The 22 Coolest and Most Romantic Summer Date Ideas in Miami
There’s no reason to sweat—aside from the weather.
Dating in Miami is always its own special brand of…interesting, with the abundance of crypto gagillionaires and Instagram “entrepreneurs” our city offers. But summer dating brings a new set of challenges, as the pool of eligibles shrinks with the flight of the snowbirds. Then even when you do find a date, the steam bath weather and daily thunderstorms make planning what to do complicated.
The good news is Miami is still a year-round city, and even if hiking through the Everglades or going to the beach aren’t happening, we’ve got plenty of other options. From strolling farmers markets to sharing sushi on a gondola, here are some summertime date ideas that should keep you entertained until fall.
Watch retro classics on a rooftop
Some might argue that seeing an outdoor movie during Miami summer is a date idea right up there with going to see your ex’s band. But by the time it gets dark the rainstorms have usually stopped, so you can savor the cooler evenings by snuggling up on an Adirondack chair at South Beach’s new Rooftop Cinema Club. They’re screening nostalgic favorites you’ll bond over, with a full bar to boot. If you’re a mainlander who doesn’t cross the causeway, you can still get in on the rooftop movie action at the Novotel Brickell, which hosts a weekly Thursday movie night.
You don’t need to cram yourself into a coach seat for ten hours to experience the magic of floating down an idyllic canal. Casa Sensei gets you as into the Italian spirit as much as a Pan-Asian sushi joint can, with its nightly riverfront Gondola Tours. You and your amore board a private gondola, and cruise through the canals while dining on the restaurant’s finest offerings.
Cool off at a hotel pool
“Slow season” is the best time to check out some of Miami’s best hotel pools, since the crowds will be down and you’ll be subjected to minimal discussions of how much better pizza is in “the city.” Many hotels are even offering day passes so you don’t have to try and sneak in, like the National Hotel who’ll give you the run of the place—with a lounge chair—for $45. If you and your boo do the whole Summer Fridays thing, hit the Goodtime Hotel’s new pool party of the same name, a rager for the self-employed running Friday afternoons all summer.
Luxuriate during a discount spa day
Is the summertime swelter putting some serious stress on your coupled-up bliss? Give the bickering a day off and shed your worries during a couples’ spa day. Cost won’t be a point of contention either, as July and August bring Miami Spa Months, where treatments and massages at luxe spas usually reserved for tourists are up to half off.
Learn new kitchen and bar skills
Many who married their high school sweethearts might debate the adage that the couple who learns together, stays together. But taking a cooking or cocktail class as semi-responsible grown ups is a step in the right direction. For Asian eats, nobody teaches it better than Eleanor Hoh and her Wokstar cooking classes. Pizza masters Fratelli la Bufala will have you tossing dough and knocking back prosecco during their Tuesday night “Let’s Dough It” woodfired pizza making classes. And Miami’s first distillery at Tropical Distillers in Allapattah ends their tours with a cute, interactive cocktail course.
Discover the intimate entertainment of local theater
While a date to a big, splashy musical at the Arsht Center is always a winning idea, hitting a smaller, local show makes the experience feel just a little bit closer. You’ll see for yourself at Summer Shorts, a series of one-act plays running through the first week of July at Arsht’s small Carnival Theater. You can also enjoy a night of music, games, and stories from “Uncle Scotchy” at Miami Motel Stories’ Blues Opera, where a crowd of only ten people spend a special evening in an undisclosed location in Little Havana.
Splurge and share an omakase adventure
Miami is having a bit of an omakase boom. And while it’s certainly not an every-night kinda thing, it’s special occasion dining at its finest. One intriguing new addition is Gold Standard, tucked inside the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Bal Harbour, where you and your date will share a sushi bar with only four other people, far from the peering eyes of the world. Italian restaurants are getting in on the oma action too, as Fiola offers a five-course pasta omakase with an optional wine pairing.
Nothing will get your date in the mood like watching people with perfect bodies perform feats of acrobatics as you share a bottle of bubbly. That’s the experience at Tryst: A Lovers’ Rendezvous, a ribald burlesque show featuring astounding stunts that somehow always end up with people on top of each other. It’s all set in the crimson- and gold-cloaked Faena Theatre, a space that oozes sexiness even before the first performer hits the stage.
Nothing lets your prospective new partner know you’re confident and comfortable like taking them to a dark, crowded bar and serenading them with “Gold Digger.” Okay, maybe don’t go with that particular number. Better to hit up Dom’s under the Metromover on Thursdays; Seven Seas on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; or Sweet Caroline’s in Brickell any night of the week. This summer, the Shelbourne is reviving its legendary karaoke bar on Friday nights too, though no word if it’ll still be hosted by that same slick-haired, Rat Pack-era relic.
The quickest way into someone’s heart is making them laugh. But what if you’re not that funny? Let the experts help you out at one of Miami’s many stand-up comedy nights. Wednesdays, Union Beer Store hosts Connie’s Comedy Cabana, where you can pair local comics with local beers. Lincoln Eatery presents some top comics from Miami and other cities during Laughs on Lincoln one Wednesday a month, and not far away the Goodtime Hotel hosts shows every Wednesday in the library from 9:30 pm to midnight. Follow Dade County Comedy for specific dates and times.
