The 16 Coolest and Most Romantic Fall Date Ideas in Houston
From al fresco concerts to fall festivities, here’s how to heat things up in H-Town.
We’re admittedly no Paris, Venice, or Marrakesh, but Houston’s totally got its own special thing going in the romance department. Our sprawling city can be quite the place to fall in love, especially during our very best season (that’d be fall). We’ve got a whole bunch of ideas to help you up the dating game this season, from al fresco concerts and patios where your dogs can commingle to competitive dates and movie nights under the stars. Here’s exactly how to get out of the rut and spend your next date night in Houston.
Enjoy something pumpkin with your pumpkin
There is no shame in being basic AF when it comes to your fall dating game, because even if you aren’t a fan of PSLs, there is something pumpkiny out there for everyone to enjoy. Consider a pumpkin patch (yes, those do exist in Houston!), embark on a brewery crawl to find your favorite pumpkin beer—there’s Saint Arnold Pumpkinator, BuffBrew’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Karbach Krunkin Pumpkin, for starters—or hit one of our buzziest coffee shops for something hot and pumpkin spiced.
Work up a (hopefully sexy) sweat playing pickleball
For reasons not entirely clear outside of the fact that it’s super fun, the sport of pickleball has taken over the world as we know it. See what all the rage is about by completely dominating your bae in a game at one of Houston’s fun-loving pickleball bars, including Bumpy Pickle and the soon-to-open PKL Social. Loser buys the pickleback shots?
Every fall, Todd Mission Texas transforms into a Middle Ages fantasy land for eight glorious weekends. The Texas Renaissance Festival is exactly the kind of place where you can try out some light roleplaying (each weekend is themed and costumes are highly encouraged) and unleash your inner pirate without judgment. Tickets start at $20 for adults, with activities from pub crawls and Royal Scotch Tastings to carriage rides and torture chambers.
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 five-acre skylawn. Stroll among the flora, grab a selfie in front of the skyline, and settle down to look up at the clouds. Look out for events from concert series and live DJs to night markets and rooftop yoga sessions.
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 fall, couples can kick back and enjoy familiar titles from the classic The Nightmare Before Christmas to 2022 thriller Nope. You’ll want to score tickets sooner rather than later, as shows can sell out quickly. And for free al fresco movie dates, check out the upcoming schedules at downtown parks Discovery Green and Market Square Park.
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.
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.
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.
See how well your musical tastes vibe by rocking out at a live concert. Houston’s holy grail of local venues include 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 hit up a few bars with nightly live performances, like Armadillo Palace, Last Concert Cafe, and The Rustic.
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.
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'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.
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.
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 is hands-down one of the most prized artscapes in Houston. Make your way over to stare at some pretty cool walls, discover little surprises hiding in green spaces, and wander over to the beautiful grounds of Rothko Chapel before hopping on over to Bistro Menil to nosh on fancy cheeses while discussing existentialism and the meaning of life.
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.
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).