10 Things To Do That Aren’t Watching the Super Bowl

Football not your thing? Me neither. Here are ten things to do instead…

I hate football. Can’t even feign an interest in the game. While there are certain factions of my family that could be described as… fanatical about the Patriots (I’m from New England, after all), “the game” was just not a thing in the house I grew up in. Sports weren’t a thing, unless we were actively participating in them. Our mindset: what’s the point of watching it on TV, when you can go outside and actually play the game? And by “the game” I mean decidedly non-team sports — me and my ilk are snowboarders and skiers, runners and skateboarders… Years later, I was lucky enough to fall in love with someone who felt equal disdain for Super Bowl Sunday and all other football-related phenomena, and over the years we’ve created a sort of tradition out of finding something more interesting to do when game day rolls around.

If you’re sick of people suggesting you watch the Super Bowl “just for the commercials”, I’m right there with you. On a day when the rest of the world is holed up in their homes watching sports, why not get out and take advantage of the quieter streets? Do something different, see something new. Below are ten ideas to get you started, but please share your anti-Super Bowl ideas in the comments…

Hit up a museum: Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect time to take advantage of locales that might otherwise be overcrowded. Personally, I avoid museums at all costs on a normal weekend. I just can’t handle the crowds, but game day is the perfect day to stroll slowly through an art museum and really take everything in. Bring a sketchbook and some pencils or charcoal for when you inevitably get inspired and allow yourself to really sit and look.

Try a new restaurant: Make the most of what will surely be a slow night and make reservations at a restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Rather than rushing through your meal, make it special by ordering a cocktail you’ve never tried, share an appetizer and definitely order dessert. Just be sure wherever you go doesn’t have TVs in the bar.

Get out in nature: Go ice skating, take a winter hike, plan a group run or organize a game (capture the flag! kickball!) with other Super Bowl defectors. If you live close to a National Park, go there. Breathe. Be thankful that you’re able to see such beauty with little-to-no crowds. Most cities have hiking and running groups that meet on the weekends. Sign up and make new friends.

Host a pre-Oscars movie night: Have you seen all of the Oscar-nominated films? Didn’t think so (me neither). Gather together a group of friends, make some snacks (we recommend popcorn, guacamole and something sweet) and cocktails, and settle in for a night of cinema. Before the night is over, write your predictions down and see what pans out when the awards show airs on February 28th!

Get over your fears: Maybe you’ve always wanted to take a hot yoga class, or a dance class, or you’ve been itching to try spin, but you just felt too nervous about the large class size. Signing up for a class on a Sunday when something big is taking place nearly guarantees a small class size. Even better, try a one-on-one session with a trainer and ask them all the questions that have been on your mind.


Be a tourist: The Liberty Bell is calling. As is the Empire State Building and all those Duck Tours and any other local tourist trap you’ve been secretly dying to check out. Well, now is the time. Grab a couple of friends, pull a baseball cap over your eyes, and indulge in a day of being a tourist in your own town. Go the THE restaurant, check out THE historical location (every town has one), have someone take your picture in front of that famed attraction everyone from out of town flocks to, that locals tend to take for granted.

Go for a drive: From 4pm on, the roads will be very, very quiet, which means it’s the perfect time to take a mini road trip. Check out a nearby town, or simply meander down roads you’ve never ventured down. Bring your camera and stop along the way to grab a few shots when the scenery strikes.

Host a cook-off: Or a bake-off, or a cocktail contest. Choose a theme, hit up the grocery store, and invite your friends over to whip up their own version of a recipe with you. Turn up the music and get into it. Extra points if you provide cheesy aprons you found at the thrift store (“Kiss the Cook”), and be sure to have extra drinks and snacks on hand. When you’re done, vote for your favorite and hand out fun awards to everyone while you indulge in their creations.


Make something: Valentine’s Day is just a week away, so why not get a head start on your Valentine’s gifts and spend the afternoon making treats and sweets for those you love? Craft up some cards using watercolor paper and paints, or mix up your own box of chocolates. For even more ideas, go here.

Volunteer: Spend your free afternoon helping others or making plans to do so. It’s a new year and the perfect time to begin giving your time toward causes close to your heart. Call up your local animal shelter and see if they need a helping hand, spend the day clearing trails through your local nature conservancy, or just grab a few trash bags and a couple of friends and clean up a local beach or park. You might even inspire someone else to follow your lead.

+ What’s your tried and true anti-Super Bowl tradition?

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5 years ago

I LOVE this post and I also HATE football. Everyone from my mom to all my siblings are talking about the stupid game with an incredible amount of excitement that they never seem to show for my chamber music profession.
I’ve often wondered, why is it that there is plenty of money to go around to pay a bunch of idiots to beat each other up on the field. Orchestras, dance companies and playhouses are often folding from a lack of funds…
Sigh…sorry for that rant.
Anyway, on the ‘big game day’ I will go to a mall and walk around doing very relaxed shopping. I sometimes grab a bunch of movies from the library and make some snacks, or watch some cool Korean drama. Sometimes other musician friends and I set up a sort of classical jam session to show our rebellion against football.
Thank you for this great article.

5 years ago

I hate the game too- I live in Colorado so of course it’s football fever around here because Denver is playing. Which I hope they win so everyone’s happy, but I just don’t want to have to sit through it. Only thing I like about Super Bowl (or the Stupid Bowl as I like to call it) is when it’s over, so there’s no more football until August. I’d so be doing some of the things on this list if I got to make the decision, but my husband and I were invited to a party today and he’s a football fan. As well as pretty much everyone there I’m sure, so I’ll have to suffer until it’s over with. At least there’ll be food I guess. My birthday is tomorrow and the last thing I want to spend the weekend of it doing is watching a stupid football game, and the weather is actually nice today too.

I have ethical issues with the NFL and team owners to begin with and the players are often times so cocky I just can’t stand watching them carry on. Plus reading about what they do in the news when they’re not on the field (beating their girlfriends, DUIs, Michael Vick with the dog fighting a few years back.. the list goes on).

5 years ago

Wow this is so amazing to find kindred spirits- EVERYONE I know is a football fanatic!! I am surrounded!! I can’t even pretend..it just doesn’t interest me-it just doesn’t!
I bought some beautiful new yarn yesterday to start a new sweater….hello Netflix ;)

5 years ago

So wonderful to read your post on other things to do! My husband and I go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with no televisions! So nice to be in a room with kindred spirits who obviously don’t give a fig about a silly over blown game. Run over here and fall down, run over there and fall down… get paid a lot of money. Hogwash. What do people have to show for seating on their butts watching this stuff all the time? Much too tribal for us. Thanks for the post!

2 years ago

Great list, i love to watch super bowl matches