Where to Go on a Date in Denver This Winter

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

Denver Botanic Gardens
Blossoms of Light | Denver Botanic Gardens
Blossoms of Light | Denver Botanic Gardens

Just because winter weather is here doesn’t mean there are fewer fun and romantic—or even slightly competitive—Denver date ideas. The possibilities are virtually endless, from showing off your skills at axe-throwing, climbing, or arcade games to impressing your date at a cooking class, or opting for something a bit more chill like a simple visit to a local distillery. You can choose to head out into the crisp winter air or cozy up somewhere warm, but with one of the following activities, your date is at the very least guaranteed to be memorable.

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park

Dazzle (or struggle) on a pair of ice skates

Various locations
Live your Serendipity dreams at one of Denver’s outdoor ice skating rinks this winter. Whether you’re a skating aficionado or a serial board-clinger, ice skating is 1) a quintessential winter activity with the potential to be tons of fun and 2) a great conversation piece if the former doesn’t go according to plan. Downtown Denver, the Denver Airport, and the rink at Belmar are all wonderful options to choose from. A few are free to enjoy, too.

Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens

Stroll through enchanting holiday lights

Various locations
Keeping the Hallmark dates theme going, picture yourself holding hands with someone you really, really like while taking a romantic stroll beneath an impressive display of holiday lights. (Did someone say “Mistletoe Moment?”) In all parts of the city, from the Denver Zoo to Littleton’s Hudson Gardens to the heart of Downtown Denver, there are holiday displays galore that are perfect for strolling through with your S.O. The Botanic Gardens’ Blossoms of Light and Lakewood’s Camp Christmas are particularly magical.

Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum

Ponder all kinds of art

Multiple locations
One of the most beautiful things about Denver (literally) is the plethora of museums, galleries, and public art. From the Denver Art Museum to SPACE Gallery to simply walking around RiNo when the weather permits, there’s enough art in the Mile High to last you a million dates (though surely you won’t want to go on that many).

iFLY (Denver)
iFLY (Denver)

Lone Tree
Some couples start off with a tame, movie-dinner situation. Others want to go 0 - 100 in 60 seconds—er, feet?—or less. If an adrenaline rush is what you look for in a date, bring your (willing) companion to iFly. In a totally teched-out, state-of-the-art wind tunnel, you can feel as if you’ve jumped from 14,000 feet without the threat of imminent death. Expert flyers are there to guide you and the best part is that you don’t need any kind of experience to show up, go up, and have a great time.

Berkeley
Warning: This date idea could have you heading home with a new companion—and we’re not talking about your date. But if you both love furry familiars and need a neutral spot to focus on something other than small talk, petting cats and kittens is the ideal move. The cafe offers a few basic drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) but you’ll have to look elsewhere on Tennyson for food. Walk-ins are welcome, but DCC strongly recommends making a reservation beforehand.

Axe Whooping - Axe Throwing & Rage Room
Axe Whooping - Axe Throwing & Rage Room

Test your axe-throwing skills

North Denver
Wanna feel like a badass on date night? Head to Bad Axe Throwing, Axe Whooping, or Class Axe Throwing. 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.

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).

Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets

Root for Denver’s finest

Various locations
Go Avs, go! Our hockey—and basketball—players are well into the 2022-2023 season, meaning game dates at Ball Arena are also in full swing. Grab your boo and tickets for two and prepare to cheer on our beloved Denver athletes. Throw in a cold Coors and some arena nachos and have a slam-dunk of a date night.

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.

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.

Upstairs Circus
Upstairs Circus

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). 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.

Attend a show at the Mission Ballroom

RiNo
Now is as good a time as any to score some tickets to a show at Mission Ballroom. 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.

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. Greenwood Village’s Pindustry is the place to go to 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. Gamer kids in love? Great. Check out a game cafe like Localhost and battle for bragging rights.

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.

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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.