Many of us barely have the Christmas decorations put away before the Valentine’s Day push begins. By now, shops are lined with flowers, balloons, and other heart-shaped romantic reminders that we still haven’t made our Valentine’s Day plans – or just that we’re long overdue for a date night. Fortunately, Richmond is at its heart (pun intended), a romantic city. We have countless restaurants, city walks, parks, museums, and cozy corners perfect for creating a romantic evening out. And honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of these options when planning a special Valentine’s Day outing. However, sometimes we want something a little different. So today, we’re offering some unique date ideas here in Richmond that will add a little twist to a traditional date night on Valentine’s Day or any time of the year.
The simple truth is that date night matters. Setting aside time for your partner without kids, work, and the usual chaos of family life helps to keep you in sync with one another and your relationship as a whole. And naturally, unique date ideas are something we all look for – especially when you’ve been with your partner for a long time. After all, even the happiest of couples needs to spice things up every now and then. But coming up with new fun and affordable ideas can be tough.
Most of us can agree, the key to a good date night isn’t just the setting, but the experience it provides. So when it came to looking for unique date night options here in Richmond we looked for locations that provided the following:
- A chance to interact as a couple (i.e., more than just sitting across from one another at a dining room table)
- A location/experience that’s available year-round, not just on Valentine’s Day
- Affordable options
The following five unique date night ideas more than met our requirements. Best of all, they offer a range of options to suit nearly any couple – from those that want a more upscale, romantic experience to those that just want to get out and have some good old-fashioned fun.
Take a look at our favorite unique date night ideas for the Richmond area, and if you’re still looking for Valentine’s Day options or inspiration, be sure to check out our lists of Romantic Things to do in Richmond, Best Date Ideas in Richmond and Beyond, and of course, Best Romantic Restaurants in Richmond.
5. Try a Couple’s “Escape”
There was a time when a “couple’s escape” would have meant a Caribbean getaway and cocktails on the beach. These days, we’re lucky to “escape” for a few hours away from the kids. That’s why we love escape rooms for a unique date night. Escape rooms have become all the rage, not just in Richmond, but nearly everywhere. These interactive, live puzzle games require communication, teamwork and problem solving that will give you and your partner a chance to finally solve a mystery other than “which kid put a toaster waffle in the dog’s water bowl.” Together, you and your partner will enter a single room where you will need to find clues and solve riddles in order to “escape.” Most escape rooms provide a one-hour time limit, making this an easy way to enjoy some quality time together – and still have time to grab dinner before relieving the babysitter.
Most escape rooms have a two person minimum (usually around $25/person) but allow for up to six or even ten people, so you can make it an experience for just the two of you – or grab some friends and make it fun couples’ night out.
Best of all, there are escape rooms all over the Greater Richmond area, so even if you don’t live in the city, there are options near you. Here are some of the escape rooms located in the Greater Richmond area:
Address: 9109 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23235
Phone: (804) 480-1211
Address: 104 N Sycamore Street, Petersburg, VA 23803
Phone: (804) 203-5434
Address: 7025 Three Chopt Road, Richmond, VA 23226 (at The Village Shopping Center)
Phone: (800) 282-3169
Address: 9200 Stony Point Pkwy #108, Richmond, VA 23235
Phone: (800) 769-1415
Address: 889 Research Road, Richmond, VA 23236 (located inside Laser Quest near Chesterfield Towne Center)
Phone: (804) 378-0400
Address: 11001 Midlothian Tnpk, Richmond, VA 23235
Phone: (804) 517-8693
Address: 108 Robinson St, Ashland, VA 23005
Phone: (804) 752-1081
Address: 1404 N Parham Rd, Richmond, VA 23229 (located at Regency Mall)
Phone: (804) 608-9689
Address: 8047 W Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23294
Phone: (804) 325-3250
Address: 3504 Mayland Court, Henrico, VA 23233
Phone: (804) 747-1086
Address: 2720 Decatur St, Richmond, VA 23224
Phone: (800) 282-3169
You’ll find that whenever we make a list of great date nights or romantic spots for couples, we almost always include Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). In fact, this amazing museum tends to show up on many of our “best of” lists. But it’s easy to see why. When it comes to a unique date night, this world-class art museum offers a chance to add a little culture and romance back into your lives. After all, not only is VMFA an elegant architectural masterpiece in its own right, it also houses one of the best collections of fine art, sculpture, and special exhibitions found anywhere, including one of the world’s largest Faberge egg collections. Best of all, admission is always free.
