Date night looks very different depending on the season. During fall, you excitedly don your plaid, flannel button-downs and go apple-picking, and in the winter, you go ice skating or snuggle up with Netflix and a warm, boozy beverage. When spring rolls around, you start venturing out for lunch or some libations on a newly opened patio. And by June, your options expand even further — between food festivals, outdoor concerts, and theater in the park, there is certainly no shortage of summer date night ideas if you live in a city. The only question is, how do you and your boo feel like bonding when the temperatures rise?
First off, it’s worth noting that no matter what you do, simply making it a point to have a date night is actually super beneficial for your relationship. In fact, a 2012 study by The National Marriage Project at The University of Virginia revealed that having quality time together is associated with higher reported relationship quality. Not only that, but having quality couple time is also associated with higher reports of satisfaction regarding communication, sexual satisfaction, and commitment. So basically, making it a point to plan date nights could be the key to keeping the spark alive and maintaining an overall happy, healthy relationship.
Luckily, summer in the city is chock-full of romantic possibilities. Here are just a handful of date night ideas if you’re looking to crank up the heat.
Hit up a minor league game.
Nothing says summer like a cold beer and some peanuts in a ballpark. Even if you're not a big baseball fan, cheering the team on with your boo is undoubtedly a super fun experience date option. And given that tickets to an MLB game can be a tad pricey, scoping out a minor league game is a budget-friendly alternative. Check out milb.com to find a minor league team near you. The best part? Since the tickets are cheaper, you’ll have more to spend more on grub and a couple brews.
Head to a hotel pool.
One of the very few things I miss about suburban life is being able to hop over to a friend’s swimming pool whenever I felt like it. If you live in a city, chances are, you don’t know many people with pools (and if you do, congrats, you’re living). Fortunately, many hotels have on-site pools that they’ll let non-guests come to — for a price. After doing some research on which local hotel pools are open to the public, pack up some sunscreen, snacks, and reading material for you and bae. Bonus points if you can find a rooftop pool that has stunning cityscape views.
Do a drive-in movie.
I don’t know about you, but ever since I saw Grease, I was determined to have a drive-in movie date. Luckily, there happen to be drive-in theaters all around the country. Channel that retro romance by sharing some popcorn and enjoying a steamy makeout in your car right under the stars, and you’re bound to feel like you’re 17 again (but sans the curfew). Or, if you can’t find a drive-in theater near you, pack up your laptop and a picnic blanket and head to a local park or dock to have your own very own private outdoor movie night.
Go on a bike ride.
If you’re looking for an active date to get those mood-boosting endorphins pumping, there’s hardly a better way to take advantage of the summer weather than to go on a bike ride. And most cities have bicycle-sharing systems, which allow you to rent a bike by the ride or the hour and then drop it off at another location.
Just make sure to wear your helmets and use a bike light, and stay on well-lit paths if you’re planning to take a night cruise. Plan out a route that will offer up some stunning scenery, and pick a fun destination — like a local gelateria or wine bar. Pro tip: To amp up the old-school romance even more, try to find a tandem bike.
Check out an amusement park.
Even if you and bae aren’t exactly thrill-seekers, an amusement park is a perfect spot for a summer date night. You may need to take a short drive out of the city to find one, but it'll be well worth it — the rollercoasters are sure to give you a rush, while the bumper cars will bring out your playful sides. While you’re riding the high of it all, you can steal a smooch at the top of the Ferris wheel. Don’t forget to snag some cotton candy and make your boo win you a kitschy stuffed animal, obvi.
If you and your SO are seeking to explore your creative sides, take a cue from chains like Paint Nite and plan a two-person art class of your own. Take a couple of canvases, paints, and brushes to a nearby park, beach, or other outdoor space. And if you’re feeling bold, bring along your adult bevvie of choice (but be sure to make sure you’re aware of your state’s open container laws). You might use a photograph for inspiration, or choose a theme for you and bae to abide by while you whip up your masterpieces. If you live together, you can hang them in your shared home, and if you don’t cohabitate, you can trade paintings to display in each of your abodes.
Have a food truck feast.
Who says a date night dinner has to be super fancy (and suck your bank account dry)? Check out your city’s local food trucks for a wallet-friendly meal. From tacos and tortas to gyros and gourmet grilled cheeses, there are a wealth of cuisine options to choose from to satisfy any craving. Pack a picnic blanket to spread out at a local park and you can people watch or simply marvel at the sunset while you chow down on your meal.
Explore a farmers market.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can totally whip up a gourmet meal right at home. On the day of your date night, scope out a local farmers market to pick up some fresh produce. Arugula, avocados, corn, tomatoes, cherries, beets, and figs are just some of the fruits and veggies that are in season during summer. Just try to keep your hands off each other while you slice, dice, marinate, and sauté your ingredients. If it’s a pleasant summer evening, you might want to bring your feast and a bottle of wine up to the roof or to a nearby park for a romantic al fresco dinner.
Tour a museum.
Did you know that many museums offer free admittance, typically on a particular week night? It’s the ideal date night option when you’re dying to get out of the heat and soak up some culture. Plus, since this date won’t cost you anything, you can treat yourselves to a decadent dessert or fancy craft cocktails after you’ve had your fill of the exhibits.
The best summer dates are the ones that shake up your routine, allow you to enjoy the picture-perfect weather, and more importantly, encourage you to make new memories that will last well into the colder season and beyond. Try any of these ideas next time you and your bae are eager to get out of your apartments and explore the eye-opening experiences and striking scenery that your city has to offer.