Where to Go on a Date in Atlanta This Winter

From intimate garden tours to romantic rooftops, these experiences make for perfect date night during the holidays.

Just because the temperature drops a bit during the winter months doesn’t mean that you have to stay cooped up in the house all the time. Atlanta is a truly beautiful city, and there’s always something for you and that special someone to do around town—particularly in December. With the holidays comes Christmas themed events and activities, which make for the most intimate setting during date night. Places like the Botanical Garden hosts their annual light tour, and the igloos at Skyline Park above Ponce City Market let you enjoy the captivating aesthetic of outside, without having to rough it out in colder temperatures. Whatever you and your date like to do, there’s something here in the city that can accommodate your needs.

Ponce City Market
When the winter is in full swing, you want to be cozy, right? One of the coolest places in Ponce City Market is City Winery, a place with a vast selection of wine (and an amazing Tasting Room), a restaurant with a great menu, and of course—a stage where you can hear some of the best live music in Atlanta. Along with its regular jazz concerts throughout the month, there’s also a wide range of performances from R&B and country artists as well. The ambiance inside is intimate, and on those particularly chilly nights, you and your significant other can sip on the establishment's popular coffee cocktails.

Rooftop L.O.A.
Rooftop L.O.A.

Westside
The winter of 2022 will undoubtedly belong to Rooftop L.O.A.—aka Atlanta’s jaw-dropping rooftop oasis that sits atop The Interlock. The sprawling space has so many areas that would make for the perfect date night—from the dark and moody coastal European eatery that’s simply called The Restaurant to the warm fire pits that overlook the city below —and since it’s still fairly new, many people most likely haven’t been able to check it out yet. Rooftop L.O.A. is absolutely incredible, so get ready to be your date’s favorite suitor this winter.

West End
If Instagram is life for both you and your date, then head to Culture Experience ATL, an interactive photo exhibit that features more than 20 Atlanta-related photo ops. Learn your date’s angles and take them through Atlanta’s rich history and culture, from Freaknik to HBCU homecomings. It’s sure to make for a fun time, and while the typical date will only yield a selfie or two, one hour at Culture Experience ATL will fill up your camera roll with great flicks that show off your outfits and your pop-culture prowess.

Illuminarium Atlanta
Illuminarium Atlanta

Old Fourth Ward
The Illuminarium is one of Atlanta’s most visually stunning new attractions, but there’s much more to it than its popular African safari-themed WILD exhibition and gorgeous recent 21+ addition, O'KEEFE: One Hundred Flowers. The same 4K projection technology that powers The Illuminarium’s daytime and 21+ After Dark experiences will also be used in the coming weeks to introduce two new exhibitions—Space and Waking Wonderland. If you and your date get hungry, you won’t even have to leave the attraction. The Illuminarium Cafe—which boasts a small but impressive menu consisting of house-smoked brisket mac & cheese, salmon salad, melts, burgers, and more—is what brings it all together and makes The Illuminarium the perfect place for a romantic date night. You and your boo can grab dinner, see an incredible multi-sensory presentation, and enjoy cocktails in one location.

Midtown
For a serene date that puts you face to face with some of the most beautiful plantlife in the city, head over to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The current exhibition at the beloved Atlanta attraction is Meet Me in the Garden Room, which features exceptional local and national emerging and established artists with contemporary, fine art works spread throughout the garden. On the off-chance that both you and your date have already checked out this event, you can always return to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for 12th annual Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. While plenty of the show’s fan-favorite features return, guests can expect new twists, including an all-new exhibition in the Anne Cox Chambers Garden by French artist Cédric LeBorgne and three massive sculptures from the spring/summer exhibition, Origami in the Garden.

SkyView Atlanta
SkyView Atlanta

Downtown
Although you probably drive by it all of the time, a solid year-round date idea is the enormous SkyView Ferris wheel Downtown. For just $14.75 (and $12.75 for seniors, military, and students), SkyView riders can enjoy a nice private ride on one of Atlanta’s tallest attractions, and since it stays open pretty late—till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays—the massive in-town Ferris wheel can be the perfect way for you and your date to end the night.

