Couple walking in park - date night

15 Terrific Date Night Ideas

Marriage Dynamics InstituteMarriage Health, Quality Time, Romance

We all know that date nights are a great way to reconnect, have fun, and keep the spark alive in a marriage. But let’s be honest—all too often, date night ends up being either a string of errands that you didn’t have time for during the week OR packing the kids off to Grandma’s for the night and binge-watching Netflix in your sweats.

While you can certainly enjoy a wonderful date night at home, it truly is worth it to set aside time and get out once in a while. Doing something out of the ordinary allows you to see your spouse a little differently than you do during the usual day-to-day routine. You may be surprised to see a side of them that you haven’t seen since your carefree dating years.

Of course, the old dinner-and-a-movie standby is always nice. But we’ve interviewed experts (otherwise known as our friends) and scoured the web to find some other great options for you.

15 Date Night Ideas:
Hit the Trail

If the weather is right, spending time outdoors together can be a fun date. Lace up your shoes, grab a bottle of water, and hike in a nearby park. If you need to cool down afterward, stop at your local ice cream shop for root beer floats.

Treasure Hunt

Take a Saturday morning and go thrift store/yard sale/flea market hopping with your spouse. If you’re at a large store or outdoor market, it can be fun to do a “treasure hunt.” Set a budget of $5-10 and a time limit (at least 15-20 minutes). Then, split up and search for a gift for your spouse.

You can pick something you think they would actually like, or (if you know it would make them laugh) find the weirdest gift you can to give them. When time is up, reconnect and show off your newfound “treasures,” then go somewhere for brunch or lunch.

BONUS: If you buy each other weird gifts, you’ll be all set for your next white elephant swap!

You’ve Got Game

Have a game night with your spouse. You can stay at home or throw a game or two in the car and head to a park or coffee shop with outdoor seating. Whether your passion is card games, Scattergories, backgammon, or Catan, a little lighthearted competition can be a lot of fun.


Spend an afternoon or evening remembering the early days of your relationship. You could revisit the spot where you met or where you got engaged, or simply recreate a date you had that you really enjoyed. As you reminisce, tell your spouse the qualities that you noticed – and loved – about them when you first started getting to know one another. A walk down memory lane is a great way to bond.

Do Unto Others

You can share a meaningful date night doing something for others. A few ideas are serving together at a soup kitchen, packing boxes to send to soldiers, or doing a 5K to support your favorite cause. Whatever you choose, you’ll have fun together and feel good about helping someone else!

Hit the Drive-in

Many towns still have drive-in theaters. If there is one near you, borrow a pickup truck and load it up with folding chairs, sleeping bags, pillows, and your favorite snacks. Sometimes it’s as much fun people-watching as it is watching the movie. Extra points if they are showing an old movie that you enjoyed together while you were dating.

Work It Out

Take an exercise class—just be sure it’s one you’ll both enjoy. Ladies, if your guy isn’t into Zumba or Pilates, maybe try kickboxing, boot camp, or spinning class instead. Afterward, cool off together with a smoothie, or take a dip in a pool.

Fashion Show

This is a fun one that we found on the Working Mother blog. Head to your local thrift store, split up, and pick out three outfits for each other—the more ridiculous, the better! Set a rule that the outfits must be tried on, and be sure to take photos.

For the truly daring: Each of you pick the outfit you like best on your spouse, then buy them. Ask one or two (equally crazy) couples to do the same, then all of you go out one evening wearing your unique attire. No matter where you decide to go, you’re sure to make some hilarious memories.

Hot Ticket

Surprise your spouse with tickets to a concert or other event that will thrill them. You can keep it a secret and reveal it the day of the date. Or—even more fun—set up a treasure hunt a few weeks ahead so that you can both enjoy the anticipation of the event.

Hide small gifts throughout the house and pick a really good hiding place for the tickets. Cut out strips of paper with clues to lead them to each destination in order. When they find a gift, they’ll find the next clue hidden with that gift, and the final stop will be the hiding place for the tickets.

Have a Ball

If you’ve never done so, try taking a few dance lessons together. Whether you learn swing, salsa, or another style, this is a skill that will bring you many years of enjoyment.

Be a Tourist

Spend a few hours pretending you are tourists in your city. Walk around downtown, visit a scenic overlook, or check out a museum, botanical gardens, or other local attractions. Bonus points if you walk up to strangers and ask them, “Are you from here? What’s the most fun thing to do in this city?”

Try Something New

It’s good for the brain to do something out of the ordinary once in a while. Buy a Groupon or Living Social deal and try something that you’ve never done together. Take an art class, go on a tour, visit a museum, ride horses, or play laser tag. You may just discover a favorite new date-night activity!

Luck of the Draw

This date night idea requires a little prep, but it’s worth it. Gather some envelopes and assign a category to each one (more on that later). Next, each spouse will think of several ideas for each category and write each idea on a small strip of paper—and don’t peek at what the other is writing! Each person should then put their paper strips into the corresponding envelopes. Before heading out for your date night, draw one strip from each envelope and read them to see what your plans will be. If you have limited time, only draw slips from the categories you’ll have time to complete.

Here are some possible categories, but feel free to create your own:

• Meal – This can be a restaurant, or you can write “picnic” and plan to grab a blanket, stop at the market on the way for supplies, and enjoy dining al fresco

• Sweet Treat or Beverage – Write a place where you’d like to grab dessert, coffee, or another favorite beverage

• Main activity – This would be something taking an hour or longer, such as a movie, mini golf, or something else

• Quick activity – For the Quick Activity, be creative! Here are some ideas to get you started:

-Find a private spot to smooch for a few minutes (or so)
-Take photos of each other (or selfies of you together) at the nearest interesting spot
-Hum your favorite song and slow dance together
-Tell each other your favorite moment(s) from the past 12 months
-Talk about a funny memory you’ve shared in the past (or something funny the kids or a pet did)

TIP: After you’ve drawn strips for each category, DON’T put them back in the envelopes. That way, you’ll have all-new choices for future dates!

DIY Date

This is a great date night idea for you handy/crafty types. Find a project you’ll enjoy working on together, like a raised garden bed, a mason jar chandelier, or this cool crate coffee table.

Feeling Festive

Find a festival you’ve never been to, and give it a try! You never know—it could become an annual tradition. Here are a few of the more unique ones we know of:

– The RC-Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, features a 10-mile run, clogging, a parade, and the World’s Largest Moon Pie.
– California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018. Festival favorites include garlic-laced fried calamari, garlic popcorn, and—for the truly courageous—garlic ice cream!
– The Duck Tape festival in Avon, Ohio, features a colorful duct tape-themed fashion show and an impressive parade of duct tape-covered floats.
– The Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw & Festival is … well, pretty much what it sounds like! Located in Prairie du Sac, the annual event features music, an arts & crafts fair, and the time-honored Cow Chip Throw. The current state record is 248 feet!

So, there you have it! We hope this list will give you some fun things to try or maybe spark some new ideas. If you have a great date night idea to add to our list, let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Marriage Dynamics Institute

Marriage Dynamics Institute (MDI) wants to cultivate healthy families, churches, and communities by helping create marriages full of joy, meaning, and purpose. Having served more than 75,000 couples since 1994, MDI offers workshops and seminars for marriages at every stage, including those in crisis.