Whether you’ve been dating for a decade or it’s date number four, there’s always pressure to come up with something new and fun. We’re delivering a few of our favorite ways to shake up date night—including hitting the airport (we told you these weren’t conventional), handing over the ordering power to the chef, and blindly buying tickets to a mystery dinner. Shout out to all the Offline users who submitted their favorite unique dates via Instagram!
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If you’re not familiar with the concept of a progressive dinner or a safari supper, there’s no shame—it’s simple and you’ve likely been doing it for years without calling it a cutesy name. Hop from restaurant to restaurant having drinks or a different course at each. We’re advocates of setting a theme, for example hitting all Ashley Christensen restaurants for an evening of truly euphoric eats. Hardest question of the night, what flavor boozy milkshake are you splitting at Chuck’s?
Shout out to @_whitneys for submitting the tip!
Alright, what is Snap Pea Underground? Their whole shtick is hosting uber creative pop-up dinners around the Triangle in unconventional, surprise locations. And by surprise location, they really mean surprise—you don’t know the location when you buy the ticket. That’s trust, but they have a track record of pulling off unheard-of feats. Think dinner in overgrown St. Agnes Hospital or in the Magic Wings Butterfly house or across the Old Bynum Bridge. Get on the email list to be alerted of their next pop-up dinner.
The Triangle is home to some A+ museums, you probably know this, but they might not be your first inclination for a fun date night. Be on the lookout for their “adults only” nights that happen several times per year. The Museum of Life and Science throws Adult Summer Camp and Science of Beer, Marbles Museum loves a good beer-fueled 21Marbles, and NCMA has been known to throw some pretty impressive (even all-night) parties.
Instead of grabbing a drink, go learn how to mix them with the experts. Crude Bitters, an award-winning cocktail bitters company, teaches classes at their home base, The Bittery. SkillPop also offers cocktail classes with local experts on occasion. Snag two spots in an upcoming class and then go out for a drink and apps after to compare your creations to the stuff of real mixologists.
Shout out to @mariamahmed15 for the tip!
When the occasion calls for something special, but you’re not feeling the typical “nice” options, go for the Grand Omakase at M Sushi. For eight magnificent, artfully arranged courses the chef selects the highest quality product to create an extraordinary dining experience. This experience definitely dips into your pockets, but it’s well worth it.
This isn’t your classic dinner and a movie date night. Alamo Drafthouse does everything a little different, and we mean that in a good way. Expect not only the latest releases, but also a calendar FULL of throwback and themed nights. Just a few on the radar right now—Willy Wonka, Harry Potter, Halloween (and that’s just a taste). Plus, Alamo likes to impress, so there’s a full food menu, cocktails, local draft beer and they’re a sucker for a theme, so you better believe that at a Willy Wonka party you’re gonna get the Golden Ticket treatment.
Strap on those dancing shoes and get ready to move the music. If you know where to look, the Triangle’s got a surprising number of dance nights for you and your S.O. to get in on. Our personal fave? Latin Dance Night at Imurj in Raleigh, or basically any night with live music at Blue Note Grill in Durham (their crowd always seems to rally onto the dance floor). Dance Gumbo’s also got a comprehensive list of Triangle Dance Nights.
If you’re familiar with the RDU Observation Park, you might think “kid vibes” (it is an awesome free way to entertain little ones), but we think there’s something romantic about watching the planes going in and out of RDU with someone special. Pack a picnic and hit at sunset for stunning views.
Shout out to @godlevskaya.di for the tip!
Murals in Raleigh are really having a moment (and Durham murals aren’t falling far behind), and we have to say we’re pretty pleased that the city, businesses and local artists are all in on making our cities a more joyful through these outdoor pieces. Take a walk (or, if you’re in Raleigh, a Bird) and traipse around checking out these awe-inspiring works.
Pro tip: Bookend your tour with coffee and lunch. lucettegrace is a great starting point (very conveniently located to a Dare Coulter’s Know Your Rights mural) and Trophy Brewing and Pizza let's you eat delicious pizza, sip craft brews and see an epic mural, all at once—what more could you want?
Sure, you’ve probably done a barcade night at Boxcar or Quarter House, but have you thrown axes while sipping beer? Played mini golf in the dark? Defended yourself against zombies and fighter jets in a fully-immersive virtual reality? Take Game Night to the next level with any on the Triangle’s amped-up gaming-destinations. Loser buys the first round.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than hitting the road, escaping your daily routine and taking a little trip. Pick one of the surrounding small towns for a charming day of exploration. Hillsborough, Pittsboro and Saxapahaw* all offer something special, including specialty breweries, wineries and meaderies, plus quaint shops and outdoor experiences. If you’re feeling like a day isn’t enough to pack it all in, grab a badass Airbnb like this yurt. (Not recommended for first dates.)
*Don’t want to plan? We took the liberty of planning your guide to the perfect weekend in Saxapahaw.
There’s no shortage of craft breweries in the Triangle. DIY your own brewery tour through town, relying on communal wheels to get around. Race from place to place and prepare to sample your heart out—you’ll be able to hit way more spots this way. Just be sure to Bird/bike responsibly (and remember you can Uber/Lyft/walk if those brews go to your head faster than expected).
If you and your boo have started to make permanent dents in the couch, it’s time to get out of the Netflix + Chill rut and get your blood pumping. For the couple seeking a little adventure, look no further than the high ropes course at TreeRunner Adventure Park or during High Ropes Discovery Days at Bethesda Park. Together, you and your partner will work your way through sky-high obstacles, climb your way to the top and soar down ziplines.
Bonus? Studies have proven that an adrenaline rush increases attraction. Thanks, science, for making our next Tinder date waaay more successful.
Take advantage of the nice weather with a little picnic-action. In Raleigh, our fave spots include The Dillion rooftop, which offers picturesque sunset views (and the freedom to BYOB) and NCMA, the nation’s largest museum park with acres upon acres of the greenway to explore. Durham: we’ve got an entire picnic guide already spelled out for you right here (complete with take-out recs and even suggested wine pairings—you’re welcome).
Hold on, no, we’re not talking about that! (Get your mind outta the gutter.) We’re talking about getting up close and personal with exotic wildlife that’s living right in our own backyard. Yes, the Triangle is home to a surprising number of exotic and wild animals: from the Carolina Tiger Rescue to the Duke Lemur Center, there are plenty of opportunities to see non-native creatures and test out your best David Attenborough-inspired accent. There’s also the Museum of Life and Science, where you can see farm animals, bugs, wolves, walk through a tropical butterfly house and much more. The Museum of Natural Sciences’ also has a butterfly room, lots of smaller animals, and is 100% free to wander around in.
And remember, if you've got a kickass date idea, plz share the love! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured.