These 10 activities will keep you busy with all your newfound free time.

Crossing a Stream in the Wilderness
Getty Images
Labor Day sales are here to get you into the outdoors.

I’ve been practicing Dry January and Sober October for many years now, and one thing I’m always surprised by is the inordinate amount of time I suddenly have on my hands when I’m not going to happy hours, long boozy dinners, and lingering three martini lunches. Which of course begs the question, how much of life do we waste just drinking, pre-gaming, or recovering from alcohol? Whether you’re practicing a damp January or are going cold turkey in hopes of adopting a more balanced relationship with booze beyond the New Year, here are are some ways to keep yourself entertained with all your newfound time.

Band of Vices
Band of Vices gallery in West Adams

Courtesy Band of Vices

Visit a Museum

If you find yourself in Los Angeles, why not splurge on lunch at Otium and then peruse the collection at the Broad, or a creative community art and culture hub like Band of Vices in West Adams? Exploring the arts and culture scene is a great way to fill your days.

Palisades Tahoe
Palisades Tahoe

Ben Arnst

Take a Hike

More Videos From Sunset

The West is home to some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the world. Our home is abundant in beauty, but often we find ourselves short on time. Instead of twiddling your thumbs or doomscrolling on TikTok, why not explore some of the region’s most iconic hikes? We’ve outlined 10 of our favorites here.

Hanging Clothes in Closet

Courtesy of Andy Drakeford

Organize Your Closet

Everyone knows about spring cleaning, but we have a new proposal: winter decluttering. The new year (and season) marks the perfect time to transition your closet for cooler months—and it’s an incentive to refresh your wardrobe. The new year is the perfect time to declutter your closet. Here are some tips from a celebrity shopper and stylist.

Joshua Tree National Park camp

Thomas J. Story

Take a Road Trip

Reinvest all that money you’re saving on not drinking on a road trip. Far more fulfilling than spending your hours in a bar, hitting the road this time of year is just the reset you need. Some of my favorite spots to recharge: Alila Ventana or Post Ranch Inn up in Big Sur, Autocamp in Joshua Tree, or the slopes in Mammoth.

Thai Food and Cocktail Spread at Phuket Cafe

Thomas J. Story

Cook a New Recipe

This is the perfect time to sink into a slow and cozy cooking project, like boeuf Bourgignon or even a new international cuisine, like these recipes from Portland’s Phuket Cafe. Or try these wintry twists to the dishes you know and love.

Try this refreshing Pear Tree mocktail.

Photography by Annabelle Breakey; styling by Dan Becker

Experiment with Zero-Proof

You really don’t need alcohol to have fun. If you’re in need of a nonalcoholic pick-me-up this month, try any of our favorite mocktail recipes—and keep them handy for healthier drinking habits all year long.

Alila Ventana Big Sur Exterior

Alila Ventana Big Sur

Get a Spa Treatment

It’s easy to justify self-care moments like a spa treatment or massage when you’re saving on bar tabs. Book in at some of the best saunas and hot springs in the West for a real moment of relaxation. Or, check out some of the luxe spas at our favorite spa resorts to recharge and reset.

Sound Bath

Conscious Design/Unsplash

Enjoy a Sound Bath

Heal yourself with good vibrations at Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa in Sausalito, California; during the spa’s Vibrational Sound Journey you’ll be exposed to tones from Tibetan singing bowls, tuning forks, and healing frequencies (at 432 Hz) through overhead speakers, all promoting cellular regeneration. For a more traditional sound bath, try the Holistic Twilight Ceremony at the Spa at Las Ventanas in Los Cabos, Mexico, hosted in a candlelit solarium with singing crystal bowls and a sage smoke energy-cleansing ritual. At Pronghorn Resort in Bend, Oregon, gemstone-infused singing crystal bowls are complemented by chanting for a sound bath-mantra meditation combo. Feeling antsy? Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles, California, is home to the world’s first sonic labyrinth, activated with motion sensors that play a series of gentle, soothing tones as you walk.

Getty Images/Justin Lewis

Read a Book

Snuggle up with a good book. Whether you’re looking for a gift for your favorite adventurer or wanting to cozy up with one yourself, these reads will inspire readers with wanderlust.

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty Meditates

Thomas J. Story


This is absolutely the time of year to slow down and find some peace, and there’s no better way to quiet the mind than meditation. Some of our favorite apps include Headspace, Oura, and Calm.