The 37 Coolest and Most Romantic Summer Date Ideas in Houston

From a night at the museum to a day in the water, stay cool heating things up.

Buckle up, y’all! Summer in Houston is about to get steamy—and not just because of the debilitating humidity that’s encompassing the entire city right now. We’re referring to a steaminess of a different kind, one made of 100% passion. We’ve got a whole bunch of ideas to help you up the romance factor in your dating game this summer, from al fresco concerts that are just as cool as they are free to sultry swim-up bars, a buzzy night at the museum, and cool places for your dogs to meet up. Here’s exactly how to get out of the rut and spend your next date night in Houston.

POST Houston
POST Houston

Downtown
After hitting the show-stopping food hall at Post HTX, which hawks eats from West African delights and rock-n-roll Indian street food to a Gulf seafood market with a Nordic twist, climb the winding steps and take a beat to enjoy its epic skylawn, where you can stroll among the flora, grab a selfie in front of the skyline, and settle down to look up at the clouds.

Texas TreeVentures
Texas TreeVentures

The Woodlands
If you thought trust falls would put your relationship to the test, try heading up to The Woodlands and taking to the trees for a sky-high date at Texas Treeventures. You can book the three-hour ropes course anytime, or make it sexier with an illuminated nighttime Glow in the Park or campfire Sunset & S’Mores course on select dates (Treehouse Rentals are also available if you want to make it a full night).

Immersive Monet courtesy of Patrick Hodgon
Frida Immersive Dream | Immersive Monet courtesy of Patrick Hodgon

“Ooh and ahh” as famous artists come to life at an immersive art experience

Lighthouse ArtSpace Houston
The super cool Frida Immersive Dream over at Lighthouse ArtSpace Houston comes to a close June 19, but it's not going away entirely. The space is transforming into an Immersive Monet & The Impressionists experience, open June 24 through August 14. Layered with story-telling, cutting-edge technology, bold illuminations, radiant colorwork, and pure, raw emotion, both are dreamworthy ways to take in some of the world’s most beloved works of art.

Flight Club Houston
Photo courtesy of Flight Club Houston

River Oaks
Consider this one for a group date night. The posh, London-based concept takes darts at a dive bar to the next level, adding a high-tech twist and cool stuff like excellent craft cocktails and shareable steak frites skewers. The dart boards will match, score, and connect players in semi-private areas across the venue, so you and your date can either team up or face off while taking down drinks like The Honeybee, which blends local honey with choice ingredients like citrus vodka, honeyed gin, and bee pollen. Groups of five or less can only make online reservations for Sundays, but walk-ins are welcome Monday through Saturday, pending availability (reservations are 90 minutes and can be booked via SevenRooms).

National Helicopter Solutions
National Helicopter Solutions

Westside Park
Though a sprawling city, Houston totes some criminally underrated sights—the largest being our ever-growing skyline. After an afternoon of taco crawls and that bumper-to-bumper gridlock, head over to the privately owned West Houston Airport for a signature helicopter tour. There, born and raised Houstonians (or newcomers) can tick off an ultimate bucket list item by taking in aerial views of Downtown Houston and Minute Maid Park. Afterwards, take an awe-inducing cruise over other popular landmarks, such as the bustling Texas Medical Center and luxurious nooks in the Galleria and Post Oak area. Talk about a riveting way to get to know each other.

Rooftop Cinema Club
Photo courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club

Galleria/Uptown
There’s nothing better than ending a long day cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie—unless you decide to do so somewhere better. Sporting a low-key, breezy ambiance and stunning views, Rooftop Cinema Club is known for serving moviegoers a spread of classic (and new) films, buttery treats, enticing cocktails, and cozy date night vibes. This summer, couples can kick back and enjoy familiar titles from Love & Basketball to Shawshank Redemption. You’ll want to score tickets sooner rather than later, as shows can sell out quickly.