Locations vary
If your date was born and raised in Atlanta, you can still show them a different side of the city by taking them on a scenic helicopter ride over the city skyline. Prestige Helicopters offers several aerial tours to choose from, including a 10-minute nighttime tour of the King & Queen buildings in Buckhead, a 30-minute tour throughout Downtown and Buckhead, and the 70-minute Ultimate Tour of the Chattahoochee River, Lake Lanier, Buckhead, Downtown, Decatur, and Stone Mountain. Whether you’re aiming to make an unforgettable impression for your first date or looking for a romantic anniversary celebration, a helicopter ride makes for a great experience for both of you.

Puttshack
Puttshack

West Midtown
One of the coolest additions to Atlanta over the last couple of years has been Puttshack, and in addition to being a fun family getaway during the day, it also makes for a great after-dark date night as well. Playing mini-golf has always been fun, and with Puttshack’s engaging new technology, the entire experience has been elevated. Without having to manually keep track of the score, you and your date will be able to focus a lot more on how great Puttshack’s signature cocktails are, from the Hennessy Islands to the Peach Tea on Peachtree.

Austell
Six Flags Over Georgia is back in full swing, and although you may think that amusement parks are just for teenagers, here’s why you should definitely consider it for your next date. In addition to all of the thrills, fun attractions, and chances to win your date an oversized stuffed animal, you two will almost certainly be forced to spend a significant amount of time together in food and ride lines, so use that time to get more familiar with each other.

9 Mile Station
9 Mile Station

Old Fourth Ward
There’s no outdoor date that’s more romantic than a sunset dinner overlooking the city at Nine Mile Station. The breathtaking open-air date offers a beautiful rooftop view of Buckhead, Downtown, and Midtown, and the food—we’re talking mouth-watering menu options like Scottish Salmon, Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, Smoked Trout Croquettes, Sesame Crusted Tuna, and more—is just as impressive as the view. Physically elevate your next dinner date by bringing your SO to an on-point meal on top of Ponce City Market, and afterward, go enjoy all of the fun rides and games that Skyline Park has to offer.

Home
Show your crush how creative you can be by having a private at-home paint-n-sip, courtesy of The Paint Factory. The Black woman-owned paint-and-sip company brings painting parties to its patrons, complete with live step-by-step instructions, sketched canvases, easels, paint, brushes, and aprons. With it being held at you or your date’s home, you won’t even have to BYOB because it’ll already be there. Just pour a glass of that special bottle of wine that you’ve been saving and enjoy the romantic, intimate, and artsy occasion.

Georgia Aquarium
Georgia Aquarium

Downtown
Love is not only in the air—it’s in the water too. During the cooler months, the Georgia Aquarium regularly hosts Dance by the Water, a unique salsa class that gives attendees an aquatic view while they learn something new. To get in the holiday spirit, you can partake in Winter Waterland in the atrium, which features holiday music, winter inspired projections, a water fountain display, a 40-foot live tree, and even take photos with Santa.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta
High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Midtown
You can’t go wrong with a date at the High Museum of Art, and to make your trip to the High a little easier on the pockets, visit on the second Sunday of the month. That’s when tickets are on the house, which means you’ll be able to show your date exhibitions like Rodin in the United States: Confronting the Modern, Stephen Burks: Shelter in Place, and the works of Deana Lawson all for free. Just remember that due to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, you need to act fast and reserve your free, timed tickets online. Once you do that, you’re all set for one of the coolest free dates in the city.

Fernbank Museum
Fernbank Museum

Druid Hills
Fernbank’s monthly event series “Fernbank After Dark” is an adult-only event that happens every second Friday of the month, featuring unique after-hours experiences. No, that doesn’t mean sexy time near the dinosaur bones, but visitors do have access to alcohol and live music while enjoying fascinating science demonstrations. With upcoming events like their Holiday Party, “Hello, 2023,” and “It’s Electric!” Fernbank's recurring after-hours event is a surefire way to impress the natural history and science lover in your life this winter.

Moreland Avenue
The dinner-and-a-movie formula is pretty hard to screw up, but if you’re still willing to take our advice, skip the chains and opt for a movie going experience that will transport you and your date back in time: the legendary Starlight Drive-In. For what’s arguably the best date-night deal in Atlanta, you can bring your own food and drink and watch a double feature from the sanctuary of your car all for $10—just be sure to bundle up. Plus, you’ll be able to look up at a big giant screen like they used to do in old romantic movies.

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Okla Jones is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, fine arts, and entertainment. His work also appears in ESSENCE, Creative Loafing Atlanta, and Consequence of Sound. Follow him on Instagram at @coolhandoak.
Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist.