Data shows there’s a propensity to seek out a partner in the cooler months – otherwise known as a phenomenon called “cuffing season.” And really, there’s no better way to make someone want to stick it out through the dreary gray days of winter with you than to plan some incredibly cool dates for them.
The days of “Netflix and Chill” are over, to be frank. After being cooped inside during the pandemic, and the rise of online dating fatigue, going out on physical dates is more important (and fun) than ever. Your taste in movies could be attractive, sure, but people are seeking out things to do, not just see.
We won’t tell anyone you got these date ideas from us.
Trying something new together has never tasted so good. Wander around Tensuke Market, an Asian grocery store, together and pick out some unique snacks and sake to enjoy when you get back home to watch a movie together (you can still Netflix & Chill during cuffing season, of course – just make sure you’re going on dates, too). When you’ve worked up an appetite, walk over to Tensuke Express, their adjacent Japanese restaurant, and try their ramen and other authentic Japanese dishes. Then, finish off with some matcha ice cream next door at Belle’s Bread.
But not just your average bowling date. Sequoia Lanes, at 5501 Sandalwood Blvd, still looks preserved from the 1960’s, and the ambiance is immaculate. They also serve excellent pizza and cheap pitchers of beer. Personally, I find bowling to be the perfect way to connect with each other – there’s no time to be distracted on your phone, and some competition can be flirty and fun.
Martini & Movie
Grab happy hour at The Avenue (impress your date with a dirty martini, made with a filthy house brine) and then walk over to the independent movie theater, Grandview Theater and Drafthouse, for a cool film together. Grandview Theater also serves pizza and drinks to keep the night going, and there are tables right in the theater.
Maybe you’re both over the monotonous “dinner and drinks” date night. Instead, you could opt for what I think is the coolest way to spend a Saturday night: a dance party, called Candy Rain, which takes place the 3rd Saturday of every month at The Oracle. The DJ’s spin 90’s to early 2000’s hip hop and r&b, on vinyl only, and it’s the perfect excuse to deepen your intimacy together and dance the night away.
Wine Down Together
Try some of the trendiest orange wines together at one of Lawbird Supply House’s 5 for $5 wine tastings on Tuesday nights. You could even split some chips and caviar there! It’s one of Columbus’ best kept secrets, in my opinion.
The Columbus Museum of Art is one of the most beautiful places to get to know another person. Walk through the exhibits and ask about your interpretations of intriguing artwork – it’s a unique way to understand someone at a deeper level. The CMOA is free on Sundays, too! So not only is it a cool date, but a cheap date. Grab coffee before or after at The Roosevelt Coffeehouse down the street, where they play vinyl records and offer plenty of seating.
Over The Top
Transport back to the 1950’s in a dark, swanky steakhouse hidden on the East Side, called The Top. The dimly-lit, wood paneled dining room with leather booths, little table lamps at every table, and a cozy fireplace just oozes romance, in a way, but the bar area is where it’s really at, with globe lamps and a piano right in front of you. It’s unlike any other restaurant in Columbus, and sitting at the bar splitting a drink and fries sounds simple, but in a setting like this, it’s anything but.
Plant Some Roots
On the first Sunday of every month, the Franklin Park Conservatory offers a “free day,” where Franklin County residents can access the gardens and exhibits for no cost at all. Take an afternoon stroll together through tropical escapes, then afterwards, drive down the street to split some pizza at a vintage pizzeria, Rubinos, complete with red checkered curtains and old neon signs.
Plan a Lil Getaway
If you’re not quite ready to take a vacation together, the next best thing is probably a trip to Getaway Brewing, designed to make you feel like you’re going on vacation. They offer “destination” themed drinks, and even airplane window cutouts that make it seem like you’re flying off together.
Jam out to Jazz
Every Sunday, Parable After Dark hosts a jazz night, where they dim the lights, light some candles, and host a full jazz band for some sultry tunes. Their cozy fall cocktail menu compliments the live music perfectly. Maybe a Sunday date night isn’t necessarily your thing, but jazz is? Ginger Rabbit is an underground jazz bar in the Short North, and it’s extremely romantic, with the low lighting and plush pink chairs. They’re open most days of the week.
Good luck this cuffing season!
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