A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

50 Romantic Date Ideas That Spark (or Strengthen) a Meaningful Connection

From the fun to the flirty, make unforgettable memories with your significant other with these date ideas

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Kiss on the forehead
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Out of romantic date ideas?

There’s nothing better than spending time with someone you love. But if you’re fresh out of fun date ideas, that might be easier said than done!

We’ve compiled a list of romantic date ideas for every budget, so all you have to do is plan the date and time. It’s easy to know how to be romantic with a little bit of help; just put a personal spin on any of these date ideas to tailor it to your relationship. For example, try combining these questions that lead to love with a dinner date at a romantic Valentine’s Day restaurant, or use one of these love poems in the letter-writing date we suggest.

At the end of the day, from big romantic getaways to small love messages, there are so many ways to express your love and appreciation for that special someone in your life. These romantic date ideas are just the beginning!

Gay couple in the clothing store
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Go thrift shopping

Go to a thrift store and pick out silly clothes for the other to try. You might find that you love something totally unexpected! Don’t forget to look through the home goods for cool vintage pieces too. Just be sure to avoid these things you shouldn’t buy from a thrift store.

Gay couple relaxing on a couch
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Make it documentary night

Pick two documentaries on the same subject and watch them both, back to back. You’ll learn a ton about the topic and can compare how each doc approaches the subject. At the end of the night, talk about which was your favorite and why.

Woman with disability enjoying modern art
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Have a museum day

Visit a museum together! If you love art history, share what you know. If you don’t know much about art, appreciate the colors and talk about which paintings you like best. Or if science is more your thing, you can go to a natural history museum instead. Either way, don’t forget to hit the gift shop!

Cropped shot of young woman arranging fresh flowers at home
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Try flower arranging

Go to a home goods store, a thrift store or a craft store or class to buy (or make) new vases together. Then pick out some bouquets and try your hand at ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. Don’t forget to study up on flower meanings, so you know what your flowers say! You’ll spend a fun day together and end up with totally custom flower arrangements.

Photo of a smiling young couple and their dog riding in a car on a bright summer day.
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Travel together

If you want to test your partnership and how you handle challenges together, traveling domestically or internationally is a great way to practice your problem solving.

How will your partner react if you accidentally miss a bus in Barcelona or lose your keys in Cairo? Does either of you know how to drive a stick shift? How good are you at learning languages? Experiencing somewhere new together will teach you a lot about yourselves and each other. If you aren’t sure where you want to go, these are the best places to travel this year.

A content woman reclines on a comfortable bed and gets lost in a good book
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Join a book club

If you both love to read, join a book club together and have that be a date night! Or if you want to keep things small, agree on a book to read with your partner and discuss it when you’re done.

Close up view of african left-handed businessman writing in notebook
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Write a letter

Revive the lost art of love letters with a letter-writing date. Its old-school feel makes it one of the most romantic date ideas on this list! Shop for some pretty stationery with your significant other, then sit down and write love letters to each other. (If you aren’t sure what to write at first, try these love quotes.) Exchange the letters and read them out loud, then put them somewhere you can cherish them. If you want to keep the fun going, you can write letters to friends or family together next—or to your future selves!

Mobile phone on white table.
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Put the phones away

Phones are a constant distraction. Studies have shown that just having a cell phone within sight, even if you aren’t using it, can negatively impact the quality of a conversation. Try a date where you put the phones out of sight to really focus on each other. To take it a step further, you could try an unplugged date with no tech at all as part of a digital detox.

Couple silouette standing in front of the milky way
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Sit under the stars

Plan an evening to stargaze together in a yard or park. The date can be as low-fuss as bringing only a blanket, or as involved as packing a midnight picnic. Sitting under the stars together is a great way to appreciate life’s natural beauties—and to remember how lucky it is that in a world full of so many people, you and your partner crossed paths. To make it extra romantic, try softly playing the best love songs in the background. If you’re extra lucky, you might even get to wish on a shooting star together.

Young black couple on picnic in the park.
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Plan a park date

Sit on a bench together in a local park and just enjoy being outside. You can people watch, look at the animals or even pack a picnic. Just chatting and sitting in nature is a great way to practice gratitude for the little things and the time you and your significant other get to spend together.

