Lifestyle

Dallas Date Ideas That Aren’t Just Getting Drinks

All six feet away from other people.

COVID-19 shutdowns and the implementation of numerous safety protocols across the state suck for so many reasons, but there’s at least one silver lining. Due to the (second) temporary closure of bars, nightclubs, and lounges, North Texas singles have been forced to think outside the box to come up with creative date ideas. Actually, coming up with them isn't even required -- because here’s an extensive list of ideas that will keep the romance flowing, and other people at least six feet away.

Get classy at the Dallas Museum of Art

Downtown Dallas
Curious if your Tinder date is into pre-Raphaelites or digs pop art more? After being shuttered for nearly five full months, the Dallas Museum of Art will reopen its doors on Friday, August 14, for weekends only. Best of all, general admission to permanent exhibitions remains free while special exhibits can be accessed for a nominal fee. New safety measures include a reduction of gallery capacity to 25%, face masks are required, and tickets must be reserved in advance for specific time slots.

Channel your inner Adam Rippon at the Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center

North Dallas
OK, maybe you can't perfectly execute a split leap, but -- still -- what’s more fun than year-round indoor ice skating at the Galleria? Even if you’re both terrible at ice skating, there’s always the fun bonus of either holding hands to brace each other or, if the date isn’t going well, taking them down with you when you fall. It's a nice metaphor for relationships, if you think about it. Admission is $12 during public skating hours, and skate rental is $5. Social distancing and masks are required throughout your visit.

ifly indoor skydiving
Courtesy of iFLY

Show off your bravery with indoor skydiving

Frisco 
Did you forget that you called yourself a “fearless badass who loves to be extreme with five Xs” in your dating profile bio? Now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. iFly offers indoor skydiving inside a giant wind tunnel. It's not cheap -- as in, $80 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. But if you don’t have a fear of flying, mask requirements and other safety measures in effect won’t be a big deal whatsoever.

Stroll all over the city and learn stuff at your own pace

Multiple locations
Right now, group sightseeing tours have lost a lot of their appeal. But that doesn’t mean you can still learn about our great city. With GPSmyCity, you can take any of 10 self-guided tours around town for an annual subscription of only $12.99. That means you could have 10 dates, each with a different theme ranging from public art in Deep Ellum to an informative stroll around the Arts District. And if things go well, your subscription gets you access to walking tours in 480 cities worldwide -- perhaps one would be perfect on your honeymoon.

Squeal at the baby giraffe & toddler gorilla of Fort Worth Zoo

Fort Worth 
The Fort Worth Zoo has won awards for how great it is. And, besides, everyone loves getting a photo with a baby animal. Two of the most popular include a new giraffe born this past June or the nearly five-year-old toddler gorilla, Gus, the first ever to be born at the Fort Worth Zoo. While there you can experience guided walking tours, see any of its 540 animal species (except elephants, whose Elephant Springs habitat returns in 2021 at triple the size), or simply relax and take in the calls of the wild. Admission is just $16 (half price on Wednesdays), and tickets must be purchased in advance for specific entry times. Face masks and social distancing required.

Stare in awe at elephants and hippos at Dallas Zoo

South Dallas
If a trip to the zoo simply isn’t a trip to the zoo without seeing elephants frolicking around (or Fort Worth is too much of a trek for a first date), then Dallas Zoo’s got you covered. The Giants of the Savannah habitat reopened with the entire park and like many sections now requires timed entry to control crowd size. But that’s a bonus because you and your date can have quality canoodling time with fewer people staring you down for PDA in front of pachyderms. In addition to controlled entry times, face masks, social distancing, and advance reservations will all be required for entry to the zoo.

Catch a cult film at the Texas Theatre’s Sunset Drive-in Series

Oak Cliff
While the auditorium remains closed at the historic theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for his possible connection to the JFK assassination, the parking lot behind the theater has become the place to watch a movie that probably doesn’t fit into the blockbuster mold typical of summertime viewing (Zombie Death House, perhaps?). Space is limited for the $20-per-car screenings, and upcoming films are announced on their Instagram page first, so that’s worth following to be in-the-know before anyone else. Food and beverages can be ordered online in advance or during the screening and delivered right to your car for a truly well-rounded date night.

Take selfies together at Rainbow Vomit

East Dallas/Fair Park
The wildly colorful, completely immersive art experience appropriately known as Rainbow Vomit wants to give you a date night for the record books. Sure, you can join a socially distant, limited-size group for $23 per person, but if you really want to make an impression, rent out the whole space for an hour. Sure, $175 for a weeknight rental or $275 for a Saturday night might be a bit steep, but it’s BYOB so it could end up much cheaper than a typical Dallas bar tab for a night out anyway. Plus, unlike any nightspot in town, this one comes with its own life-size dancing unicorn for good measure.

