Houston Date Ideas That’ll Make You Look Interesting

Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

The Chalet at Rosie Cannonball
Courtesy of The Chalet at Rosie Cannonball

Dating in Houston can be great. Dating in the midst of a global pandemic? Maybe not so great. While it’s not an ideal scenario, it is still possible to make the most out of your romance game, because pandemic or not, Houston’s got some pretty ideal attributes. We have patio weather almost year round, our restaurant and bar scene continues to be off-the-charts amazing, and there always seems to be something cool going on. As such, we’ve come up with a bunch of really cool, foolproof date ideas that will hopefully seem cool to whoever actually agreed to go out with you.

Listen to live music

Multiple locations
Some of our favorite local music dives have begun to reopen (with safety measures in place, of course), including White Oak Music Hall, Satellite Bar, and Warehouse Live. You can hit one up, or try testing your date’s ability to rock at restaurants that offer live music like The Rustic and La Grange.

Take a farmers market bike tour

Multiple locations
Bayou City Outdoors regularly hosts 15-mile farmers market bike tours, but you can check out its farmers market guide and put together a ride of your own. You and your date will be able to bond over locally made jams and fresh-picked produce as you hit two or three farmers markets over the course of a few hours.

Say "cheese!" 

Heights (& Montrose)
You can order cheese for pickup from local cheesemongers Houston Dairymaids; or head on over to Montrose Cheese & Wine, which highlights small producers and offers 125 wines. Once you have secured the goods, Buffalo Bayou park is your go-to for a picnic under the skyline.

Take your dogs for a drink 

Multiple locations
Because if your dogs can’t get along, there wasn’t 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.

Experience Vietnamese crawfish

Who new 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 Noodle.

Killen's BBQ
Courtesy of Kimberly Park

Get to know each other better over smoked meat

Houston’s best BBQ spots provide the perfect setting for getting to know someone on a deeper level. Some of our faves include Blood Bros BBQ, Corkscrew BBQ, Killen’s Barbecue, and Tejas Chocolate Craftory.

Nerd out at trivia

Multiple locations
Geeks Who Drink hosts about a trillion trivia nights around town, and it’s doing its geeked out trivia thing both virtual and in-person right now. That means you can hit the town or participate from just about anywhere (and drink your own booze).

Throw some large axes at wooden targets

Houston Axe Throwing offers up ax-throwing sessions, lessons, and games (with social-distancing and sanitation practices). The more rugged you look here, the better, so don’t worry about that quarantine hair.

Embark on a Houston graffiti and art crawl

Multiple locations
Spend the day taking pics of each other in front of local art attractions like Market Square’s “Houston is...” mural, the We <3 Houston sign near 8th Wonder, the 10-foot tall Midtown letters in Bagby Park, the Synchronicity of Color at Discovery Green, the “Greetings from Houston” mural or Blue Line Bike Lab mural in the Heights, and the Biscuit Paint Wall on lower Westheimer.

Go on an old-school roller-skating date

West Oaks 
Relive your youth and/or bruise your butt at the Dairy Ashford Roller Rink, which is open for public skating Tuesday-Sunday with increased safety measures. And while you’re going old-school suburbs with it, you may as well finish the night off with a sundae at Baskin Robbins.

Slurp down Gulf oysters at Caracol 

Caracol's’s raw oysters on-the-half-shell are a thing of beauty (and they’re natural aphrodisiacs, too), but its wood-roasted oysters with chipotle butter are the real winners here. Get them for half-off during happy hour; or try slurping down oysters by the bay at the new San Leon hotspot, Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House.

Make up a DIY taco crawl

Multiple locations
Perhaps start with breakfast tacos, then move onto regular tacos for date number two.

Bike along the bayou and into Downtown

Multiple 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.

Snag beers from a local Houston brewery

With powerhouses like Saint Arnold, Karbach, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, and 8th Wonder, plus younger but equally as awesome spots like Ingenious Brewing Co. and Eureka Heights, the beer date choices are aplenty. Some breweries are able to serve on-site as they also house restaurants (like Saint A and BuffBrew), but you can always pick-up brews to-go, too. Here are some of our favorites to get you started.

Do dim sum Houston

Legendary dim sum spot Fung’s Kitchen sadly sustained serious fire damage in January, but while we all wait for it to reopen, Hong Kong Dim Sum and Dim Sum King are two worthy contenders. 

Share a late-night slice of pie 

Upper Kirby
Head to House of Pies to get a giant slice of pie no matter the hour; the old-school diner is open 24/7.