Five ballerinas en pointe on stage, arms around each other, rear view
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See some live theater

Go see a show! From musical theater to improv to opera to ballet, there are so many different kinds of shows you can buy tickets to. There’s sure to be one that sounds interesting to you and your significant other. Support the arts and have a memorable night out while you’re at it.

Ooo, I can definitely feel that
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Do (or try!) yoga

Do you know how to do a downward facing dog? What about a warrior pose? You will when your yoga class is over! Yoga can have great benefits for body and mind. It’s a fun way to connect with your partner and with yourself. You might even find you want to make it part of your weekly routine.

Couple together at romantic concert
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Attend a concert

Do you and your partner share musical taste? Find something you both like and go see it live! It can be a rock concert, an orchestra or live music at a local bar. It’s a whole different experience than just listening to music on Spotify (or Amazon Music).

Young Couple Climbing Together
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Try rock climbing

This date is the perfect mix of fun and active. There are rock walls for all skill levels, so you can find the right amount of challenge. Cheering each other on as you climb will remind you that love can move mountains—or at least (try to) climb them.

Happy couple dating in the ice rink, hugging and enjoying winter time
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Go skating

See if the roller rink has a disco or DJ night, and show up with your partner ready to have some fun! Dress in fun but breathable clothing—you can even get retro with your outfit. Or if ice skating is more your speed, bundle up and get some hot chocolate afterward. Even if you aren’t very good at skating, you and your partner can hold on to each other for support as you laugh your way around the rink.

Mature woman painting in art class
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Paint and sip

You don’t need to be artistic to give this one a go! With a little wine to let your creativity loose and an instructor to give you guidance, you might be shocked at how much fun you have—and how good your paintings turn out. After the class, you can hang the art in your home, or swap paintings with your partner. Just make sure you know how to remove paint stains from clothes!

Fresh, organic apple plucked from the branch.
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Pick apples

This one is seasonal, but it’s so fun that it deserves a place on the list. Apple picking is the perfect fall date—and you can make apple crumble afterward with your fresh-picked produce! Alternatively, during the summer you could go berry picking, or later in the fall you could pick pumpkins.

Two friends eating fast food outdoors
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Try a new food

Maybe there’s a new Caribbean place you haven’t eaten at yet, or you’ve been dying to try Malaysian food. Find a restaurant that serves something you haven’t eaten before, and try something new with your partner! If you share dishes you can try multiple things on the menu and find something you love. Your favorite food could be something you haven’t even tried yet!

Ice cream cone. Ice cream with waffle cones. Waffle cone being held by a girl. Colorful cereal toppings for vibrance. perfect for hot summer days or winter.
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Have an ice cream date

This one is a classic with a vintage feel. Go to a local ice cream parlor, or for a modern twist, try a shaved ice stand or a gelateria. Try a fun flavor, or order your go-to favorite! It’s a sweet way to spend some time together (and satisfy your sweet tooth).

Happy senior man with arm around woman having wine against sea in boat
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Go on a dinner cruise

If you live near the water, a dinner cruise is one of the best romantic date night ideas. Delicious food + beautiful water views = an evening that can’t be beat. If you want to take it a step further than just dinner, you could also book one of these couples cruises for a romantic getaway.

Happy fans at the stadium
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Attend live sports

If there’s a sports team both you and your partner enjoy, go see a game! Whether you splurge on front-row seats or stay in the nosebleeds, you’ll have a fun time in the competitive atmosphere cheering for your favorite team. Win or lose, you’ll still have a great time with your partner.

Shot of an affectionate couple enjoying a cup of coffee while admiring the view outside
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Set a wakeup call

If you and your partner like to sleep in, try mixing it up! Pick a day where you will get up early together and watch the sunrise. With the help of some coffee and maybe a breakfast sandwich, you won’t even miss the extra hours of sleep. We’ve put together some indoor date ideas so your winter nights stay warmer.

happy senior couple with dogs walking. Romantic ideas

Take a sunset stroll

This easy and impromptu date proves that romantic date ideas don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Find a local walking path, a park or a beautiful view and go for a stroll at sunset. Bonus: It’s pet-friendly! If there’s a local bakery or cafe, stop in before or after to grab a dessert to-go to end the night with.

