I absolutely love planning adventures, activities, and dates, which should be of no surprise! But wintertime… goodness, it can certainly be a lot more difficult to plan interesting, exciting dates when it’s so cold out. I keep a running list of date ideas on my phone, just in case we need some inspiration or already-thought-out activities to do. And in case you need any winter date ideas, here are a few of our favorites and also a few more that we can’t wait to try out! Many of these are specific to Raleigh, of course, but hopefully they can be a jumping off point for anyone who isn’t local.
- bowling and a pizzeria or brewery
- Boxcar Bar & Arcade in downtown Raleigh (I’m not a gamer whatsoever, but we went for the first time the other week and had a blast! It’s super cheap – we spent $10 total on games for both of us over three hours! – and really fun. They have skee ball, pinball, Pac Man, air hockey, foosball, and some classic favorites in addition to every video game imaginable. And free popcorn, too!)
- mini golf/putt-putt at Frankie’s
- if it’s a warmer winter day, tennis or disc golf at a favorite park
- the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill (and exploring Chapel Hill/UNC after!)
- NC Museum of Art and a walk in the park/greenway (a free and amazing art museum that we love!)
- cocktails or drinks: Hummingbird, Vita Vite (a longtime fave of ours, and an art gallery too!), Watts & Ward, C. Grace (jazz club, too!)… or any favorite brewery
- walking around historic Oakwood in downtown Raleigh with all the beautiful homes and architecture… often in conjunction with:
- coffee dates at Yellow Dog Bread Company, Jubala Coffee, Sola Coffee, or Morning Times
- check out what shows and performances are coming to DPAC! We’re going to Phantom of the Opera later in the month, and this is the perfect date night to me!!
- a brisk stroll through the farmer’s market for winter produce (and then cooking it for dinner that night)
- whenever it’s warmer out, we take advantage of the sunshine and head to a lake or park for a long walk (like Umstead Park, Lake Johnson, Jordan Lake, etc)
- we love little day trips to neighboring towns like Durham or Chapel Hill, and we plan little date days where we cram as much as we can into an adventurous day – and it feels like we’re exploring a whole new place together, even if they’re just 25 minutes down the road
- if all else fails in the winter, we host game nights! We absolutely love playing board games, and it’s one of our favorite activities to do with just the two of us – or with friends. There’s not much better than a cozy night in during the winter playing games and having fun.
- road trips! Luckily, there are so many amazing destinations within 2-4 hours of Raleigh that we love to take advantage of, and we do so regularly: the beach, the mountains (Asheville or Blowing Rock), Bald Head Island, Charleston, Charlottesville, the Outer Banks, Washington DC, Charlotte, Beaufort, etc)
Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with new, not-too-expensive, fun, and inventive dates when it’s winter and we’d rather not be out in the freezing cold for too long. But it’s so worth it to spend quality time together, and we love to try new things and get out and about, especially when it’s so tempting to just stay in. We love to plan out date days (which is a lot easier for us, as we don’t have children), so we do a lot of back-to-back activities around town to take advantage of a weekend and time together. And planning surprise dates for each other is so fun, too, as it encourages you to think outside the box, think about what your partner would love to do the most, and add in the element of surprise (which I love). It can be such a thoughtful way to love each other and spend quality time together, too! And it’s really not about spending much money but rather about being with one another and enjoying life, even when it’s cold out. Hopefully this list brings you a little inspiration for winter date ideas in addition to the standard dinner date!
What are you favorite date ideas? What’s on the top of your to-do list, and what kind of dates are you favorites?! I would love to hear from you and gather some new ideas, too!
all photos by the amazing Ally and Bobby