After 8+ years of dating, Will and I have some go-to dates, but we always love new adventures and ideas. With Will’s clinicals beginning soon, we have been thinking of dates ideas we can use for the short amount of free time he will have after the Step exam and before clinicals start. I have rounded up a few of our favorite date ideas, as well as some we would like to try!
1. Go on a picnic or have an indoor picnic. This is one of our staple dates and one we have always loved. We went on tons of picnics in high school and college, and have continued the tradition during our marriage. In the spring, summer and fall we love finding a garden or field, but in the winter months, we are just as happy spreading out a blanket on the floor of our living room, placing a vase of flowers and some tasty bites on top and spending time chatting and eating. It is a fun way to have a casual meal that is nearby and on a budget.
2. Have a coffee date at a local coffee shop. I love small coffee shops. I love the atmosphere, the delicious drinks and baked goods, and the buzz of quiet chit chat. Now that I am working and don’t often have the breaks I did in college, it always feels like a treat to actually sit down and have a drink at a coffee shop. This winter, Will and I started a new tradition of having one morning coffee date before work after the university had let out for winter break. We were the only two people in the shop at 7am, and it was wonderful to be able to share some quiet coffee time before the day got going.
3. Go on a walk or hike. Greenways, trails, parks, lakes, and pretty neighborhoods are all great places that are probably nearby. Take advantage of them and go on a walk together. We like to take in our surroundings, commenting on houses we like if we are in the neighborhoods, or magnificent nature sights on the trails and greenways. We find that it is a great way to talk about anything and everything, trivial to daunting, while being active and enjoying our surroundings.
4. Go to a bookstore, pick out a few travel books and plan a dream (or real) vacation. In high school, Will and I usually made it to Barnes and Noble by the end of our dates. Before we could drive (such babies), we would often have our parents drop us off at a local shopping center and go to a movie or to dinner. Barnes and Noble stayed open until 11pm, later than all of the other stores, so in order to extend our dates, we inevitably ended up there. We often grabbed a few travel books and sat in the coffee shop while we looked at the amazing photos together. We both love traveling and would sometimes create dream trips based on the pictures and recommendations in the travel books. It is always fun and hopefully someday we can take those trips!
5. Practice your skills in the kitchen and cook a meal together. Will and I cook dinner together most nights, depending on our schedules. While we often try new recipes, we tend to make meals that are quick and/or easy. On special occasions or weekends when we have more time, it is sometimes fun to choose a more difficult, time-consuming recipe, turn on some music and work together to make a delicious dinner. It is cheaper than going out to eat all the time, we are usually impressed with the results and we have so much fun while making the meal.
6. Take a day trip. Hop in the car on a Saturday morning, head to a new town and explore! We love doing this day-long date! It is great to have time in the car for great conversations, then to explore and have fun in a new place when we arrive. We have most of the day to spend in our town of choice, and can still spend the night in our own beds.
7. Make your own popcorn and snacks and watch your favorite tv series or a movie on your couch. I know you love Netflix as much as we do. We don’t watch tv very often so we end up starting a series after it has already been out for at least a season. This works out great (or maybe not so great for productivity) because we can watch episode after episode after episode when we get hooked since they are already out (read: House of Cards binge). Watching a movie or a tv series with delicious treats from the comfort of our own home is a great date, especially since we can stay in pajamas the whole time :) Some great treats for a movie night in are brown butter blondies, pretzel crusted caramel cookie bars, blondie-dark chocolate brownie swirl bars, brown butter chocolate chip sea salt cookies, double chocolate espresso cookies, and chocolate pound cake.
8. Go on a behind-the-scenes tour. Find a brewery, vineyard, restaurant, or other factory in your area that gives behind-the-scenes tours and learn something new together. We have gone on a few of these and always have a great time!
9. Have an at-home tasting. Whether wine, beer, chocolate, cheese, cookies, pizza, whatever you like, grab a few types, bring them home and have fun comparing them together. Pretend like you are critics and make notes about each one. Do this a few times and you will eventually be able to find the best of each category, the ones each of you like the most.
10. Be a tourist in your own town. Sometimes we get caught up with our everyday routines and miss things that are going on all around us. It can be fun to play tourist in your own town, or in the surrounding cities, for a day, trying new eateries, drink spots, shops and sites. Google your town and see what tourists would see if they were to plan a visit to your area, check out your local community calendars to learn about local events, or just take a walk on the downtown streets to see what you’ve missed. Don’t forget to take the camera or snap photos like a tourist on your phone (selfie sticks get extra points)! (The photo above is from our local tourist moment at the Christmas parade!)
11. Try out local bakeries, coffee shops, breweries and eateries in your area. Try out the local places and find your favorite! We love trying all of the local shops and creating a list of our favorites for when out-of-town friends and family come to visit. It is nice to have local places we know we love and can go to on a whim.
12. Practice your barista or bartender skills and make drinks for each other at home. Making drinks at home is a fun way to get to know each other better and taste some delicious cocktails or coffee drinks for a cheaper bill than going out. Choose a theme, gather inspiration from menus and online lists, and impress your date with your mixing skills and latte art. Blanking on ideas? The pumpkin spice latte is a good place to start!
These are a few of our favorite date ideas, and some we can’t wait to try, but we’re always looking for more! I’d love to hear your date ideas!