As the weather gets colder and the nights get longer, it’s tempting to just stay inside and cuddle up with your partner under a warm blanket while watching a good movie. And while alone time is always nice (and necessary), don’t let the winter weather stop you from getting out with your special someone and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
“[Women] should make time for winter dates because it gives their partner a chance to show off his or her romantic side, more so than just walking down the beach on a summer day or having a picnic in the park during the spring. Winter dates scream romance!” says Tierra Fields of New Jersey.
As far as romantic winter dates go, Fields says nothing beats a good old -fashioned carriage ride. Some towns also offer festive trolley rides during the holidays, which is a nice way to see the sights while enjoying each other’s company.
Dating expert and founder of the match site Sitting In A Tree, Stacie Ikka says that there are many wintertime activities that can make for memorable dates and that couples should take full advantage of those opportunities.
“Any opportunity to date is a good opportunity to date, weather conditions notwithstanding,” she says. “If you’re using cold temperatures as a reason not to get out there, what other excuses are you making and what other self-imposed obstacles are you creating for reaching the love you so richly deserve?”
So if you and your partner are ready to get out of the house but still aren’t sure what to do, try one (or more…or all!) of Ikka’s 8 best suggestions for heart-warming winter dates.
Go ice skating
Even if you can’t make it to the famed Rockefeller Center to ice skate, hitting a local rink can be just as fun. Holding hands as you skate around the ice and then sharing a cup of hot chocolate to warm up afterwards makes for a nice afternoon or evening out.
Visit a gourmet coffee shop and order a personalized concoction for each other
“My boyfriend used to do this all the time and while it drove the baristas a little crazy, it was a simple adventure and indulgence for us,” Ikka said, recalling, “He would go up and order while I waited at a table or in the car, come back proudly holding a coffee cup, and I’d–on cue–ask, ‘So, what’d we get this time?’ I can only imagine it would be that much more fun with someone you don’t know as well.” As an added bonus, some coffee shops have nice fireplaces to snuggle up by while sipping your special drink. (Be sure to be mindful of personal preferences and allergies when ordering!)
Hit the hills on a tobogan or sled
If weather conditions permit, going sledding or tobogganing is the perfect way to establish physical contact without crossing too many personal boundaries. It is also great exercise, and it may take the damper out of an otherwise bleak winter afternoon. Plus, it is way more exciting than the typical “coffee date!”
Build a snowman
Sound silly? Consider that there’s something about reliving childhood activities that tends to conjure up feelings of nostalgia, comfort, playfulness, and warmth–all of which go a long way in alleviating dating fatigue or dread. If you find yourself having too much fun and don’t want the date to end, consider grabbing some soup afterwards to warm up and carry on some good conversation.
Visit a bakery and then spread some holiday cheer
My favorite date begins with stopping at your local bakery or coffee shop to purchase some hot chocolate and donuts to give away. Before doing so, set a reasonable budget (perhaps $20 between the two of you). Then step outside to whatever Winter Wonderland awaits you and share your goodies with strangers, the homeless, neighboring retailers, or whoever you know is in need. It’s a great way to observe your date’s social skills, and it’s a relatively selfless, pay-it-forward endeavor. This activity also takes some of the pressure and focus off of you and your date so you’re not stuck staring at each other across the table!
Assuming it’s a blustery winter day and going outside just isn’t an option, try picking out some new or unusual recipes and then make them together. There’s nothing like enjoying good comfort food on a cold winter’s night, and then snuggling up in front of a movie to digest.
Recreate your first (or pivotal) date, if you met during the winter
If your partner planned it the first time, perhaps you can plan it the second time. Be sure to add a few touches that demonstrate how the relationship has grown or how that first date was so instrumental in allowing the relationship to evolve.
Volunteer together at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
This activity not only allows you both to give back to your community, but you’re doing a good deed while getting to spend time with each other. It’s a win-win.
Keep in mind, this list just scratches the surface. There are endless possibilities when it comes to planning a winter date. Just don’t let them slip by!