Travel

45 Houston Date Ideas That’ll Make You Look Interesting

Dating in Houston can be great, despite what your single friends may have told you. We have great patio weather almost year round (and if it gets too cold, fire pits!). But if you're finding it difficult, don't worry friend. We're gonna add some extra confidence to your romance game by listing out a whole bunch of cool, affordable stuff to do with whoever actually agreed to go out with you.

Whether you’re looking for a cozy first date spot or desperately seeking a way to heat up your current situation, these foolproof date ideas are sure to light a spark. And hey, on the incredibly off chance you don’t find something on this list that suits your needs, check out our Houston bucket list for a lil' more inspiration.

Escape to Hawaii in Houston at Lei Low 

Heights 
You and your date can channel tropics without even leaving the loop by popping into Lei Low for a few tiki drinks. Don’t be fooled by its unassuming strip center appearance; you’ll be shouting “Okole Maluna!" (bottoms up) after the first round of mai tais. When you’ve knocked that off the list, get another staycation in under the palapa at the tiki bar and restaurant, The Toasted Coconut.

Listen to live music

Multiple locations
Test your date’s ability to rock by hitting local live music dives like White Oak Music Hall, Satellite Bar, The Continental Club, Warehouse Live, and The Rustic. Then, if you can still hear over the ringing in your ears, get to know each other over one of our picks for great late-night eats. If your date calls you back, they passed the test.

Take your dogs for a drink 

Multiple locations
Because if your dogs can’t get along, there wasn’t a chance to begin with.

Take a farmers market bike tour

Multiple locations
You’ll 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. But be warned: you should be able to make it through a 15-mile ride (there are stops) without uncontrollably sweating before you attempt the Bayou City Outdoors ride.

Snuggle up in a hammock at Axelrad

Midtown 
Hit this neon-lit beer garden for its hammocks, beers and nextdoor pizza, but stay for the fun date night shenanigans, from outdoor movies nights and yoga sessions to DJ sets and live bands.

Ralph Smith Studios

Attempt a two-step at Goodnight Charlie's

Montrose
This fun-loving honky-tonk lights up with live musical acts -- from country and bluegrass to Zydeco and Americana -- on Thursday through Saturday. Even if your two-step doesn’t impress your date, a little late night bourbon and a loaded cheesesteak taco will.

Play endless vintage arcade games

Downtown
Channel your inner fifth grader at Joystix Classic Games and Pinballs. The Downtown gaming center opens up its showroom for free play on the first and last Friday of each month ($15 per person at the door). Just play it cool after you get whomped in Street Fighter.

Say "cheese!" 

Heights (& Montrose)
Local cheesemongers, Houston Dairymaids, offer free cheese tastings whenever they are open, which taste even better when paired with the free booze tastings offered on Saturdays. Over in the ‘trose, Montrose Cheese & Wine highlights small producers, with 12-15 selections in the rotation, plus 125 wines. Head to either to pick out a few varieties, then head to Buffalo Bayou park for a picnic under the skyline.

Craft brews and country at Cottonwood

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
Grab a fireside seat and enjoy a selection of 42 craft taps and live music on Cottonwood’s always popping patio. Follow the music schedule on Facebook

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.

Settle in with wine & s'mores

Midtown
13 Celsius is a dimly lit, very sexy wine bar, made 10 times sexier when tableside s’mores get added into the mix. Enjoy those alongside a 450+ library of eclectic, global wines, offered by the bottle, glass, half-glass, and taste.

Sing your hearts out at Glitter Karaoke

Midtown
Kick back a shot to help with the nerves then pick your song and see if you’re a match made in karaoke heaven at this cult favorite Midtown spot. If you’re looking for some weekday tastiness, Glitter rocks pop-up kitchen takeovers on select Thursdays.

Drink for a cause at OKRA Charity Saloon 

Downtown
Not only is this Main St bar’s dimly lit, brick-walled interior a thing of beauty, but its mission is too. All proceeds go to a different local charitable organization each month. Each drink you get earns you a vote for that month’s winning charity.

Killen's BBQ
Kimberly Park

Brave the wait for smoked meat at Killen's Barbecue

Pearland
While you can almost certainly expect a line around the corner on weekends, the wait time -- coupled with the free beer -- will really help you get to know each other. You can get to know each other in line at hotspots like Corkscrew BBQ, Truth BBQ, and Tejas Chocolate Craftory, and Blood Bros BBQ.

Get your hookah on at Cafe Mawal

Galleria/Uptown
You’ll both get high (on life) as you smoke shisha in your cozy Bedouin tent. Also, watching your date smoke hookah is probably pretty hot.

Nerd out at trivia

Multiple locations
Geeks Who Drink host about a trillion trivia nights around town, so the least you can do is make one of them.

