You probably know the ins-and-outs of the dating scene in your city; perhaps there’s that one fine dining place for romantic evenings, or that one park where couples walk hand-in-hand on the daily. But you may wonder, what does dating look like in other cities across America? Are there underrated primo date locations that only the locals know about? Or maybe you’re having a hard time thinking outside the box when it comes to great date ideas in your hometown.
We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best date ideas in big cities across America. (Before planning your date, be sure to check for any restrictions that may apply due to coronavirus.)
New York City
Go thrifting in Brooklyn. For a relaxed daytime date, bop around to secondhand shops like Buffalo Exchange, Beacon’s Closet, and L Train Vintage, which are just a handful of Brooklyn-based locations you can head to while out on the town — there’s a good collection along Flatbush Ave. Be sure to first check if they are open for curbside service as many retailers are closed in compliance with shelter-in-place orders. Either way, you and your date can explore the neighborhood together (perhaps on Citi Bikes), and check out each other’s styles and give each other fashion tips and advice.
Visit Belvedere Castle. If you want to set your date away from the hustle and bustle of downtown New York City, head to the center of Central Park and spend an afternoon at Belvedere Castle. This is a romantic, fairytale-like location that will make you feel like you’re somewhere in Europe, but the view will read beautiful New York.
Watch a classic at the IFC Center. The IFC Center holds a weekly event called Waverly Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, during which they show cult classic films like Jurassic Park, The Shining, and Pulp Fiction starting between 11:15 p.m. and 12:25 a.m. This means you can catch a great flick after a nice dinner, and continue the date into the wee morning hours. While the IFC Center may not be open right now due to shelter-in-place orders, you can find a good alternative drive-in movie at the waterfront in Greenpoint.
Support the Metropolitan Opera by virtually viewing. During the coronavirus pandemic, the Met Opera is offering nightly live streams of prior performances. Their Live in HD shows are available for 23 hours starting at 7:30 p.m. EDT each night. Grab your partner, cuddle up on the couch, and absorb the culture.
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Take a stroll around Echo Park Lake. The Griffith Observatory is great, but you and your date won’t be the only couple there. So rather than battle the crowds, take your outdoor adventure to Echo Park Lake where you can take a stroll around the fountains, hitch a ride in a swan boat, or grab a snack to eat picnic-style.
Catch a movie at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Grab a blanket, a few pillows, and a bottle of wine and hit the Fairbanks Lawn at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to see an outdoor movie. This is a great evening event that’s also one of those underrated Hollywood experiences. Unfortunately, there are no events this summer but be sure to check for when the experience becomes available again.
Go to the L.A. Zoo — Virtually. During the pandemic, the Los Angeles Zoo is uploading a series of virtual videos from inside the zoo, with the focus on their much-loved animals. Nothing brings a couple together quite like oohing and ahhing over the cutest of critters.
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Hit up a comedy club. The key to a great date is laughter and in a city known for its comedy scene, seeing a show at one of Chicago’s legendary comedy clubs like Second City, iO Theater, or the Laugh Factory will make your outing unforgettable. Whether you’re into improv, sketch, or musical shows, there’s something for everyone in Chicago’s comedy scene. As a 2020 alternative, you can watch comedy live streams online with your boo.
Stroll through Oz Park. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, is a Chicago native and lived in the Lincoln Park area shortly before penning the classic kids’ book. Oz Park is a small, intimate neighborhood park near Baum’s home, and features statues of the characters from the story including Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. This would be a sweet spot for a daytime picnic date or even just a fun place to walk with coffee in hand.
Stow away in The Hideout. The Hideout became a literal hideout for anti-Prohibitionists in the 1920s and has since become a hot spot for live music and good drinks. The Hideout is a perfect spot for a late-night date with its twinkle light clad ceiling and cozy atmosphere, you and your date can get to know each other while soaking in some good tunes. While you may not be able to go into the Hideout this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, mark this one on your list for future visits.
Take a walking-and-drinking tour online. Chicago Detours for Curious People has moved to the virtual sphere in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, instead of walking around the city, you and your partner can log on virtually and sip while checking out some Chicago history on the computer.
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Dine out above the city. Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty restaurant is located in the Reunion Tower high above the Dallas skyline — 560 feet above the city, to be exact. If you’re looking for a romantic place to take your date, where you can enjoy the stunning view and top-notch Asian cuisine, Five Sixty is the place to be. This is another one to write down on your list for things to do in the future when cities begin to reopen restaurants.
Stay out late at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The Nasher Sculpture Center offers a Till Midnight program every Friday night during the summer season. Couples can get into the sculpture museum for free and enjoy food trucks, drinks, and live music while touring the exhibits. A movie is also shown on the museum’s lawn. Museum dates are interactive and get the conversation flowing.
Catch a virtual dinner and a show. Dallas Comedy House is hosting a “Virtual Dinner and a Show” event every Friday in July at 8 p.m. CDT. These shows are free to “attend,” however making a donation to the DCH is kindly appreciated.
