Easy Date Ideas For Every Relationship (And The One With Yourself)
For a relationship to truly thrive, setting aside some one-on-one time in the form of a good old-fashioned night out is always a good idea. Especially for those of us working from home. It’s easy to let work/school/kids/romance bleed together, and so often quality time falls by the wayside. For me, this need to set aside time to focus on my relationships has been amplified during quarantine, inspiring this term: container of happiness. I started creating intentional time completely separate from other aspects of my life with the ones I love – instead of just letting it happen (or not happen). We’re entering a season dedicated to romance, but spending time with loved ones should be a priority all year round. To help you make space for some quality time, I’ve rounded up the best easy date night ideas for you and your SO, you and your BFF, and you and yourself alone.
Last summer I read To become by Michelle Obama. A relatively small story about love and expectations still lingers in my mind. Michelle writes about a time in their lives when Barack was routinely late for dinner, leaving her and her daughters waiting in frustration before giving up and eating without him. He was in the middle of a busy season with work and quality time was the sacrifice. Michelle realized that she was leading her family to failure by creating expectations that Barack could not always meet. So she set limits saying, Hey, from now on dinner will be ready at the same time every night. If you show up, great. Otherwise, the leftovers will be in the fridge. By creating structure instead of living with assumptions, they were happy whenever Barack showed up and empathetic when he couldn’t.
The same lesson applies to planning a night out with those you love. Between work, our phones, and everything in between, we too often fall into a flow that leaves out the organized activities that bring us together. Whether it’s with your partner, your best friend or yourself, take the time to be together significantly is a not-so-secret ingredient for a happy and fulfilling relationship.
Read on for some of my favorite easy date night ideas that will enhance any special bond.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
Date night ideas for you and your significant other…
Have a picnic outdoors
There’s nothing quite like being grounded in nature with someone you love. Whenever the sun is out and the temperature rises, my husband and I take the opportunity to go out. We like to whip up an assortment of treats or order an epic cheese plate from Antonelli and head to one of our favorite parks. Sometimes we bring our dogs or a deck of cards. Other times, we’ll catch up on things we don’t talk about on a daily basis.
Make a special dinner
I made some dim sum dishes a few weeks ago for the first time and it was so fun to experiment with the ingredients in a new way (lots of them were already in my pantry!). Even if your partner isn’t quite a cook, you can invite them to help you with chopping, prep, menu reading, or snacking. 🙂 Getting out of your comfort zone to cook a meal you’ve never done before is exciting and such a fun bonding experience.
Watch a drive-in movie
Many cities across the country are going back to the old days and opting for drive-in movie options to keep communities safe and entertained. Watching movies together affects dopamine levels and can be a great way to dive into new conversations. If your area doesn’t offer a drive-in option, consider setting up a movie theater vibe in your living room with loads of blankets, popcorn, cocktails and candles.
Try bird watching
Skeptical about this one? Do not be! I know many couples who started birdwatching during the pandemic. It’s a great way to get outdoors, learn more about the birds in your area, and develop a closer connection with nature. It can be fun to learn more about different types of birds. Honestly too, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction I get from correctly identifying a bird by its call alone.
Take a day trip
Hot: Day trips are completely underrated. Don’t get me wrong, a weekend getaway is the perfect backdrop for a little romance. But there’s nothing that fills me with more excitement and anticipation than getting up early and hitting the road. Create a playlist of your favorite songs and head off to a place you’ve always wanted to explore. Getting out of your everyday context and being energized by a new city can do wonders for your perspective. Plus, it will provide endless inspiration for future conversations.
Test the best food carts in your city
A dinner date, but with a twist. Choose a few food trucks you want to try ahead of time, or head to a group of carts. You can walk around, taste and mix and match different dishes. It’s the perfect balance between being understated while feeling special. And if your town isn’t known for its food carts, plan a progressive meal where you hop from restaurant to restaurant, sampling each dish from a different location. The added benefit of this date? If your food preferences differ, you’re both bound to find something you’ll like.