Dive into the nerdiness of art history at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Downtown Dallas
Since 2003, the Nasher Sculpture Center has treated Dallas to some of the most stunning works of sculpture in the world -- from artists like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Auguste Rodin. For $10, an afternoon there is the best way to wow your date with real sculpture knowledge or let one of the Nasher’s staff do the heavy lifting by dropping some fascinating sculpture facts on them. The sculpture center is scheduled to reopen on August 20 with face masks and contactless admission procedures in place.

Recreate scenes from Logan's Run at the Fort Worth Water Gardens

Fort Worth
Sure, a 1970s sci-fi classic about a society in which anyone over 30 is killed off isn’t necessarily the most obvious theme for a successful date. But the Fort Worth Water Gardens, where pivotal scenes in the movie were filmed, still make for a fun time full of hand-holding and puddle-jumping, though a few areas of the gardens remain closed due to inability for visitors to social distance. Another bonus of the free water gardens -- they’re a short distance away from great conversation starters like the twice-daily cattle drives featuring the Fort Worth Herd or Friday and Saturday night rodeos.

Grab dinner with a view at Trinity Groves

Trinity Groves
If you’re set on the whole get-to-know-you over a meal thing, at least pair it with a nice view. In the Trinity Groves area, you have your pick of restaurants from the brand-new Holy Crust for a unique style of pizza to all-things-avocado at AvoEatery and plant-based delights at V-Eats Modern Vegan. Best of all, there are large outdoor patios for socially distant dining al fresco.  After you’re done with lunch or dinner, walk over to the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge for a romantic promenade with one of the best views of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the majestic Dallas skyline.

Show off your swing at Topgolf

Multiple locations
If you’re good at golf, you can impress your date. If you’re bad at golf, you can both laugh at each other. The best part: There’s plenty of shade and fans at Topgolf to keep you cool while you play. Order some drinks and snacks, and if you want to make it interesting: Loser picks up the tab. Face masks are required upon entry to the building until you get to your bay.

Go on a boat ride for two at White Rock

White Rock Lake
Get a little exercise by taking a kayak or canoe ride on White Rock Lake. White Rock Paddle Co. is open daily to get you decked out with your life vest and everything you’ll need to set sail. If you really want to make it romantic, plan your ride around sundown and watch the sunset, allowing enough time to get back to the dock when the Paddle Co. closes at sundown. Masks are required during the rental process, but once you’re out on the lake, any clothing or accessory removal will be at your discretion.

Picnic and take in the Downtown skyline at Klyde Warren Park

Downtown/Uptown
While this may seem obvious, Klyde Warren Park is truly one of the jewels of Dallas and one of the best outdoor spaces where you could meet up with a special person once the weather gets a few degrees warmer. The view from the park that connects Downtown and Uptown is always breathtaking, particularly after sunset. You can either bring a packed picnic for two or peruse the vast array of food trucks which always line the park’s edge or order takeout from a nearby restaurant. Scheduled activities have been limited for safety measures, but movie nights, yoga, and other perfect-for-couples options still remain on the calendar.

Indulge your inner foodies at Sur La Table cooking classes

Virtual
The ultimate test of any relationship is figuring out whether you and your date can cook a meal together without going all Gordon Ramsay on each other. In lieu of their in-studio instruction, you can sign up for online cooking classes for only $29 per household in the comfort of your kitchen or your date’s. Select from global flavors classes, including Greek kabobs or baja shrimp tacos, as well as summer-friendly fare and cocktail how-to’s. Download the prep kit in advance, buy the necessary ingredients, and you’ll be on your way to a memorable meal in no time.

Take a hike (a real one) at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve or The Great Trinity Forest

Oak Cliff, South Dallas
For an endorphin rush you'll probably both appreciate, you could certainly do worse than either of these gorgeous multi-mile hikes through hundreds of acres of rolling wilderness and bike/hike trails. Perhaps you can even share your trail mix with each other.

Find your Zen at the Japanese Garden

Fort Worth
This special section of Fort Worth’s famous Botanical Gardens features strolling paths lined with traditional Japanese landscape as well as ponds. Its breathtaking beauty and tranquility are sure to impress your date and put you both in a calmer state of mind than the one you had when you walked in. Admission is $12, and face masks are only required indoors and when social distancing can’t be observed.

Go on a romantic stroll through the Dallas Arboretum

East Dallas/White Rock Lake
Not only are the gardens at the Dallas Arboretum perfect for photo ops, it’s also quiet there and usually not too crowded -- especially now with no other people within six feet of you and your date. During August, admission drops to a bargain-basement $2 per person (we recommend going right when they open for the coolest experience). Best of all, because it’s outdoors, face masks aren’t necessary unless you’re in an area where social distancing can’t be practiced. Tickets and parking must be purchased in advance for four-hour chunks of time, which is a small task to get some much-needed fresh air and scenic views of White Rock Lake.

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Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist contributor.