Kylie is a small-town Indiana native who fell in love with Indianapolis while studying at Butler University. Now, she works as a live music marketer for Forty5 Presents—the entity that owns The Vogue Theatre in Broad Ripple and The Rock the Ruins summer concert series. She also oversees the “Fun on Weekdays – Indy!” GroupMe where Indianapolis residents can find out about upcoming events in the area. Kylie is a coffee shop and trendy taco fanatic, but her favorite part of Indy is its approachable and inclusive community!
10 Alcohol-Free Activities in the Indianapolis Region
Photo courtesy of Memento Zero Proof Lounge
It’s no secret that there has been a rise in sober curiosity the past few years, and the trend has become increasingly popular among young adults and older generations alike. Gen Z is drinking 20 percent less than millennials, over 30 percent of Americans don’t drink, and only a quick scroll on TikTok will result in a host of people sharing why they decided to be sober curious. The facts speak for themselves, and the reality is that people all over the world are choosing to drink more intentionally, drink less frequently, or stop drinking altogether.
Along with the sober curious movement has come a wave of zero-proof beverages—a selection of beers, wines, and cocktails with 0% alcohol by volume (ABV). Some people consider “zero-proof” to be a fancier term for mocktails, but others distinguish zero-proof drinks as alcohol-free substitutes that mimic the complex taste of actual alcohol.
Either way, the demand for alcohol-free activities and entertainment is already changing the way people plan for a perfect night out. Luckily, Central Indiana is packed with sights, sounds, and fun experiences you can enjoy without a drop of alcohol. So, whether you’re sober, sober curious, or just looking for an evening without a buzz, check out these 10 alcohol-free activities right here in the Indy region!
1. Spend an evening at the Memento Zero Proof Lounge.
Be one of the first to grab a drink at the Memento Zero Proof Lounge—Indiana’s first alcohol-free bar! This innovative new bar is currently under construction and is set to open in the Fishers Nickel Plate District by Fall 2023. Memento describes itself as a place for a pick-me-up without the put-me-down. They offer a curated selection of zero-proof cocktails, delicious coffee, and snacks to go along with.
This bar is perfect for people who want to be social but would prefer to avoid alcohol altogether, since Memento offers all the atmosphere of a cocktail bar (without the actual alcohol). Memento’s hours run from the early morning all the way to midnight—and after 8 PM, they switch to 18+ to preserve the traditional bar environment.
2. Shop for mocktails at Loren’s AF Beverages.
Interested in sampling different alcohol-free options? Loren’s AF Beverages is a great place to start your search for non-alcoholic alternatives to your favorite drinks and spirits. Founded by two women who quit alcohol in 2021, Loren’s AF is an alcohol-free bottle shop in Carmel that encourages people to be better hosts and serve more inclusive drink options for their guests.
At Loren’s, you can try dozens of seasonal and year-round beverages that mimic the taste of wine, beer, and hard liquors. While these drinks may seem alcoholic, they’re all zero-proof, and many of them contain adaptogens that can actually make you feel better—not worse—when you indulge in them.
3. Take a walk on the Monon Trail with BRICS.
People often drink alcohol as a way to socialize, but there are plenty of alternatives to going out for drinks. One of my favorites is meeting up with my friends at the Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station—or BRICS for short. This train-station-turned-ice-cream-shop has over 30 dairy flavors with an additional 8 vegan flavors to choose from, so everyone can find their creamy frozen treat of choice.
Best of all, BRICS is nestled against the Broad Ripple entrance to the Monon Trail, a paved walking trail that stretches 25 miles through the region. The scenery along the trail is always beautiful, and what better way to cool down on a summer evening than going on a walk with a milkshake or an ice cream cone?
4. Explore the many museums around Indianapolis.
Whether your jam is fine arts or high-speed sports, Indianapolis has a museum for everyone. For the race fans out there, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has its own museum with artifacts and exhibits from the history of motorsports. Indianapolis is also home to the NCAA headquarters and the iconic NCAA Hall of Champions. This interactive museum is a great place to learn more about collegiate athletics and test your own sports skills with hands-on simulators.
Meanwhile, art lovers can spend the day admiring Native American art at the Eiteljorg Museum or exploring the grounds at Newfields. Newfields boasts thousands of contemporary and historic artworks, as well as a 100-acre art and nature park (where you’ll find Funky Bones from The Fault in Our Stars!) And if you’ve never been, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is known for being the biggest and the best children’s museum in the world. The Children’s Museum is a great place to bring the whole family, but trust me, it’s definitely not just for children!