Date night ideas for you and your Best friend…
Whether you’re physically together or apart, Scattergories is one of the best games for word lovers. A group of four or more is ideal, but any number works. Zoom burnout is real, and it’s sometimes nice to play rather than talk. We like to combine family and friends virtually for a larger group.
Take a virtual class
Instead of looking for discussion topics, consider taking a virtual class together. Then talk about what you learned afterwards. My good friend and I appreciate wine and the South of France, so we took a wine tasting course together and absolutely loved it. There’s nothing like traveling there together, but we got as close as possible.
Take a long walk or hike somewhere new
Even if you don’t live near an ocean, mountains, or any other great natural landmark, there’s so much nature to discover in your backyard. Put on comfortable shoes and explore together. Consider leaving your phones at home for added benefits.
Cast your heart
What might seem a bit silly at first is actually one of the most fun ways to spend an evening. Going to your local bowling alley is an easy option to plan for a casual night out with your BFF. you flip a pin, you are always guaranteed to have a great time.
Visit a wine estate
It’s one of my favorite things to do with my girlfriends. Chances are that even if you live in wine country, you’ll probably need to take a little drive, filling that friendly date with plenty of energy for the road trip. You’ll have fun sipping and tasting a variety of wines, and if you don’t walk away with a new favorite glass of wine, it’s a great chance to let the conversation flow and take in some pretty spectacular views.
Lace up your skates
Ice skating, roller skating or skating around town, there’s a reason the sport is trending again (and it’s not just because of the impressively choreographed videos on TikTok). Head to the rink, rent your skates, and get ready to shred or boogie with your girl gang. Also keep an eye out for theme nights – these are arguably the best times to head to your local ice rink.
Party ideas for you
Painting with watercolors
I painted the cover of my diary recently inspired by a watercolor palette from this book. It was so therapeutic and relaxing yet difficult. And I feel a sense of pride every time I look at my diary.
Find a local florist and organize your room
Ordering flowers online or buying a bouquet at your local flea market is certainly convenient, but creatively putting together an arrangement adds that extra sense of satisfaction. Stop by your local florist for seasonal flowers and greenery. Consider creating a Pinterest board or go with the retailer’s choice!
Create an at-home spa day
We love this article on creating a spa-worthy bath at home. For added luxury, treat your day and home as you would a spa getaway. Add a soothing face mask, rejuvenating body scrub and manicure/pedi.
Go to the cinema alone
When I want to intentionally spend time with myself, my first thought always goes to a theatrical movie. While it might seem like an opportunity to disconnect and space out, there’s nothing quite like indulging in a little cultural curiosity and marveling at the sights to admire on the big screen. Browse your local theater offerings, select a movie with rave reviews or just the one you’ve been dying to see, and book your ticket. Popcorn with extra butter, not optional.
take a ride
Some people cycle for exercise, but I love it for the endorphin-boosting high. Pull your singlespeed out of the garage or rent a set of wheels for your solo date. Draw a loop, fasten your helmet and move slowly and steadily. Remember: it’s not about sweating. Instead, focus on enjoying your own company and soaking up the sun. Be sure to pick a scenic spot to stop along the way.
Find your next favorite read
There’s a reason bookstores and libraries are the setting for so many romantic movie moments. You can spend hours flipping through a variety of genres and discovering new authors that pique your interest. Set aside an afternoon (or, if your city has a place that stays open late, go in the evening) and approach the shelves with an open mind. If you’re a fiction junkie, try a memoir. Fantasy plus your speed? Dive into one of these self-help titles. And while flipping through books is fun on its own, coming home with a fresh pile means hours of solo fun to come.
Do you believe in a weekly date night? What do you like to do with your SO, your friends and with/for yourself? Share it below!
This post was originally posted on February 12, 2021 and has since been updated.