A couple holding hands
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Have a date night

This one’s a classic for a reason. Get dressed to the nines and book a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town. For some added fun, play at being fancy food critics for the night and leave a review online at the end. Don’t forget to brush up on your dining etiquette before you go!

Young Couple Unpacking Vegetables In Kitchen
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Help with errands

It may not be sexy, but it can be fun! Part of the reality of life is that romance alone doesn’t put groceries in the fridge or gas in the car. Helping your significant other cross items off their to-do list helps solidify your partnership, and it can even be a fun way to spend time together. Make a playlist to sing along to in the car, or try buying something new at the grocery store. It’s easy to add small moments of joy to everyday life together!

Brown paper bag lunch bag
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Pack their lunch

Try packing each other a lunch the night before, putting fun snacks and surprises inside. For inspiration, you can write a note on the peel of their banana or doodle pictures on their brown paper bag.When you open your lunch at work or at home, you’ll be surprised by what’s inside and remember that your partner is thinking of you during the day!

Looking at wedding photos
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Walk down memory lane

Gather all the old photos the two of you have together and talk about your favorites. If you’re crafty, you can print some out and create a scrapbook. Include other mementos you’ve been collecting, like plane tickets or event wristbands. If crafting isn’t your thing, you could both write down your favorite memory and then swap papers.

Happy Couple Having Fun in Hot Tub
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Plan a staycation

You don’t have to go far from home to get a little R&R! Book a staycation at a nearby romantic hotel for the weekend. Treat yourself to a couples massage or a dip in the hot tub and order room service!

Smiling lesbian couple watching television while sitting on sofa at home
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Start a new TV series

There’s nothing better than spending a Saturday on the couch. Pick a new series you’ve both been wanting to watch, and binge it all day. Don’t forget to stop for snacks—and to try to predict what happens next!

Volunteers collecting trash in garbage bags at public park
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Volunteering is a great couple bonding experience. Ask to help out at your local animal shelter or pick up trash along the side of the road in your neighborhood. It helps affirm your values as a couple and contributes to your community at the same time. Win-win! You’ll feel good knowing you helped out.

Two Photographers looking at their cameras
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Snap some photos

Spend a day outside taking pictures together, whether it’s a photoshoot of each other or the scenery. A local botanic garden is a great place to get some nature shots! You can hone your photography skills and get some beautiful pictures to treasure too. Print out your favorites and put them in your home, or post them online with these Instagram captions for couples.

Black couple watching movie at cinema
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Go to the movies

With so much available to stream at home, sometimes we miss out on the silver-screen experience. Pick a new release you want to see together, and go watch it on the big screen! Pack your favorite snacks so you don’t have to pay for the overpriced candy. Some theaters even offer discount tickets for matinees or less popular days.

Young Tourist Couple Taking A Photo Of Themselves
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Be a tourist

Be a tourist in your own town, or a spot nearby. See the local landmarks, go window shopping and visit a new restaurant or cafe. Trying new things is an important part of keeping your life (and your relationship) feeling fresh and interesting!

High angle view of men sitting on sofa playing chess smiling
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Have a game night

Break out a board game or some cards and show your partner your competitive side. To make things exciting, say that the loser has to make dinner! If your strategy board game needs more players, invite other couples over to join. You can put on some music and mix some drinks (or mocktails) to make a game night that can be as cutthroat or as chill as you want. We recommend this Wordle board game to get started.

wine and cheese. Romantic ideas for her
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Pretend you’re in Paris

Who doesn’t love a charcuterie board? Pop open a bottle of wine and make a plate of cheese, meat and crackers. Simply enjoy each other’s company and talk about all the places you hope to travel together someday.

Two business women eating healthy lunch at work
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Spend your lunch hour together

If you both work and your offices are close enough, meet in the middle and get lunch together. Spending a little bit of time with your significant other is a good way to break up the workday and fit a date into a busy schedule.

Hands of women toasting with glasses of white wine
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Hit the vineyards

Set up a wine tasting at your favorite vineyard. You can pack a blanket and some food and enjoy a nice picnic while you’re there as well. Don’t forget to buy a bottle (or several!) to bring home—or as a gift for wine lovers in your life. Among romantic date ideas, this one is a classic.

