When winter comes, you can catch me when I am at my best in the coziest, most pleasant and cold weather. I fly through knitting projects, read all the books and make the most warming soups for every meal. But even though I love dedicating all weekends and weekday nights to personal growth and deepening the relationship I have with myself, it does not leave much time for dating. In an attempt to put myself out there more this year and start 2022 as my boldest, most unapologetically adapted I – in other words, I am committed to changing things. I pull away from my favorite place (the couch) and seek out connection, spontaneity and the eternally elusive spark. Whether you are single like me or in a long term relationship, I have gathered the best winter dating ideas for anyone whose love life could use a little shake this season.
Do you need an idea for an upcoming first-time IRL date? Or maybe you’ve been with your partner for years and you’d rather fall asleep at 8pm than go out again for dinner and drinks. Wherever you are across the spectrum of relationship status, it’s easy to fall back on our proven options. Especially in the winter, when the weather and shorter days seem to narrow our options, it can be hard to come up with something fun and exciting to do together.
Here’s the truth: Honestly, sometimes I just do not have the energy for everything that goes into dating. Dating, as we have traditionally known it, can feel like a task. There’s so much production going on in the exchange of messages back and forth and the countless changes of clothes in search of the perfect outfit (okay, I actually like that part). Well, I’m here to tell you (and convince myself) that dating can and should be fun. A little planning and time spent on brainstorming is worth the effort.
Dates allow you to open up and share yourself with another person. And when you try something a little out of the ordinary, you can grow closer by connecting across the shared experience.
So let’s get to the fun already! Here are 19 winter date ideas that offer something for everyone. Get active, get creative, and get ready for the sparks to explode.
feature image af wynn myers
Read on for all the winter date ideas your season needs.
Make a new meal. If you have been a couple for a while or live together, you may have a few good recipes that you make on repetition. Shake and spice things up (literally) by opening a new cookbook or searching the internet for a dish you’ve always wanted to try. And no worries if the meal does not turn into anything – it is to make it together that is the best part.
Embark on a project. Do you have a big homework assignment that you plan to cross off? Take it together! While it may not seem like the most romantic evening, you will both get a sense of accomplishment by looking through a project. Bonus points if you end the evening with pizza and wine – because you both deserve to be rewarded for all your hard work.
Pretend the power is out. You do not have to wait for a winter storm to make this date happen. Turn the clock back about a hundred years and kill the lights. Put on your nicest rugs, light a few candles, and order well in advance. It is the perfect intimate setting for an evening of conscious conversation.
Make breakfast for dinner. While scallops or pasta are certainly a romantic dish I would never miss, there is something comforting in nature by mixing waffle dough or turning pancakes side by side by the stove. Make it even more special by adding mimosas or bloody marys to your menu.
Build a fort. Remember the scene in The holidays when Cameron Diaz crawls into the fort of Jude Law’s daughters? I certainly do, and from the first time I saw that movie, I made a pact with myself that I would make a fort with a special one in the future. Grab blankets, pillows and whatever other fixtures you have, and turn your living room into your own secret hiding place.
Howl in front of the fire. Is there anything better than zoning out and snuggling in front of the fireplace? There’s a reason Netflix has three hour long specials dedicated to just that.
Marathon your favorite feel-good movie. If you’re like me, it’s a summary of all the best Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers movies, but your partner may have different tastes. Choose a movie each and watch, laugh or cry away. Oh, and do not forget snacks.
Give back. You know that volunteering feels good to do on your own or even with a group of friends, but it can be a particularly strong attachment point for you and your date. The “helper mound” is a real phenomenon, and giving back is a good way to establish closeness and get in a good mood together.
Visit a museum. Or a gallery, an exhibition – anything that gets you out of the house and immersed in a new medium, art movement or subject. Looking at art or diving into a new topic can inspire a thought-provoking conversation and help you learn more about how the other person thinks and sees the world.
Plan a trip. Is there anything better than dreaming big together? While winter may not be the best time to take a break, planning for the future and mapping a vacation can create excitement and anticipation for the coming months. Choose a place you’ve always wanted to explore, find hotels, create a Pinterest inspo board, and even check flights. Sometimes the best part of a trip can be the planning itself.
Learn a new skill. There is such a thing as deliberate screen time. Choose a project or hobby that you both wanted to try, or agree on a skill that you each want to master. Websites like Skillshare, edX, Coursera and even Harvard University offer a wide range of online courses. There is nothing like connecting over a shared love of learning.
Listen to a lecture. One of the benefits of life moves more and more online is that cultural centers, bookstores and even universities offer eye-opening virtual lectures and readings. New York City’s 92Y has a wealth of online events to choose from, and you can check out sites like Open Culture and Edukatico for even more options. If you’re worried about having something to talk about, this should do the trick.
Play in the snow. Whether it’s sleigh rides, snowshoeing, skiing or building a snowman, just getting outside and enjoying the white, soft things will fill you both with childlike joy.
Walk to the beach. I’m not kidding. While some people may think that the beach is only for the months between May and September, there is something about walking along the water together that is meditative, healing and of course romantic. If it’s not too cold, remember to bring a picnic and a thermos of hot cocoa.
Take a hike. Like going for a walk, but on a whole new level. Explore local trails in your area, or plan a larger hike out into nature. You get a good workout, have plenty of time to talk and get to enjoy some seriously breathtaking scenery all the way.
Explore a little green area. Spend some time in a garden, park or any public space in your town or city with sights to see. You can book tickets in a botanical garden or search for flowers within the season that are at their most vibrant in the winter. Some may even be open in the evenings, providing the perfect mood lighting.
Try to climb. Reach new heights as a couple, and book time at your local climbing gym. Not only is mountain climbing a great workout, but it is also mentally challenging, giving a completely unique first, third or who-knows-what number we are on date.
Work out together. I am serious. As we all know, training comes with lots of benefits in addition to the physical gains a good workout can give you. Endorphins are definitely real and being warmed up together can be a good precursor to, well, you know …
Take a dance class. Who does not love a good dance party? While you are welcome to book a class at a studio, you can also create a sesh at home with permission from YouTube. Slide the sofa to the side and clear out some space to get your groove on.