You’re probably looking at this article about great date ideas and trying to remember when dates were more than just numbers on a calendar reminding you of the kids’ next soccer game. With work and kids and crazy schedules, getting out of the house for a night on the town with just you and your partner can seem about as likely as finding a unicorn in your backyard. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still make the effort. Experts (and parents everywhere) agree that time alone as a couple is essential to keeping your relationship—and your sanity—on track.
Of course, once you manage to find a babysitter, you’re still left with the critical decision of what to do with all of that free time? The good news is that Richmond is filled with fun things to do as a couple. The bad news is that there are just so many choices. Well, don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve put together the best date ideas around.
You may remember that we’ve offered great date ideas in the past, including dinner at the Lemaire Restaurant at The Jefferson Hotel, local food tours, cooking classes, dinner and a movie in Carytown, and a night out at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Well, we’re back with another five ideas that will add a little spice to your night and a little romance to your relationship.
When we selected our five favorite date ideas, we made sure that each place offered:
- Easy planning
- Reasonable prices or pricing options
- A unique setting or activity
Each of our romantic options offers a chance to try something new (or rediscover something you used to love before kids came along), enjoy some proper “grown-up” time and, best of all, spend quality time with your partner.
Take a look at our five favorite date ideas for 2018 and if you’ve got any great date ideas of your own, be sure to share them with us! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your favorite places to go on a date in the Greater Richmond area.
5. SPEND A NIGHT UNDER THE STARS
Goochland Drive-In Theater
It used to be that drive-in theaters were as common as regular theaters—and snuggling up on the bench seat of your dad’s car was about as romantic as you could get. These days, drive-ins are hard to find. That’s why we consider ourselves lucky to have the Goochland Drive-In Theater just north of Richmond. This classic drive-in shows double features most Friday and Saturday nights, with extra days thrown in for special events. You’ll find everything from new releases to old-time classics. And while you can’t bring your own snacks or drinks, the full-service concession stand offers a wide array of affordable treats and snacks, including a gluten-free menu. With double features priced at $8.50 per person, you can make the night as romantic as you want it to be, without spending a fortune.
Why we think this would make a great date: Today’s movie theaters are great with their extra comfy chairs and stadium seating. Many even offer elaborate menus and beer or wine. But, there’s something special about returning to a drive-in. Whether it’s memories of your own childhood or you’ve heard enough stories from your parents about their own dates to the drive-in, there’s a special nostalgia surrounding these outdoor theaters. Bring chairs to sit out under the stars, sit in your car, or pop the back of your SUV and snuggle up under a blanket—the choice is yours.
Location and Contact:
4344 Old Fredericksburg Road
Hadensville, VA 23067
Visit Goochland Drive-In Theater on Facebook to see upcoming shows and events.
4. SHOOT SOME POOL
Greenleaf’s Pool Room, Kitchen, and Bar
Pool halls used to be a standard in every city, big and small. Locals would gather to shoot pool over drinks and shared stories. Of course, when we think of pool halls today, we tend to picture smoky bars with cheap beer and dingy wood paneling. Fortunately, the folks at Greenleaf’s Pool Room have brought back the old-fashioned pool hall, minus the outdated stereotype. Located in downtown Richmond, Greenleaf’s offers an upscale urban take on the classic pool hall, featuring 12 regulation Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables surrounded by seating for spectators, as well as separate dining and bar areas. Play time is available by the hour, and a full-service kitchen serves up old-fashioned luncheonette favorites with a modern twist, along with local craft beer and timeless cocktails. Attached to the historic Hotel John Marshall, Greenleaf’s promises to change your mind about pool halls—and make sure you have a good time in the process.
Why we think this would make a great date: Often, by the time we manage to schedule a sitter, reschedule when she cancels last minute because she has a date, then finally make it out of the house, we’re too tired to be creative. Dinner at the local burger joint is exciting enough as long as it means an entire meal without kids demanding something every three minutes. But, still…different is good. Greenleaf’s provides the perfect space to do something a little different while keeping it easy. Even if you’re not a pool aficionado, it can be fun to try something new. You and your partner can even sign up for lessons if you’re looking to add a new skillset…or just want to plan another date. Either way, Greenleaf’s will keep the fun alive with pool, dinner, and drinks, all in one easy location.