5. Jam out at one of Indy’s local concert venues!
Most of us can agree we enjoy concerts more when we actually remember them! Luckily, there’s no shortage of live music around Indianapolis, and you don’t have to partake in alcohol to have a good time at these venues. If you’re itching for a big crowd, I recommend Indy’s outdoor amphitheaters like the Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville or the TCU Amphitheater in downtown Indy. These venues welcome thousands of fans each weekend to see legendary musicians on nationwide tours.
But if you’re hoping for a more intimate venue, I’d suggest checking out Rock the Ruins at Holliday Park, the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater in Fishers, or the Hi-Fi Lounge in Fountain Square. No matter your musical taste, Indy has plenty of indoor and outdoor concert venues just waiting for you to sit back and enjoy the music—no alcohol necessary.
6. Spend your morning at the local Farmers Market.
Not every weekend needs boozy brunches with bottomless mimosas! The Indy region is chock full of Farmers Markets with fresh local produce, homemade goods, and delicious food to enjoy. Knowing that you’re fueling your body and the local economy is bound to start your weekend off on the right foot!
During the summer months, you can find Farmers Markets in just about every neighborhood, including a few different options around downtown Indianapolis. A few of my favorites include Broad Ripple, Irvington, Garfield Park, Zionsville, Carmel, and Fishers—just to name a few. And during the winter, you can check out the Indy Winter Farmers Market for an indoor alternative.
7. Take a class at the Indianapolis Art Center.
Want to wind down after a long day of work without the happy hour vibe? The Indianapolis Art Center offers all sorts of classes where you can stretch your creativity and learn to make art. From jewelry making and fiber crafts to pottery and glass blowing, these classes allow you to experiment with different mediums, while still catering to different skill levels.
Classes are usually open on weekends or weekday evenings and typically run for a few weeks each season. They do cost money, but their classes are pretty affordable considering how much you get when you sign up. So, get ready to connect with other aspiring artists and discover more about yourself through art!
8. Grab a bite at The Garage Food Hall.
Trade in your traditional bar crawl for a delicious food-stall crawl around the Garage Food Hall! The Garage is part of the beautiful Bottleworks District in downtown Indianapolis—an innovative new cultural district with food, entertainment, and more.
The Garage Food Hall is the ideal place to bring your friends because they have something for every palate. With sushi and burgers, Latin and Mediterranean cuisine, dessert options and more, there are dozens of restaurants to choose from—each with their own unique menu. They also have live DJs to bring the vibes while you eat and even host trivia nights every Monday at 7 PM!
9. Visit festivals like the Indiana State Fair.
It wouldn’t be a summer in Indianapolis without visiting the Indiana State Fair. With rides, competitions, and exhibition booths, the State Fair truly showcases that there’s more than corn in Indiana (although you can also find corn, if you want some.) The State Fair is known for tons of delicious, weird, and indulgent foods that embody Hoosier culture, including everything from glazed popcorn to elephant ears. And if you’re looking for something non-alcoholic to sip on, a lemon shake-up is an obvious choice.
Of course, the Indiana State Fair only runs for about a month—but Indy has many other festivals and community events available throughout the year. Whether that’s the Irvington Halloween Festival or the BUTTER Art Fair, there’s always something to do in the city.
10. Replace your usual drinks with mocktails from Indy’s best bars.
Still missing the vibes of a night out on the town? Have no fear! Most of the bars around Indianapolis offer mocktail options, so you can still go out with friends—without getting hangxiety the next morning.
On the roof of Hotel Indy, the Cannonball Lounge is known for always having a mocktail on their signature cocktail menu. Bars like Burnside Inn on Mass Ave have kombucha as a nice replacement for beer or cider. Restaurants like Cholita and Delicia in Broad Ripple both have non-alcoholic alternatives for your Tacos and Tequila Tuesdays, and Carmel’s 3UP Rooftop Lounge offers swanky, trendy mocktails that are just as picturesque as any craft cocktail.
If that wasn’t enough, the majority of the clubs in Indy also give away free sodas if they know you’re DDing or staying sober for the night. So, you can always dance the night away without needing a drop to drink.
As an adult, drinking can sometimes feel like the only way to enjoy an evening out. But here in Indianapolis, there are plenty of other opportunities to get out, have fun, and enjoy a night with your crew. Whether you’re going sober or just trying to drink a little less, grab your friends for some alcohol-free activities that are anything but boring!