Watch a top chef cook your meal without the reservations

Bring a date to catch some hot chefing action from some of the city’s top talent at chef-driven food hall Bravery Chef Hall, where you’ll find Ben McPherson crafting Roman style pizzas and freshmade pastas, Uchi vets Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham doing some serious sashimi work, and Masterchef winner Christine Ha cooking up Vietnamese excellence, to name a few.

Check out one of our many boozy brunches

Multiple locations
And why not start with the best brunches in Houston?

Second Saturday at Sawyer Yards

On the second Saturday of every month, local artists open their studios to the public. Head to the repurposed Sawyer Yards warehouses to explore everything from paintings and sculptural works to jewelry and photography. You can even grab walk-around suds from Holler Brewing.

Hike and stargaze at Brazos Bend State Park

Head to the nearby Brazos Bend for a romantic hike and finish it off with a sick stargazing sesh. Just make online rezzies before you go and be sure to check for closures due to flooding, too because #HoustonProblems.

Spend a day on Menil campus

The Menil Collection is hands down one of the most prized artscapes in Houston, so go there to stare at some pretty cool walls, discover art in its green spaces, check out the grounds near the Rothko Chapel, then hop on over to Bistro Menil to take turns sniffing wine and discussing existentialism.

Explore the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

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.

Laugh yourselves clean at Improv Houston

Spring Branch
Some pretty excellent comics make their way through Houston’s Improv, which is open and asking everyone to wear a mask when they are not eating or drinking. Get your tickets online (shows start at just $7 for open mic night, but bigger acts will run you around $25-35) and show up early to get a head start at the bar and ensure prime seating.

Strike out (just not with your date)

While we love a good old-school bowling alley, there are 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. Over in CityCentre, Bowl and Barrel has fancy cocktails, shareable pub grub, and a sultry mood lighting. And when it reopens, Lucky Strike in Downtown is always a good time.

Share popcorn at an al fresco drive-in movie theater

East End
Rooftop Cinema Club is closed for the time being, but it’s popping up over on Navigation Boulevard in the meantime. This time, instead of a rooftop movie, you can enjoy a drive-in one. Your ticket will earn you a designated parking spot, and you can either BYO food and drink or purchase cinema snacks and local food trucks eats on-site. 

(Window) shop for each other in the River Oaks District

River Oaks District
Live out your Pretty Woman fantasies, minus that whole prostitution part (or maybe not), 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.

Go museum hopping

Museum District
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Houston Zoo are just some of the cultural gems to explore in Houston’s world-class Museum District. Some of them are even totally free! Be sure to check for reservation policies before you go.

Take a date night cooking class, virtual or IRL

Houston’s Well Done Cooking Classes is back open for classes, and it has also launched a series of virtual cooking classes, featuring experiences like “Date Night: Dinner on the Bayou” to “Sushi Rolling.” Each virtual class comes with a food kit you can pick-up (or get delivered if in radius) from its Heights locations.

The Chalet at Rosie Cannonball
Courtesy of The Chalet at Rosie Cannonball

Get fireside s’mores and an après ski experience at The Chalet

Rosie Cannonball has transformed its old Spritz Patio space into an après ski chalet for the winter season. Cozy up for fireside s’mores, treat yourself to oysters and bubbly, and warm up with boozy hot chocolate. No reservations necessary, just wear your masks and walk on in.

Chill out over CBD coffee

University Place (& The Heights)
Meeting up at a regular coffee shop is so last decade. Meeting up at a coffee shop that infuses its joe with CBD oil, however, 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 to be of-the-now.

Laugh it up at a Valentine’s Day “Battle of the Sexes” comedy show 

The hilarious "Battle of the Sexes" comedy show has been going down at Warehouse Live for almost a decade. Bring you Valentine for a night of laughs featuring comics from Comedy Central, “America’s Got Talent,” and more. Tickets start at $20 GA.

Technicolored Immersive Art Museum
Technicolored Immersive Art Museum | Photo by Christopher Brielmaier

Snap an “usie” at an technicolored immersive art museum

West Houston
You’ll find the works of over two dozen emerging and established artists at Seismique, the new 40,000-square-foot art-fueled experiential museum over on the west side. It’s all lit up with over 9 million LEDs, with color, sound, holograms, and about a billion photo opportunities.

Splurge on a romantic meal 

Remember way back in the intro when we mentioned Houston’s food scene was off-the-charts amazing. Yeah, we still agree with that. Our Best Places to Eat in Houston Right Now covers what’s hot in the moment (many of which make a perfect choice for Valentine’s weekend), including but not limited to sexy new tasting menu restaurants Hidden Omakase and Degust; Bludorn, a true impresser where we’re guessing you’ll get the best meal you’ve had in a while; and 93 ‘til, a ‘90s hip-hop bar where the vibes are as on point as the food and drink.

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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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