28 dates you’ll actually want to go on in Charlotte
Searching for date ideas in Charlotte? Here’s a quick list of 28 dates ideas.
Listen. We’re guilty as charged here, but if one more Charlotte publication tells us to go on a date at Airport Overlook we’ll implode. It’s time for us to stop saying this. If a gravel lot overlooking a barbed wire fence doesn’t do it for you either, we’ve got a few upgraded suggestions that’ll spark chemistry instead of concerns that you’re about to inspire an episode of Law & Order SVU.
Experiential and adventurous dates
Get out of your comfort zone and try something new with these suggestions
(1) Scale climbing walls at Inner Peaks. This is one of those Bachelor-worthy adventure dates dripping in metaphors about reaching new heights together. Plus, nothing says trust like anchoring the end of the rope that will catch your partner’s fall. First timer packages start at $28, including your day pass and equipment rental.
(2) Play all the games inside Pins Mechanical. First date? Married couple group date? Pins is the place to be. It has patio and arcade games that are free to play, duckpin bowling ($6/game/person), a rooftop with fire pits, 96 taps total, and $35 punches that serve four to six people.
(3) Learn to cook together at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen. Preparing a meal is a great way to test chemistry, but maybe you don’t want your roommate hovering around asking for leftovers. We present to you an upgraded off-site kitchen alternative. Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen offers group classes on everything from basic knife skills to sushi making. Classes are usually priced $65 to $85 and sell out fast so be sure to book well in advance.
(4) Explore the U.S. National Whitewater Center. It’s free to access the 1,300-acre facility ($6 to park) where you’ll find 40-plus miles of trails and regular live music and entertainment programming. If you want to participate in the adventure activities — including whitewater rafting, ziplining, and kayaking — buy a $59 day pass. (NOTE: February 16 is the last day ice skating will be open at the Whitewater Center, so lace up and glide into the Valentine’s Day spirit while you can.)
(5) Take a helicopter tour with Heliventures. Choose from Uptown, Lake Norman, Charlotte Motor Speedway, or a sunset tour. All 30-minute experiences are $299 for up to three people (but hey, pro tip: it should just be the two of you).
(6) Go hiking. Everyone claims hiking as an interest in their dating app bios. Put it to the test and see if they keep that same energy when you get to those steep stairs right before the summit at Crowders Mountain. Crowders is definitely your no-fail classic, convenient Charlotte hike but we’ve got more hiking suggestions if you want to mix it up.
(7) Visit a winery, like Veronét Vineyards. Nothing says romance like sitting under a blanket by a fire pit with a glass of wine in hand and views of rolling mountains in the distance. And Veronét is a short drive from Crowders if you want to start the day with a little more action.
(8) Show some Charlotte pride with a Checkers game. Even if you don’t care about sports, hockey games are still fun to see in person. Plus, the Checkers usually have cool promos, like $1 beer night, to sweeten the deal. The next home games are February 15 and 16, and tickets start at $18.
(9) Throw axes at Axe Club of America. Ah yes, the timeless tale of two young lovers hurling axes at a target to win each other’s praise and affection. It’s a fun, out-of-the-box activity where it’s unlikely either partner has previous experience so you can learn together. Hourly rates are $20 per person at its Plaza Midwood and LoSo locations.
(10) Indulge in table-side grilled meats at Let’s Meat. Pick your ingredients, and then a server will make your meal for you right at the table. It’s sort of like hibachi but without being forced to catch a shrimp in your mouth.
(11) Eat and drink your way through Optimist Hall. Order something from each of the food stalls (Perhaps a taco or two from Velvet Taco, mozzarella sticks from Papi Queso, and steamed buns from Bao and Broth) then head downstairs for beers at Fonta Flora Brewing or for margaritas and duckpin bowling at El Thrifty.
Dinner and drinks
No-fail combos for two-part dates when you’re not ready to go home yet
(12) Dot Dot Dot and Flour Shop. There will often be a wait at chef Trey Wilson’s intimate, no-reservations restaurant Flour Shop, but pros know to fill the down time with cocktails at Dot Dot Dot, a basement speakeasy in an old storage unit under Park Road Shopping Center. Both are located in the shopping center’s Back Lot. It sounds counterintuitive but you should aim for a bar seat at Flour Shop so you can catch all the pasta-making action up close in the wide open kitchen.
