Where to Go on a Date in Denver This Spring

For everything from first impressions to anniversary celebrations, these dates are guaranteed to impress.

Immersive Frida Kahlo
Immersive Frida Kahlo | Photo by Kyle Flubacker
Immersive Frida Kahlo | Photo by Kyle Flubacker

Spring is in the air, folks (at least until it snows again). That means Denver is alive with a fresh, new year of possibilities and the gradual return of outdoor date weather. Known for its versatility and blend of people, cultures, and interests, Denver is among the most exciting cities to go on a date. Want to learn how to cook paella? Fancy visiting an animal sanctuary? Dare to stand above the city skyline drinking something boozy? You’re in luck. With an abundance of sports, food, wellness, education, and entertainment options, you can have a different date every week for the rest of the year. And with nearly all Covid-19 restrictions now lifted, let’s just say dating in Denver never looked so good.

Wash your hands, then get them dirty

Various locations
Sure, online cooking classes are still cool, but there’s something about standing next to someone and feeling butterflies as you sear scallops and stir risotto together. Or maybe it’s the thrill of potentially burning your hand. Either way, in-person cooking classes are fun, intimate, and even if things don’t work out with your date, you’re going home with learned recipes and a happy tummy. Cook Street Culinary School is a good place to start, though if you really fall in love (with the class, not your date), it offers professional culinary programs as well. Honorable cooking school mentions include Stir Cooking School in LoHi, the Seasoned Chef in Montclair, and Uncorked Kitchen and Wine Bar in Centennial (and yes, the wine bar is open).

Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary
Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary

Walk among four-legged friends. Or six. Or eight.

Various locations
Going to the zoo is one thing and sure, it makes for a great date. But there’s definitely something special about walking through tropical plants on a cold March day and having brilliantly colored butterflies surround you. The Butterfly Pavilion has several different exhibits you can explore, from tropical butterflies to insects of Colorado to… its eight-legged, creepy Crawl-A-See-Em. Feel the magic or cling to your beau in fear of the things that crawl. Or, if you’re more into farm animals, places like Broken Shovels Sanctuary or Luvin Arms Sanctuary are great for getting (respectfully) close to gentle goats, horses, and cows and making some sweet, sweet memories at the same time.

Level up your golf game

Centennial
We’ve plugged mini-golf (or, putt-putt) on here before and that’s all fun and games, but let’s up the ante, shall we? Take your competitive side on over to TopGolf and show off your swing or alternatively, enjoy some belly laughs at just *how* bad you are at golf. Win or lose, there’s good food and drink to be had while you play, and this place is open almost always—not even a little rain or snow can dampen the mood here. Just be smart and book a bay in advance; your date will appreciate getting to know someone who knows how to plan.

Sample some of Denver’s sweetest

Various locations
Ever tried mead? Do you even know what we’re talking about? Here’s the gist: mead = wine made from fermented honey. And it’s delicious. Luckily for you and your future SO, there are a bunch of places around Denver to try some and get hooked. After all, a first-date drink is the most classic one in the book, right? Queen Bee Brews is the most well-known meadery in the Denver metro area, boasting original, handcrafted, and small-batch mead recipes you can taste in-person or order online by the bottle. We’re partial to its cranberry-rosemary blend and rose petal metheglin varieties, but you should probably taste each one to get the full effect.

Immersive Frida Kahlo
Immersive Frida Kahlo | Photo by Kyle Flubacker

Visit the Immersive Frida Kahlo exhibit

Globeville
You’ve heard of Immersive Van Gogh, now get ready for Lighthouse Arthouse’s newest exhibit, Immersive Frida Kahlo. The latest installation has the same awe-inspiring light and color creativity as the last, this time focusing on not just the works of the famed Mexican painter but her vibrant, tragic life as well. Experience a captivating blend of music, movement, and digital wonder as you explore the cavernous gallery space and learn all there is to learn about Kahlo.

Throw ice shots at Federales

RiNo
Yes, you heard that right: Make your dreams of downing a tequila shot and promptly chucking your shot glass at a wall come true at the newly opened Federales. After you’ve had your fair share of nachos, tacos, and dancing, cap the night with a tequila shot wherein you throw your shot glass (made of ice) at a bell. It makes for great conversation, great food, and a great way to let loose some of those date-induced butterflies.

Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets

Root for Denver’s finest

Various locations
Spring is here, and while our favorite Avs and Broncos are taking a break, our Nuggets and Rapids are hard at work. Grab your special someone, a cold beer, and a tasty snack, and cheer on your favorite athletes—no small-talk required. And as much as we hate to say it, maybe don’t get your hopes up for repping purple for the Rockies just yet. (C’mon MLB, you’re killin’ us here.)

Five Points
Have a penchant for Denver’s favorite herb and a little creativity that needs expressing? Grab your favorite person (metaphorically speaking) and your cannabis vessel of choice and head to Five Points for a relaxing night of painting. All materials are provided for you and while cannabis intake is allowed and encouraged, it’s not a requirement if you’re just looking to paint and chill.

Übergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag
Übergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag

Test your limits with indoor rock climbing

Multiple locations
Rock climbing gym Übergrippen offers 90 minute reservation slots which is a fine step when you’re ready to work up a sweat together, but not yet ready for an outing that could theoretically require calling in a rescue team. Bonus: Your jokes about the relationship hitting a wall are going to kill.

