Travel

Houston Date Ideas That’ll Make You Look Interesting

There's more to romance than meeting for drinks.

The Drive-In at Sawyer Yards
The Drive-In at Sawyer Yards | Courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club
The Drive-In at Sawyer Yards | Courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club

Dating in Houston can be great. Dating during a global pandemic? Maybe not so great. But there are plenty of ways to add a little something extra to your romance game, because pandemic or not, Houston’s still got some pretty ideal attributes. We have patio weather almost year round, our restaurant and bar scene is off the charts, and for the most part, things are pretty affordable here. 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
While some our favorite local music dives are currently closed (see you soon White Oak Music Hall, Satellite Bar, The Continental Club, and Warehouse Live), you can still test 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

Alief
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.

Drink for a cause at Lucille’s

Museum District 
Southern charmer Lucille's has launched a Thursday night bar pop-up program to help Houston’s bar community while bars are shut down. Every Thursday from 6 to 10pm, bar teams from across Houston will take over the restaurant’s patio for a full evening of service, and all proceeds will go to them. Check out the upcoming lineup on Facebook, reserve a spot on Resy (required), and don’t forget your masks.

Killen's BBQ
Kimberly Park

Get to know each other better over smoked meat

Houston
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 normally hosts about a trillion trivia nights around town, but it’s taken its geeked out trivia games virtual for the time being. That means you can participate from just about anywhere, and you can bring your own booze.

Throw some large axes at wooden targets

Houston
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 on the side of Gelazzi 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 

Galleria/Uptown
The coastal Mexican restaurant’s raw oysters on-the-half-shell are no joke (and are natural aphrodisiacs), but their wood-roasted oysters with chipotle butter are the real winners here. Get them for half-off during happy hour.

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

Houston
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
Go crazy on dumplings, chicken feet, and pork buns at Fung’s Kitchen’s legendary dim sum, or try worthy contenders including Hong Kong Dim Sum and Dim Sum King

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

Houston
Bring a date to catch some hot chefing action from some of the city’s top talent at chef-driven food halls Bravery Chef Hall in Downtown and Politan Row over in Rice Village. Both have in-house drinks, too.

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

WashingtonOn 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

Needville
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

Montrose
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

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.

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)

Houston
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 if you prefer to stay Downtown, Lucky Strike is always a good time.

Share popcorn at an al fresco drive-in movie theater

Arts District Houston
Rooftop Cinema Club is closed for the time being, but it’s popping up over at Sawyer Yards in the meantime. This time, instead of a rooftop movie, you can enjoy a drive-in one. Your ticket (you only need one per car) 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, pop into Avant Garden, a badass floral shop with ridiculously cool floral backdrops perfect for an “usie”; 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.

Channel the Amalfi Coast with a trip to the Spritz Patio

Montrose
Bring your hunny to daydream about your next trip to Italy over negronis, white wine spritzers, and fritto misto on Rosie Cannonball’s new Spritz Patio. No reservations necessary, just wear your masks and walk on in.

Take a date night cooking class, virtual or IRL

Heights
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.

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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.