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30 fun things to do with your friends this weekend

It's up to you to make sure these friend dates actually leave the group chat.

This year, make it your mission to plan a friend date. Or better yet, a whole slew of 'em.

“Much like romantic relationships, friendships also require special energy and effort to keep that spark of connection alive,” Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LCSW-C, psychotherapist at The Eating Disorder Center, tells “So, it can be helpful for your friendships to plan thoughtful 'friend dates' that keep you both entertained and enjoying each other’s company.”

At this point, however, you may feel like you've exhausted all your options. Lucky for you, we turned to relationship experts to come up with a list of out-of-the-box things to do with friends at home or on the town, no matter your budget, proximity or closeness level. While it may be tempting to stick with the same-old, same-old, switch things up with one of these friendship date ideas for no reason other than the need for some quality time with your old or new friends.

Dr. Traci Williams, PsyD, ABPP, CFT-I, echoes this sentiment: “Creating new memories and having quality time together is a great way to strengthen your friendship bond."

And while these activities will certainly keep things fresh, so will new conversation topics. Keep a few of these questions in your back pocket to ensure you never run out of things to talk about (not that you will, of course).

Volunteer together

Helping others helps yourself — and strengthen your friendship, too. “Spend time with your friends giving back to others,” Williams says. “Whether building a home or serving food to the unhoused, you will find meaning and connection by volunteering in your community.” Who knows, you may even make more friends while you're at it.

Have a clothing swap

“Given you and your pals are close to the same size, having a clothing swap at someone’s house is like going on a shopping spree, for free,” Sarah F. O’Brien, LCSW, LCSW-C, CCATP, CTMH, tells Another spin on this: “You could also swap household items as well."

Plan an at-home spa day 

Invite a friend over, put on soothing music and let the spa day commence. “This is a great way to bond with a friend and also to engage in some helpful relaxation and self-care amidst the stress that you may be experiencing in your day-to-day lives," Rollins says. Not to mention store-bought face masks and nail polish are much more affordable than what you'd find at an actual spa.

Host a room painting party

Kill two birds with one stone. “Not only do you finally get that spare room primed and painted quickly, but you can also spend quality time with your friends,” GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC, licensed therapist and founder of PsychPoint, tells Be sure to have drinks, snacks, and all the necessary supplies ready for when your friend's arrive.

Go on a coffee date

Trade booze for caffeine. "So often happy hour is the go-to for social gathering, but sometimes we’re not in the mood to drink or we or our friends aren’t alcohol drinkers,” Kate Nichols, LCSW, tells

Test out a new spot or go to your favorite local coffeeshop. Stay until your fresh out of coffee — or linger for hours, if you have a lot to catch up on. "This is also an opportunity to get out as much or as little as you like," Nichols adds.

Take a yoga class

“Relax, unwind, and do something good for your bodies, and your mind — together,” O’Brien says. “With all the negative messages we get about image, body sizes, and what’s ‘right,’ it’s healthy for us to engage in activities with others that counteract those messages,” she continues, adding that quality time can also do the mind and soul some. good.

Get artsy

If you don’t want to get bendy, get artsy.

“This sort of date allows you to have something to focus on other than just the conversation between you," Danica Harris, Ph.D. says. “By allowing ourselves to access our emotional selves through art we may find that we learn more about ourselves and our friend than we do if we are simply trying to get to know each other through talking.”

Visit a new restaurant

Or venture to an old favorite. “The feel-good hormones from a tasty meal, fun conversation and shared laughs are guaranteed to give your friendship a boost," Williams says.

Take a class together

Think about something you've always wanted to learn, then find a class and sign up. But since everything's better with a buddy, invite your friend to tag along. Working together and trying something new with inevitably bring you closer, according to Williams.

Picnic in the park

“Hit up the grocery store with your friend for some yummy picnic food options. Bring a blanket to sit on and maybe even some fancy drinks and glasses,” Rollin says. Pack a set of cards, lawn games or books — or let your imagination roam free as you take in your surroundings. Just be sure to check the weather ahead of time.

Make your own candles

“You can do this out and about at a place that has all the items needed for you ready to go. Or get all the supplies online and do this at home with your friends,” O’Brien suggests. “Curate your own scent, get your friends’ ideas and input, come up with fun names for your scents and enjoy an afternoon with your ladies.”

Go for a walk

Hit the trails or the streets of your neighborhood. “A walk is a great outdoor activity for a friend date because it involves some low level physical activity and can be a good vehicle for deeper conversations that don’t necessarily have room during a movie date or something too activity focused,” Nichols says.

Press play on a new show

Go on an adventure together without even leaving your couch. “You might find that taking turns picking the show allows both of you to feel invested in the activity, and this is a great way to learn about your friend’s interests,” Harris says.

While you can watch the entire show in one shot, space things out by planning "a day of the week where you and your friend can come together and share in the watching of one episode together. This ensures future friend dates and gives ample time to discuss the show between viewing sessions.

