Since Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first dosed himself with the compound in 1943, lysergic acid diethylamide (otherwise known as LSD, or “acid”) has indelibly changed culture, art, individuals, and society at large. With its propensity for causing vivid and intricate visuals, as well as striking epiphanies and spiritual experiences, acid has proven its power to expand our perceptions of the world. Yet acid trips can also be associated with paranoia, anxiety, and even delusions—and what you do while on the drug will largely determine how your experience.
Just like when tripping on mushrooms, your “set” (inner emotions, beliefs, and perceptions) and your “setting” (physical surroundings) play a giant role in how your trip unfolds. Taking acid at a loud, crowded music festival will be very different, and almost certainly more challenging, than tripping with a close friend at home. As LSD can dilate time (that is, make time feel longer) and encourage great focus on the present moment, any activity you choose to indulge is sure to feel brighter, richer, and more potent. Here’s a list of 12 classic things to do on acid that tend to encourage good vibes.
Best Things to Do on LSD
As just one of many substances that have been called entheogens (that is, “creating God or the divine within”), LSD has its own unique flavor that goes best with certain activities and experiences—like all the fun things to do on acid listed below. A word of wisdom: don’t try any of them that are outside your normal range of possibility or access; you should not drive anywhere while tripping! Remember, most psychonauts follow the adage: “start low, go slow,” and only trip in a comfortable environment. You can find more acid-related advice and inspiration on Reddit, Shroomery, or other forums.
Next, always know the laws in your region before obtaining acid. While psychedelics and other drugs are decriminalized in a few regions across the United States and Canada, LSD remains federally illegal in most places. Finally, if you’re new to acid, don’t forget to check out our past resource on acid. Keeping all of this in mind—and without further ado— here are the best things to do on acid:
1. Look at Patterns
Wood grain, a stucco ceiling, pebbles and stones on a path beneath your feet—seemingly anything can reveal itself as a mesmerizing pattern on acid. You won’t need an artist’s brain to feel like you’re seeing the works of M.C. Escher in a bowl of trail mix. Seeing patterns is one thing you’re likely to do on acid whether you plan to or not, but perhaps try playing with that intentionally: What figures might you find dancing in your boring bathroom wallpaper? When everyday sights come to life, it reminds us of how much intricate beauty we walk past on the daily, rarely stopping to notice. But with acid, remember: the most interesting sights may be behind your eyelids.
2. Laugh With Your Friends
On acid, words can be hard. The drug reveals layer upon layer of meaning and significance in everything you see, touch, taste, and hear, all at once—so how can you begin to explain? At the same time, when you can find the words (or even when you’re fumbling), language can be a source of great amusement. When tripping with good friends, you may find yourself trying on accents, playing recurring characters, or inventing riproariously funny puns. Even if words are failing you, any number of absurd visuals can send you and your trip-mates into fits of laughter. Just try not to laugh at each other!
As with tripping on mushrooms, being outside on acid is generally a delight. Countless trippers have crossed deserts and tromped through forests, looked down from mountains, and swam at the beach—all enhanced by the crisp, “high definition” quality acid can lend to the senses. Of course, where you do decide to hike is important; it’s best to walk on an easy trail with good signage and access to water (while tripping, dehydration can feel like your world is ending). You’ll want to choose a place and time that is relatively quiet and low-trafficked, as crowds can be a major stressor and you never know when you’ll want to take a break. However, with the right planning and preparation (bring a map!), tripping on acid in a beautiful place can be one of life’s most sublime pleasures.
4. Watch a Movie
Of course, not everyone has access to the outdoors at all times—and since an “acid trip” is fundamentally a journey of mind, body, and soul, you can really do it anywhere. Watching a movie is one way to let artists guide your experience, as your eyes and ears pour across the story and drink in its meaning—or perhaps miss the story entirely and feast on visual delights. Redditors have already spelled out many lists of the movies that pair best with acid, but this writer’s personal recommendation is the 1951 Disney classic Alice in Wonderland. Dim the lights, get comfortable and let yourself tumble down the rabbit hole.
