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The Best Sober Activities in Chicago

The Best Sober Activities in Chicago

When the patients in our alcohol abuse treatment in Chicago finish their programs, they are usually ready to start their new lives but may also have some reservations. Life in recovery can be a drastic change from the lives they led before they got help. For many people, this means adjusting to their new normal, including their weekend activities, spending time with new people, and learning how to have fun without alcohol. As a Chicago addiction treatment center, we are sharing our list of fun sober activities that will not cost you your sobriety.

Fun Things to Do Sober in Chicago

While your weekend before may have consisted of bar hopping and day drinking, now that you are sober, this is no longer an option. Although you may be lost as to how to spend your free time, there are still plenty of sober adventures in Chicago to keep you entertained. 

Be a Tourist

Even if you live in Chicago, you may not have checked all the big tourist spots off your list, or it may have been several years since your last visit. Take the time to be a tourist again in your own city. Take a new photo in front of the Bean, watch the show at Buckingham Fountain, poke your head in the Chicago cultural center, take an architecture or mobster tour, explore one of the many museums, look over the city from the Skydeck, or just get lost in downtown. There is so much to do in the Windy City that does not involve drinking and that you may not be taking full advantage of.

Museum Campus

Spend the day over at Museum Campus. The Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum are all sober attractions in Chicago that can take several hours each to complete. Consider taking a notebook to write down thoughts, sketches, or any other creative urge you may get from these immersive experiences.

Hit the Water

When looking for fun sober activities in Chicago in the summer, some of the bests are those by the water. Walk, bike, rollerblade, or run the Lakefront trail, stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk, or grab some sun on one of the beaches. You could spend the entire day out by Lake Michigan or the river, including lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants, or you can even pack your own picnic.

Grab a Bite

Chicago is famous for its unique spin on several dishes, but it is also home to a variety of different types of cuisine from around the world. Now that you are sober and no longer hitting the bars, take the time to go to the restaurants that you have always been meaning to try. Treat yourself to a nice dinner at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants, go to some places in Chinatown, or try something new in Greektown.

Watch Live Theater

The Chicago Theatre is always showing new productions. Check out their schedule and catch a show. Go to a nice lunch or dinner beforehand and turn it into an entire day event. For those looking to laugh until they cry, the Second City shows are a great option. Second City has been the training ground for big names in comedy like Bill Murray, John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd, so you can go and expect to laugh.


Not only is the Magnificent Mile known for its higher-end stores, but Chicago also has many unique local stores scattered throughout the city. Plan out a budget if you plan to spend, and choose from the wide variety of thrift shops, boutiques, and department stores that Chicago has to offer. Even just window shopping can keep you entertained for several hours.

Catch a Game

Chicago is home to several professional sports teams, which means games are happening all year round. These teams include the Bears of the NFL, the Bulls in the NBA, as well as the Cubs and the White Sox in the MLB. Even if you are not a big sports fan, these events are still fun, entertaining, and worth the experience of going to at least one game. 

Try Something New

Besides the more typical hot spots in the city, there are plenty of sober activities in Chicago that may involve things you have never done before. Go axe throwing, try your luck at an escape room, go bowling, or find an adult arcade. If your old friends are more interested in going out, reach out to your rehab alumni program to connect with other people in recovery in Chicago.

Go to the Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the only free zoos left in the country. Spend the day looking at the many different animals or catch one of the shows. You can even enjoy Lincoln Park’s Farm-in-the-Zoo experience to get a hands-on experience with these furry friends.

There Is More to Life Than Drinking - Much More

While life outside of rehab may be intimidating at first, life without alcohol does not have to be boring. There are plenty of fun things to do in Chicago that do not involve drinking and will not cost you your sobriety. If you do relapse, do not lose hope. Our Chicago relapse recovery program helps people get back on track in their recovery journey. 

We want to help you get back to living the life you deserve. To get more information about our programs for Illinois addiction treatment, call Banyan Chicago at 888-280-4763.

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Why Being Sober Is Amazing

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.