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Key Points

  • During conscious sober living, replacing alcohol-adjacent activities with alternative “dry” activities helps you enjoy the best life has to offer without the hangover and regret.
  • There are many different sober activities around Houston for you to try, and we’ve curated a list of the best!
  • The Heights Treatment Center offers treatment and support to support your journey and help you maintain a sober future.

Sober Activities In Houston Take a Tex-Mex Food Truck Tour
There’s far more to do in Houston than drinking. In fact, it’s easy to find alternate activities.

Once you’ve decided to pursue sobriety, replacing alcohol-adjacent activities with alternative “dry” activities is wise. This prospect can seem daunting. After all, how is it possible to have fun without drinking alcohol?

Far from being boring alternatives, these 15 Houston activities are exciting and best enjoyed completely sober:

Sober Activities In Houston

Take a Tex-Mex Food Truck Tour

Houston’s Tex-Mex food scene is incredible. Food trucks have exploded onto the culinary scene in the last 15 years. Houston’s Tex-Mex food trucks offer convenient, restaurant-quality food at affordable prices. And the best part is that there are so many good ones from which to choose.

Pretty soon, you’ll be doing your meal planning based on where they’re going to park next.

Bonus Tip: Patronize El Ultimo, El Gato, and La Esquina. You won’t regret this.

Don’t Have a Problem at the NASA Space Center

“Houston, we have a problem” is probably the most quoted line in the history of really bad (but slightly funny situations) where Americans are present.

Although the quote is slightly different from the real one by astronaut John Swigert, it got relayed to the third floor of building 30 of the NASA Johnson Space Center. Today, the facility has been converted into a museum which hosts 1.25 million visitors annually.

The 400+ space exhibits focus on STEM educational content and will spark your sense of wonder and curiosity.

Bonus Tip: Geek out over the restored mission control room as part of the tour.

Check Out the Orange Show

The Orange Show Monument is the folksy brainchild of late Houston postal worker Jefferson Davis McKissack. It’s now a 501(c)(3) foundation.

The monument is part maze, art installation, museum, pond, and stage. And–best of all–it’s all hand-painted orange. McKissack believed good health was the product of nutrition, working hard, and eating oranges.

As you pursue recovery, it’s nice to be reminded that small, daily habits can positively affect your health in a big way.

Bonus Tip: Explore the Orange Show Monument on the weekends from 10 am-2 pm.

Kayak Buffalo Bayou

If you’re up for a pleasant river paddling experience, kayaking the Buffalo Bayou might be for you.

There are no “Class 5” river rapids here: The Buffalo Bayou is a slow-moving river that cuts through Houston on its way to Galveston Bay. As its name suggests, bison used to quench their thirst here thousands of years ago.

Kayaks are available for rent from outfitters like the Buffalo Bayou Kayak Tour.

Bonus Tip: If you let the Buffalo Bayou River take you, it can carry you from one end of Buffalo Bayou Park to the other.

Bless Local Homeowners with Habitat for Humanity

You might have heard of mortgage equity, but have you ever heard of sweat equity?

Houston Habitat for Humanity is an organization that helps people repair and build their homes. They help people become first-time homeowners with a zero-interest mortgage as long as they contribute “sweat equity” (aka sweating as they help build their own home).

Volunteering can be a wonderful way to give back to the community during recovery. When you can spend some time not obsessing over the tough days of recovery, it gives you some much-needed perspective into the big picture.

Bonus Tip: Volunteer with a building crew and bring home new carpentry skills you can apply at your residence.

Go Surfing in Galveston

Just an hour away from downtown Houston is Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico.

You don’t usually associate Texas with gnarly surfing, but Galveston is perfect for beginners because the waves generally only reach 2-3 foot swells. Surfing is perfect for those Texas summer days when the thermometer looks back at 100°F and laughs.

Surfing gets you experiencing the ocean moment by moment, swell by swell. This act of mindfulness is invaluable in your recovery journey.

