Where to Go on a Date in Phoenix This Summer

From horseback riding to zoo visits to day trips, these activities make for the perfect date.

It’s hot outside. Triple digit, blazing sun, kind of hot. But that doesn’t mean your love life has to dry up with unsatisfying, boring dates. There’s still plenty to do in the Valley during the cooler morning and evening hours, or skip the outdoors entirely and opt for an indoor activity—like racing go-karts or exploring a new art exhibit. And, if all else fails, take your date up north for a mini vacation with slightly lower temperatures.

Octane Raceway
Octane Raceway

Challenge each other to a go-kart race

Scottsdale
If you and your date share a love for healthy competition, there’s no better way to test your skills against each other than during a race at Octane Raceway’s indoor-outdoor go-kart track—the only one of its kind in the country. You and your date will race around the one-third mile track, pushing your go-kart forward to get the fastest time.

L'Auberge de Sedona
L'Auberge de Sedona

Take a mini-vacation to a northern Arizona getaway

Multiple locations
If you absolutely can’t take the heat any longer, we don’t blame you. The best relief comes from a quick trip up north to the bustling college town of Flagstaff in the Ponderosa Pine Forest, or to the stunning red rocks of Sedona. With both being about two hours away from the Valley, it makes for the perfect date day outing.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks

Root for the home team at a Diamondbacks game

Downtown Phoenix
Baseball games are long, which means you’ll have plenty of time to chat with your date without the risk of those pesky awkward silences. Plus, if all else fails, they have plenty of beer available. On the other hand, if the night goes well, you might even end up on the kiss cam.

Cobra Arcade Bar
Cobra Arcade Bar

Have a retro game night, with drinks

Downtown Phoenix
Upgrade your at-home board game nights with an outing to Cobra Arcade Bar in the heart of downtown, where you can indulge in nostalgic arcade games, dance to throwback hip-hop, and sip sickly sweet cocktails like the Sub Zero crafted with Ketel One peach orange blossom vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Red Bull Coconut Berry.

Queen Creek Olive Mill
Queen Creek Olive Mill

Challenge each other’s pizza-making skills

Queen Creek
The second Wednesday of every month you and your date can learn to make your very own pizzas at the Queen Creek Olive Mill’s pizza date night series, all while enjoying a seasonal salad, traditional Italian dessert, and of course, wine, which makes everything a bit more romantic.

Sip tropical cocktails poolside

Phoenix
One of the best things about Phoenix is it’s always pool season, but especially when the city feels the warmth of 100 degrees. While we recognize not everyone may not be up for a full-on swimming date, there’s nothing better than indulging in a poolside cocktail. We’ll be reliving our childhood with a Dole Whipped at Lylo Swim Club.

Luckys Indoor Outdoor
Luckys Indoor Outdoor

Downtown Phoenix
Stroll through the streets of downtown Phoenix on the first Friday of each month to experience one of the largest self-guided art walks in the country. You’ll get to enjoy free or discounted admission to downtown museums, street performers, and art galleries with doors wide open. Plus, you can stop in to one of your favorite downtown watering holes while you’re there—we like Luckys Indoor Outdoor.

Taliesin West Evening
Photo by Andrew Pielage

Scottsdale
There are few places as idyllic as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, with its stunning mountain views and awe-inspiring Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Taliesin West recently launched a new self-guided home and studio tour where you can peruse the grounds for 60-minutes while hearing about the space’s history directly from your own smartphone.

Glendale
Take it old school while social distancing with a drive-in movie. There unfortunately aren’t many left—but West Wind Drive-In in Glendale is showing the latest films on the big screen for less than you’d pay at a typical theater. Plus, the on-site snack bar will ensure you don’t miss out on that movie theater-style popcorn.

Stellar Adventures
Stellar Adventures

Go stargazing together

Want to shoot for the stars for your next date? You can, literally. The guides at Stellar Adventures offer stargazing with night vision so you and your date can see planets and galaxies more than 500 million miles away.

Saddle up at Buffalo Chip Saloon and embrace your inner cowpokes

Cave Creek
Bull riding, line dancing, and barbecue, Cave Creek’s Buffalo Chip Saloon has it all. Maybe skip the mechanical bull on the first date. The dance floor looks like a much safer option anyways. Or discover your shared love of cue’d eats over a smoky plate of brisket. 

Cloth & Flame
Cloth & Flame

Snag seats to a Cloth & Flame dinner

Multiple locations
Dreamy desert dining experiences are Cloth & Flame’s forte. The Arizona-born outfit highlights the best of the best à la pop-up dinners in both urban and far-reaching desert settings with appearances from award-winning chefs and local up-and-comers. See where the next dining series is happening and reserve your seats. 

Shop seasonal veggies at a local farmers market

Multiple locations
Nothing makes for a romantic summer date night like picking out some seasonal vegetables together then whipping up your findings into a delicious meal at home. Our favorites are the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market, Uptown Farmers Market, and Downtown PHX Farmers Market.

Scottsdale
This year-round, evolving art show features works from around the world. Current showings on display at Wonderspaces Arizona include awe-inspiring and immersive works like Shadowplay, Plume, and Light Leaks—to name a few. Discover the artists and secure your tickets here.

