Seattle Date Ideas You'll Both Actually Enjoy Right Now

Think beyond "getting drinks."

Like lots of other pre-coronavirus pastimes, dating just isn’t what it used to be. Going out with a stranger means navigating a new list of obstacles that we’ve never had to consider before -- like whether or not you can touch -- much less kiss -- and how soon before you can remove your mask. And though you’ll have to navigate such nuances solo, we’re here to supply 20 ideas for a certifiably non-boring date. It’s time to change out of your quarantine loungewear, awaken your inner romantic, and assess the dating landscape with as much optimism as you can muster.

Grab dinner and a (drive-in) movie, courtesy of Paseo 

While we’ve said a collective goodbye to the conventional dinner-and-a-movie date, an arguably more fun version has taken its place: the drive-in. Paseo does it right with a $40 ticket price that includes $30 to spend inside the restaurant on food and a rotating list of movies; check their website to see what’s coming up next.

Cruise over Lake Union on your very own private sunset sail 

Does it get any dreamier than a sunset sail? We think not. Sign up for a private boat ride around Lake Union (before it gets too cold!) and soak up the views on a 1926 historic sailboat. 

Treat them to a full-blown dinner date without breaking the bank

List Restaurant has nailed the ideal combination that my mother so poignantly coined cheap and cheery: those eateries that are equal parts affordable and delicious (not to mention, in this case, the ambiance is on point). Come for a $22 bottle of happy hour wine; stay for handmade gnocchi, local fresh clams, and more. 

Take a day trip to the beautiful Vashon Island

There is no shortage of picturesque islands in the Puget Sound, nor ferries to take you there -- and Vashon just happens to be one of the largest and most scenic. Check out Point Robinson Park for those aforementioned scenic views, then pay a visit to Palouse Winery or Nashi Orchards for some adult refreshments, both of which are currently open by appointment only.

Go on a self-guided tour of Olympic Sculpture Park

If you’re going on a first date and still taking precautions when it comes to social distancing, let us suggest Olympic Sculpture Park -- with nine acres of expansive green lawn to tour, you’ll have plenty of room to stay six feet apart. Keep in mind that the visitor pavilion is still closed -- otherwise, feel free to explore to your heart’s content.

Chow down on the best fried chicken in Seattle

Various locations
When Oprah endorses the chicken, you know it’s good. Do your Southern alter ego a favor by picking up some Heaven Sent fried chicken, which tastes exactly as good as the name suggests.

Bundle up for a picnic on Alki Beach

Alki Beach is sort of famous for having spectacular views of the Puget Sound; bring lunch to-go and settle in for an afternoon of coastal bliss. While you’re there, take a walk on the Alki Beach Trail, which runs four miles and will lead you to the industrial area of West Seattle.

Get your hands dirty at a local community farm

Beacon Hill
Gardening is like one giant metaphor for dating, because it’s all about planting seeds and watching them grow. Take your next date to test out their green thumb (and your budding relationship) at Nurturing Roots Farm in Beacon Hill, where beginners (and experts!) are welcome, and volunteers take home produce as payment for a job well done. Volunteer days are Sundays and Thursdays, 11am-3pm.

Go on a pub crawl of Seattle’s best breweries 

Seattle is like the Mecca of craft beer, so we won’t limit you to just one brewery. Instead, take a self-guided, socially distant pub crawl and pay a visit to the likes of Fair Isle Brewing, Fremont Brewing, Holy Mountain Brewing, and Peddler Brewing, all of which are open with coronavirus precautions in mind.


The Mountaineering Club
Courtesy of The Mountaineering Club

Sip on rooftop drinks without getting soaked 

University District
The Mountaineering Club sits atop the Graduate Hotel with spectacular views, so a late night cocktail date here feels like a no-brainer. But -- and here’s the kicker -- it was also designed to have optimal flow of indoor-outdoor traffic, meaning you can sit inside where it’s cozy and still have floor to ceiling bird’s eye views, come rain or shine. 

Get inspired with a visit to Seattle Art Museum 

Seattle Art Museum just reopened on September 11, so there’s no time like the present to kill two birds with one stone and take your date on an educational (and inspiring) day visit. Reservations for timed tickets are required, so don’t procrastinate. Currently three exhibits are on view: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas: Carpe Fin, On The Edge, and Aaron Fowler: Into Existence. 

Take a Polaroid to memorialize your date at the Gum Wall 

Pike Place Market 
The Gum Wall is obviously a tourist trap, but consider reclaiming it to commemorate the occasion of actually going on a successful date (no small feat). As you probably already know, it’s literally right next door to Pike Place Market, so you have your pick of activities pre- or post-photo-op. 

Whip up dinner with the help of a virtual cooking class 

Your home
If you’re ready to prove yourself in the kitchen, let a local chef take the lead with a Sound Excursions virtual cook-along. Ideally you’ll impress your date and eat a delicious, home-cooked meal. 

Pick out some new vinyl and host a two-person listening party 

Pike Place Market
Remember the last time you stood in a crowded room full of strangers, lukewarm beer in hand, waiting for the band onstage to play your favorite song? Sadly, we’re not going back there anytime soon, but hosting your own listening party for you and your date is a pretty good consolation prize. Pick up some vinyl at, say, Holy Cow Records, and get your fix.

Say hello to your favorite sea creatures at the Seattle Aquarium

Pike Place Market
The Seattle Aquarium is another one of those longtime institutions that recently reopened with new coronavirus precautions in place. Buy a timed ticket in advance and spend the afternoon getting acquainted with the natural wonders of the Puget Sound. 

Support local artists with a visit to SOIL Gallery

Pioneer Square
Most offices downtown are still totally closed, meaning that art galleries and other cultural mainstays are feeling the pain of lost foot traffic. Silver lining? No crowds. Take your date to Pioneer Square to support and explore SOIL Gallery, the local artist collective and nonprofit which has been doing the work of exhibiting, developing, and advancing “innovative art of diverse media and content” since 1995. 

Indulge in a semi-bougie dinner at Serafina

When you’re ready to throw down on a romantic dinner for two (or, more likely, split the bill), may we suggest Serafina -- the cozy Italian spot known for its ambiance and, of course, its food. They’ve recently reopened for dine-in service, so if you’ve been craving some of their fresh, handmade pasta, you’re in luck. 

Get back to nature at Waterfall Garden Park 

Pioneer Square
Get ready for your most meditative date yet. This garden, which memorializes the location where UPS was founded in 1907, will calm your nerves and -- here’s hoping -- prompt some deep, thoughtful conversation. Win-win. 

Witness a glass-blowing show at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Downtown Seattle
Glassblowing is what you’d probably call an unconventional date. Watch a demonstration IRL (and prepare to be awed) at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Art Plaza. And while you’re there, we recommend ordering a fresh Neapolitan pizza, courtesy of their newly installed stone pizza oven. 

Grab a coffee from Milstead and sit by the water on the Burke-Gilman Trail

The best things in life are (almost) free. Case in point: a coffee on a waterside bench on the Burke-Gilman Trail, which will run you about $4 and provide the perfect backdrop for an early morning romance. 

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Emma Banks is a contributor for Thrillist.