Bonus Tip: Go in the early morning or late evening for the biggest waves because this is when the tide will be the highest.

Enjoy a Film at the Rooftop Cinema Club

Imagine catching a great film surrounded by the iconic Houston skyline.

This isn’t just a pipe dream. It’s a reality, and there is one cinematic location in Houston that will cater to you. The doors open around the magical golden hour, and you can get comfy as you watch the sunset turn to dusk. Once darkness settles and the stars begin falling into place, the movie begins, and you get to enjoy it all.

If you’re worried about city noise ruining it, don’t worry: Everybody gets their personal pair of headphones for the event.

Bonus Tip: Choose the Rooftop Cinema Club for a romantic date, and choose the love seats for two for your seating choice.

Experience the Incomparable Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

Going to the rodeo is a uniquely Texan tradition that dates back to the 1880s.

But, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo worldwide. It takes place over approximately three weeks in March every year.

There is literally something for everyone: Archery, rodeo, BBQ, carnival rides, calf scrambles, mutton bustin’, horticulture, and even agriculture robotics. If you can’t find something you like, you’re just not trying hard enough.

Grab your cowboy boots, don your chaps, and head to HLSR this year.

Bonus Tip: Yeehaw! Stay for the superstar country concert that concludes each day.

Experience Wonder & Confusion Simultaneously at the Art Car Museum

The Art Car Museum is dedicated to art made out of cars. And no, we didn’t type that wrong.

This is something you just have to see to believe. Some of the wildest and most whimsical automobiles you’ve ever seen call the Art Car Museum their home. This Houston tradition began after the Orange Show commissioned a “FruitMobile,” It has now evolved into a festival each year in downtown Houston.

Some cars are antiques, some are stock muscle cars, and some are modified vintage hotrods. But the cars that are the most interesting are the cars that look like they are a piece of art themselves.

Bonus Tip: Find the original fruitmobile in the museum.

Explore the Houston Museum District

Explore the Houston Museum District
You have to give the city planners credit on this one. They thought, “If someone wants to go to one type of museum, wouldn’t they enjoy it if other kinds of museums were nearby?”

The Houston Museum District is the brilliant execution of forward-thinking city planners, which now includes 4 walkable zones with 20 different museums. Everything from the Houston Zoo to the Czech Foundation, to the Holocaust Museum, to the Children’s Museum is located right next to each other.

You don’t have to choose just one–you can explore all of them! 10 museums are always free; others offer free hours at specific times, usually on Thursdays.

Bonus Tip: You can walk, bike, train ride, or catch a bus to the next museum.

Reflect on the Sublime at the Rothko Chapel

Part of the Houston Museum District, the Rothko Chapel is an interdenominational space for religious-minded people.

It is a silence that moves, as they say. In 1971, creators John and Dominique de Menil commissioned Mark Rothko to recapture the sense of sanctity and transcendence lost in modern religious practice. He produced 14 separate canvases that line the walls.

You’ll find peace and solitude here, which is a pure salve for your soul on your recovery journey. These small moments of reflection will remind you that it’s all worth it.

Bonus Tip: Spend five minutes with your eyes closed and focus on the silence.

Get Messy with Houston BBQ

The only culinary fare more numerous than Tex-Mex food trucks in Houston are smokin’ delicious BBQ Joints.

Texas has a very proud tradition of BBQ going back to the 1800s, which involves using marinated beef brisket cooked over direct heat. This makes for an intense flavor and mouth-watering experience.

Make sure you have a big appetite when you come because the portions are Texas-sized.

Bonus Tip: Start with Flossies BBQLonestar Sausage BBQ, and Feges BBQ. Come hungry.

Grab Your Tunic and Sixpence as You Go to the Texas Renaissance Festival

Hear ye, hear ye – if a Houston festival involving feasting, haberdashery, jousting, and the King’s English makes your ears perk up, you must secure tickets to the Texas Renaissance Festival pronto.

