Take Date Night from Awkward to Fun with These Date Ideas in Boston
From low-key to over-the-top, the best date ideas in Boston.
You got a date with a cutie, so where the heck are you going? Yup, dating involves a bit of psychology—whether it’s date #1 or 100. First-date locations should help support casual conversation, whereas later in the relationship, you might look for something to keep things fresh and exciting.
Luckily, Boston date ideas are plentiful and span from handmade taco joints to arcades, line dancing, roller skating, geology nature walks, and axe throwing. For big romance drama, there’s always fine dining with panoramic city views and the hot new restaurants, including Everywhere You Need to Eat Right Now. On top of the All-Time Greatest Things to Do in Boston, we’ve pulled together a list of incredible date ideas in Boston—from low-key hangs to over-the-top romance—for Valentine’s Day and all year-round.
Drinking Date Ideas in Boston
Chinatown, $10 and up
Meet up for a few shareables at Shōjō’s Chinatown location, and you're greeted with a contemporary aesthetic with an artsy overlay rooted in Asian culture. It’s perfect for an early relationship date because the creative cocktails and artwork keep the convo flowing easily. The street art mural wall is incredible, the artwork is rotated regularly, and even the cocktail glasses are vibey (pandas and tigers, oh my!). Grab an order of the fan-fave Taiwanese Basil Popcorn Chicken and the mezcal-based One Thousand Deaths cocktail, featuring pea sprouts and Scorpion bitters. Plus, watch their socials for upcoming Galentine’s Day specials.
South Boston, $7.50 and up
The plant-based goodness is just the beginning. The menu at Lulu Green is like eating your way through an international herb garden—Za'atar, Truffle Vinaigrette, Beirut Spices, and Harissa Aioli all make appearances. Order up the Shawarma or Lentil Walnut Bolognese; all the dishes are giving that food-is-love vibe. It’s a casual spot with top-notch cocktails, local beer and cider, and $10 zero-proof options, so order a slice of the Pistachio Layer Cake with its orange and rose blossom water (low-key romance, right there)—and just chill. Of course, they're coming through with a four-course dinner for V-Day—February 10 and February 14.
Back Bay, $16 and up
Chef Carl Dooley and chef de cuisine Nelson Whittingham recently opened Moon Bar, just below their fabulous Mooncusser restaurant. Moon Bar is elegant yet approachable, with dramatic pink velvet barstools and a walk-in welcome approach to hospitality. You’re in for plenty of tropical showstoppers, like fish wrapped in banana leaves and cozy cornbread with Chorizo curry sauce. The menu is focused, and cocktails like Pisco-centric Only in Vinyl dazzle with flavors like golden raisin and lemon. If you’re looking for big date night energy, make a res at Mooncusser, upstairs, where the tasting menu starts at $115.
Back Bay, $22 and up
The door to Contessa takes you down a fairly dramatic hallway—to an elevator bound for the 17th floor. The fine dining restaurant overlooks the Back Bay and Boston Public Garden, so it’s giving swoony romance energy. The menu is a love letter to Northern Italy, and the fresh-made pasta is sublime. Order the Wild Boar Ragu and put your trust in the sommelier to bring the perfect glass of wine. The overall ambiance is Old World Italy draped in glam, so signature cocktails are classics like the Dirty Martini and gin-forward Vesper. Valentine’s Day? Of course! Indulge in four-courses for $195 per person.
Cambridge, $5 and up
When you're not sure what cuisine would be the right call, but it needs to be date-worthy, Little Donkey is a go-to. The genius fever dream of James Beard Award Winning chef Ken Oringer, this spot serves global tapas—an unhinged array of international flavors and cuisines. Plus, the menu is labeled for gluten, vegan, and vegetarian needs, eliminating that potential stress from selecting a date spot in Boston. A casual $25 caviar sandwich? Yup, they've got that, but also lamb bacon BLT lettuce wraps, $5 Mexican lagers, and the bubbly vodka goodness of Dante’s Orchard with apple, blood orange, and cardamom.
Sports Date Ideas in Boston
Downtown, $5 cover
Boston date ideas aren’t limited to what team’s playing tonight, but if you’re feeling playful, check out Versus. A $5 cover gives you full, no-token-needed access to nearly 40 arcade and video games. Snack on Jalapeno Stuffed Pretzels, burgers, flatbreads, and Zelda Fries (of course, they have Zelda fries) between games of Space Invaders, Skee-ball, and Star Wars pinball. Score $6 PBRs or cozy up with your boo for a two-person cocktail (a.k.a. a multi-player drink) like the vodka-based Princess Peach. You can also increase the oops-our-fingers-touched moments by settling in with one of their board game options.