(13) Idlewild and Haberdish. Haberdish, one of NoDa’s hottest restaurants, has a renowned craft cocktail program of its own, but when you’re done with your Southern feast and ready to transition to a second destination, the place to be is definitely Idlewild, an intimate, members-only craft cocktail lounge where all the drinks are made custom to your preferences. Seriously, it doesn’t have a cocktail menu.
(14) RuRu’s and Stagioni. A historic Tuscan-inspired villa in Myers Park is home to two restaurants that make for a home run two-part date night. Start with margaritas on the gorgeous courtyard patio at RuRu’s before dinner reservations at Stagioni, a cozy Italian restaurant.
(15) Barcelona Wine Bar and Superica. Both restaurants are slammed at all hours so strategize your wait time with stops at both, or pick one and do drinks at the Design Center’s newest hot-spot Elsewhere beforehand. You’re doing Spanish-inspired tapas and wine at Barcelona and trendy Tex-Mex at Superica. Pick your poison.
(16) Dilworth Tasting Room and O-Ku. Kick off the night with wine and cheese on the enchanting patio at Dilworth Tasting Room with twinkling string lights and a fountain. From there, head down the street to O-Ku for Charlotte’s best sushi (order the Red Dragon Roll, $14).
(17) Hello, Sailor and Kindred. Fire up your Lyft app and commit to a long commute north for waterside tiki cocktails at Hello, Sailor followed by dinner reservations at Kindred, the No. 1 best restaurant in the region. It’s worth the drive (or ride if you’re drinking).
(18) The Bohemian and Soul Gastrolounge. The Bohemian has a resort-like vibe with vibrant patterns and reasonably priced wine by the glass ($6-$15). And you can never go wrong with small plates at the always fun and delicious Soul.
(19) The Crunkleton and The Stanley. This no-brainer combo on the corner of 7th and Pecan is the ultimate Elizabeth date night. Make a reservation at The Stanley, chef Paul Verica’s James Beard-nominated restaurant, and then cap off the night with an after-dinner drinks at The Crunkleton.
Entertainment for a crowd when you’re coupled up enough to double, triple, and quadruple date
(20) Act a fool in a private karaoke room at Seoul Food. They have four themed karaoke rooms (priced $30-$100/hour) that can accommodate seven to 30 people so you can hand select the audience you think will be most receptive to your rendition of No Diggity.
(21) Play board games and sip coffee (or wine) at The Hobbyist. This indoor date spot is made for couples who want to be back on the couch in sweats by 8 p.m. You can do a brunch date with coffee, croissants, and games or do a low-key beer and wine game night.
(23) Go REAL bowling at 10 Park Lanes. A retro classic. Nighttime lane rentals are $25-$35 per hour, plus $5 shoe rental per person (max six people per lane). Make it a classic Montford night out by hitting up Brazwells or Angry Ales, and ending with karaoke at Jeff’s Bucket Shop.
(24) Work on your golf swing. Top Golf bays in south Charlotte are priced $25-$47 per hour and can accommodate up to six people. Rates are half price every Tuesday. Top Golf Swing Suite in Uptown also has interactive simulators with 85 golf courses to choose from, plus soccer, baseball pitching, zombie dodgeball, carnival classics, hockey, and a quarterback challenge to spice things up. If you’re putt-putt people, check out Stroke in Plaza Midwood which has a nine-hole course.
These are for longtime couples celebrating milestones, or craving a spendy night out
(25) Spend a day at the spa at The Ritz-Carlton. The 80-minute couples massage is $390, and you’ll get access to the entire facility, including the Aqua Lounge, relaxation room, fitness center, and men’s and women’s Vitality Lounges with saunas, steam rooms, and a Himalayan salt room. Take a look inside.
(26) Experience the 5-course chef’s tasting at McNinch House. Charlotte’s only AAA Four Diamond restaurant is located in a historic Queen Anne style home in Fourth Ward. The romantic restaurant features three daily prix fixe menus priced $105 to $185 per person.
(27) Book a staycation at The Ballantyne. Start out with a couples massage (highly recommend the 50-minute Warming River Rock Massage, $130 per person) early in the day so you can use the spa facilities all day before checking in to you room. Head to romantic and underrated OGGI for dinner (get the meatballs) and head back to the hotel for drinks at the bar.
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