Talking about drinking can get pretty touchy. Bring it up in conversation with to the people that tend to drink a lot, and they can become offended. Mention it to those who choose not to drink, and things could get uncomfortable. This might be because of the social pressure and stigma associated with drinking as well as the long-standing myth that it’s more unlikely to have fun without some type of alcohol in your system. It’s unfortunate that this idea is still ingrained in our brains and society in this day and age. And for those feeling the pressure, it’s important to know that not everyone around you is drinking. In fact, USD students perceive 3% of their peers don’t drink or rarely drink when in actuality, over 25% of USD students do not drink or rarely drink (USD NCHA 2014). The bottom line is, having a good time comes down to what you want to get out of a social situation; the choice is yours. There are many ways to have a great time without drinking alcohol.
Enjoying a tasty meal with friends is probably one of the oldest forms of socializing around. Lucky for us USD students, San Diego is one of America’s “foodie” destinations, hosting a diverse array of eateries. Check out a new place with some of your roommates or invite classmates to grab a bite after class one day. Try sushi at PB Sushi, burgers at Hodad’s in Ocean Beach, and brunch at Olive Cafe in Mission Beach. Limited time or travel options? Urbane Cafe, JV’s Mexican, and J&T’s Thai are all delicious and located just at the bottom of Linda Vista Road! And if you’re itching to find the perfect study space that offers some of the best coffee and tea, try hitting up Lestat’s Coffee House in North Park, Better Buzz in Mission Beach, or Pannikin Coffee & Tea in La Jolla (my personal favorite).
Our university also happens to be conveniently located near an abundance of popular sights and destinations. Go see a Padre’s Game at Petco Park, take a day and visit the San Diego Zoo, experience a concert at the House of Blues downtown, or explore Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. Even switch things up and take the trolley downtown to explore the Gaslamp District instead of jumping in your car. And who can forget about the greatest attraction of them all: the beach! We’re lucky that the beach is just a short ten-minute drive away. Witness one of life’s natural miracles and go with some friends to watch the beautiful sunset at Sunset Cliffs. Or, try kayaking at La Jolla Cove, another hidden gem.
Sure, some occasions call for extra celebration, but sometimes you lose sight of what’s really important: the people you’re spending time with. When the edges of your world start to blur, and the details of the experience slowly slip away from you, how will you remember what was right in front of you at that moment? Will you enjoy not being able to fully remember a birthday or graduation party and the awesome people who experienced it with you? On the occasions that you choose not to drink, pay attention to the vibrant youth surrounding you, the pure unrestrained laughter, and the colorful sensation of memories being made in the present. This is what you’re missing. It’s better to be in the here and now. If you find yourself at a party and choose not to drink, others should also respect your decision. You can carry a cup filled with a non-alcoholic beverage or tell people that you have an exam to study for later that night. Even bring a friend that is also choosing not to drink that night. Just remember your decision is completely up to you and should not be influenced by others. Own your choice because you become a role model in doing so.
If you do choose to drink, always remember to have a designated completely sober driver, call a cab, or stay the night at a friend’s.
Here are some more great activities for fun without alcohol!
35 things to do in San Diego (that don’t involve alcohol)
Go eat at some of SD’s favorites:
- Hodad’s Ocean Beach
- Olive Café Mission Beach
- Lucha Libre Mission Hills
- Snooze Hillcrest
- PB Sushi Pacific Beach
- Miguel’s Old Town
- Hash House a Go Go Hillcrest
- Phil’s BBQ Point Loma
- Casa de Reyes Old Town
- Check out the new Liberty Public Market! Point Loma
Go do some sightseeing:
- Take the ferry to Coronado
- Wander the shops at Seaport Village
- Visit the museums at Balboa Park
- Hike Mount Woodson (aka Potato Chip Rock)
- Watch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs
- See the animals at the world famous San Diego Zoo
- Snorkel or kayak at La Jolla Cove
- Touch a starfish at the Birch Aquarium Tide Pools
- Take in the views at Torrey Pines State Beach
- Sit atop Kate Sessions Park for arguably the best view in San Diego
Catch your favorite artist or find a new favorite:
- San Diego House of Blues
- San Diego Open Air Theatre
- Sleeptrain Amphitheater
- Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
Go find the perfect study spot:
- Dunkin Donuts for those who miss home
- Lestat’s Coffee House
- The New Downtown San Diego Public Library
- Better Buzz
- The Living Room Coffeehouse
- Any beach spot!
- Explore a Farmer’s Market Linda Vista, Ocean Beach, Little Italy, Hillcrest, or others!
- Watch a movie at the Santee Drive-in Theatre
- Visit the fascinating UCSD Stuart Collection
- Add to the “Before I Die” wall in Hillcrest
- Grab a photo in front of the famous and historic Hotel del Coronado