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10 fun things to do (while sober) in January

Detoxing doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are the dance parties, comedy shows and festivals you’ll want to see while alcohol-free this month.

By Jillian Anthony |
Circus Now
Photograph: Courtesy Circus Now Circus Now

It’s a brand new year, and many of us woke up on January 1 glued to our Netflix queue and vowing to never drink again. While a sober eternity may not stick, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a healthier, alcohol-free lifestyle this month and still have a blast in the city with tons of things to do this winter. And remember, may your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the winter in NYC

Photograph: Matthew Gilbertson
Things to do

Morning Gloryville Episode #8

"Rave your way into the day" at this dance party at dawn. Self-proclaimed morning people will find a health-focused oasis packed with a wake-up massage station, a juice bar, free coffee, yoga classes and banging DJs. Bring your water bottle and a festive outfit, but be sure to leave the booze behind.

Photograph: Courtesy Brian Rogers
Theater, Experimental

Under the Radar 2015

Expand your mind with edgy new works from all over the globe in a festival cocurated this year by Mark Russell and Meiyin Wang. Offerings include works by Taylor Mac, Reggie Watts and Marie-Caroline Hominal, as well as Mariano Pensotti's Cineastas, Stan's Cafe's The Cardinals, Ikechukwu Ufomadu's Ike at Night and Daniel Fish's adaptation of David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again.

Photograph: Courtesy Jason Falchook
Things to do, Performances

The Moth StorySLAM!

At StorySLAM! you can have all the ups and downs of a night out drinking (laughter, drama, embarrassing tales) without the hangover. The outrageously (and deservedly) popular storytelling series pits local yarn spinners against one another, challenging them to deliver an impressive tale based on a specific theme. Get in line early, as spots for raconteurs and spectators alike go quickly.

Andrew W.K.
Photograph: Jonathan Thorpe
Things to do, Talks and lectures

Mind Warriors

Here’s your chance to hang out with the King of Party without actually partying: Comedian Greg Barris interviews musician and professional fun-haver Andrew W.K. about science, his spirituality, and mysteries of the universe. And there will be some comedy and live music thrown in there, too. Get ready for a bizarre evening.

Music, Pop

Sam Smith

British singer-songwriter Sam Smith first made a name singing on Disclosure's super catchy "Latch," and achieved pop megafame with his lovelorn debut, In the Lonely Hour.
You’ll find the mellow, cathartic evening you desire with sing-alongs to tunes like the ubiquitous "Stay With Me" at Smith's sure-to-sell-out MSG show.

winter jazzfest
Photograph: Hollis King
Music, Jazz

Winter Jazzfest 2015

WJF, a perennial highlight of NYC's annual jazz calendar, hosts its signature Greenwich Village marathon on Jan 9 and 10, preceded on Jan 8 by two kick-off events: a Jazz Legends for Disability Pride fund-raiser at Friends Meeting House, with big names such as Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Brad Mehldau and Jimmy Cobb; and a showcase for the current Blue Note roster at Le Poisson Rouge.

15th annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, Chinese New Year
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do, Festivals

Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival

Spend a day at the family-friendly celebration of the Chinese New Year in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, when the Better Chinatown Society lights 500,000 firecrackers to welcome the Year of the Goat and ward off evil spirits. In addition to the pyrotechnics, there will be lion dances and decorations giveaways, plus craft vendors and food booths where you can get your fill of traditional delicacies. (It’s said that the more dumplings you eat at the celebration, the more money you’ll make that year.) Grand St at Forsyth St; visit

Photograph: Courtesy Theatre T and Cie/Valerie Remise
Theater, Circuses & magic

Circus Now

This three-day carnival tour features nine different contemporary circus companies from six countries. With a festival pass, you can see three groups per day, including acrobatics crew Casus from Australia on Jan 9, United States team Girls on Trapeze on Jan 9 and Finnish aerialist Ilona Jäntti on Jan 10. “Getting high” will take on an entirely new meaning.

Photograph: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks and Recreation
Things to do, Festivals

Winter Jam

There’s nothing like taking in a big gulp of crisp, clean air on a January day in the city, especially if it’s blanketed in snow. The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months with its annual winter sports festival in Central Park, where you can stick to your get-healthy resolutions by snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding on fresh (manufactured) snow. Or you can just sip hot chocolate and enjoy the outdoors.

Fight Club
Things to do

Midnight screening of Fight Club

Part of Nitehawk Cinema's January midnite screenings theme "I'll kick your ass," watch the gritty film Fight Club into the wee hours of the morning while eating menu items inspired by the current feature films.

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