Travel

Nashville's Coolest and Most Romantic Date Ideas

Lower Broad Honky-Tonks
Go honky-tonking on Lower Broad. | Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Go honky-tonking on Lower Broad. | Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

When the weather turns chillier, the urge to nest becomes stronger. That you means you need to get out of the house, cold weather or not -- because if you’re looking for love and warmth, you won’t find it on the internet. (Well, maybe you will, but a spark needs air if it's going to become a fire, after all.) If you’re already in a relationship, remember that you need to keep the pilot light of your love lit with the occasional excursion outside of your crib, too. These are the coolest, coziest, most romantic, and most genuinely fun ways to do that in Nashville, whether it's the first date or the 400th. (If you're somehow not attracted to anything here, check out our full roundup of actually cool things to do in Nashville and our full calendar of seasonal events.)

Take a sausage crawl around Germantown

Germantown
Two excellent restaurants within staggeringly close proximity feature some of the best wursts in town, plus interesting beer selections. Try Von Elrod’s for an old-school beer hall experience or Butchertown Hall for Texas Hill Country sausages. You can walk between the two of them in less than 10 minutes, or take a scooter to get there even faster.

Take a boozy art or cooking class together

Germantown
Dabble Studio in the hippest part of Germantown offers both painting and cooking classes that are perfect activities for the artistic or culinary types. It's also BYOB, so be sure to bring a fine bottle of wine to get the creative juices flowing.

Knock down some pins and some pints at Kings Dining & Entertainment

Cool Springs
In addition to 16 bowling lanes, pool tables, carnival games, and more than 50 huge televisions for watching sports, Kings Dining & Entertainment is also a fine spot for enjoying craft beers served in huge mugs or catching a band in the intimate Whiskey Room performance venue. You can also sign up for a “Dine then Bowl” reservation to make an entire evening of it.

Enter a virtual world and play some really fun games

Franklin
Digital Worlds Virtual Arcade features cutting edge VR technology to offer dozens of incredibly realistic games ranging from horror to action to shooters to sports. If your date isn’t the competitive sort, there are also games that revolve around music and dance to show off your creative, or just silly, side.

See what 3 million twinkling lights look like at A Country Christmas

Donelson
Once you learn the pro tip to park at the edge of the Opry Mills lot and walk five minutes to avoid the pricey parking fees at Gaylord Opryland Resort (you’re welcome!) there’s no cheaper date night in town than a visit to A Country Christmas. The grounds and soaring pavilions of the resort are decorated with so many Christmas lights, it will make you want to throw your pitiful Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the dumpster.

Catch a show at the "Mother Church of Country"

Downtown
The venerable Ryman Auditorium is consistently named one of the top performance venues in the country by both spectators and performers. Acts from all sorts of musical genres are scheduled throughout the year, but any chance to sit in those ancient pews and soak up the history of the place is worth a visit. Despite its nickname, they don't just host country acts: Elvis Costello, Ray LaMontagne, and The Doobie Brothers will play there this winter, and Vince Gill and Amy Grant will perform multiple shows during the annual holiday residency. With acts like that -- and we won't sugarcoat it -- you'll spend money -- serious money -- on any of the top concerts here, but you won't regret it either.

Honor the musicians and instruments that made Music City famous

Downtown and Belmont/Hillsboro
Tucked away on the ground floor of the Municipal Auditorium is the Musicians Hall of Fame where both headliners and sidemen are recognized for their mastery of their instruments. Over at Belmont University is a little-known gem, the GIG (Gallery of Iconic Guitars), where you have the chance to observe some of the rarest instruments in the world up close. Admission is just $5.

Go honky-tonking on Lower Broad

Downtown
While the weekends are turned over to the tourists and the bachelorettes, the music is still great and the beer is still cold midweek at the famous clubs and taverns of Downtown between 5th and the river on Broadway. You have to look hard to find a bad band, so go enjoy some free music and a longneck bottle with your date at reliable joints like Robert’s or Layla’s.

Make some sweets with your sweet at the Goo Goo Shop

SoBro
The Goo Goo is Nashville’s iconic cluster candy, raising local blood-sugar levels for more than a decade. Their quaint-as-heck candy shop downtown offers cooking classes in the back of the building where you can learn about the history of the confection, make your own Premium Goo Goo and sample some treats from their dessert bar. Some evening classes also feature wine pairings, so you might want to seek those out specifically.

Sometimes you can't beat a simple craft beer-and-pizza outing

Music Row and West Nashville
TailGate Beer is one of the best breweries in Nashville, offering 30 different flavors of beers at both their production facility in West Nashville and their taproom closer to downtown, and many of the flavors are exotic options like Peanut Butter Milk Stout or Grapefruit IPA, so non-hardcore beer drinkers can usually find something they’ll like. Plus there’s pizza and a full liquor bar, so fun for everyone!

Crawl around the art galleries of downtown

Downtown
Every month, more than 20 galleries and studios throw open their doors for the First Saturday Art Crawl to showcase all sorts of different styles of art for a great free way to get a little culture. There are also drinks and snacks at many of the stops, so it’s a better-than-free cheap date.

Keep your eye on the calendar for great events

Various locations
Finding fun things to do is deceptively difficult -- even in a wild city like this one. That's why we keep a regularly updated, comprehensive calendar of the best possible events, activities, and things to do in Nashville. Some of your best date ideas will inevitably come from there.

Make a crawl down Division

Midtown
Outside of Lower Broad, this little strip of Midtown is the second booziest block in town, stretching from The Red Door to Kung Fu Saloon. In between you’ll find pizza, craft beer, Winners, Losers, and a whole lot of trouble to get into.