Make your night special with a stroll through the outdoor Sculpture Garden, view and discuss the expansive art displays, then perhaps, end your evening with a delightful dinner at Amuse, the museum’s exclusive fine dining restaurant. Also, keep in mind that this Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a Friday which means you and your special someone can drop in for Friday Art & Wine, featuring happy hour specials, extended museum hours, and free guided tours. Each week features something different, so it’s perfect any time of year.
Museum Hours: Daily, 10am – 5pm; Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday until 9pm
Amuse Restaurant Hours: Daily, 11:30am – 4:30pm; Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday until 8:30pm
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
200 N. Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia 23220
Bowling may seem like a rather passé suggestion. After all, bowling is what you do with the kids on a rainy Saturday, right? Well, River City Roll has taken bowling to the next level – specifically, unique date night level. This boutique bowling alley (who knew that was even a thing?) elevates bowling with elegantly casual decor, 20 lanes for bowling, complimentary tabletop shuffle board and skee-ball, and live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Not only can you and your partner enjoy some friendly competition (lanes are $35/hour on Friday and Saturday nights and shoe rentals are $4.50), but you can also enjoy a gourmet dinner as soon as your game is done. Far from the hot dogs and pitchers of beer you might expect at a bowling alley, River City Roll offers a full-menu of delicious, restaurant quality seasonal food and beverages, including fine wine, craft beer, and specialty cocktails. And as we mentioned, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays feature live music, so be sure to check their calendar and start planning your date night now.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 3pm – 11pm; Friday, 3pm – 1am; Saturday, 11am – 1am; Sunday, 11am – 11pm. Family hours are until 7pm daily, after 7pm, 21+ only.
Contact: Call (804) 331-0416 or request a lane reservation here.
River City Roll
939 Myers St, Richmond, VA 23230
No one wants to play games in a relationship – unless those games happen to be good old fashioned video arcade games at The Circuit Arcade Bar. The Circuit is Richmond’s first dedicated retro and modern arcade bar featuring a funky, old school vibe complemented by ultra-modern amenities. At this Scott’s Addition gem, you’ll find 80+ retro and modern video games, sporting games, skeeball, Dance Dance Revolution, and 16 new and vintage pinball machines. Needless to say, there’s more than enough to create a little friendly competition between partners and keep even the most avid gamer happy.
While you play, be sure to take advantage of the state-of-the-art, self-serve tap wall featuring 50 rotating local and national craft beers, ciders, and wines – all of which pour by the ounce so you can create your own self-guided “tasting” before picking a favorite. Finally, need a snack? Simply place an order on any of the self-serve order screens located through the venue, and you’ll be served fresh, seasonal light snacks in no time.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 5pm – 11pm; Friday, 4pm – 1am; Saturday, 1pm – 1am; Sunday, 1pm – 10pm. Family Hours are until 9pm, Sunday-Thursday and until 7pm, Friday and Saturday. After Family Hours, admission is 21+ only.
The Circuit Arcade Bar
3121 W Leigh St., Richmond, VA 23230
In our humble opinion, when it comes to unique date night ideas, it doesn’t get much better than Hotel Greene’s fully-immersive “time travel” experience. But add in, as they call it, some “high-falutin’ mini-golf” and you’ve got a date night for the record books.
This new mini-golf/restaurant/bar opened in July 2019 at the former John Marshall Hotel, which lends itself well to the venue’s fictional backstory of a once grand hotel, now fallen on hard times. Once you enter the lobby, you’ll be transported to the year 1932 as evidenced by the vintage details on the bellhop uniforms, the lingering elegance of the velvet sofas, and the faded but majestic decor.
And then there’s the mini-golf. After teeing off in the lobby (rounds are $15/person), you’ll follow the course throughout the “hotel” as if you were headed to your fictional room. You’ll wind your way through the spa, down the hallways, and past a bank of elevators (which now serves as a shot station – and yes, we mean shots of liquor). All the while, roaming servers are ready to take your drink orders and deliver them to you on the “green.” To further enhance the immersive nature of the experience, you’ll find visual and video art installations along the course, telling the hotel’s mysterious and unsettling story of decline.
And of course, either after your game or while you wait to tee off, don’t miss a chance to settle in the lobby where you can choose from sofas, tables, or seats at the bar to enjoy cocktails, wine, beer, and authentic period-inspired food.
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday, 5pm – 11pm; Thursday, 11pm – 11pm; Friday, 11am – 12pm; Saturday, 10am – 12am; Sunday, 10am – 11pm. After 5pm, admission is 21+ only.
508 East Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23219