James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University
James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University

Rice University
Head to Rice University’s gorgeous campus to marvel at the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace, a conversation-provoking light and sound installation located right by the Shepherd School of Music. The acoustically engineered masterpiece rocks a trippy LED sequence that projects onto and through the structure’s open roof, culminating in transformative shows just before sunrise and at sunset. Even better? It’s totally free to attend.

Historic Market Square Houston
Historic Market Square Houston

Downtown & Heights
Placing bets on games that require absolutely no skill and trying not to lose your cool when you crash and burn is a great way to see whether or not someone is relationship material. Blanket Bingo returns to Market Square Park this summer, with events on June 16, July 21, and August 18. But, you can also head off to the Heights and toss your hat in the ring at SPJST Lodge 88, where raucous Thursday night BYOB (wine and liquor) sessions live up to its “not your granny’s bingo” reputation.

Galveston, Texas
Galveston, Texas | Mark Taylor Cunningham/Shutterstock

Galveston
Summer is the time for an exciting day trip to Galveston. Start out by hitting the beach before the heat really kicks in, then set out to explore the island’s vibrant bar and restaurant scene, which should most definitely include sharing a Banana Split at The Strand’s old-fashioned creamery, La King's Confectionery, conquering a mini-pub crawl at the Island Famous bars, grabbing a classic cocktail at Daiquiri Time Out, and rounding things out with a proper meal of Ceviche and Plantain-crusted Gulf Snapper at Latin-influenced mainstay Rudy & Paco.

Lake Conroe
Lake Conroe | Flickr/Katie Haugland Bowen

Montgomery County
Perched just 50 miles north of the city, Lake Conroe is a local wonderland that’s way too often overlooked. Spend a day drifting on a pontoon, trying out a kayak for two, or setting off a sunset cruise before finishing up with lakeside dinner and drinks at Walden’s. Before you head up that way, definitely take a look at the current weather conditions to make sure they’re conducive to a romantic day on the water.

Cidercade Houston
Cidercade Houston

East End
Cidercade is an absolute adult playground, a boozy arcade brimming with over 275 games and an incredible catalog of hard cider. Score some points by letting your SO beat you at Skeeball—loser buys the next round.

Houston Hermann Park
Japanese Garden at Houston Hermann Park | RaulCano/Shutterstock

Various locations
Don’t get us wrong, Houston is like, the coolest city ever, but getting out of town for a little bit can be pretty damn cool, too. We’ve got your itinerary covered, whether you’re looking for the nearby hikes, excellent AirBnb experiences, the most beautiful places in all of Texas, or perfect road trips. Can’t get away? Plan a hometown excursion into one of Houston’s best neighborhoods.

White Oak Music Hall houston
White Oak Music Hall

Various locations
Live music is back, as Houston’s holy grail of local venues have reopened their doors to concert goers, including Bayou Music Center, The Big Easy, Continental Club, House of Blues, Satellite Bar, Warehouse Live, and radiating indoor-outdoor venue White Oak Music Hall. You can hit one up, or try testing your date’s ability to rock at restaurants with nightly live performances like Armadillo Palace, Last Concert Cafe, and The Rustic.

Houston Dairymaids
Houston Dairymaids

Say “cheese!”

Montrose and Heights
Go ahead and order a smorgasbord of nutty cheeses, freshly baked bread, and sliced salami from local cheesemongers Houston Dairymaids, or head over to Montrose Cheese & Wine, which serves up snack-sized Almond-Hazelnuts garnished in a lemony tange, a rotating collection of wine, and, of course, a healthy array of hand-picked cheeses. Once you’ve secured the goods, mosey on over to Buffalo Bayou Park for a picturesque picnic beneath the city’s glorious skyline.

Barkley's Midtown
Barkley's Midtown

Various locations
Important note: If your pups can’t get along, the relationship never had a chance to begin with. Grab drinks, bites, and a four-legged hang at canine-friendly neighborhood spots like Backstreet Cafe, Christian’s Tailgate, Monkey’s Tail, and Onion Creek Cafe, or head on over to Midtown’s newest doggy patio bar, Barkley’s.