3. DO A LITTLE TASTING
James River Cellars Winery
There are parts of Virginia where you can’t throw a grape without hitting a winery. And Richmond is fortunate to be within an hour or two’s drive from several of those regions. However, if you’re looking for delicious wine in a beautiful setting, you don’t have to go as far as you might think. Located in Glen Allen, James River Cellars Winery is the Richmond area’s oldest winery, offering daily tastings, special events, and a picturesque setting to top it off—three elements that, in our minds, make for the perfect date. While James River Cellars Winery doesn’t offer late evening hours or restaurant options, they make up for it with delicious wine and ongoing events that offer food, fun, and romance aplenty.
Why we think this would make a great date: Even if you’re not a big wine drinker, spending a day at the winery with someone you love is pretty darn close to a perfect date. At James River Cellars Winery, you can stroll the beautiful grounds, pack a picnic, or sit outside on a beautiful day and listen to live music. With ongoing special events every weekend and happy hours throughout the week, the winery makes a perfect getaway early on a weeknight or for the entire afternoon on the weekends. Be sure to check out their events calendar to find an event that you and your partner can enjoy together, then get ready for a little romance—not to mention some really great wine.
2. TAKE IN A SHOW
Altria Theater and Dominion Arts Center
Sure, it would be nice to spend a weekend in New York City to catch a Broadway show. Or head to San Francisco for a night at the symphony. But, even at the best of times, these can be far-fetched dreams. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel any farther than downtown Richmond to experience either. The Altria Theater is one of the city’s oldest and most iconic buildings. Formerly known as The Mosque, then The Landmark Theater, the Altria Theater has been the city’s premier venue for performing arts since 1927. Today, you can attend Broadway plays from the Broadway in Richmond Series, see famous musicians and bands, or catch national tours. At the nearby Dominion Arts Center, three venues (the Carpenter Center, the Gottwald Playhouse, and Rhythm Hall) offer world-class performances from the Richmond Ballet, the Richmond Symphony, the Virginia Opera, and many other fine arts companies, alongside lighter comedic and dramatic performances.
Why we think this would make a great date: Dinner and a movie is one thing. And sure, those things make for a great date. But the theater…well, that just takes things up a notch. We simply adore the thought of being able to dress up (a little or a lot) and see world-class performances in grand, historic theaters—without having to travel any farther than downtown. Tickets may cost a bit more than a matinee at your local movie theater, but most shows offer tiered pricing. And sure, you might have to plan a bit more to get to the shows you want, but boy, oh boy, is it worth it. This is what we like to call a “splurge date,” especially if you add in a romantic dinner and/or drinks before or after the show. But hey, life is too short not to live it up every now and then. So, if you’re looking for a truly special night out, then the Altria Theater and the Dominion Arts Center have just what you’re looking for.
1. GO FOR A WALK…OR A CRUISE
The Riverfront Canal Walk
The Riverfront Canal walk cover 1 ¼ miles along the banks of the James River and the Kanawha and Haxall Canals in downtown Richmond. But what you might not know is that a stroll down this beautifully paved path will also lead you through 400 years of the city’s history. Lined with historical markers, statues, and sites, the Canal Walk offers an ideal place to take a romantic walk, discuss history or current events, stop for a drink or bite to eat at one of the many nearby restaurants, and most importantly, just spend time with your partner any time of day or night. If you’re looking for a cheap night out, you can spend hours just walking the trail. Or for only $8 per adult (April through November), book a river canal cruise and learn the city’s history from the water.
Why we think this would make a great date: The diversity of the Canal Walk makes it a surefire date night (or day!) winner in our books. The walk not only offers the chance to get out and enjoy the warmer weather, but it provides a myriad of sights and sounds, from delightfully eerie tunnels, to open plazas like Box Brown Plaza which highlights the story of Henry “Box” Brown, a 19th century slave who worked in the tobacco warehouses along the river before he famously mailed himself to freedom. And with restaurants and bars lining the streets along the walk, it’s easy to stop for a romantic meal along the way. Plus, be sure to check out Venture Richmond’s calendar of events to see what’s happening along the Canal Walk in the coming weeks. Then, plan your date accordingly, making it as exciting or as laid back as you want.
Location and Contact:
Learn more at Venture Richmond’s Canal Walk page or access the walk directly from nearly every block between 5th and 17th streets, with handicapped-accessible entrances at 5th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th streets.
For more great ideas, tips, locations, and activities in Richmond, be sure to visit our Best of Richmond series!