Do an art walk and end with a show at the Mission Ballroom

RiNo
With Denver’s newest venue The Mission Ballroom reopening in August, now would be a good time to score some tickets to any one of the postponed or new shows that are filling up the calendar. As new murals seem to be popping up across the adjacent neighborhood on nearly a weekly basis, the place is a rousing stomping ground for pre-dance discussions. If you and your date have a little extra time, there’s also a staggering number of restaurants and breweries—including fan favorite Mister Oso and the massive Great Divide Barrel Bar—that can help extend the stroll and get you properly positioned to cut a rug. 

Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers

Do-It-Yourself (with a little help)

Various locations
Looking for a date idea involving something you haven’t tried yet? Or, maybe you’re just more of a “hands-on” person. Either way, adding a little creativity to the mix keeps things fun and you’ll at least have something to take home (if not your date). Let your inner Bob Ross shine while you paint and sip at Canvas and Cocktails, where your first drink is free with the purchase of a class (though we recommend sharing a bottle). Or swap your Bob Ross inspo for Ron Swanson and build your own wood charcuterie or cheese board at I Made it Workshop. The Upstairs Circus in DTC has the widest range of projects to choose from, from home decor to jewelry and everything in-between, with a full bar available for you and your company to enjoy. And for something a little more green, Wild Flowers Home, Gifts, and Garden has build-your-own-terrarium classes to spruce up your space.

Pindustry
Pindustry | Courtesy of Lucy Beauguard

Get your game on

Various locations
Denver’s got its fair share of places that combine a little bit of boozin’ with a little bit of healthy competition, which always makes for a jolly night on the town. The newest kid on the block is Greenwood Village’s Pindustry, where you can bowl, show off your pinball skills, and play games like pool, cornhole, and ping pong, to name just a few. 1UP is also a Denver classic, boasting three locations and a huge variety of games to pick from. Then there’s the South Broadway Players Pub and its unique offerings like candy-soaked shots and gaming classics like air hockey jammed into every square foot.

Take them on a delicious dim sum date

Athmar Park
It’s not just a feast, it’s a social experiment. By the time the check comes, you’ll know whether 1) you share similar tastes and 2) you’re comfortable unbuttoning your pants for all the wrong reasons together. Plus dim sum is easy on the wallet. Plan on about $20/person for a serious feast. Test this theory at Star Kitchen which is currently open for in person dining and offers their dim sum to-go too. For similar results, head to The Empress Seafood Restaurant, which serves a comparable menu of equally delicious morsels. 

Crawford Hotel
Crawford Hotel | Photo courtesy of Dunn Communications

Enjoy a romantic staycation

Various locations
There’s never a wrong time to get out of the house and book a romantic getaway, even if it’s close to home. The Four Seasons Denver recently reopened the previously old-fashioned steakhouse EDGE Restaurant to fit a younger clientele, while The Source Hotel is your spot for catching Colorado’s magnificent summer sunsets either straight from your room window or upstairs at The Woods Restaurant and Rooftop. The Maven Hotel, conveniently located within the Dairy Block, offers a special date night package with perks at Poka Lola Social Club, and The Crawford Hotel is hopping on the Meow Wolf train, including transportation to and from Convergence Station, complimentary valet parking, and two inspired cocktails at the Cooper Lounge.

Enjoy some drinks at a local distillery

Various locations
Denver is a distiller’s city. It continues to welcome an impressive number of new spots, many of them producing award-winning spirits. Arvada’s-own Talnua Distillery produces a range of whiskeys from a single pot still, opting to follow self-imposed Gaelic-style distilling traditions. With whiskeys that often taste more Irish than Ireland’s own, it can be a fun place to hark back to the hooch’s origin. For real spirit nerds, Golden Moon Distillery in Golden is a strong choice, with owner Stephen Gould handing out more than a little knowledge about his own spirits and the rich culture that surrounds them. Deviation Distilling also found a new home in Dairy Block, though its signature gin and whiskey remains just as carefully crafted as always. And as the weather warms up, be sure to check out the superb spirits, cocktails, and patio space of Ironton Distillery and Crafthouse.

Sushi-Rama
Sushi-Rama

Play with your food at Sushi-Rama

Various locations
Is there anything more delightful than conveyor belt sushi? Or conveyor belt anything, really. But what is essentially all-you-can-eat sushi at any one of Sushi-Rama’s locations is a great place for date lunch or dinner. Color-coded plates help you figure out pricing, and touching hands while reaching for the same sushi is the modern-day version of that one scene from Lady and the Tramp. It’s also a sign that your date has good taste.

Test your axe-throwing skills

North Denver
Wanna feel like a badass on date night? Head to Bad Axe Throwing. I don’t know, but there’s just something about hurling large, sharp objects at a target that really ups the stakes on your bonding time. PLUS you can get some serious insight into that special someone’s ability to defend you in a zombie apocalypse situation. Go double date-style, or head in during their walk-in hours.

Put your problem solving skills to the test at an escape room

Five Points
Role playing takes on a whole new meaning at Solutions Lounge where you’ll have to work together to get out of some sticky situations. Can your skills as a team help you find the killer on the Budapest Express train, or solve a murder mystery in a Scotish mansion? Only time will tell, and there’s not a lot of it. But one thing’s for sure, afterwards you’ll probably need a drink -- which they happily offer along with a full menu (don’t miss the bacon mac & cheese).

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Molly Martin is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @mollydbu on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on food, fun, and life in the Mile High.
Colin Wrenn is a Thrillist contributor.
Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.