Houston’s Coolest and Most Romantic Spring Date Ideas
Emerge from cuffing season in style at romantic restaurants, immersive art experiences, and more.
Dating can be pretty tough these days, but coming up with romantic stuff to do in a city as awesome as Houston? Not so much. Whether you’re in the midst of a head-in-the-clouds, totally utopian relationship or are simply looking for a fun first meetup that goes beyond grabbing drinks at a bar, we’ve got a whole bunch of slam-dunk date ideas for you. And with the city’s ultra pleasant springtime weather bringing the alley-oop, now’s the perfect time to execute. Here are the very best date ideas in Houston right now, from top-notch restaurants to wild outdoor adventures. (And for fun things to do any old time, check out our guide to actually cool Houston activities.)
Gear up for the Rodeo by browsing for the perfect Western drip
Rodeo season comes every March, when folks channel their inner cowboy by boot stompin’ and two-steppin’ at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. You and your date will need some boots for that, of course, so pick some out for each other (along with hats) at spots like Cavender’s, Gomez Western Wear, and Pinto Ranch, alongside custom design shops like Tejas Custom Boots and Republic Boot Co., where you can order yours cloaked in hides from alligator to ostrich.
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.
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).
“Ooh and ahh” as famous artists come to life at an immersive art experience
Two super cool immersive art experiences are set to take over Houston this spring: the Van Gogh Experience (running through April 22 at Marq'e Entertainment Center) and Frida Immersive Dream (making its debut at Lighthouse ArtSpace Houston through April 17). 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.
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).
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.
River Oaks & Memorial City
In a culinary mecca like ours, snagging expertly crafted food and drinks is an easy (and obviously, quite delicious) task. However, if you’re looking to see if your boo can cook up a hearty meal just as good, or even better, than the pros, then Sur La Table has you covered. In each two-hour class, foodies can brush up on their techniques and whip up dishes like saucy Cider-braised Chicken, decadent brunch-worthy pastries, Cajun gems like Shrimp Etouffèe and Andouille Sausage, Thai-inspired noodle dishes, and more.
A couple that de-stresses together, stays together. Hop on over to Fiori Spa for a full-body couples massage therapeutic enough to calm every single one of your senses—and deep enough to knock out that nagging crick in your neck. Afterwards, bond over another detoxifying service we all know and love: Sipping on a glass or two from their ample wine collection.
There’s nothing better than ending a long day cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie—well, maybe we spoke too soon. 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 spring, couples can kick back and enjoy familiar titles from Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Spider-Man: No Way Home. You’ll want to score tickets sooner rather than later, as shows can sell out quickly.
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.
Heights & Downtown
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. Coming later this spring, Blanket Bingo returns to Market Square Park, but until then, you can 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.
With smaller crowds and much less sweat, spring is an excellent time to schedule an exciting day trip to Galveston. Sure you could spend time out on the sands, but you can also set out to explore the island’s vibrant bar and restaurant scene. Start with brunch or lunch at local institutions Mosquito Cafe, Porch Cafe, or Shrimp n’ Stuff, sweeten the deal by sharing a Banana Split at The Strand’s old-fashioned creamery, La King's Confectionery, conquer a mini-pub crawl at the Island Famous bars or grab a classic cocktail at Daiquiri Time Out, and round things out with a proper meal of Ceviche and Plantain-crusted Gulf Snapper or a serving of Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes nestled in a sea of creamy Chipotle Sauce at Latin-influenced mainstay Rudy & Paco.
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.
East End and EaDo
Over in the East End, Cidercade is an adult playground brimming with over 275 arcade games and an incredible catalog of hard cider. Score some points by letting your sweetheart beat you at Skeeball—loser buys the next round. EaDo retro gaming arena EightyTwo is another candidate for all around playfulness and craft cocktails galore, featuring numerous arcade games, nightly DJs, and an indoor tree-lined patio perfect for lounging after a couple rounds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bring a date to catch some hot chefing action from some of the city’s top talent at Bravery Chef Hall, where you’ll often 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, among other star-studded sightings.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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
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 (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.
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.
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.
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).