Visit Phoenix/Nick Laessig Photography
Photo by Visit Phoenix/Nick Laessig Photography

Bond over craft brews at Arizona Wilderness’ outdoor beer garden

Downtown Phoenix 
The craft beer lineup at Arizona Wilderness’ Downtown Phoenix beer garden is just as expansive as the city’s dating pool. You’ve got options. And a lot of ‘em. So what’s it gonna be, the coffee oatmeal stout or a mixed culture sour? 

Go horseback riding along the Lower Salt River 

Mesa 
Embrace your inner ranchero, and your romantic side, and traverse cactus-dotted desert trails on horseback with your date. The experienced wranglers at Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch provide guided tours and a quick “how-to” before you saddle up. Learn more about the rides here

Split a bottle of vino at Postino

Multiple locations
If you’re like most of us, there’s a good chance you got acquainted with a bottle or two over the last couple of years or so from the comfort of your living room. Now that you’re practically a wine connoisseur, order some wine for the table and wax poetic about notes, structures, and profiles, and please remember to let your date get a few words in, too.

Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Co.
Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Co.

Catch an Arizona sunrise from a hot air balloon 

Phoenix, Scottsdale
Sweep your date literally off their feet with a trip through the sky on Rainbow Ryders. The views are impeccable. And the ballooning outfit even provides locally made snacks and prickly pear mimosas to enjoy after the airborne journey. What’s more romantic than that?

Kayak Kiwanis 

Tempe 
If your most recent match’s bio alludes to being inclined to outdoor adventure, test the proverbial waters and go kayaking. Wear your best waterproof duds, rent a watercraft, and set out on a waterborne journey at Tempe’s Lake Kiwanis—and hope that it all goes swimmingly.

Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix
Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix

Discover a peaceful paradise at the Japanese Friendship Garden

Downtown Phoenix
Like dating sometimes, these past couple of years have been, well, pretty overwhelming. Downtown Phoenix’s Japanese Friendship Garden provides a much-needed breather from the craziness that both you and your date can appreciate, respectively, while strolling through the serene setting and taking in the sights and sounds.

Secure some sweet, sweet soft serve at Topo 

Downtown Gilbert 
This roadside attraction-inspired burrito shop is hard to miss. Located along the popular Downtown Gilbert enclave, Topo deals in craveable elotes, heavyweight burritos and classic soft serve ice cream in flavors like lime and prickly pear. Skip ahead straight to dessert. And opt to have your sweet treat dipped. Grab a handful of napkins, too. Because you really don’t want your date to be staring at the ice cream on your chin while you’re breaking the ice, do you? 

Scottsdale Arts
Photo courtesy of Scottsdale Arts

Share charcuterie in an urban park 

Multiple locations 
They say the way to a person’s heart is through charcuterie, or something like that. Go ahead and take this opportunity to show off your charcuterie board assembly skills with a romantic, and delicious, meat and cheese-filled date in an urban park. Whatever hood you call home, from Downtown Phoenix (Civic Space Park!) to Arcadia (G.R. Herberger Park!) and Scottsdale (Scottsdale Civic Center Park!), there’s likely an urban park just around the corner. 

Swap stories over craft coffees

Phoenix
When coffee and booze come together, good things are bound to happen. Phoenix’s Provision Coffee has mastered both craft cocktails and fancy coffee drinks. Here you’ll find a variety of craft cocktail options as well as non-alcoholic coffee drinks including honey lavender lattes, espresso tonics, and matcha, all best enjoyed on the shaded, outdoor patio.

Desert Botanical Garden
Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden

Take a stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden

Phoenix
It’s hard not to catch feelings in a setting as picturesque as Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden. Spanning 140-acres and one of only 24 botanical gardens accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Desert Botanical Garden not only features thousands of unique living cacti but hundreds of rare and endangered species throughout its expansive walkable grounds. During the summer, you can look forward to all kinds of seasonal programming like the Sonoran Sippin’ evenings (complete with cocktails and live music!) and flashlight nights.

Phoenix Coqui
Phoenix Coqui | Photo by Mark Lipczynski

Follow your hearts to the food trucks

Multiple locations
Follow your hearts, and your rumbling stomachs, to MR. MOMO where you can indulge in hand-rolled momos. Pay a visit to Hot Dogs La Yaquesita for bacon-wrapped Sonoran dogs. Don’t sleep on Phoenix Coqui for Puerto Rican eats. And try not to drool too much when you’re waiting for your hot and chewy fry bread from the folks at Emerson Fry Bread.

Cruise around in a swan boat

Tempe 
Make like lovebirds and pedal your way around Tempe Town Lake in a swan boat. That’s right, swan boats! Feeling romantic? Opt-in for the date night package which includes a box of chocolates and floral decorations.

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Lauren Topor Reichert is a Phoenix-based multimedia storyteller, photographer, and content creator who met her husband IRL. Her work has been featured in local travel guides and national publications, and her idea of a perfect date is dinner with Cloth & Flame. Follow her around Arizona, and beyond, on Instagram.
Jamie Killin is a Phoenix native and Arizona State graduate who specializes in lifestyle and features writing. You can usually find her at the spin studio, a concert, or trying new restaurants across the Valley. Follow her at @jamiefayekillin.