Austin’s 18 Coolest and Most Romantic Spring Date Ideas

Watch the sparks fly at an Austin FC match, axe-throwing showdown, romantic wine bar, and more.

Don’t let any memes about the end of cuffing season get to your head—with nature in bloom, spring is the perfect time for romance to blossom. This is especially true in Austin, where picture-perfect 80-degree weather and a plethora of seafood boils are extra inspiration to treat your boo to an epic date night. But whether you have a long-term love or are out there swiping for your life, you’ll need more than the usual dinner-and-movie routine to lean on. That’s where we come in—with our list of great activities around the city, from cheering on Austin’s only professional sports team to putting together your own wine tasting among the area’s swankiest spots, love is bound to sill the air just as much as the cedar pollen. Here are the 18 absolute best springtime date ideas in Austin. (And for fun things to do any old time, check out our guide to actually cool Austin activities.)

Austin FC
Austin FC

Q2 Stadium
There are few things more awkward and soul-crushing than a bad date—the kind where the lack of connection is so obvious, you contemplate making up a fake emergency so you can GTFO. Which is why taking a date to an Austin FC game is always a win-win. Should your date be horrible, your experience watching the city’s amazing Major League Soccer team is bound to be the opposite. From the moment you walk into Q2 Stadium, you’ll be swept off your feet by the green and the black, even if your only experience with soccer was a second grade after-school league. While there, you two can grab delicious local food and beverages while cheering on “Verde Listos” together. And the sound of the all-volunteer, all-star brass band that plays during games is guaranteed to drown out the silence between any lulls in conversation.

Urban Axes (Austin)
Urban Axes (Austin)

Feel the rush with extreme activities

Various locations
Get your date’s heart to skip a beat— literally—by taking them on an out-of-the-ordinary adventure. While we don’t normally recommend mixing romance with sharp weapons, the one exception would be hitting up Urban Axes, where you and your cutie can take out some of that aggression about whose turn it was to do the dishes in a markedly healthy way. Even those who are skittish about their ability to chuck an axe will find comfort from the onsite Axeperts, there to guide you along your throwing journey. Challenge your date to see who can hit closest to the bullseye—afterward, loser buys drinks at nearby bar Kinda Tropical. Those looking for something equally daring should head to Uprise Circus, where they can fly through the sky in a personal trapeze class. This option won’t just leave you and your love on a physical high however, but an emotional one as well—tickets benefit Uprise Circus’ mission to provide outreach programming to disadvantaged and underserved children in Austin.

Retro Boat Rentals ATX
Retro Boat Rentals ATX

Lady Bird Lake
Want to impress your date with a cool ride, even if you’re picking them up in your grandad’s old beater Buick? Rent one of the vintage Cadillac-inspired boats from Retro Boats to jet around Lady Bird Lake, and you’re both guaranteed to feel like Sandy and Danny cruising off into the sunset at the end of Grease. The best part about these boats is they don’t just look old-school, they actually are—all the vessels have been repurposed and fitted with eco-friendly motors (which is something Grease Lighting was certainly lacking). While you can’t go wrong with any of their beauties, the millennial pink-hued Gidget or the dog-friendly June might be the ideal way to pull into the running for a second date.

Aviary Wine + Kitchen
Aviary Wine + Kitchen

Wine and dine (and wine some more) your beloved

Various locations
It’s a well known fact: If you don’t know whether or not you want to meet your Hinge match for a second date by the time you two finish a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, you probably never will. So take all the guesswork out of that follow-up text by clinking a couple of glasses at one of Austin’s many current sommelier-approved wine bars. To impress the trendy, fingers-on-the-pulse type, head to the New York Times name-checked Birdie’s, where you can sip some Grüner Veltliner patio-side while getting to know each other over their crowd-pleasing panisse. For a date who's already mentioned they’re vegan upwards of five times, opt for LoLo Wine Bar, where every selection from the red to the rosé is all natural. And you can never go wrong with the intimate and dreamy Aviary Wine & Kitchen, where the voices of their knowledge and friendly staff provide a backdrop to your very own budding rom-com.

Table22
Table22

Various locations
We don’t blame you if 90% of your dates involve takeout and HBO Max—you’re only human after all. However, one of Table22’s local restaurant kits will allow you to step away from the Postmates for a night and get in some quality bonding time—in addition to a home-cooked meal that won’t have you grimacing while chewing. Created in response to the devastating toll the pandemic took on the restaurant industry, Table22 sources ingredients and recipe guides from some of Austin’s favorite places to grub. Grab the Tasting Menu series from Olamaie that, of course, includes their famous biscuits, or L’Oca d’Oro’sRegional Pasta and Wine Share kits, which will have you cooking with all the confidence of native Sicilian (or just have you drinking enough wine to think you are).

