100 Cute and Romantic Date Ideas That Will Totally Change Your Game

Lizz Schumer
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Look, we get it. Life is hard enough as it is. You commute to work and try not to stress about the day ahead, you get through the grind (and whatever that entails), you commute back home, and then you've got to figure out the whole dinner situation before you fall asleep and do it all over again. If there are kids in the mix, that's a whole other level of complication. Lather, rinse, repeat until the weekend, when you can finally get all of the stuff done that you couldn't tackle during the week. And if you're really lucky, you've got someone who loves you and wants to hang out somewhere in there. Who's got the time — or the mental and emotional capacity — to plan a fun and exciting date night with all of the demands of modern life? No one, that's who. Except us. We've gathered a list of our favorite date ideas, for every kind of couple.

  1. Try a new restaurant. If you've got the menu just about memorized at your favorite feed bag, check out someplace new. Pretend you're restaurant critics and pick apart the food — not your partner, for a change.
  2. Play tourist in your hometown. When was the last time you took advantage of the things everyone always wants to see when they visit? Probably the last time you had out-of-town guests, that's when. Take an afternoon or an evening and hit up your local landmarks or must-see attractions and fall in love with your locale all over again.
  3. Make a fun new recipe. Even if you're not much of a cook, trying out a new dish can result in lots of laughs. Not to mention, you get to eat the fruits of your labor.
  4. Go on a picnic. If it's nice outside, there's nothing more romantic than packing up some al fresco food and bev, spreading it on a blanket, and enjoying the great outdoors. If it's not, do the same in your living room.
  5. Take a hike. Something about getting your blood pumping while exploring nature really gets the heart going in other ways, if you know what we mean.
  6. Hit the beach. Sun, sand, surf, and lots of skin. Come up with a better afternoon. We dare you.
  7. Go skiing. Not beach weather? Hit the slopes instead. If you don't get hot cocoa afterward, it didn't count.
  8. Play a board game. Drag out the classics or try a brand new one, for a healthy dose of competition.
  9. Throw a casino night. If they call you Lady Luck, see if your partner can roll snake eyes and win your heart. That, or play cards with that week's chore list on the line.
  10. Build a campfire. Ignite the flames of passion in a Smoky-approved way by gathering around a campfire in your backyard. If your municipality doesn't allow fires, huddle by the fireplace instead or even make s'mores in the microwave.
  11. Have a spa night. Hit up the drugstore for face masks, mani-pedi supplies, and massage oil for a DIY pampering sesh that will improve your bond and your skin.
  12. Take a day trip. Hop in your car and see where a tank of gas can get you. Even checking out the next town over can feel like an adventure, especially when you're doing it with your favorite person.
  13. Go grocery shopping together. Need eggs and bread? Turn a boring chore into a fun couple activity. Split your list in half and race to see who can finish it first, or just wander the aisles hand-in-hand.
  14. Learn a new skill. You don't need to invest in a lot of fancy equipment to try something new. Give origami, drawing, or even card tricks a shot. You'll love bonding over how bad you both are, at first.
  15. Play hide 'n seek. It's not just for kids anymore.
  16. Look through old photos. Pull out the photo albums and get ready for an awwww-fest. Share stories of your childhoods and your awkward teen years to learn something new about your sweetheart and grow to love them even more.
  17. Go antique hunting. You'll be amazed what kinds of gems you can find at an antique store, not to mention the creepy AF tchotchkes you'll run into.
  18. Take a dance class. Even (or especially!) if you have two left feet, taking a dance class can make a unique date. You'll be the talk of the dance floor at the next wedding or party when you bust a move.
  19. Volunteer together. Sign up to serve at a soup kitchen, a book drive, or other local initiative to make a difference in your community and see how hot your honey looks when helping others.
  20. Visit the zoo or aquarium. Come on, even fish are cute. Show your sensitive side and squee over some new fuzzy or finned friends.
  21. Read each other romance novels. Grab some steamy reading from your local library or used book store and take turns reading to each other. You'll be in the mood before you can say "once upon a time."
  22. Arrange a scavenger hunt. Bonus points if you create one that recreates your first date and all of your special spots.
  23. Explore a museum. If you haven't been to your nearest museum since your class field trip, it's time to make a trip. Learning is sexy, don't you think?
  24. Go out for dessert. I don't know about you, but I'm always too full to get dessert after a nice dinner. Skip right to the sweets, and see what you've been missing.
  25. Commandeer the jukebox at a bar. Ensure you've got danceable tunes all night long by taking control of the jukebox at a local watering hole. Go ahead, sing along.
  26. Make a craft together. Creativity feels even more satisfying when you do a project with your sweetheart. Don't worry if you're not a pro artist, there's beauty in imperfection.
  27. See a comedy show. Laughing gets endorphins flowing, and comedy often comes cheaper than other forms of live entertainment. And rally bad standup can be fun, in its own special way.