Set off on a dreamy train adventure
Brightline Miami Central
What’s more romantic than the soft clickity-clack and swaying motion of a train. Especially when that train is speeding you to either Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm Beach with a full bar cart in tow. Brightline is the locomotive journey of a lifetime, where you and your special someone can sip cocktails on your way to drinking your way through downtown Ft. Lauderdale or experiencing the museums and culture of Palm Beach. Brightline even has a new fleet of Teslas ready to take you to your final destination from the station, and if your train is somehow delayed few things are as cinematic as stealing some kisses on an empty train platform.
You’ll find plenty of neighborhood farmers markets in South Florida, but for a full-on date nothing beats the Yellow Green Farmers Market on Sheridan Road. It’s now extended its hours to Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am to 7 pm, and beyond the dozens of stalls of international foods, fresh veggies, and local artisans, they’ve also got two full liquor bars, a Saturday morning yoga session, Zumba classes, and a live band playing especially for you and yours. In case a whole afternoon sizing up tomatoes isn’t quite doing it for you.
Pair fine art and sexy cocktails
Allapattah and South Beach
You’ll find no better way to finish an evening of high-class art-gazing than a few rounds of even classier cocktails, and at the Rubell Museum, you won’t need to go further than its uber-romantic restaurant Leku to find them. Out on the beach, cap your trip into a futuristic, climate-ravaged Tokyo at Artechouse’s Renewal 2121 exhibit with rum drinks and dim lighting at Swizzle, stashed just a few blocks away. If you’re opting for a daytime date, check out Swizzle’s new tiki pool bar Delerio, one door down at Viajero Hostels.
Take in some of Miami’s most interesting art
At Superblue Miami, the large-scale immersive installations are perfect for a playful afternoon or evening with your beau. Picture walking through a room of fluffy clouds or a mirror maze like Miami’s own little Mall of America. After the bubbles, chow down on Latin fare at Che Grill, The Caribe Vegan, or the Caja Caliente food truck outside. And if you’ve already hit Superblue, Miami’s got no shortage of other art museums worth exploring.
Located in the middle of prestigious Coral Gables is Venetian Pool, a unique urban respite cut from a coral rock quarry in 1923. The stunningly massive pool holds 820,000 gallons of spring water fed by an underground aquifer that keeps it at a deliciously cool temperature all year long. Sneak a kiss or two inside the cave-like grottos or underneath one of two cascading waterfalls.
Kayak at Oleta State Park
Rent a kayak and paddle out to one of Biscayne Bay’s deserted islands with a picnic basket full of eats from nearby Blue Marlin Fish House Restaurant. Nothing beats fish dip, a surprise sighting of manatees, and a "delightful" afternoon on the sand. Up the romance factor by planning your adventure around the full moon where a special guided kayak tour includes glow sticks and s’mores on a nearby island with views of Miami’s skyline.
Go on a Wynwood beer crawl
Wynwood has become Miami’s go-to 'hood for beer. Kick things off at J Wakefield, then mosey down the street to Veza Sur, before ending up at La Tropical for award-winning Caribbean food and live music paired with one of Cuba’s most famous beers dating to 1888. And if you're looking for variety, head down to KUSH Wynwood or Gramps. Done and done.
Crawl down Calle Ocho
Trips to Miami’s formerly Cuban enclave aren’t just for tourists, and you can spend an entire evening combing these few historic blocks. Start with dinner at Lung Yai Thai Tapas, grab drinks and do some dancing at the Cubaocho Cultural Center, catch your second wind with a cafecito, then continue the party with some live music at Ball & Chain. Stroll down to Café La Trova—recently named the 6th best bar in North America—for cocktails, Cuban music, and a trip back to the 1980s. Then finish the night with an order of Miami's best tacos courtesy of El Taquito.
See for yourself that bowling is cool once again
Relive your deviant high school days at Don Carter’s in a cleaner, classier environment. Kings Dining and Entertainment in Doral not only has a full bar, but they also have great food and big flat-screen TVs. Or you can head downstairs at the EDITION for trippy, multi-colored bowling that’s one of the cheapest things you can do in South Beach at less than $10 a game.
Embark on a vintage tour of Westchester
Take a trip back in time and visit Bird Road’s coolest throwback locales. Your itinerary includes Bird Bowl, Yesterday and Today Records, A&M Comics, and Miami Twice. When it comes to food, choose between El Rey de Las Fritas, Arbetter's Hot Dogs, and Frankie’s Pizza. For drinks, the venerable Weh-cheh-tuh has upped its hipster factor even more by way of funky craft brewery, Lincoln’s Beard.
Play the ponies, then play around Gulfstream
Nothing bonds people faster than sharing the sheer exhilaration of hitting a longshot exacta. If you have no idea what that means, all the better, as you and your date can learn the fine art of horse handicapping during live racing at Gulfstream Park. After you’ve cashed in betting horses, there’s plenty of fun ways to blow your newfound riches in the Village at Gulfstream Park, like PlugIN private karaoke rooms, professional-grade bowling alleys at Strike 10 Bowling, and Bissaleh, one of the best steakhouses in South Florida you’ve probably never heard of.
Pack a picnic and set up shop at South Pointe Park
The best food deal in Miami is, without debate, the $8.95 Fried Half Chicken at Joe’s Take-Away. Grab a couple orders of that and a bottle of wine from Publix—this is a cheap date, remember—and head over to South Pointe Park to catch the sunset over the skyline. It’s the best 180-degree view in the city and a much more romantic experience than expensive restaurants can offer.
Remember when you took those middle school field trips to the water park, and it was literally the highlight of the school year? Relive those days of unbridled fun—this time with cocktails—at Tidal Cove at the JW Marriott in Aventura. The lines are rarely long if you go during the week, and you both can relax holding hands while drifting down the lazy river.