This article was originally posted on Austinot.com
Austin is known for being one of the best cities for singles, making it a city full of first dates and hopefully many others afterward. Beyond the singles dating scene, anyone in a relationship has probably experienced how easy it is to get caught in a routine of go-to date night spots.
Whether you’re craving something new with your current SO (significant other) or looking for an impressive first date idea, here are a few local suggestions that break the typical dinner-and-drinks mold.
The season of the day date. Mostly are inspired by sunshine and water, but sprinkled in are a few late night adventures as well.
Test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding on town lake. Grab a parking spot on Veteran’s Drive by Austin High and rent a couple boards from The Texas Rowing Center. Have fun being active, enjoying the water, and scoping out the Austin skyline together. If you’ve never been paddle boarding, it’s really not as hard as it looks. If you do fall off, at least your date will enjoy a good laugh.
Cool off with a sweet treat from Lick on South Lamar. This ice cream shop is a favorite for its unique flavor combos and use of all local and super fresh ingredients. Grab a couple scoops and go for a stroll while you enjoy your delicious snack.
Photo credit: emloves.com
Enjoy the sights and sounds at Blues on the Green. Join thousands of other locals at Zilker Park for this annual outdoor concert series. Not the most intimate of date nights, but it’s fun to be part of such a quintessential Austin summer experience. With a blanket a cooler full of cold beverages, you’ll be all set to enjoy the music and people watching in the heart of the city.
Head downtown for cocktails and live music at Firehouse Lounge. Step through the sliding door bookcase from the outer hostel and walk into the sexy speakeasy-type venue that is Firehouse Lounge. Located in the city’s oldest standing fire station, this intimate date night go-to offer craft cocktails from an awesome bar staff, a red light ambiance, and great live music.
Photo credit: Nick Delisi
Escape to Hamilton Pool and go for a swim. If you’re ready to commit to a day trip with your date, these outdoor springs make a great mini-escape from the city. As anyone familiar with the park would tell you, the trick is to get there early enough (there will be a line of cars waiting to get in), pack a cooler, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Not that the weather will have cooled off much by this time, autumn in Austin still lends itself to fun and interactive date ideas that won’t leave you sweating and sunburnt.
Get nostalgic at a drive-in movie Reserve your car spot at Blue Starlite Urban Mini Drive-In then enjoy a quick drive over to the east side. They have classic concessions available on site, but buy facebook fans it’s also totally cool to pick up your favorites beforehand and bring your own. Enjoy a rad view of the city skyline as the sun sets, tune in your car radio and settle in for an experience you usually only see in the movies.
Photo credit: Cameron Bergeron
Show off your art skills or just enjoy step-by-step directions from an instructor during an art night at Art & Soul. Their “Paint and Wine” studio nights set you up with all the supplies you need to get a little creative, while sharing your favorite bottle of wine (it’s BYOB).
Start a little friendly competition at The Goodnight. The Goodnight has eight vintage bowling lanes, pool tables, ping-pong, and shuffleboard set up in a swanky atmosphere. Paired with their great menu and drink selection, there’s an endless supply of flirting and fun to be had at this north Austin hotspot.
Photo credit: Eric Highland
Turn up the romance with a sunset hike to Mount Bonnell. Not as much of a hike as a long staircase, your date shouldn’t mind the quick trek to get to the top. Plan ahead by bringing a blanket and picnic and you’re all set for a night of (hopefully) great convo overlooking an amazing view of Lake Austin.
Learn a new skill at a Whole Foods cooking class. Classes vary from hands-on to more demonstration-style, but either way you end up with a delicious meal to enjoy afterward, and recipes to take home for later. Classes are kept fairly small and fill up fast, so be sure to book a little in advance. Your date will be impressed!
Austin has too much to offer to fall back on boring date night routines. Have fun switching it up!