  28. Go to an open house or estate sale. Even if you have zero plans to buy a home, looking inside someone else's casa is the best (and least creepy) kind of voyeurism.
  29. Declutter together. OK, chores aren't fun and nobody pretends they are. But getting your inner Marie Kondo on is more fun with a buddy.
  30. Go berry or apple-picking. Depending on the time of year, there's probably something edible growing out there. Pick apples, berries, pumpkins, whatever. It's a seasonal, Insta-friendly outing.
  31. Hold a baking competition. Make like a pro chef and challenge your beau to a baking contest. Once you're eating the spoils, everyone wins.
  32. Wander a new neighborhood. Drive or walk to a new locale and see what's around, for a free and unique date. Pick out your favorite houses and make up tall tales about who lives inside.
  33. Go horseback riding. It's a better workout than you expect, and an offbeat way to get a good dose of nature.
  34. Try rock-climbing. Thanks to its newfound trendiness, many cities have at least one climbing gym. Don't belay, chalk up those hands (sorry, not sorry).
  35. Take a cooking class. Level up your kitchen know-how and get to enjoy a delicious meal, all in one.
  36. Try a new fancy coffee. If you're usually a black coffee 'Bucks drinker, branch out! Hit up a local coffeeshop and try the most unique offering they've got.
  37. Fly a kite. This is one instance in which "go fly a kite" isn't an insult. Really, try it.
  38. Stay in a bed and breakfast. Whether you go old-school or rent an AirBnB for the night, bed and breakfasts feel like sneaking into someone else's house, except you're totally allowed to be there.
  39. Go to a water park. Make like a kid again and splish splash to your heart's content. Water slides really are worth the hype.
  40. Play trivia at a bar. Look, I don't know anything about anything and I love trivia. You will too.
  41. Go to a farmer's market. Supporting local merchants, eating delicious healthy foods, and enjoying a stroll in the sunshine – yup, sounds like date material.
  42. Try a new workout. If you're a Spin person, drop in on a kickboxing class. If you're usually a free weights fan, step in on some Zumba. Giving a new class a shot is less intimidating with a buddy, and you can even use an app if you don't want to shell out for one.
  43. Tour a brewery. You'll learn what goes into making your favorite suds, and there are usually samples. Win, win!
  44. Browse a record store. If you don't have a record player, support your local bookstore instead. Or what the heck, do both.
  45. Do karaoke. Everyone's a star at karaoke, especially if you can find the kind with private rooms. The sappier ballads you can belt out, the better.
  46. Visit the botanical gardens. Wandering the hot houses where they keep the exotic flowers is even better when the Mercury dips, but looking at pretty plants makes a romantic date anytime.
  47. Put together a puzzle. There's something so satisfying about finally clicking that last piece into place.
  48. Go bowling. This is one instance in which you actually want to strike out.
  49. See a drive-in movie. Many drive-ins still play double features, so you get twice the films for your buck. Besides, it's delightfully retro.
  50. Strap on some skates. Whether you go the ice or roller route, skating is just as perfect a date night as it was when you were 12.
  51. Take a wine tour. If you live near wine country, enlist a designated driver and get your grape on. If not, buy a few bottles of varietals you've never tried, print out some deets from the Internet, and DIY it at home. Don't forget the cheese.
  52. See a live show. Even terrible cover bands make a fun night out, especially if you dance like fools the whole time.
  53. Go on a double date. Grab a couple of friends and get ready for twice the fun. Even the most humdrum dates feel fresh with another duo.
  54. Try a dinner cruise. A candlelit dinner on the water? I'm sorry, did somebody say "most romantic night ever?"
  55. Rent a kayak or canoe. Your arms may get tired and your lap will definitely get soaked, but steering a double kayak or a canoe will give you new insight into your cooperation skills.
  56. Make your own pizza. Yes, including the dough. Top it with all of your favs, or challenge each other to come up with the tastiest new combo.
  57. Take a dollar menu date. Go to a fast food restaurant and order everything on the dollar menu for a fresh take on the classic dinner date.
  58. Visit your hometown. Showing your main squeeze where you grew up (or went to college if you're from the same town) is amazingly romantic and it's sure to elicit some mushy feelings.
  59. Challenge them at an arcade. Go a few rounds at Ms Pacman and Big Deer Hunter for a unique night out that will bring out your competitive side.
  60. Go camping. Snuggling under the stars is a cliche for a reason. Pitch a tent in the backyard if you don't have a campground nearby.
  61. Plan a future date. If you're a little short on cashola right now, crack open a bottle of wine and spend a cozy night in planning an extravagant future date. Romantic, whether you actually go on it or not.
  62. Throw a dinner party together. Put your cooperation skills to the test by inviting a few other couples over and making a soup-to-nuts meal. Place cards and centerpieces optional, but if you're gonna do the thing, you might as well do it right.
