19 winter date ideas to refresh your love life in 2022

When winter comes you can catch me at my best, most comfortable and coldest. I fly over knitting projects, read all the books, and make the hottest soups for every meal. But while I love to devote all weekends and weeknights to personal growth and deepening the relationship I have with myself, it doesn’t leave me much time for dating. In an effort to expose myself more this year and start 2022 as the most daring and aligned me without any excuses, in other words, I pledge to make a difference. I step away from my favorite place (the sofa) and look for connection, spontaneity, and that ever-elusive spark. Whether you’re single like me or in a long-term relationship, I’ve rounded up the best winter date ideas for anyone whose love life needs a bit of a shake up this season.

Need an idea for an upcoming first meeting-IRL date? Or maybe you’ve been with your partner for years and would rather fall asleep at 8 p.m. rather than go out to dinner and drinks again. No matter where you are in the spectrum of relationship statuses, it’s easy to fall back on our proven options. Especially in winter, when the weather and shorter days seem to limit our options, it can be difficult to think of something fun and exciting to do together.

Here’s the truth: Frankly, sometimes I just don’t have the energy for everything that happens in dating. Dating, as we have traditionally known them, can feel like a chore. There is so much production that goes through the exchange of messages and the endless changes of clothes in search of the perfect outfit (okay, I like that part). Well, I’m here to tell you (and convince myself) that dating can and should be fun. A little planning and time spent thinking is worth it.

Dating gives you the opportunity to open up and share yourself with another person. And when you try something a little out of the ordinary, you can get closer by connecting through the shared experience.

So, let’s have fun! Here are 19 winter date ideas that offer something for everyone. Be active, be creative, and get ready to spark sparks.

characteristic image by wynn myers

Read on for all the winter date ideas your season needs.

Something creative

Cook a new meal. If you’ve been in a relationship for a while or have been living together, you might have a few recipes to cycle through. Shake things up and spice things up (literally) by opening a new cookbook or searching the internet for a dish you’ve always wanted to try. And don’t worry if the meal doesn’t turn out, it’s the cooking together that’s the best part.

Approach a project. Got a big household chore that you wanted to scratch? Face it together! While it might not seem like the most romantic night out, you both will gain a sense of accomplishment as you bring a project to fruition. Bonus points if you end the evening with pizza and wine, as you both deserve to be rewarded for all your hard work.

Pretend the power is off. You don’t have to wait for a winter storm for this date to occur. Go back in time about a hundred years and turn off the lights. Stack your most comfy blankets, light a few candles, and order ahead. It’s the perfect intimate setting for an evening of intentional conversation.

Prepare breakfast for dinner. While scallops or pasta is definitely a romantic dish that I would never pass up, there is something inherently comforting about tossing waffle batter or flipping pancakes next to each other on the stovetop. Make it even more special by adding mimosas or Bloody Marys to your menu.

Something comfortable

Build a fort. Remember the scene in Vacations when Cameron Diaz crawls into Jude Law’s daughters fort? It certainly is, and from the first time I saw this movie, I made a pact to build a fort with someone special in the future. Grab blankets, pillows, and whatever other fort-building materials you have available and turn your living room into your own secret hideaway.

Snuggle up in front of the fire. Is there anything better than secluding yourself and snuggling up in front of the fireplace? There’s a reason Netflix has three-hour specials dedicated to exactly that.

Marathon your favorite wellness movies. If you’re like me, that means a roundup of all the best Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers movies, but your partner may have different tastes. Each choose a movie and watch, laugh or cry. Oh, and don’t forget the snacks.

Something inspiring

Give back. You know volunteering is fun to do on your own or even with a group of friends, but it can be an especially powerful point of connection for you and your partner. The “helper’s high” is a real phenomenon, and giving back is a great way to establish closeness and to put in a good mood together.

Visit a museum. Or a gallery, an exhibition, anything that takes you out of your home and immerses you in a new medium, artistic movement or subject. Looking at art or delving into a new subject can inspire thoughtful conversation and help each of you learn more about how the other person thinks and sees the world.

Prepare for a trip. Is there anything better than dreaming big together? While winter might not be the best time to travel long distances, planning for the future and planning a getaway can create excitement and anticipation for the months ahead. Pick a place you’ve always wanted to explore, search for hotels, create a Pinterest inspiration board, and even check flights. Sometimes the best part of a trip can be the planning itself.

Learn a new skill. There is such a thing as intentional screen time. Pick a project or hobby that you both wanted to try, or agree on a skill that you would each like to master. Sites like Skillshare, edX, Coursera, and even Harvard University offer a wide range of online courses. There is nothing like connecting around a shared love of learning.

Listen to a lecture. One of the advantages of life is moving more and more online, it is that cultural centers, bookstores and even universities offer lectures and revealing virtual readings. The New York 92Y has a ton of events online, and you can check out sites like Open Culture and Edukatico for even more options. If you’re worried about having something to say, this should do the trick.

image of Michelle Nash

Something outside

Play in the snow. Whether it’s sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, or building a snowman, just getting out there and enjoying the fluffy white objects will fill you both with childlike joy.

To go to the beach. I am not joking. While some people may think that the beach is only for the months between May and September, there is something about walking along the water all bundled up that is meditative, healing, and, of course, romantic. If it’s not too cold, don’t forget to bring a picnic and a thermos of hot chocolate.

To take a walk. Like going for a walk, but on a whole new level. Find local trails in your area or plan a bigger nature trip. You will get a good workout, have plenty of time to talk, and get to admire some truly stunning scenery along the way.

Explore a small green space. Spend time in a garden, park, or other public space in your city or town with sights to see. You can book tickets at a botanical garden or search for seasonal flowers that are most vibrant in winter. Some can even be open in the evening, which makes for the perfect mood lighting.

Something active

Try rock climbing. Reach new heights as a couple and book time at your local climbing gym. Not only is rock climbing a great workout, it is also a mental challenge, which makes it a truly unique first, third or date.

Train together. I’m serious. As we all know, there are many benefits to exercise beyond the physical gains that a good workout can give you. Endorphins are definitively real and warming up together can be a good precursor to, well, you know …

Take a dance class. Who doesn’t love a good dance party? While you can book a class in a studio, you can also host a home session courtesy of YouTube. Slide the sofa to the side and clear some space to relax.

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