Somerville, $40 and up
Drinking and throwing axes—a modern-day tale of romance, of course. As far as dates go, it’s absurdly fun. If you’re new to axe-throwing, no worries. Your 90-minute booking begins with a quick lesson. They don’t serve food, but they allow guests to bring in their own food, so grab some take-out or surprise your date with a low-key backpack-style charcuterie picnic. Either way, arrive early and grab a beer, wine, or cider from the bar. And yes! You can bring your food and drinks to your throwing area.
Downtown, Dance lessons $5 and up
With a little line dancing and a few $7 beers, you've got the foundation for a pretty great date night in Boston. The entertainment at Nash Bar & Stage includes $5 line dancing lessons on Wednesdays and Thursdays, plus live band karaoke and live performances through Sunday. Those looking for a romantic riff should get in on their acoustic dinner performances. Weekends are all about Country Brunch, featuring Whiskey Glazed Steak and Eggs, and their Valentine’s Day lineup includes Galentine’s Day Soiree (February 13) and Galentine’s Drag Brunch (February 18).
Various locations, Prices vary
Stuck in a rut and looking to shake things up a bit? Boston Dance Alliance offers performances as wide-ranging as Bharatanatyam recitals to the South Asian Showdown, featuring Bollywood-centric dance groups. Performances are held at theaters and venues throughout the city, as are the many dance classes on their community page, where they offer 80 dance studio suggestions in and around the city. Take a $20 hip hop or Krump class at Boston Dance Studios or dabble in the joy of swing at Boston Lindy Hop.
Dorchester, $10 and up
If you've got a partner down for a night of cheesy, spicy fries and roller skating, hold on tight and bust out your best moves at Chez-Vous. If Harry Potter cast a Risussempra smile spell, he’d still fall short in comparison to the Chez-vibe, where it’s smiles for miles. The beats are thumping, the wheels are rolling, and everyone's having an absolute blast. They have open skate sessions every day except Monday and Thursday but also host eventslike an adults-only Valentine’s Day party and an Old School Skate Parties, featuring live DJs.
Arts and Culture Date Ideas in Boston
Budget-Friendly Cultural Institutions
Various locations, Prices vary
In case you don’t know, Boston Public Library offers discounted passes to over 15 museums (squeal!). Logistics vary, but, for example, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum pass allows admission for up to four people at just $5 each. Passes must be reserved in advance, and you may need to be patient, but it’s so worth it. While you wait, check out the websites for Boston’s best cultural experiences. There are often discounts like the Museum of Fine Art’s $5 Community Celebration days or Boston Symphony Orchestra deals–limited day-of $10 tickets and $25 tickets for guests under 40 at select performances.
Beacon Hill, Prices vary
Spend the day meandering Beacon Hill, then make a DIY farm-to-table dinner. The streets are cute AF, but you could also visit the Museum of African American History or Beacon Hill Books & Cafe. Close to both spots, you'll find Crane River Cheese Club—a chef-led specialty grocery store with meat, seafood, and farmed goods. Grab some marinated steak tips (or even some venison, duck, or salmon) and a Farmer’s Market Box of produce and make plans to settle in for the night. From fresh, local cheese to $3 bags of chef-blended spices, it’s a one-and-done shop for a gourmet date.
Making time for self-care in a relationship is its own love language and a really sweet way to reconnect with one another after a long week. Nomad Organic Spa offers $20 scalp treatments, $30 Chair Muscle Recovery Therapy, and Herbal Foot Reflexology, starting at $45 for 30 minutes. Schedule appointments for late morning so you can sleep in, and then, after your spa sesh, head over to Tatte Bakery for baked goods. Round out the date with a visit to Coolidge Corner Theatre to catch a new release or one of their many classic films or eclectic festivals.
Spend a wholesome afternoon playing board games and eating tasty Prosciutto Fig sandos at Knight Moves Board Game Café. They’re stocked with over 2,000 board games, and the game fee—$10 on weekdays and $15 over the weekend—is good from open to close. During your visit, you can play 'til your heart's content and come and go as you please. There are no cocktails, but the menu includes beautiful sandwiches like Apple Brie and a proper barista counter. Craving something in particular for your date? No worries. You can bring it for a $5 per person outside food fee.
The secret to adorably memorable dates? Keep the Mass Audubon website handy at all times. They offer oodles of free and under $25 programs and events at outdoorsy locations throughout the city and beyond. From a free Winter Bird Walk at Belle Isle Reservation to Boston Nature Center’s Geology Walk and even Maple Sugaring in Mattapan, their calendar is a seasonally rotating scroll of fresh air vibes. If Boston nature dates are your jam, consider a $50 annual membership, which is discounted to $25 for folks under 30.