Little Trouble
Little Trouble | Photo courtesy of Little Trouble

Lockhart, TX
Escape Austin’s bachelor and bachelorette party crowds by making the 30-minute drive out to Lockhart. This small Texas town has long been known as a barbecue mecca—you and your date can strive for the triple crown by feasting at legendary spots Black’s, Smitty’s Market, and Kreuz Market all in the same day. If you aren’t into getting a serious case of the brisket sweats, check out Little Trouble instead. You can still get your meat fix via the mouth-watering grilled ribeye and be sure to sip on the Dolly, a quirky cocktail served in a mammary-themed glass worthy of the Queen of Country herself. Later, walk it all off by browsing the amazing antique stores just off the town square, as well as local favorite Bluebonnet Records, where the staff is poised to help get your musical stylings in tip-top shape.

Bull & Bowl
Bull & Bowl

Bull & Bowl
There’s a lot of downsides to traditional bowling: Lanes that reek of old cigarette smoke, the impossibility of getting a clean strike without bumpers, and, chief among them, nasty old bowling shoes (because, gross). Luckily, restaurant and gameapalooza, Bull & Bowl, is here to change all your perceptions of Lebowski’s favorite game. Bull & Bowl offers Austin’s first duckpin bowling alley, which is like the traditional game but with a smaller ball, shorter lanes, and, if we haven’t already mentioned it enough, no shoe rental. Plus, with big screen TVs stationed above each lane, you can convince your date to roll one out even when the big game is on. When you get tired of bowling, there’s also a mechanical bull, pool tables, and a variety of arcade games to keep the competition pumping—not to mention a full food and drink menu puts the stereotypical mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders routine to shame.

Desert Door
Desert Door

Desert Door
Forgo the typical (i.e. boring) happy hour meet-up and treat your date to a different kind of drinking experience at Desert Door distillery, located just a 30-minute drive outside of Austin in Driftwood. Sotol, the agave-based spirit produced onsite, boasts a brighter, grassier flavor profile than its cousins, tequila and mezcal and Desert Door is the perfect place to wet your whistle. The experts in their tasting room (which is dog-friendly, to boot) will introduce you and your mate to the two varieties they make and how to pair them. Add a food truck with heightened farm-to-table eats (think spinach and chard dip) served amid the distillery’s gorgeous wildflower-strewn expanse, and you and your date are bound to feel the buzz.

Sushi | Bar
Sushi | Bar | Photo by Liam Brown

Sushi | Bar
Pamper your honey with a decadent 17-course tasting menu at stunning Austin restaurant Sushi | Bar. The intimate space, which only hosts three seatings each night, puts you right there in front of the chefs while they prepare a lineup of expertly constructed and incredibly delicious bites, omakase-style. From Japanese Yellowtail with sweet corn pudding and sourdough breadcrumbs to a buttery, citrus-spiked Bluefin Tuna, you’ll want to jump for joy with each new plate—not to mention each new sake pairing courtesy of an onsite sake somm.

Doc's Drive In Theatre
Doc's Drive In Theatre

Catch a drive-in movie

Various locations
With trucks of every shape and size barraging the roads of Texas, you may as well put those spacious flatbeds to use. Pile lots of pillows and blankets in the back and park that hoopty in Doc’s Drive In Theatre or The Blue Starlite Drive-In. Sit back, relax, and take in cult favorites like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jaws, Clueless, and Back to the Future virtually every night of the week from the comfort of your private open-air lounge.

The Exotic Resort Zoo
The Exotic Resort Zoo

Johnson City
Show your date you’re the next Steve Irwin (or maybe the next Tiger King) by taking them on a drive-through safari at The Exotic Resort in Johnson City. There, you can roll through the zoo while feeding all the antelopes, ostriches, and buffalos that come right up to your vehicle’s window. We recommend you buy tickets, as well as pre-buy bags of feed, ahead of time on the Exotic Resort’s website—especially if you are planning a visit during the weekends when the park is at its busiest.

Hops and Grain
Hops and Grain

Various locations
Take “let’s grab drinks” a step further by going straight to the source of the libations themselves—aka one of Austin’s incredible local breweries. Favorites Central Machine Works, Celis Brewery, and Hops & Grain not only have delicious drinks, but also spacious outdoor spaces so you can get to know each other in the temperate spring weather. If you’re organized enough to plan ahead, make a reservation to take your date to Jester King in Hill Country, which specializes in sour beers—with seating available in such scenic locations as a vineyard and a pasture, you can guarantee both beauty and brews.