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Get gaming at Mox Boarding House. There’s really nothing better than sipping on a beer while getting sucked into a board game. Mox Boarding House offers a wide variety of games from Settlers of Catan, to Magic: The Gathering, as well as a menu full of tasty brews and delicious munchies. This is a super casual spot where you can show off your competitive side. While we are waiting for places like this to reopen, play some popular board games at home.
Wander through the Volunteer Park Conservatory. The Volunteer Park Conservatory in Capitol Hill is as beautiful on the inside the greenhouse as it is on the outside. This spot is a perfect place to chat, get to know one another, and comment on how beautiful the flowers are. The Conservatory also hosts a plant sale in July, so you can debate about which plants are better while picking out your faves. Be sure to check if the conservatory is open this summer before making a trip.
Check out what’s going on virtually at the Seattle Center. Since the pandemic hit, the Seattle Center has been offering online fun for those of us sheltering in place. For example, the Seattle Center is letting visitors check out past performances and events like the Spirit of Africa Festival and the Northwest Folklife Festival for free on their website.
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Do a DIY pub crawl. Boston’s plethora of Irish pubs and walkability makes it the ideal spot to go on a DIY pub crawl. Plan out a route with your date ahead of time and make a few rules — only one drink per bar, play the same song on the jukebox in every bar, challenge each other to try a new beer at every location, etc. This idea keeps the date super casual and you’ll definitely leave with more than a few good stories. While many bars are closed for indoor drinking, some are still providing curbside service.
Grab dinner in the North End. If you’re going to plan a romantic dinner date in Boston, it needs to take place in the North End. Sorry, we don’t make the rules. The North End is packed with little Italian hole-in-the-wall places that are the perfect candle-lit settings for an intimate outing. Then, after dinner, walk along the water and grab a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry. Plan ahead to see if restaurants are open for outdoor seating as many have closed their indoor facilities.
Go on a ghost tour. In a city as old as Boston, there are bound to be a few spirits hanging around. Take your date on one of the several ghost tours the city has to offer like the Haunted Boston Ghost Tour that meets in the Boston Common, or the Ghosts & Gravestones Boston Ghost Tour which tells tales of underground tunnels, unmarked graves, public executions, and grave robberies. Ghost tours are perfect for a pair who likes to get a bit spooked.
Support the Coolidge Corner Theater via their “screening room.” Indie movie theater Coolidge Corner Theater has set up a virtual “screening room” where guests can rent and watch a variety of indie films like No Small Matter and We Are Little Zombies. Funds go right back into the theater so they can come back, full swing when the pandemic lifts.
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Sip under the sea at the Georgia Aquarium. If you’re looking to treat your date to a romantic night out, the Georgia Aquarium offers a Sips Under The Sea event. Attendees are treated to music, drinks, and tapas all while surrounded by the aquarium’s sea life. If the aquarium isn’t open, check out their live streams.
Solve a mystery at Agatha’s. Into true crime? Then try your hand at solving a not-so-true murder mystery at Agatha’s. A ticket to the comedic dinner and a show includes five courses, wine, and a whole lot of laughter. Plus, winning the game and solving the mystery feels pretty great, too. Put this one on your list for a later date if it’s not available this summer.
Attend Atlanta’s Field Trip Fridays. Every Friday this summer, Atlanta’s Field Trip Fridays bring the museum experience into your home. With support from the Fernbank Museum, those who take part in the virtual field trip experience will get access to entertaining content like videos and behind-the-scenes photos from various exhibits around the museum.
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Dance the night away during Motown Mondays. A date on a Monday? When motown is involved, then absolutely. Every Monday, East Nashville’s The 5 Spot plays a roster of ‘50s and ‘60s rock ‘n roll, soul, motown, and girl-groups to which dancers (both professional and amateur) get down. Regulars can teach you the basics, or make something up on the spot!
Knock down some pins at Brooklyn Bowl. Don’t let the name confuse you — Brooklyn Bowl is one of Nashville’s best new spots to hang out. Go bowling, grab drinks and dinner, and even catch a live music show while you’re there. When Brooklyn Bowl reopens, head over to Brooklyn Bowl during the day for a casual daytime date, and stay until sundown.
Catch the honky tonk bands on Broadway. Although Broadway is a tourist hot spot, it’s still a perfect place to catch the live honky tonk music Nashville is famous for. Think of the honky tonk tour as a pub crawl of sorts — grab a drink in a handful of different venues and stay for a song or two before adventuring onward. Music lovers will have a blast, and you might even find yourself line dancing before the night ends.
Cook up the taste of Nashville. VisitMusicCity.com has put together a portal called “Nashville’s Cookbook” in which you can learn how to cook up the “taste of Music City.” Each week, new recipes are added, so this virtual-to-reality date can be a weekly occurrence.
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Although the activities in each city are different, the theme stays the same. As long as you and your date are having a great time, then you’re doing this whole “dating scene” thing right.