Asiatown
Who knew devouring crawfish heads and cracking King Crab claws with butter-soaked hands could be so erotic? Us. We did. And we found out at Crawfish and Noodles.

Feges BBQ
Feges BBQ | Photo by Robert Jacob Lerma

Various locations
Houston’s best BBQ spots provide the perfect setting for getting to know someone on a deeper level. Local faves (touted by Houston’s finest pitmasters, no less) include Blood Bros BBQ, Corkscrew BBQ, Feges BBQ, Fainmous BBQ, and Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue. Go forth and get messy.

Caracol oysters houston
Caracol

Various locations
Caracol's oysters on-the-half-shell are a thing of pure beauty (and they’re natural aphrodisiacs, too), but its wood-roasted oysters laced with chipotle butter are the real winners here. Even better, you can score them for half-off during happy hour. It’s also worth a short drive to throw back these pear-shaped delicacies by the bay at the fresh-faced Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House, which is making waves over in San Leon. Or try hitting up a New Orleans favorite without having to actually step foot across the border at Acme Oyster House, now slinging the good stuff at a sleek location on the Westheimer Curve.

Various locations
Pick up a B-Cycle at Spotts Park and make your way to Market Square, where you can refuel with gyros and beers at Niko Niko’s in Market Square, tacos and margs from La Calle, or a quick slice at Frank’s.

8th Wonder Brewery
8th Wonder Brewery

Various locations
Houston’s weather is practically begging to be paired with craft beer, and with powerhouses like Saint Arnold, Karbach, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, and 8th Wonder, plus younger (but equally awesome) spots like Ingenious Brewing Co. and Eureka Heights, the choices are endless. Here are some of our favorites to get you started.

Down House
Down House

Various locations
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, afterall, and that goes double on the weekends. Kick off your day-date with a little day drinking at one of the best brunches in Houston. You won’t be disappointed.

Sawyer Yards houston
Sawyer Yards

Arts District Houston
On the second Saturday of every month, local artists open their studios to the public at the repurposed Sawyer Yards warehouses. Wander the grounds and ask your date to help you pick from a collection of paintings, sculptural works, photography, and more, then double the fun by grabbing a couple road sodas from Holler Brewing.

Brazos Bend State Park
Brazos Bend State Park | David ODell/Shutterstock

Needville
It’s just a short trip to nearby Brazos Bend State Park, where you can set off on a romantic secluded hike then cap it off with a dope stargazing sesh at the newly madeover George Observatory (now open on Saturday nights). Before you go, be sure to check for closures due to flooding, because, you know, #HoustonProblems.

The Menil Collection houston
The Menil Collection

Montrose
The Menil Collection is hands-down one of the most prized artscapes in Houston. Mask up and make your way over to stare at some pretty cool walls, discover little surprises hiding in green spaces, and check out the grounds near the Rothko Chapel, before hopping on over to Bistro Menil and nosh on a succulent Porcini-Rub Burger while discussing existentialism.

Downtown
This awesome 87,500-square foot, 25-foot tall underground cistern was built in 1927, but it only opened to the public a few years back. Public and private tours are now available with reservations so you can experience its cathedral-like magnificence in person. It’s a quick date, so you may want to also pack a bayou-side picnic.

Pinstripes houston
Pinstripes

Various locations
While we love a good old-school bowling alley, there are also some young guns on the block that add a bit more sex appeal to date night. The Kirby Collection’s Pinstripes combines bowling and bocce with a sophisticated bistro experience, while over in CityCentre, Bowl and Barrel has fancy cocktails, shareable pub grub, and sultry mood lighting. And, of course, trusty old Palace Bowling Lanes has reemerged as the shiny new Palace Social.

Fifth Ward
The city skyline makes a pretty sexy backdrop for a date night at the movies—and that’s exactly what’s going down at Moonstruck Drive-In, plus a 60-foot wide scope ratio screen and audio broadcast delivered straight to your car. The vintage experience marries a bit of nostalgia with modern flicks, and walk-up concessions are available alongside food truck eats on Saturday nights.

