Best Local Date Ideas When It’s Cold AF Out
The weather outside is frightful, and for many, so is dating. When you combine never wanting to leave the house with the prospect of meeting someone new, it can be easy to swipe left and spend the night spooning a pillow watching a spectacular lineup of holiday cinema.
But how much do you actually know about dating during the winter? Dating app Hinge found men were 15 percent more likely to seek a female companion during the winter compared to other seasons, and Facebook data shows people often change their relationship status to “in a relationship” between October and February.
This may less coincidental, and more biological. A study from the University of Wroclaw in Poland revealed men find women’s bodies most attractive in the winter, even compared to bikini-clad summer. It is argued this is because our tendency to bundle up leaves more to the imagination. Other research shows testosterone production is seasonal, and spikes in the months leading up to winter.
This would explain “cuffing season,” the recent phenomenon which entered the millennial lexicon in 2011 courtesy of Urban Dictionary. The problem with this? Hibernal weather hinders both our enthusiasm to date and potential date ideas, too, since most outdoor options are off the table.
To conjure some worthwhile ideas, we spoke with a number of dating experts to share their favorite winter date ideas. Sure, a Lifetime Christmas marathon is great, but sharing that moment with someone you care about it is even better.
Drinks at a bar is a classic idea, but why not take things up a notch by treating your date to a trivia night? Based on the texts you’ve shared at this point, you likely have a grasp of their interests, so choose a thematic trivia that they would excel (think “Game of Thrones,” Harry Potter” and so on).
“This is a fun way to induce bonding with teamwork and laughter, all while getting to know your date in a casual atmosphere,” says dating and relationship coach Deanna Cobden. “You also get to see how quick-witted they may or may not be, insight into their hobbies and interests, and emotional intelligence by how they handle a little friendly competition.”
If you aren’t into trivia, you could also take advantage of ping pong or arcade games they might have for a similar experience.
Paint and Sip Night
“Studies show that doing something creative together increases the feeling of well-being in a relationship,” shares Cobden. To this point, she recommends a “paint and sip night” for a first date. You’re all given a canvas, some paint, some brushes and booze, then asked to recreate the same image as the instructor.
“Painting will give you this benefit while bypassing the monotony of the typical interview-style coffee date and see if there’s chemistry,” she adds. “Even if the date doesn’t turn out or even better if it does, you walk away with a fun story and a nice souvenir.”
Host a Cozy Night In
With Netflix and chill being for flings, if you want to show you care for somebody, you’re going to have to do better than that if you decide to stay in.
“Do you remember all those times in childhood where we had epic fun with the little things we made ourselves?” asks Mary J. Gibson, a dating and relationship expert at DatingXP. “Imagine how content you can be when you and your date do something together when it is freezing outside.”
For a memorable night in, she recommends traditional yet nostalgic activities that hug you like a warm blanket: making a chocolate fondue, building house forts and playing board games. “Plan something if there is a winner and the other person has to do something fun for the winner,” she adds. “You can surely spice things up!”
Go Ice Skating
If you’re up for braving the cold, embrace your athletic side with a little bit of ice skating.
“You may be clumsy and fall over a few times but that is OK,” says Gibson. “You can laugh over each other’s major embarrassments. Just have fun while you’re at it.”
Afterward, unlace those skates, grab a hot chocolate or coffee and watch others flail on the ice. This is the only season you can skate outdoors, so seize the opportunity and embrace those romantic vibes.
Attend a Cooking Class
Can’t cook? Here’s an opportunity to learn how.
“You’re doing something fun and proactive, and even if you don’t fancy your date, you can learn a new skill,” says dating expert and Lumen co-founder Charly Lester. “In my experience, dates work better when you’re side by side, rather than face-to-face because it feels less like an interview.”
Cooking is inherently cozy and a great way to express creativity by working as a team. At the very least, your creation makes for a good meal (or photo opp). If you went to get real optimistic, it might even be the recipe for love, too.
Visit a Museum or Art Gallery
For a more cultured experience, escort you date to the nearest art gallery or museum exhibit.
“Dating is a great opportunity to play tourist in your own town,” says Lumen. “And by doing something you want to do anyway you’re not wasting your time.”
It’s a far cry from a predictable movie date, and something that’s far more memorable, offers introspection and welcomes conversation.
Attempt to Survive an Escape Room
Escape rooms are everywhere these days. It’s a bolder choice, sure, but a lot of fun nonetheless. Some are even designed for two.
“It can be an amazing adventure and a real bonding experience,” says Lumen says, but warns that “as you bark orders at each other and panic in your quest to get out, you may not see your date’s best side!”
All things considered, better to get the bad parts out of the way early, right?
Dates With Alcohol
Nothing warms the body quite like a generous pour of alcohol and, assuming you and your date have a safe way home, there’s no harm indulging in a cocktail or two. If you have (or the alcohol provides) the confidence, take your date out dancing.
“There’s nothing sexier than dancing and getting your rhythm going together,” says Rori Sassoon, a relationship expert, author and co-founder of Platinum Poire. “Being able to dance and have fun around everyone is the foreplay so you can’t wait to be alone together.”