1. Go for a hike
2. Build a snowman
3. Netflix and chill
Spend the night tucked under the comforting embrace of a weighted blanket, get some popcorn on the stove, and settle in for a night at the movies. This November, Netflix is airing, among others, Halle Berry’s directorial debut, Passing; the MMA drama, Bruised, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick…Boom! New seasons of Tiger King, Narcos: Mexico, and the Jonas Brothers are also on the lineup, as well as older classics like Moneyball and Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula.
4. Catch a drive-in movie
5. Visit a virtual museum
6. Learn a new skill
7. Attend a virtual concert or theater performance
Many local theaters are finally turning their lights back on after a year of closures, but if your local venues are still playing a little safe, you can choose to catch a show entirely online. Choose between the Tony award-winning musical Hamilton, which is available on Disney+, or Diana: The Musical, which can be viewed on Netflix. The Metropolitan Opera has over 750 full-length performances available on its website.
8. Play chef
9. Enjoy a craft cocktail
10. Play sommelier
What’s the difference between a pinot gris and a pinot grigio? Jump into the world of wine and find out together. You might be able to find a restaurant that hosts wine tastings or take a tour of a local winery. If neither of those is an option, you can even do it virtually from home! There are plenty of wine classes being offered online. Masterclass offers an 11-part crash course with James Suckling, one of the “world’s most powerful wine critics”. Coursera has a free 4-week program with UC Davis that promises to grow your wine vocabulary. When you’re done, visit your local liquor shop, grab a few different bottles of wine, and throw a DIY wine tasting in your apartment.
11. Go to the arcade
12. Work out together
13. Go stargazing
Don’t let the weather scare you from one of the best cheap winter dates ideas out there: stargazing. Stargazing is great any time of the year, but winter skies are the clearest, which makes stars seem brighter during this season. The trick to stargazing in the middle of winter is to layer properly. It’s also a great excuse to snuggle under a shared blanket. The NASA app has great tips on star clusters and where to see them, or try the Skyview app, which provides detailed information on possibly every star, planet, and satellite in the sky. Stay on the lookout for shooting stars, like the Leonids and Geminids, which occur more often during winter too!
14. Try a new winter sport
15. Visit a holiday market
Shopping might usually rank low as a first date activity, but Christmas markets are the one exception. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that has an amazing holiday market, then you’re in for a treat. Otherwise, hit up your community farmers’ or flea markets, which are bound to offer some season-appropriate offerings as the holidays near. Be on the lookout for any craft fairs opening up or nearby towns and cities holding hidden markets.
16. Play tourist in your own city
No matter where you live or how long you’ve lived there, chances are there are still a few must-see places on your bucket list that you have yet to cross out. Spend a day playing tourist. Ride a double-decker bus, check out the local landmarks, and get tickets to the museum you’ve been reserving for your long-lost cousin’s next visit. Seeing an old city with new eyes is a surefire way to get your endorphins going and an excellent winter date idea. We strongly suggest going for a Christmas carriage ride to end the night on a beautiful romantic note.
17. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Soup kitchens get notoriously busy as the temperatures drop, and what better way to spend your Saturday than volunteering at your local kitchen. Performing acts of kindness release feel-good chemicals from the brain’s reward center, and doing good deeds together amplifies this state, which fosters closeness and affection. It’s also a great way to see whether your date shares the same values as you, especially if community work and volunteering are things you consider important. Romance aside, we guarantee it will feel really good to make a difference in someone’s life, if only for a day.
18. Try indoor rock climbing
There is no better way to fall headfirst into the season than by singing Christmas carols. Find a local group or set up your own with a few close friends. Even if neither of you can carry a tune, the good cheer should be enough to have you fa la la la-ing in love. And if singing for strangers isn’t your thing, Christmas karaoke is a great (if not better) alternative. You can even host a karaoke night at home with a mobile app or a YouTube singalong.
20. Challenge each other to a video game
We’ve saved the best for last. Bring out your Switches and PS5s for possibly the best winter date idea on the planet. Whether you go for a classic night of Mario Kart or a more challenging evening over Overcooked, video game date night is an excellent choice for a first date. Let go and have fun, make sure to have a lot of snacks and drinks on hand, and remember to win and lose graciously. Not into video games? Board games are a great option too! And for a more intimate alternative, “We’re Not Really Strangers” is a purpose-driven card game that fosters “empowering meaningful connections”.
While planning the perfect date can be challenging, especially given the frightful winter weather conditions, sometimes the fun is in the process. Let your partner in on the scheming, which is also a great way to find out what they like and don’t like. Whichever date you end up going on, we genuinely hope it is the first of many. And if you get caught up in decision paralysis and end up going with dinner-and-a-movie, the best winter date idea is still the one where both of you have the most fun together.