It’s summertime and the livin' is easy! Take advantage of the warm weather and longer days with these 11 ideas for outdoor summer dates in the Queen City. This summer date series is brought to you by Lauren Levine, a freelance writer who knows a thing or two about dating in Charlotte. Lauren co-hosts the wildly entertaining (and helpful) dating podcast, The Margarita Confessionals. Keep up with Lauren on her blog, Life with Lauren, and on Twitter at @lifewithlauren1.
Plaza Midwood is the ideal neighborhood for summer date nights. The Peculiar Rabbit is a triple threat when it comes to delicious cocktails, savory entrees and an unbeatable view of the city. Legion Brewing and Whiskey Warehouse are both a short walk and close runners up. Hit Legion for its inventive beers and try Whiskey Warehouse for its buffalo chicken dip.
The NoDa Company Store feels like you’re hanging out at your aspiring Pinterest superstar friend’s enviable backyard setup. Grab a bottle of wine or pick from one of your favorite local beers, and don’t forget the pimento cheese to snack on. If mimosas are your thing (how could they not be?) drop by on Saturdays for a mimosa bar stocked with seasonal fruits, juices and herbs.
If you’re tired of debating what to eat for dinner, Food Truck Friday is the perfect solution. Hosted at Sycamore Brewing, you can chow down on dishes from a variety of Queen City food trucks. Plus, wash it all down with Sycamore’s signature brews. This is a solid selection for an early date, since there’s plenty to talk about in terms of food choices and people watching if you get stuck and need a topic of conversation.
Sip and Stroll at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens provides a romantic setting for a summertime date. On Thursdays in June from 5–9p, enjoy a glass of wine and food truck fare as you take in thousands of breathtaking blooms at sunset. Live music adds to the experience. The event is free for members and $12.95 for adults. If you’re in the market for a date that feels decidedly elegant and grown up, this is it.
On Thursday and Saturday nights through September, the U.S. National Whitewater Center hosts River Jam, a concert series featuring national performers. Admission is free, just pay $5 to park. Bring a blanket and listen to the music as you munch on food and sip your favorite craft beers. If you spend most of the week in an overly air-conditioned cubicle, this is a refreshing change of pace. Regardless of whether whitewater rafting sounds like an exciting challenge or something you’d only do if you were on a game show and there was a lot of money at stake, the U.S. National Whitewater Center presents a low-key vibe that’s perfect for unwinding.
Summer was basically made for baseball, and the Charlotte Knights’ BB&T Ballpark is the perfect place to take in nine innings. Tickets start as low as $11, but if you want to splurge, grab the Home Plate Club tickets for $25. Come hungry because the park has a shockingly diverse selection of food choices, from healthy to traditional ballpark offerings. On Fridays, enjoy a free fireworks show after the game!
Welcome the weekend at Alive After Five, happening Thursdays at Rooftop 210 at the EpiCentre. Socialize, sip drinks and dance with the skyscrapers of Uptown Charlotte as your backdrop. Admission into the event is free. Professionals with uptown office locations can’t beat the convenience factor of this date.
On the first Sunday of each month, experience Front Porch Sundays at the Shook Kelley building in South End. Dozens of local vendors and food trucks gather to provide a unique shopping experience that screams “Charlotte.” These are items you just won’t find at cookie cutter big box stores, and include clothing for men and women, accessories, unique gifts, art and more.
Music lovers will want to pack a picnic and head out to Symphony Park at South Park Mall every Sunday evening in June for Summer Pops, a concert series featuring the Charlotte Symphony. There’s a special performance on July 1 featuring patriotic songs and an after-show fireworks display. It’s the perfect way to spend a warm summer evening.
Kick your date up a notch with a trip to a Charlotte Independence soccer game. Tickets are priced as low as $14. The stadium is easily accessible via the LYNX Light Rail, so no need to worry about parking.
On Wednesday evenings through September, Romare Bearden Park on South Church Street plays home to Party in the Park. Performers from all genres take the stage over the course of the summer. Whether you love jazz, rock or country, you’ll find something worth sticking around for. Pack a picnic and a blanket and enjoy the weather.