River Oaks District
River Oaks District

River Oaks District
Live out your Confessions of a Shopaholic fantasies—hopefully, minus the whole debt part—with a window-shopping spree in the open-air River Oaks District, Houston’s version of Rodeo Drive. After drooling over everything Cartier and Hermès, hit the raw bar and share a bottle at Loch Bar, then finish with Italian gelato roses at Amorino Gelato.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum District
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (which features a fantastic fine dining restaurant plus a more casual Italian-style cafe), the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Houston Zoo are just some of the world-class cultural institutions to explore within our fair city’s dazzling Museum District. Even better, some of the activities there are totally free, so make sure to check prices and reservation policies before you go.

Improv Houston
Improv Houston

Various locations
Excellent comics make their way through Houston’s top Improv spot, get your tickets online (shows start at just $7 for open mic night, but bigger acts will run you around $25 each) and show up early to pregame at the bar and ensure prime seating. Continue the belly-laughing tour at local comedy and open-mic nights, with standouts including Montrose’s own Rudyard’s and stellar EaDo outposts like Warehouse Live and The Secret Group.

Grinder's Coffee Bar houston
Grinder's Coffee Bar

University Place & Heights
Meeting up at a regular cafe is so last decade. However, lounging in a coffee shop that infuses its delicious cups of joe with CBD oil is where we’re at right now. Try part CBD apothecary, part coffeehouse Grinder’s Coffee Bar off Kirby or “the original cannabis coffee company” Amsterdam Co. in the Heights and see what all the fuss is about.

CASA NOMAD
CASA NOMAD

Various locations
It’s pretty damn hard to beat Houston’s dining scene. Our fine-tuned list of romantic local restaurants covers the sexiest, including but not limited to Casa Nomad, a sultry and intimate patio restaurant taking inspiration from Tulum, Bludorn, a true eyebrow-raiser guaranteed to provide one of the best meals you’ve had in a while, and playful date night favorite, Nobie’s, where you’ll share all the plates (even though you may not want to).

Miller Outdoor Theatre
Miller Outdoor Theatre

Museum District
Miller Outdoor Theater is a local gem, offering a summertime lineup of completely free performances that’ll score big points with your date. This year’s performance list includes Summer Symphony Nights with the Houston Symphony, West Side Story & Huapango, and the Houston Shakespeare Festival. As always, seating on the hill is open (your picnic blankets and lawn chairs are welcome), and open-air covered seating tickets are available by reservation.

Marriott Marquis Houston (Houston)
Marriott Marquis Houston (Houston)

Downtown
A little getaway will spice up any relationship, and you can take one without stepping outside the city by spending a night or two at the Marriott Marquis. Its prime location near Discovery Green means there is plenty to do, including but not limited to bar hopping on Main Street; grabbing a fancy meal at nearby hotspots like Brasserie du Parc, Guard and Grace, and Xochi (which is located on the bottom level of the hotel); and spending the day floating a giant, rooftop lazy river set in the shape of Texas.

Lagoon Houston
Lagoon Houston

Texas City
Down in Texas City sits the 12 acre Lago Mar lagoon, a sparkling oasis of white beaches and crystal clear waters that will remind you absolutely nothing of Galveston (no offense, Galveston, but you know you’re not exactly pristine). There, you’ll find everything from resort-style lounge areas and swim-up bars to fun stuff like bumper boats and a floating obstacle course.

Houston Museum of Natural Science
Houston Museum of Natural Science

Museum District
Every summer, the Houston Museum of Natural Science throws its monthly Mixers & Elixirs pop-ups, opening its doors at night and giving you a chance to rub elbows with the dinosaurs. Score tix for you and whoever tricera-tops your list (get it?) and spend a night at the museum sipping drinks, filling up on food truck eats, and going all out on the dance floor. Summer 2022 dates run Fridays on June 24, July 15, and August 12.

Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who just realized she’ll be planning all date nights going forward, and she’s fully OK with that. Find her being all romantic on IG @brookiefafa or on Twitter @brookeviggiano.
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