Zilker Botanical Garden
Zilker Botanical Garden

South Austin
You know what they say—if it ain’t broke, don't fix it. The same can be said of this classic date idea. And, considering Austin’s cup runneth over in both foodie delights and green spaces, there’s no better wingman than the city itself. With all the diverse takeout options available in South Austin and a beautiful view of the city skyline, Zilker Park is the ideal location to get your picnic on. Grab some burgers and milkshakes at Sandy’s Hamburgers before walking over, or if you’re a tad bougier, pick up Loro’s brisket and cocktails just a quick five-minute drive from the park.

Barton Springs Bike Rental
Barton Springs Bike Rental

Various locations
Roll off into the sunset together at one of Austin’s many gorgeous bike trails—like the Southern Walnut Creek Trail in the East or the Ann and Roy Butler Trail, which hugs the banks of Lady Bird Lake. If you don’t own your own bike, rent one via Barton Springs Bike Rental—they even have tandems for the truest love birds. If you’re less nature-inclined, rent one of the city’s Metrobikes and tour the landmark locations of Downtown, such as the Capital or the Willie Nelson statue.

Cidercade Austin
Cidercade Austin

Play your heart out at a boozy arcade

Various locations
There’s nothing like the nostalgia of playing Pac-Man, mixed with the adult ability to have a beer while doing so. Tried-and-true Austin staple The Original Pinballz Arcade allows you to do just that—enjoy their huge selection of games, including a room of vintage pinball machines, in a space that is proudly BYOB-friendly. A newer addition to the scene in South Austin, Cidercade boasts unlimited play, pizza, and, as the name suggests, a plentiful offering of cider on tap.

UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum
UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum

Various locations
Show off your aesthetic eye by taking your date to one of Austin’s outdoor art museums. At the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, take in the work of renowned American sculptor Charles Umlaut while walking through the lush greenery which blankets every step of the space. In West Austin, there’s Laguna Gloria which features pieces by contemporary artists on the grounds of a 1916 villa that sits on the shore of Lake Austin. Need we say more?

Juan in a Million
Juan in a Million

Various locations
Challenge your date to settle the ultimate question: Which Austin taqueria boasts the best migas? Start your journey at Radio Coffee & Beer, where you can pair drinks with eats from the Veracruz taco truck. Save room for the massive portions at your next stop—Juan in A Million on Austin’s East side. Finally, figure out if you're meant to be by going to both local chain rivals Torchy’s and Taco Deli. Be warned though—disagreement over which one is best might be a huge red flag for a future relationship. Looking for other great places to grab some date night grub? Check out our list of Austin’s most romantic restaurants.

Various locations
Test their Tinder profile’s claim that they “love the outdoors” by suggesting a hike through one of greater Austin’s lesser known, yet incredibly beautiful, trails. About an hour north in Belton is the Chalk Ridge Trail at Chalk Ridge Falls Park, where you'll get to both see a waterfall and cross a suspension bridge—all in the space of three miles. For those looking for a longer adventure, check out Crockett Garden Falls in Georgetown’s Cedar Breaks Park. Pack a lunch and bring your bathing suit for a six-mile trail that will lead you to the most gorgeous grotto you've ever seen for a well-deserved dip.

Peter Pan Mini-Golf
Peter Pan Mini-Golf

Bouldin Creek
To arrive at Peter Pan Mini-Golf, and see the giant neon green T.Rex that adorns the front of the course, is to know this place goes way beyond the standard windmill hole-in-ones. Add to this the further collection of wacky acid-trip animals that decorate the green and a BYOB atmosphere, and you have a great outdoor date on your hands. And beer isn’t the only thing you can bring—while they have sanitized golf equipment, those who prefer to show off their own clubs are more than welcome to caddy their own.

Barton Creek Farmers Market
Barton Creek Farmers Market

Peruse a farmers market

Various locations
Kill two birds by turning grocery shopping into a breezy spring date at any one of Austin’s fantastic weekend farmers markets. On Saturday, from 9 am to 1 pm, head to the Barton Creek Farmers Market at the Barton Creek Square mall, where you and your prized partner can grab fresh tomatoes and bell peppers from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. The Texas Farmer’s Market at Mueller, which runs from 10 am to 2 pm, is the Sunday favorite—be sure to grab a fresh sourdough loaf from Texas French Bread while you’re there.

The Buzz Mill
The Buzz Mill

West Austin
We all know what’s really important in any potential relationship: What does your pet think of them? Toss ‘em in the deep end by bringing your furry friend along with you to your first date—especially if they have a dog of their own to join the party. Red Bud Isle, which sits on the right in the middle of the west side of Lady Bird Lake, is the perfect off-leash location for your meet-cute. Afterwards, your foursome can grab food and drinks at one of Austin’s many dog-friendly spots.

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Molly Moltzen is a Thrillist contributor.