5 Clever "Happy Hour" Ideas

These happy hour alternatives won't leave you with a hangover!

Chez is the founder of Gobi Gear and is always looking for unique ways to have fun.  She has a passion for the outdoors, creativity, and botany.

UPDATED Nov 8, 2018, 2:14 PM

What does "my happy hour" mean to you?

It’s tough to disregard the appeal of the words “happy” and “hour.” Who wouldn’t want to be happy for an hour?

Traditional Happy Hours involve drinks, bars, and spirits.  And while I love a good Oregon craft beer, I find that drinking is factoring into my life less and less.  Not to mention scientific research that tells us alcohol is actually a depressant that can quickly bring us down after the initial buzz. 

Thus, I like to get more creative with my happiest hour!

Happy Hour is anything you do for fun apres-work, from time with friends, family, or the outdoors.  The emphasis is on quality and enjoyment, rather than quantity of consumption.

So without further a-do, here are 5 great ideas for Happy Hour that don't have to involve alcohol to be enjoyable.

What does Happy Hour mean to you? Outdoors? Cooking? Kite-boarding? Let's re-define it!

1. Packing Tape Sculpture Party

Yes you've read that correctly.  It's going to get fun.

Materials needed:

  • Friends
  • Packing Tape, at least 3 rolls
  • Surgical on blunt tipped scissors

Getting started:

Pick a friend to get "tapped" and have them undress (told you this would get fun).

Have them make a pose that they can hold for at least 20 minutes.

Everyone starts taping them!  The first round should be sticky side OUT (I would not recommend sticky side in unless you want a wax-job out of it too).  Round and round you go, overlapping the previous layer just a bit.

The next layer gets taped sticky side in, so it adheres perfectly to the inside-out layer.

One last layer to really solidify things, maybe even a 4th if your model isn't overheating!

Once done, use the surgical scissors to cut the person out of the tape.  Try to do one vertical cut from bottom to top and then let them emerge like the beautiful butterfly they are.

Finishing up:

Re-tape the shell you now have back together along the cut-line, and voila! You have a life-sized tape sculpture.

It is perfect for leaving in your living room to scare guests, or on your front porch at night. For more details, see here.


2. Chair Tennis

Chair tennis is something I learned about this past summer, and I must say it is an incredibly fun way to get a bit of exercise and a lot of laughs.

You will need a racket, but legit tennis skills are not required.

What you need:

At least 8-12 people
An asphalt surface tennis court
Tennis balls & rackets 
Portable chairs

Getting started:

Set up the chairs on either side of the court, as evenly spaced as possible.  Then serve the ball in!

Rules are:
- The ball can only bounce 2x before you hit it 
- You butt must stay glued to the chair! If you stand up or fall over, point is given to the other team 
- Play out the points, keeping track as you wish
- Alternative scoring: Some people play this game with beer, drinking every time someone on their team falls out of their chair or spills their own drink trying to hit a ball.

Guaranteed to have a lot of laughs, and hey, you might even gain some appreciation on how hard wheelchair tennis is!

3. Playground Crawl

If you have kids who like playgrounds, then this one is for you!

Materials needed:

A Happy Hour backpack
A kid or two
A friend or two
Optional: drinks

Get going!

The concept is simple.  Kids love playgrounds.  Variety is the spice of life.  Why not explore 3 or 4 of them in a couple of hours?

Pack your Happy Hour backpack with cold drinks - I like "fizzy", or carbonated, waters as my 2 year old also loves them.  But pack what you will; they'll stay cold.

Hit up playground #1, pass out some drinks, and head on off to #2, and so on.

Kids stay happy, you get some adult time, outdoor time, and enjoy those cold drinks!


4. Solo Time & Walking

Sometimes the best form of relaxation is to clear the mind, breathe in some fresh air, and just go for a walk.

Walking meditation, as I call it, has been shown to increase productivity, creativity, and decrease stress hormones.  Just the act of being in nature can do wonders for us, and sometimes going at it alone can really help us hone in on areas of thinking that need more attention.

Feeling more social? Walking with friends is great too 🙂

Don't forget your Happy Hour Backpack - it has tons of space for your down puffer, some gloves, and even a flashlight in case you end up out after-dark.


5. Take a Cooking Class

Here's a great one for building some life skills, possibly making new friends, and immersing yourself deeply into something.

When we immerse ourselves into creativity such as a cooking class, it is hard for other thoughts and stressors to come into our thinking.  Just this simple act of freeing the mind for a hour can have lasting effects on our happiness levels.

Further, you'll probably learn a thing or two and enjoy the lasting benefits of that creative flow from the class for weeks to come.

Kindred Kitchen Cooking Class

Photo Credit: Kindred Cooking Classes in Bend, Oregon