eSports venue. You can easily while away the hours in here without touching a drop. Serious gamers can head up to the top floor where you’ll find all the latest consoles and PC gaming machines – just book yourself in for one hour or three. Downstairs, it’s a bit more relaxed. You can relive your youth on retro consoles or just watch the latest eSports competitions on the big screen. The bar is home to an extensive selection of soft drinks, hot beverages and their own mocktails to help you keep your focus on your game.
eDen eSports Cafe, 3 Church Walk, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EG.
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 between 7pm and 9pm every Wednesday. 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.
Enjoy live jazz music at Seven Arts
Live music doesn’t have to be a boozy affair. In fact, at Seven Arts, it’s a lot more relaxed, so order a coffee and settle down to enjoy a spot of jazz. Every Thursday, Seven Jazz bring in an array of national and international touring acts – or you can head over on Sunday afternoons for their ever-changing line-up of talented local artists.
Seven Arts, 31a Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3PD.
Give pottery a go at Swarthmore
A trip to Swarthmore Education Centre will give you the chance to get to grips with pottery, even if you’ve never touched clay before. They run informal, practical classes every day between Monday and Thursday, with a choice of afternoon and evening sessions to take part in. You’ll learn different pottery methods, from coiling to press moulds, slab building and the potters’ wheel, as well as decorating your creations.
Swarthmore Education Centre, 2-7 Woodhouse Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1AD.
Spend a day playing board games at Hyde Park Book Club
On the third Sunday of every month, Hyde Park Book Club is taken over by Cards or Die. They fill the venue with your favourite boardgames, so you can have an afternoon of good old fashion fun. Roll back the years pitting your wits against your pals on Battleships or Talisman. Fancy something new? They’ve got Exploding Kittens, Coup and Kingdomino ready to play.
Hyde Park Book Club, 27-29 Headingley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1BL.
Go for a cracking hot chocolate at La Bottega Milanese
Need something to replace the drink in your hand? No problem. Get yourself over to La Bottega Milanese. Aside from their famous coffees, they have a trick up their sleeve for teetotal visitors – and because they’re open later than your usual coffee shops, you can still do your evening catch ups here. If you don’t want to overload on caffeine, try their Legendary Traditional Milanese Hot Chocolate. It’s made the Italian way, with 100% cacao, which means it’s a little different from all the others – it’s deliciously thick, surprisingly dark and not overly sweet.
La Bottega Milanese, 2 Bond Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2JZ and The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL.