The 16 Coolest and Most Romantic Fall Date Ideas in Dallas
From falling into each others arms on an ice rink to fighting zombies, keep things fresh.
The most romantic time of the year (a.k.a. cuffing season) is finally here. So, as the temperatures cool down, leaves turn to a crisp state of orange, red, and yellow, and the nights grow longer with each passing day (more time to get cozy in the dark), established couples and pairs who recently found their hibernation mate needn’t look far for date ideas. The 16 activities on this list make the most of the season, although many items on our list can be enjoyed year-round, too. And, quite frankly, even platonic friends can take part in nearly all these pursuits. French-kissing and other forms of PDA, of course, are always optional.
Eat, drink, and get busy in a hotel room
Dallas will never lack incredible restaurants worthy of special occasions, whether it’s a first date to truly impress, an anniversary, or simply an excuse to get out of the house. Of course, to capitalize on an amazing dinner and the feelings that come from, oh, a night of raw oysters and champagne, getting a hotel room upstairs takes romance to a whole new level and brings a much sexier meaning to the word “dessert.” Among our can’t-miss recommendations: the newly reopened SĒR Steak + Spirits at the Hilton Anatole with gorgeous views of the downtown skyline from its 27th-floor location; Monarch at Thompson Dallas with equally spectacular views of downtown from downtown; the Adolphus Hotel’s iconic restaurant, The French Room, which is slowly returning to service after closure because of COVID; and Fearing’s Restaurant from celebrity chef Dean Fearing, located inside The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.
Perhaps you’re keen on our idea to tack on a hotel room to dinner, but maybe want to focus on cocktails and nibbles instead so you don’t get too full. Midnight Rambler at The Joule has you covered. Make reservations in advance so you can score an intimate table with a dedicated server (instead of the free-for-all at the bar) and impress with the whimsical combination of Lay’s Potato Chips and caviar served with a can of Bud Light ($55) or the same salty snacks with two glasses of Veuve Clicquot ($150). Or you can add a bump of caviar to any cocktail order you make for $50.
Heighten your date-night reality with a session of fully immersive virtual reality at the recently debuted Sandbox VR at Mockingbird Station. Get decked out in head-to-toe sensors then step into your choice of worlds built for two people (or more if you want to double- or triple-date), from swashbuckling pirate adventures to destroying the undead before they get to you first.
Interacting with animals always makes for a fun date and it doesn’t get much more exotic than the Backstage Safari at Dallas Zoo. For $150 per person—which adds up to $450 for thrupples—you can embark on a 90-minute excursion behind the scenes with one of the zookeepers. Feed apples to the largest land mammal (the African elephant, if you’re playing along at home), participate in a training session with some hippos, and attend a private Wild Encounters show where you’ll get an up-close look at tamanduas, tortoises, and other magnificent creatures.
East Dallas/White Rock Lake
Not only are the gardens at the Dallas Arboretum perfect for photo-ops during the fall months (and a great place to see pretty autumn leaves), the cooler weather means you can hang out longer. If you’re looking for a quiet, more private experience and you’re a morning person, take advantage of the fact that members get exclusive access two hours before the arboretum opens each day. Explore the seasonal exhibits, grab some food to-go from the Terrace Cafe or Cafe on the Green, then spread out a blanket for a picnic on the great lawn overlooking White Rock Lake as the bunnies and squirrels size up your sandwiches.
Despite having one of the most annoying websites on the planet, Farm + Feed has a truly fun concept—video games by the hour accompanied by food and cocktails. For as low as $5 per person ($10 after 6 pm), you can rent a station, sofa, or booth decked out with PS5s, XBOX Xs, Switches, or PCs to battle it out with your significant other in the virtual world of your choosing. If you’re feeling more analog, you can also enjoy old-school board games in the bar area while sipping on a Hard Reset (Tito’s Handmade Vodka, lime juice, mint-ginger syrup, and ginger beer).
The 12,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa, Dallas has gone under a multi-million dollar renovation, making the already luxurious full-service pampering oasis better than ever. Book a couple’s massage and let someone else do the work (unlike the massage class for two, also on this list). Make sure to allow time before and after the treatment to each enjoy the separate men’s and women’s relaxation areas, complete with jacuzzis, rainforest showers, saunas, and steam rooms. Then stick around for dinner at Fearing’s Restaurant or drinks at the Rattlesnake Bar (or all of the above).
With its giant, light-encrusted orb towering above the downtown skyline, Reunion Tower will always be one of Dallas’ most recognizable icons. The tower’s observation level, GeO-Deck, creates new memories with their special date night package that includes two admission tickets, VIP elevator service, a digital photo and a silver frame, two complimentary glasses of bubbly, and two keepsake Reunion Tower flutes. Better still, when you reserve this package, you can book a room at the Hyatt Regency downstairs at a nice discount.
Dallas Love Field
Charter a jet for two just about anywhere imaginable for a luxurious, undeniably memorable date night. Chilled vodka and lobster on the flight before jazz and dinner in New Orleans? Sunset on the beach in San Diego? If you can dream it, they can probably make it happen at Leviate Air Group, which offers on-demand flights and white-glove service that you will never, ever, never-never-never-NEVER find on a major airline. (Bags fly free, too.)
Downtown Dallas has already welcomed thousands of visitors to the immersive experiences with Vincent Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas as potential third wheels for your date night. Experience their masterpieces on a more intimate level with the exclusive Date Night package (Van Gogh and Frida only, for now). Each couple’s package includes VIP tickets, viewing from a private booth, plus take-home gifts like Kate Weiser Chocolates, a romantic gift set, and the option to add a one-night stay at Lorenzo Hotel. And if you’re looking to limber up with your special someone, consider booking a yoga session at the spa.
Show how much you care by volunteering your time at Bonton Farms (after a delicious breakfast at the cafe, of course). Sign up for a Saturday and weekday slot and you could soon be feeding baby goats, milking mama goats, harvesting plants, taking care of chickens, or assembling food bags for neighbors in need. It’s an opportunity to get dirty in a field with your date without ever joining FarmersOnly.com.
The classic dinner-and-a-show combo always makes for an enjoyable, inside-the-box date night, but you can up the ante considerably when the show takes place outside the window of an aircraft. At Delta Charlie’s, you and your sweetheart can enjoy a three-course meal followed by a private sightseeing tour after sunset. Consider scheduling a flight during a fireworks presentation (you know, should you need a marriage proposal idea).
Navigate through the Mandalay Canal and Lake Carolyn on a gondola complete with a gondolier in black-and-white stripes operating a big stick. Choose from breakfast, lunch, and dinner options—fancy or casual—and see the city from a completely different vantage point. Cruises range from $155 to $425 depending on whether you have a meal, plus various other optional upgrades. And, little known fact: It’s gondola tradition to kiss every time you go under a bridge.
North Dallas Okay, maybe you can't perfectly execute a split leap (yet), but what’s more fun than ice skating (or attempting to ice skate) at the Galleria? Even if you’re both terrible at the sport, falling into someone else’s arms (or vice versa) always speeds up the romantic process. Admission is $12 during public skating hours, and skate rentals come in at just $5 per person. Lessons are available, too, should you really want to learn how to stay on your feet.
Did you call yourself a “fearless badass who loves to be extreme with five Xs” in your dating profile? It’s time to put your money where your mouth is, pal. iFly offers indoor skydiving sessions via a giant wind tunnel. It's not cheap—as in, $85 for two flights per person "not cheap"—but it's great for photo ops or proving that, yes, you would totally jump out of a plane without actually having to jump out of a plane. (Of course, you can always do that, too.)
Oak Cliff, South Dallas
For an endorphin rush you'll probably both appreciate, you could certainly do worse than hitting either of these gorgeous multi-mile hikes through hundreds of acres of rolling wilderness and groomed trails. Perhaps you can even share some trail mix while assigning names to the river otters and other wildlife scampering across the path in front of you. Sweat it out then mix things up by careening down one of Trinity Forest Adventure Park’s many high-flying zip lines, with the longest clocking in at 100-feet long.