5. Doodle or Write
Acid’s power to spur creativity and inspire art-making is well-documented. No matter which other activities you are trying, you may want to have paper, pens, and markers handy so you can take a stab at expressing yourself or documenting your trip. Let your hand doodle and discover forms you never dreamt of before; new characters, colors, and complexities emerge from the depths of your own mind. Write down the interesting thoughts you’re having, so you can later sort them into “genius,” “funny,” and “not that interesting.” For 6-12 hours, acid will have you feeling like you’re on a trip: Why not send a postcard?
6. Lay in the Sun
You may not be able to go on a hike, but if you take acid on a nice day (which this writer certainly recommends), at least go outside and feel the sun on your skin—your heightened senses will thank you. It’s almost like you are a plant and can feel yourself photosynthesizing, turning sunlight into energy. Laying down on acid is also a great way to let go and allow your internal process to unfold. Wrapped in the warm blanket of comforting sunshine, you can allow your gaze and thoughts to wander and discover what comes up. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
7. Eat Fruit
Eating while tripping on any psychedelic is notoriously difficult, but you must remember that your body has caloric needs. It’s usually good to eat a hearty meal a few hours before, but if the urge to snack (or up your blood sugar) strikes you while on acid, natural foods like raw fruit are a great place to turn. The skin of a peach will tickle your lips; the acidity of citrus will strike you right in the face. Since preparing the fruit may be hard while tripping, consider cutting it in advance and leaving a tray in the fridge—a gift from past you to present you.
8. Listen to a DJ Mix
There are many kinds of psychedelic music out there, including playlists and albums specially curated to enhance the therapeutic aspects of tripping. Yet there is something unique about DJ mixes, which usually involve one to three hours of music that’s been intentionally selected and mixed together to create a cohesive experience. It may help to hear something you’re less familiar with; As one ketamine-assisted psychotherapist told the Guardian, “Music that is non-recognizable taps into the default mode network, and the mixing creates a coherent journey” that can take you deeper. You might check out this list of Essential Mixes to find a DJ that you vibe with.
9. Call Fireside’s Peer Support Line
If you’re tripping alone, or find yourself or a friend to be in need of outside support, you can easily reach trained peer support volunteers at the Fireside Project by calling or texting 62-FIRESIDE (that’s 623-473-7433). Fireside volunteers are well-equipped to talk you through any aspect of the tripping experience, whether you’re going through a dark moment or just want someone to share your joy with. No reason too big or too small! You can also call them after your trip is over—one of their specialties is helping people integrate, or process and learn from, a psychedelic experience that has ended.
If you find yourself tripping after dark (which is likely, since the effects of LSD tend to linger for hours after they peak), try to safely get somewhere with a clear view of the night sky. Remember what we said about patterns? You won’t believe how many will make themselves known in the stars. Maybe you know constellations or use an augmented reality app to find them. Even if you don’t, the tesselations and mirroring effects will still be (literally) out of this world. Bonus points if you see a shooting star or trip during a meteor shower.
11. Watch Train Rides Shot in Ultra High-Def
One of the best things to do on acid? Reddit user aciddoeme (alongside a bevy of other great ideas), you can fire up your favorite screen and turn to a free YouTube channel of train rides through various countries and landscapes, all shot in the ultra-high-definition 4K resolution. Skim past waterfalls and along mountainsides on a journey from Italy to Switzerland; watch cherry blossoms bloom during springtime in Japan. With videos like this, the Internet acts as a teleportation device and time machine, transporting you into any number of far-flung locales that feel all the more real while tripping. So where do you want to go?
12. Sit by a Fire
Any element can be striking while on acid: rushing water cools your skin; the earth is alive and grounding; by winds and gusts, the air makes its strength known—but in terms of surprise and sheer magic, there’s nothing like sitting by a fire. Whether you’re camping or in a backyard, you may have access to a pit where you can safely make a fire and watch it climb, lick, and devour whatever you feed it. Shapes and swirls appear in the flames, while the warmth recreates the sunshine you may have soaked in or missed in the daytime. This is also a great way to bring friends close for further bonding, conversation, and laughter. As psychedelics strip away our assumptions and norms, we find comfort in returning to the primal.
This article is intended for educational, harm reduction, and entertainment purposes. It is not intended to encourage illicit activity. Always follow laws in your region in regard to psychedelics and other illicit substances.