  63. Choose library books for each other. For a free and quirky date, head to your local library and choose books for the other to read. Hand your sweetheart your most embarrassing childhood favorite, or introduce them to a current literary obsession.
  64. Thrift new outfits. Visit a thrift store and dress each other in the craziest clothes you can find. Goofy photos mandatory.
  65. Watch a movie. But make it a theme. Choose a flick and make snacks to match. Think The Godfather and cannoli or Ratatouille and, well, you know.
  66. Make cheesy playlists. Remember when you used to exchange mix tapes in high school? Today, it's easier than ever to create a musical journey through your relationship.
  67. "Shop" for adoptable pets online. Cooing over cute pups and kitties will bring out your softer side, even if you can't have a pet where you live.
  68. Paint and sip. If you've got a paint nite program nearby, it's a fun and easy date. If not, get some canvasses (or coloring books), some bevvies, and throw your own.
  69. Play outside. Grab some buddies and put together a game of kick ball, softball, or even tag. Running around is fun for kids-at-heart too!
  70. Watch a sports game. Even high school sports can get your adrenaline going if you get really, really into it.
  71. Have a breakfast date. Turn date night on its head and start your day with some you time. Mimosas highly encouraged.
  72. Taste some cheese. Some cheese shops hold tasting events but if you don't have any near you, buy a few new-to-you varieties and DIY it.
  73. Play laser tag. Recreate your 10th birthday party, except now you can have a beer with your pizza afterward.
  74. Ride a hot air balloon. Yes, it's a little pricey. But this is one of those special occasion dates you'll never forget.
  75. Drive some go-karts. Mario Kart experts and those who drive anything other than the carpool minivan can both rock a go-kart arena.
  76. Train for a 5k. Having something to work toward will motivate you both, and you can keep each other accountable.
  77. Hit up an open mic. Most of the acts will probably be less-than-stellar, but even a cringeworthy show makes a unique way to pass an evening.
  78. Swap houses with a friend. Enjoy a staycation for free by exchanging houses with a friend. Living in someone else's shoes for the night or weekend feels fresh, even if you just bunk down next door.
  79. Build a snowman (or a sand castle). Make the most of the weather by creating a new friend.
  80. Shop for charity. Food pantries, homeless shelters, and community organizations need supplies all year round. Spread the love while spending quality time.
  81. Watch the sunset. There's a reason so many romantic movies end this way.
  82. Take public transit somewhere new. Ride the subway to the end of the line or take the bus to a new part of town for an adventure that's easy on the wallet.
  83. Order each other's meal. See how well you know each other's tastes by ordering for the other one at dinner. No swapping back when the food arrives!
  84. Listen to podcasts. For a twist on the usual movie night, cuddle up and turn on a podcast instead.
  85. Do couples' yoga. Getting bendy together can really heat things up, plus you're doing something good for your body and mind.
  86. Play 20 questions. Asking each other to get deep can reveal some new things about your loved one.
  87. Make a video together. The only thing more fun than watching reality TV is making your own. Use your phone to shoot a cooking video, do a tutorial, or even give each other makeovers.
  88. Turn out the lights. Pretend the power went out and have a no-tech evening. Yes, that includes your phones.
  89. Relive a past vacation. Put on your swimsuits, shake up some margs, and look at photos of your last beach getaway. You'll almost feel the sand between your toes.
  90. Play a role-playing game. Former theater kids, this is your wheelhouse. Try a classic like Dungeons and Dragons or an online game to step outside yourselves for awhile.
  91. Visit a dog park. You don't have to have a dog to watch the pooches play. Just don't interact with any strange pups without asking their owners.
  92. Write each other love letters. Getting your feelings down on paper can ignite some real sparks.
  93. Climb your family tree. Sit down with Ancestry.com and learn about your backgrounds. Or even better, interview an elderly family member to get personal stories about where you came from.
  94. Go for ice cream. Nothing tastes as good as a cone on a hot day, but we scream for ice cream on chilly afternoons, too. Share a sundae for a real treat.
  95. Stroll a street fair. Chow down on some fried dough, bask in the midway lights, and win each other a stuffed toy – if you've got the skills.
  96. Have a photo shoot. Make like influencers and take photos of each other around town. You may even come up with your next holiday card.
  97. Listen to a lecture. Many local colleges, libraries, and community centers have evening events that are open to the public. Learning is sexy!
  98. Take an improv class. Embracing the concept of saying "yes, and" is a lesson that can work well in your offstage life, too.
  99. Cultivate a garden. Even if you live in an apartment, try your hand at growing a window garden. Plants make any dwelling feel like a home.
  100. Build a bucket list. Sit down together and think big: No item is too out-there or mundane to plan ahead for the rest of your life as a couple.

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