Nairobi is a city that always has a lot going on. But most of the time, adult events always include heavy drinking. Be they concerts or car shows, alcohol is part of the festivities. This can be off-putting, or sometimes you just want a booze-free activity.
10 things you can do with your friends in Nairobi that don’t involve drinking
1. Paint parties
You may have heard of Paint and Sip. This is a paint party where adults gather to create canvases, all art material provided by the establishment, and network. However, if you aren’t interested in drinking, there is another event, Paint and Bite, held by the Buggers Inn on Kenyatta Road. This is similar to Paint and Sip, but it’s family-friendly, and instead of comped wine, you get food. The Text Book Centre also has Art and Chill editions for children and adults. Writer and artist, Kamal Kaur, also holds a periodic paint party, Cupcakes, Coffee and Canvas at Tribe 44 in Spring Valley.
2. Karura Forest
The Karura Forest is one of the greenest areas in the greater Nairobi area. The forest offers trails, zip-lining, cycling, tours, and picnics. You can also take your dog for a walk. However, they must have an updated vaccination certificate and be registered with Friends of Karura Forest. Adults pay Ksh. 150 for picnics while children pay Ksh. 100. Entry fees at the forest are Ksh.100 for adult citizens, Ksh. 200 for adult residents and Ksh. 600 for adult non-residents. Children pay Ksh. 50 for citizens, Ksh. 100 for residents and Ksh. 300 for non-residents.
You can rent a bicycle at Ksh. 500 per two-hour hire. There are plenty of bike and running trails. The forest also has guided tours and you can attend bird watching at 7 am and at 2 pm. In addition, you can play tennis every day from 7 am to 5 pm. Bookings should be done in advance. The court charges adults Ksh. 200, while children pay Ksh. 100 for an hour of use. Guests pay extra for any additional hours. There is also a restaurant in the middle of the forest. However, it’s important to remember that the forest doesn’t allow guests to carry single-use plastics.
Why you should visit Karura Forest
Located at The Hub, Karen, children and adults can enjoy a zip-lining. The same company, JUMP, provides zip-lining thrills at Kereita, Kimende but this is ways from the city. At The Hub, families can also enjoy freefall jumping into a giant airbag, and a giant swing that flings three people at a time through a 10m arc. Zip-lining costs Ksh. 1500 for adults and Ksh. 1100 for kids.
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4. Cinema and theatre
Going to catch the latest blockbuster with your friends can be a wonderful experience. Popular movies, especially, are a great way to create camaraderie with a fandom. Tickets retail between Ksh. 600 and Ksh. 900, depending on whether the movie is 3D or you’re going to the VIP theatre. Many cinemas sell 3D glasses but you’re also allowed to bring your own.
For a more unique experience, you can also book a private viewing at Nyumba Cinema, at the Rosslyn Riviera on Limuru Road. You can book a cinema to watch a movie with your friends or screen an event. The cinema charges Ksh. 2500 per hour on weekdays during regular hours and Ksh. 3000 during prime hours. On weekends, the fee is Ksh 4000 per hour.
There are also plenty of plays to watch. Some are showcased at Braeside school, Alliance Francaise or the Kenya National Theatre. Ticket prices depend on the production. There are also vernacular plays held by different hotels.
Every few weeks, different venues host cultural festivals to allow people to engage with books, sports, music, films and art. Every September, the Kenya National Theatre hosts the Macondo Literary Festival. On September 3rd 2023, the Nyayo National Stadium will also host the Nairobi Street Basketball Festival. Event directories list upcoming festivals you and your friends can keep up with.
Bowling is a fun and popular activity for dates, team building and friendly competition. Indoor bowling or 10-pin bowling is available at the Village Market-Gigiri, Strikez Bowling-Westgate Mall, Pins Centre-Sarit Centre, and Playland Amusement Park-NextGen Mall. Prices range from Ksh. 400-Ksh. 600. Don’t forget to carry socks otherwise you will be charged for socks because you have to wear bowling shoes.
