10 fun date ideas that cultivate communication … and aren’t just dinner out

February 01, 2024 | Amanda Cramer

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I often find that people have great ideas but struggle to execute them and then feel a sense of disappointment. Sometimes, we can use the thought process of good, better, best to help us plan a date. Maybe the ideal date is too complicated to plan, tickets are sold out so you have to battle the after-market sales process, or you would prefer to have a weekend away but need help with childcare. The best or perfect date night isn’t always an option. This is your permission slip to choose the “good enough” option.

Using your mindfulness skills and tapping into your self awareness can help ensure you have a more enjoyable experience. If you or your partner struggles with environments packed with people, a concert might not work. If being in small spaces is a struggle, an escape room might not be the best choice. If you were artsy as kids, a craft kit from Amazon might be a good option. Keep in mind your own preferences and needs as you consider the following ideas:

1. Ice Skating Under the Stars

Bundle up and hit the local outdoor ice skating rink. Skating hand-in-hand under the night sky can be both romantic and a great way to embrace the winter weather. The UNMC Outdoor Ice Rink is open through Feb. 11 and open til 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

2. Cozy Indoor Picnic

Create a cozy indoor picnic with blankets, pillows, and a spread of your favorite snacks. Pick a selection of your favorite movies or play board games to make it a relaxing and intimate night at home. You can scale this exercise to be grand or realistic. Some people may delight in rose petals, twinkle lights, and a brand-new board game. For others, it’s ok to keep it simple. If you and your spouse are exhausted from work or rearing littles, it’s ok to opt for a frozen pizza, a pint of ice cream, and a deck of cards.

3. The Great Outdoors and Hot Cocoa

Bundle up in warm layers, lace up your boots, and embark on a winter hike through a scenic trail. Bring along a thermos of hot cocoa to enjoy at a picturesque spot. If you would prefer to be indoors, the Mahoney State Park and the Fontenelle Forest have some indoor activities as well.

4. DIY Craft Night

Choose a craft that you both can enjoy indoors. Whether it’s painting, pottery, or making holiday decorations, a DIY craft night allows you to express your creativity together. If crafting isn’t your thing, maybe try a 300-piece puzzle or a new Lego set geared toward adults.

5. Indoor Rock Climbing

Escape the cold by heading to an indoor rock climbing gym. It’s a fun and active date that allows you to challenge yourselves while staying warm.

6. Visit a Local Brewery, Winery, or Coffee House

Explore local breweries or wineries that offer tastings. Many places have cozy atmospheres, and it’s a great way to discover new favorites together. If you don’t drink, a few local coffee shops offer coffee flights. Tasting something new together can be a great way to connect and communicate over a low-pressure topic.

7. Attend a Live Performance

Check out local theaters or performance venues for live shows, such as plays, concerts, or comedy acts. The arts can add a touch of sophistication to your date night. Sure, Ticketmaster-type sites are available, but also check out Facebook events for ideas. You can sort by date to find something that works for your schedule.

8. Bookstore Scavenger Hunt

Visit a bookstore together and create a scavenger hunt for each other. Ask your partner to select three books for you that meet a certain genre. After 15 minutes or so, share your options with your partner and take some more time together to make your final selections.

9. Escape Room Challenge

Challenge yourself to an exciting and intellectually stimulating experience by working together to solve puzzles and unravel mysteries in an escape room. Omaha has a few escape rooms, including near the Aksarben area.

10. Cooking Class for Two

Transform your date night into a memorable culinary experience by attending a cooking class together. Discover a new recipe and enjoy the results at the end of the class. If you can’t find a cooking class in the community, check out meal subscription box options that you can make together at home.

It’s helpful to remember the key to having a successful date night is to intentionally choose activities that provide opportunities for meaningful connection and shared experiences. If you’re embracing the winter weather or seeking warmth indoors, the ideas listed offer a range of options for creating a memorable date. It’s ok to scale or adapt any of the ideas to best fit you and your partner.

Amanda Cramer, LICSW, MPH, is an integrative therapist at Omaha Integrative Care. She loves the beach and spending time with her husband, two kiddos, and two pups. 

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