Does the bar scene ever have you wishing that there was a happy hour alternative? Maybe something that didn’t consistently cost money and revolve around alcohol?

This feeling plagued me when I moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone. I wanted to socialize after work, but it was breaking the bank. I had contests with myself to see how long I could make a beer last.

Happy hour, after happy hour, after happy hour had me craving a more varied after work social gathering, and feeling sick of spending money on drinks when I just wanted to hang out with people. I desperately needed a happy hour alternative.

Instead of happy hour at a bar, what if you could try a happy hour outside? Fresh air, vitamin D, and local exploration anyone?

I dubbed this social gathering “Outside Hour” at my workplace and it garnered a modest fan group that was happy to try something new.

Step 1: Making the Happy Hour Alternative Pitch

My Outside Hour started with an email to my coworkers who I would frequent happy hour with.

It went something like this:

Happy hour with a twist: who wants to spend some time outside this Friday after work? We could go on a walk to [ x ] and then end [ x ]. The weather is supposed to be nice!

Step 2: Where to Go


In a city, pick a specific neighborhood, park or walking trail to try. Specific opportunities will vary city to city, but every city has gems waiting to be enjoyed. Each city has interesting beauties to find, whether they’re alive or concrete.

Living in Chicago, we would pick a new neighborhood and just explore on foot, walking through the main street or to one of the parks or outdoor art installations.


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Soaking up some sun on the Chicago Lakefront Trail after work. 

When I lived in Seattle, the Outside Hour crowd would walk through parks and trails, or along one of the lakes.

Outside hour: Happy hour alternative
This little park was tucked away just 5 minutes from the office in Seattle.


In the suburbs, this could mean finding a little walking trail in the woods. If you’re unsure of walking routes in your town, look for information on the tourist bureau or local planning websites.

Try looking at your area like a tourist. There’s a lot that goes unseen to a familiar eye.

Side effects of Outside Hour may include:

  • Vitamin D absorption
  • Seeing your home through new eyes
  • Mood boost from fresh air
  • Fresh conversation between participants

Have you ever tried to start a tradition like this with friends or colleagues? What do you think of the idea? If you give it a try, tell me know how it goes!

Happy hour alternative_Writing From Nowhere