Throw some large axes at wooden targets

Houston
Places like Houston Axe Throwing, Ratchet Hatchet Axe House, and EaDo adult playground Pitch 25 Beer Park offer up ax-throwing sessions, lessons and games. The best part? The more rugged you look, the better.

Catch a sunset light show on Rice Campus

Rice University
Sitting pretty next to the Shepherd School of Music at Rice U, James Turrell’s "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace rocks LED light sequences at sunrise and sunset (but who are we kidding, you’re going to the sunset showing). The trippy shows are 100% free, but you’ll have to make reservations first.

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.

Get boozy at the movies

Multiple locations
River Oaks District’s iPic Theaters, Downtown’s AMC Dine In 8, and Alamo Draft House (both of which have bars inside), pretty much beat every other alcohol-free movie theater in town -- not that it's even a fair fight.

Das boots and Battleship at Bar Munich

Midtown
This laid-back brewhouse’s board games and cheap beer specials will keep both you and your date happy, even if your battleship gets sunk.

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 Thursday-Sunday. And while you’re going old-school suburbs with it, you may as well finish the night off with a sundae at Baskin Robbins. Admission (to the rink) starts at $7.

Get your Mario Kart on at Neil's Bahr

EaDo
Neil’s Bahr, named after physicist Niels Bohr, is the spot for all things amazingly nerdy. Bond over a few games of Mario Kart and even more rounds of PBR.

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?

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 at one of many bars and restaurants. We suggest sangria and tapas at Batanga or brews and falafel at Niko Niko’s in the square.

Go beer tasting at a local Houston brewery

Houston
With powerhouses like Saint Arnold, Karbach, Buffalo Bayou, and 8th Wonder, plus younger but equally as awesome spots like Ingenious Brewing Co. and Eureka Heights, the beer date choices are aplenty. Most taprooms for are open for single pours or tasting tours for around $10-$15. Here are some of our favorites to get your started.

Sip wine in one of Houston's oldest bars 

Downtown
Housed in Downtown’s oldest building, the chandelier-lit La Carafe oozes sex appeal. Just be warned: the spot is said to be haunted. More important warning: it’s cash only.

Hit the tracks at Sam Houston Race Park

Northwest Houston
Betting on horses is fun because 1) you can win money and 2) you can win that other bet you and your date made.

Do dim sum

Houston
Go crazy on dumplings, chicken feet, and pork buns at Fung’s Kitchen’s legendary dim sum. You’ll notice a crowd there every single weekend, so Hong Kong Dim Sum and Dim Sum King are also worthy contenders. And if you want to stay in the loop, UB Preserv throws an eclectic dim sum style Sunday brunch that is pretty much what dreams are made of.

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
Chef-driven food halls are a thing now, here in Houston (as well as basically everywhere else in the country). Bring a date to catch some hot chefing action from some of the city’s top talent at Downtown’s Bravery Chef Hall (where you can also have a drink in a “secret garden”) and Rice Village’s Politan Row. Both have in-house cocktail bars, to boot.

Check out one of our many boozy brunches

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

Break out your best '80s dance moves 

Downtown
Friday and Saturday are '80s nights at Etro Lounge (which moved locations from Montrose to Downtown). Dress in the decade’s finest and break out those old-school moves your funky cousin Tevin taught you. Because if your robot doesn’t turn your date on, what will?

Second Saturday at Sawyer Yards

Washington
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. Afterward, grab pastries and espresso at Calcio Cafe, freshly tapped suds and food truck eats at Holler Brewing, or duck wings and day boat fish at Poitín Bar & Kitchen, all of which are also housed at Sawyer Yards.

Cozy up to indie flicks at the River Oaks Theatre

River Oaks
This Art Deco theatre plays your favorite foreign flicks, indie films, and monthly showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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 at the onsite George Observatory. Just be sure to check for closures due to flooding before doing so. #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, get zen at 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 amazing 87,500-square foot, 25-foot tall underground cistern was built in 1927, but it only recently opened to the public. Sign up for a 30 minute tour to take in 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. 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. You can also check out local improv troupes at Station Theater.

Be a pinball wizard at Poison Girl

Montrose
Bring quarters to this whiskey-fueled cocktail bar which, in addition to having a comfy back patio, houses a stellar selection of vintage pinball machines.

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 rooftop movie theater

Galleria/Uptown
You’ll have to score tickets well in advance if you want to impress your date with a starlit movie experience at the Rooftop Cinema Club. The theater rocks skyline views and a curated selection of cult films, classics, and new releases that are known to sell out. Snag some tickets, cozy up under a blanket in a love seat, and let them pick out the candy this time.

(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, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 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!

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who thinks any date is a good date as long as it involves s’mores. Learn more about her dating philosophy @BrookeViggiano.