Lawn bowling is like bano for adults. The objective is to roll a biased ball so it stops close to a smaller ball known as a jack or a kitty. Your aim is to have your biased ball land closer to the jack than your opponent’s ball. You can also knock away your opponent’s ball. You can do lawn bowling at The Nairobi Club, Ngong Road, and Ruiru Sports Club. At both clubs, lawn bowling is Ksh. 300. You can also buy the balls needed for lawn bowling and play the game at a field near you.
At the Jump Xtreme adventure park on the Sarit Centre rooftop, adrenaline junkies can go give their inner kids a day of fun. There are climbing walls, obstacle courses, and trampolines. It’s available for adults and children. Charges are Ksh. 1000 per hour on weekdays and Ksh. 1250 on weekends and public holidays. You will also need to purchase or bring your own grip socks.
Paintball is a shooting game where the aim is to eliminate your opponent by marking them with a paintball marker. The markers use safe, biodegradable and water-soluble paint. It’s much safer than going to a gun range, which requires you to be a trained gun user. Paintball tournaments are held at various locations in the country. In Nairobi, you can play paintball at the Waterfront Mall in Karen. One paintball match lasts 90 minutes and costs Ksh. 1500 per person. Each player gets 150 paintballs. Refills are Ksh. 500 for 50 paintballs. You can also play paintball at GP Karting, Lang’ata or Two Rivers Mall, Limuru Road, the charges are the same.
For a taste of history within the city, you can visit the Kenya National Archives on Tom Mboya Street. The entrance is Ksh. 50 for citizens and residents, and Ksh. 200 for non-residents.
The National Museum is also a great option for things to do in the city that don’t involve drinking. Entrance tickets for citizens are Ksh. 200 for adults and Ksh. 100 for children below 16. East African residents are charged Ksh. 600 for adults and Ksh. 400 for children. Non-residents pay Ksh. 1200 for adults and Ksh. 600 for children. You can also make a booking for night tours for a group of 10.
A unique museum you can visit is the Kenyatta University Campanile. It displays the region’s tallest clock tower owned by a university. There are also plenty of artefacts related to the history of the museum. The topmost floor has 10-power binoculars so that you can view the entire KU grounds and the city. Students are charged Ksh. 50, staff pay Ksh. 100, the general public pay Ksh. 150 and non-residents pay Ksh. 2000.
If you ever used a handmade catapult as a child, this may be the best way to indulge your inner child as an adult. Instead of trying to hit birds and neighbours’ windows with stones, you can now use professionally made bows and arrows to shoot at targets. You can do it alone or compete with your loved ones.
The Nairobi Archery Club in Karen offers a bow-hunting experience with 3D animal and field targets. They also offer training sessions for anyone over 8 years old. The Club is also located within the Mamba Village, which charges an entry fee of Ksh 200 for Kenyans and Ksh. 1000 for non-residents. You can also go to Anchi’s Ranch in Karen, which charges Ksh. 1500 for 30 minutes of shooting.
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11. Star gazing
It can be difficult to see the stars when you live in and around Nairobi. This is because of light pollution. However, if you’re an astronomy enthusiast, The Traveling Telescope gives you a chance to witness the brightest stars and explore space on a big screen. The Nairobi Planetarium is located in Parklands, Riverside Drive. The planetarium has different shows where you can see different things from landing on the moon or navigating through the different planets and stars.
There is a Telescope, a star safari where you can get a guided tour of Kenya’s unpolluted equatorial night skies while you enjoy views through our large computerized telescope.
Different shows are held every Thursday to Saturday. Tickets retail for Ksh. 500 for children and Ksh. 1000 for adults.
You can also go on friend dates – use these other guides for more places to check out. Nairobi: 10 Interesting Date Ideas Below 3000 Kenya Shillings
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The Best Bookshops For Dates In Nairobi
Date Ideas For Two For Under Ksh. 1000 In Nairobi
Fun Places To Hang Out With Your Kids (or Date or Friends) In Nairobi
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