Pretend to be tourists 

Afternoon tea at The Palm Court at The Plaza? Don’t mind if we do. Or how about visiting Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco? Now's the time to be a tourist in your own city or town. “Check out some of the top restaurants, sightseeing and other attractions that you may have forgotten about,” Rollin suggests. Pick a bunch of free activities or splurge on something lavish — the choice is yours.

Map out a movie marathon

“Movies are a great way to connect when you aren’t feeling up for having a long talk,” Rollin says. Ahead of time, come up with an assortment of favorites and old classics you haven't seen, then check them off your list one by one. Need some inspiration? Check out the greatest movies right now on Netflix.

Host a potluck

For an affordable, at-home option, consider hosting a potluck with a group of your closest pals. “You may also try creating a theme, like plates that start with the letter of your first name, your favorite cheat meal, or a recipe that is too big for just one person," Guarino says. Or, peg it to a celebration like Burns supper or the Kentucky Derby.

Go to dinner and a show

This is a classic combo for a reason. “Who says getting dressed up, having a nice meal out, and going to the theater has to be a romantic date? Do this with your girlfriends! Take photos together," O’Brien says. “Great conversations are always had over good food with good friends.”

Watch a TED Talk and discuss it

Here's a friend date that engages your mind, allows you to hear a new perspective and facilitates a fresh dialogue. “This helps us to understand the values of our friends and helps us to share about our own,” Harris says. “Expanding our worldview with a trusted friend helps us to feel safe to be curious, ask questions, and explore different factors on topics we might be less familiar with."

Stare up at the stars

It’s time to embark on a stargazing session, made all the better with a friend by your side. If one of you has a telescope, bring that along on your adventure, but you can also visit an observatory. Either way, Williams adds that “spending time looking up at the night sky is a unique shared experience."

'Netflix and Chill'

“OK, I mean really just watching Netflix in your pajamas and chilling with your tribe,” O’Brien says. Load up on snacks and drinks, bust out the fuzzy blankets and watch a few hours of TV. "I bet your soul will feel full as a result!"

Visit a museum 

Got an exhibit you’ve been meaning to check out? Grab a buddy. “You can seek out a specific exhibit that meets yours or your friend’s interest, or pick something at random that you get to experience together,” Nichols says, noting that this kind of friend date also gives you the option to explore on your own and then return to each other. “Museum exhibits can also often foster interesting talking points, as they expose us to things outside of our usual day to day.”

Walk your dogs together

Pet parents, this is a fun way to spice up your daily walks. Get outside and catch up with your friend (furry friend too!) while helping your pups get some much-needed excercise. "We all need vitamin D, a little exercise and fresh air — pups too," O'Brien says.

Go grocery shopping

Hey, you’ve got to do it anyway. “What better way to knock out a chore and spend time connecting with your crew,” O’Brien says. “You can even share meal ideas or recipes.” If you have time after your supermarket spree, cook a meal together while you’re already on a roll.

Move your bodies

Exercising with a friend always makes it more enjoyable. “This friend date idea may be doubly beneficial, as you might find that moving with others allows you to support your mental health and well-being while also building connection with your friend," Harris says.

Find a workout that suits your needs and fitness levels, whether it's heart-pumping dance cardio, meditative yoga or group runs. “All of these options will improve your own mind/body connection and you’ll find that the added connection may help you to create a routine around movement and have something tangible you can do with a friend."

Take a staycation

Pack your bags! "This will give your friendship quality time while away from the busyness of your lives," Williams says. If you don’t want to stay at a hotel overnight, consider booking a day pass to a local spa.The key here is just to spend time disconnecting from regular life together. 

Plan a day trip

Rather get out of town than stay in it? “Planning a day trip is especially fun for city dwellers. Getting out of your normal surroundings and exploring a new place is not only great for bonding, but it can help with boosting your mood and managing stress,” says Guarino. “Try visiting a new place, like a small town nearby, that you would not normally consider visiting to add some adventure to the friendship.”

Play some board games

Because a little friendly competition never hurts. Have each person bring their favorite board game, then choose them at random for a fun-filled game night. Feel free to throw a few rounds of trivia into the mix. 

Head to your local thrift store

Refresh your friend's wardrobe without breaking the bank (and vice versa). “Thrift stores are great places to get a good bargain and to experiment with your personal style in terms of both clothing and interior décor,” Rollin says, adding that you might want to snap photos together with all of your finds.

Cook brunch together

Who's going to turn down brunch? Exactly. “Pull out the pots and pans. Collaborate with your pal to enjoy the best meal of the day,” Williams says. Keep it simple or pull out all the stops with eggs, pancakes and other morning staples.

Sit somewhere comfortable and talk

Talk about simple, but effective.“ Taking the time to check in about how each of you are doing and about the health of the relationship allows everyone time to be seen, heard and understood,” Harris says.

"What’s important about dedicated check-in time is that both people (and their nervous systems) come to count on routine check-ins. This allows there to be predictability in the connection which helps us trust that we can share our authentic and real selves in this friendship.”