While everything is done in jest, the performers love staying in character. Here, you can bite into juicy turkey legs fresh off the spit as you watch modern jousting combatants racing toward each other at full tilt. Or, maybe a masterful display of falconry or cittern-playing is more your speed.

Know your limits because while you don’t need to drink here, there will be plenty of mead and alcohol within easy reach.

Bonus Tip: Feel free to dress the part, too!

Restore Fragile Ecosystems with the Galveston Bay Foundation

If restoring coastal habitats makes you come alive, consider volunteering with the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Since 1987, this foundation has been at the forefront of restoring coastal habitat in Galveston Bay by restoring wetlands, building oyster reefs, cleaning marine debris, and educating landowners about conservation easements, among other things.

Bonus Tip: Volunteer on the abandoned crab-trap removal day or marsh mania (where you plant marsh grass).

Tour the Battleship Texas State Historic Site

The only US Dreadnought battleship to survive both WW1 and WW2 is currently dry docked in Gulf Copper Shipyard in Galveston.

At its commissioning in 1914, the battleship Texas was the most powerful ship ever built. While it was decommissioned in 1948, it took 50 more years for the “Texas Battleship Foundation” to be formed. Now, its benefactors wanted to turn Texas into a premier museum and tourist attraction.

Even while it is in dry dock undergoing extensive repairs, you can take guided tours to appreciate the magnitude of the Texas’ berth and the brutal conditions it took to live at sea and keep it afloat.

Bonus Tip: Remember to wear full-length pants and shirts, as well as closed-toe shoes.

Looking For Help Getting Sober? Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol addiction can adversely affect your personal, familial, and professional life. It’s even more damaging when it is combined with a co-occurring disorder.

On average, people with alcohol use disorder will have their lifespan shortened by about 24-28 years compared to the general population.[1] The cost of loss of satisfaction and years shaved off your life is inestimable.

There is still good reason to hope. Don’t let defeating thoughts about wasted time creep in. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. There is still time to change, heal, and thrive.

You can do it. What is ahead of you is nothing compared to what is inside you.

If you’re determined to end your alcohol addiction, the Heights will stand with you shoulder to shoulder.

We offer a variety of treatment programs and therapies designed to target mental illness and substance abuse, including if co-occurring disorders are present. We don’t believe you need to be “fixed.” You need treatment, support, and preparation for what comes next.

With us, you’ll feel welcomed, accepted, and valued as a unique individual with many strengths that can be leveraged to sustain long-term recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

The word for “totally sober” is “sober.” A sober lifestyle doesn’t mean 50% sober; you’re only sober when you feel like it, or you’re sober as long as it’s easy.

Sober means abstaining from using drugs and alcohol. It means saying “no” to substances so you can say “yes” to the rest of your life.

Sobriety is a complete shift from addiction. It’s choosing to be in control rather than letting alcohol control you. Adding a positive adverb of degree in front of “sober” is redundant because sobriety is already total.

Though alcohol can make you drowsy, it disrupts restful sleep patterns because it interferes with your brain’s melatonin production.

Try chamomile tea or tart cherry juice if you want a drink that transmits a sedative-like effect. Chamomile tea contains the compound apigenin, which decreases anxiety. Cherry juice contains tryptophan and melatonin, which causes sleepiness.

As this guide shows, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself without alcohol.

Maybe you’ve been over-consuming alcohol for so long it’s become synonymous with “fun” in your brain. But, drinking too much alcohol has a host of side effects that will impede your physical and mental health, making it that much more difficult to have fun in the first place.

It's Time To Take Your Life Back.

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[1] Westman, J., Wahlbeck, K., Laursen, T. M., Gissler, M., Nordentoft, M., Hällgren, J., Arffman, M., & Ösby, U. (2015, April). Mortality and life expectancy of people with alcohol use disorder in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica.

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