You don’t have to be a city dweller to enjoy an urban date night. There’s something romantic about the bustle of city life. Plus, urban areas tend to be a mixing pot of diverse experiences. That means there’s usually something for everyone within a short stroll from the city center. There’s always dining and shopping to occupy your time, but why not try something new?
An unlikely experience is the perfect thing to ease your nerves and help you spark up a conversation with someone special. Making meaningful memories will boost your confidence and help lift your spirits when the dating game gets rough.
Take a look at these novel date ideas and consider setting aside a couple hours to turn over a new leaf and experience your city in a unique way. It may just give you a new outlook on life, or ignite a new flame.
Whatever floats your boat
Historically, cities blossomed around rivers where goods could be easily loaded onto boats and transported downriver. Many modern cities like Chicago, New York and Detroit are still located on the water, making them a great place to try your hand at boating. Whether you’re rowing, paddling, or sailing along, boating makes for a romantic hobby. The serene atmosphere melts away tense nerves and the calming ripples allow for peaceful conversation. Besides, it’s a great way to see your city from a new point of view.
Here’s some of our favorite urban boating experiences from across the country:
- Tour the Ohio river on a historic steam boat.
- Glide past the glamorous Chicago skyline in an urban kayak.
- For an extra touch of romance, channel Venice with a gondola ride down an urban canal.
- Feeling brave? Take a guided starlight Bat Tour and watch thousands of creatures of the night take flight from beneath a historic bridge.
If you’re not sure where to start planning your urban adventure, check out Boatsetter. It’s like an airbnb for boats. Shop small by renting a boat from a local. Many owners are willing to captain your vessel, so you can focus on having a great time.
Break a sweat
Forget about the table topics. There’s no better icebreaker than a shared activity. Shake those first date jitters by participating in a zany urban sport. A little friendly competition will get you talking. Plus, you won’t be able to keep from giggling as you learn some goofy new gameplay.
Here are some of our favorites. Don’t forget to do a little internet reconnaissance to see what options are available in your local area:
If you love the competition, but hate to sweat, plan a date at a grown up arcade or board game lounge. These havens for kids-at-heart are gaining popularity, and we can understand why. Many offer drinks and snacks, if not a full menu. It’s a one-stop shop for date night fun. Our favorite example is Punch Bowl Social, which features arcade games, bowling, karaoke and more, along with craft beers and from-scratch cooking.
Follow the beat of your own drum
What’s a date without music? Concerts and dancing are date-night go-tos, but there are lots of great ways to stir up the status quo and experience music in a new way.
Take Sofar, for example. It’s a music service that features talented artists playing in super intimate venues. Experience the rush of a great concert in the comfort of a stranger’s living room, or perched atop a nearby roof.
For a fabulously free date, consider attending a summer concert in the city park. Pack a picnic, chat, and people-watch while you enjoy music from a local artist. Perhaps you have a knack for music, poetry, or comedy. Celebrate your skills with your date at an Open Mic Night at a local bar or bookstore.
Musical tours are a great way to see your city on foot. Explore the local venues that helped your local musical heroes achieve stardom. Hush Tours allows you to experience hip-hop culture where it began, in NYC. Celebrity guides and scheduled dance breaks make this date night idea extra glam.
Take a tour
Urban dates are all about experiencing your city in a new way. Even if you’re a seasoned local, city tours give you the opportunity to learn more about your home base, and make memories along the way. Start by looking into what products your city is famous for. Chances are, one of your local factories is open for tours. Learn how they make beer, chocolate, or baseball bats, and maybe get a sample during your stay.
Here are some other clever ways to tour your city:
- Experience a themed tour with Urban Adventures and sample the food, drinks, or shopping that your city does best.
- Glide through town on a Brew Bike.
- Big City Hunt: grab a map and clues and set off on a walking tour of your city. Follow the clues and collect bits of local trivia along the way. It’s a date you won’t soon forget.
Take a stroll
Walking is good for your heart, eases anxiety, and makes it easier to converse, without the pressure of direct eye contact. Most cities are made for walking, but if you find the city streets a bore, try taking a stroll at one of these interesting locales:
- Explore the great outdoors inside at a conservatory, botanical garden, or arboretum. Carefully controlled climates allow non-native plants to prosper right in the middle of your city. Wander through a different habitat and experience plants you’ve never seen before. Even better, seek out a butterfly garden or aviary and watch how the colorful creatures interact with the flora.
- Browse the stacks at a historic library or used book store. This is the perfect date for bibliophiles. Discuss your favorite types of literature and take in that old book smell.
- Walk dogs. Don’t have a faithful pooch? No worries. The Rover app allows you to snag someone else’s pet for a walk or for playtime. You can even make money doing it. That’s a new way to walk off your dinner.
- Who’s game for a treasure hunt? Use your phone’s GPS to locate local geocaches. A geocache is a small stash of trinkets hiding in plain site. They appear all across the globe. Fair warning, once you begin this hobby, it’s next to impossible to stop!
Shoot for the stars
You don’t have to live in the deep country to go stargazing. Plan a trip to the planetarium or observatory and marvel at the heavens with your new flame. Follow it up with mass or benediction and you have an out-of-this-world date.