Young Caucasian couple camping near lake
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Head outdoors

Pick a weekend when the weather is going to be nice and go hiking or camping. The outdoors is a great way to connect with yourself and with each other, and the endorphin rush of exercise will have you both grinning. Just make sure your significant other is as excited about the idea as you are—no one wants to get dragged on a hiking trip when they wanted to spend the weekend indoors.

Happy Mature Hispanic Couple Dancing At A Party
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Go dancing

Surprise your partner with a night of dancing. This could be a Zumba fitness class, a ballroom dance class or even line dancing at a local bar. Even if you have two left feet, you’ll share a lot of laughs. And who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new talent!

Mid Adult Couple Watching TV In Living Room
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Have a romantic movie night

If you love rom-coms, this one is for you! Pick one or two of your favorite romantic movies and watch them together while you snuggle on the couch. Pop a bag of popcorn and open some wine (or ice cream!) to enjoy as you watch.

 couple preparing food for dinner
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Cook together

Help each other make dinner one night. If you’re horrible at cooking, it’s a great opportunity to learn! Pick a new recipe together that looks tasty (but not too ambitious). Pour some wine, put on some music and give yourself plenty of time to make the meal so nobody gets too hungry if the process goes long. This one is a staple of romantic date ideas for a reason!

couple drinking coffee in bed. Romantic ideas for her
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Take a mental health day

“Call in sick” to work and spend the day together just relaxing and catching up. Don’t make this one a habit, but doing it once can be a great way to reconnect with your partner during an otherwise busy time of the year.

Two women on bikes on a sunny street
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Go back in time

No, not in a time travel way. Take your partner back to the spot where you had your first date, or where you first met. You can laugh and reminisce about old times, talking about how grateful you are for all the time you’ve gotten to spend together since then.

Beautiful couple receiving a body massage after a beach rest at a tropical resort. Travel concept
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Get a massage

A massage is a great way to practice holistic wellness, as well as a romantic way to spend time together. Your back and shoulders will never feel better! If a massage isn’t in the budget, look up a video of how to give a massage to your partner, and take turns.

Happy couple playing coin operated air hockey game at a gaming parlour
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Be kids again

Head to a local carnival or arcade. Play pinball and ride the Ferris wheel like you’re both teenagers again! At the end, try to win a stuffed animal or prize to take home. You might be surprised by how much fun you have.

Two women at a pottery workshop making clay pots
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Learn something new together

Learning is more fun when it’s shared! Come up with something you both want to learn. It could be a language, a recipe, a craft or a skill—anything you haven’t tried before that sounds fun to both of you. Work at learning and perfecting it together. It’s OK to make mistakes, just have fun with the process! If you can’t decide where to start, try these steps to find the perfect hobby.

Asian Chinese LGBTQIA+ couple at home during weekend
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Take a spa day

Make an appointment at the spa to get a couples massage or facials. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s easy to do an at-home spa day as well. Pick up some face masks at the store and some cucumber slices for your eyes. Light a candle, play some relaxing music and enjoy!

breakfast in bed. Romantic anniversary ideas

Have breakfast (or dinner!) in bed

Pretend you ordered room service and eat your breakfast (or dinner) together in bed. Just make sure the meal isn’t messy. This is one of the best romantic anniversary ideas. Who wouldn’t want breakfast brought to them in bed on a special day?

Low Angle View Of Couple Embracing Against Hot Air Balloons In Sky
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Make a bucket list

Create a bucket list of everything you want to do together with your partner before you get too old. It can be a big adventure like going bungee jumping, or it can be a plan to adopt a cat—anything that makes you happy! After you’ve finalized your bucket list, make a goal-setting vision board for the life you want together.

Young couple in romantic mood on bed
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Pull an all-nighter

Remember when you first started dating, and you would stay up all night talking? Pull another all-nighter with your significant other, and spend the night laughing, reminiscing—and not looking at the clock! You might be surprised what new things you can still learn about each other.

Sarah Vincent
Sarah Vincent is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest, covering digital lifestyle stories. She has also worked as a culture journalist, and you can find her published in America, National Catholic Reporter and Sojourners. In her free time, she loves crafting, cooking, traveling and learning (or forgetting!) Japanese.