Tour Nashville's neighborhoods and the restaurants that define them

East Nashville, SoBro, and Midtown
Walk, Eat Nashville offers five different walking tour itineraries of East Nashville, SoBro and Midtown with trained food writers acting as guides to carry small groups into some of Nashville’s most iconic restaurants to meet the chefs and sample the food that made them famous. You don’t have to wait from your relatives to visit to discover a new favorite dining spot. Ticket prices and tour lengths vary.

See the city's finest murals and Instagram the hell out of your relationship

Various locations
From the angel wings in the Gulch to the Welcome to Nashville sign on the side of Reese Witherspoon’s building in 12 South, Nashville is a selfie city, so set up your own personal scavenger hunt of some of the most iconic street art in town. You’ll also discover that most of them are within a block of a decent bar, so make a drinking game of it!

Make your own candles

Berry Hill
You never know when Nashville will get struck by another ice storm and the inevitable power outages that accompany the icepocalypse. The light on your phone won’t hold out forever, so you’re gonna need some candles. Make your own artistic and fragrant tapers at Paddywax Candle Bar where you can design custom candles using a variety of aromatic oils. You might as well at least smell nice while you’re huddling in the dark waiting for the utility crew to arrive.

Take a drinking tour of WeHo

Wedgewood Houston
Already boasting some fantastic bars and restaurants, the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood is growing like somebody sprayed the area with fertilizer. Perhaps the biggest catalyst is that there is already an abundance of craft beer and booze in the area including two distilleries (Corsair and Nashville Craft Distillery), a beloved brewery (Jackalope), and the city’s biggest cidery (Diskin). You can walk between sites, and you should since you’ll probably be tasting at them all.

Experience the magic at House of Cards

SoBro
Tucked away beneath the Johnny Cash Museum downtown, House of Cards is Nashville’s only magic-themed restaurant and bar. Dress to impress at this stylish venue, (that means dig out a blazer, guys!) and you’ll be rewarded with an evening of food, drink, and close-up magic performances. There are also bigger acts featured in the showroom with multiple performances throughout the evening.

The Escape game
The Escape game

Break out of a locked room together

Downtown
Although it might be easier with a bigger group, the Escape Game will let couples play by themselves as they attempt to solve the clues within the allotted time to be released from a locked room. Think of how proud your date will be of your teamwork and chemistry together... if you manage to figure it out.

Show how smart you are and that you’d be a fine addition to the gene pool

Downtown
Geeks Who Drink is a national bar trivia group that puts on fun competitions all over town, but their Wednesday night stop at Acme Feed & Seed may be the best of the lot. Plus, after you’re done, there are three floors plus a rooftop of entertainment and drinking to be enjoyed at Acme. It's even got sushi.

Go climb a wall (or a bunch of them)

West Nashville
Climb Nashville has become one of the town’s favorite athletic date nights, thanks to multiple indoor climbing walls, yoga, and fitness classes. You can literally put your life in your date’s hands to prove your trust and commitment to each other! (Or let a pro belay you.) It's affordable too, especially if you get multi-day passes.

Take a loop around the lake

Oak Hill
If you've never had the pleasure, Radnor Lake State Park is a pristine natural area right in the middle of a Nashville suburb. Multiple trail options range from a flat and peaceful stroll around the lake to fairly rigorous trails that take you up on top of the rides for some breathtaking views.

Get rubbed down

Downtown
A few months after the impressively sleek new Westin downtown opened, they announced that they had added a Rhapsody Spa to their facility. The luxury day spa offers all sorts of treatments, but spoil yourself and each other with a couples massage to take the edge off the week or to recover from a night of frivolity.

Catch a flick at Nashville's most beloved theater

Hillsboro Village
Since reopening after a full remodel in 2016, the Belcourt Theatre has again established itself as the best place to see a movie -- any movie -- in Nashville. From art films to the movies that get all the Oscar buzz, the Belcourt screens the best of the best, and you can enjoy a beer or a cocktail while you sit together in the dark.

Get your date to laugh at somebody other than you

Melrose
Zanies has been hosting national touring comedians for decades, and our hometown location still features some of the same acts, like Joel McHale, Iliza, or Jon Lovitz, that you would normally just sit at home on the couch and watch on Netflix. Get out of the house and support your local live entertainment instead.

Knock a few balls and knock a few back on the green

East Nashville
Since TopGolf opened up across the river from downtown, it has been packed with golfers of all abilities trying to hit a round ball with a crooked stick into large illuminated targets spread out in front of them on a huge field. Whether you’re successful at that or not, you can always enjoy the energy of the crowd, some surprisingly good food and drink, and any playful teasing that comes with it.

Zip line at the zoo

South Nashville
OK, it’s not a traditional zip line, but here you actually get to sit next to your date and fly over the Nashville Zoo at 28 mph. Not a thrill-seeking sort of couple? No problem. The zoo has plenty to see and do that’s not 110 feet off the ground, like gawking over a sleepy sloth or petting a baby kangaroo. Just keep an eye on the calendar because the zoo hosts annual beer and wine events that shouldn’t be missed.

Go junkin' at the Nashville Fairgrounds

South Nashville
With over 800 vendors from thirty states converging in Music City each month, the Nashville Flea Market is a great spot to learn about each others taste. From antiques to handmade goods and vintage clothes to classic country records, the market offers a huge selection to comb through. Toss in some favorite local food vendors and a dose of Tennessee sunshine, and a first date here might just turn into a tradition.

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Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based in Nashville. Follow him @CeeElCee.
Tanner Saunders is a writer who only dates in the spring.