20 Fun Winter Date Ideas to Spark a Connection

Two people outside in the snow looking at each other lovingly
Temperatures are dropping, but that’s no excuse to hide under the covers and sip on hot cocoa by your lonesome until spring. If you’ve met a cutie recently and the conversation looks promising, we’ve got 20 of the best winter date ideas that will make the holidays your new favorite season.

1. Go for a hike

Take dating in winter to the next level by lacing up your hiking boots and hitting a local trail. Studies have shown that hiking is good for the body and mind because it builds muscle, contributes to healthy bones and joints, and relieves anxiety. We’d like to argue that hiking is also great for the heart. Choose a trail with relatively flat terrain, bring a warm drink (we recommend a little bourbon), and settle in for an afternoon of getting to know each other in the great outdoors.

2. Build a snowman

Couple building a snowman together on their winter date
Get your snowman gear ready and head to the neighborhood park for the classic winter date activity. Building a snowman takes surprisingly large amounts of teamwork and a whole lot of fun. Your only limit is your imagination.

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

Load your car with old-school snacks like Twizzlers, M&Ms, and popcorn, and head to the drive-in. A drive-in movie will feel more private and intimate than a crowded cinema, so you’ll be able to talk in between important scenes and get to know each other better. Hand-holding is highly recommended, and don’t forget to snuggle up so you both stay warm.

5. Visit a virtual museum

Take your date on a trip to some of the world’s best museums right from the comforts of your couch. Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2,500 museums all across the world to give everyone and anyone access to some of the most beautiful works of art in existence. Visit the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum, walk up Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase, and spend an afternoon in the company of Monet, Cézanne, and Gaugin in the Musée d’Orsay right on the banks of the Seine. The Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil’s first modern museum, has a great virtual tour of pieces dating back to the Italian renaissance. The Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City has 23 exhibit rooms filled with ancient Mayan artifacts.

6. Learn a new skill

A landmark study by Arthur Aron showed that couples who do new and exciting things together end up happier. Trust in the father of relationship psychology, and make a date out of classes on edX, a non-profit platform founded by MIT and Harvard graduates, or Coursera, Stanford’s reply to edX. If your date loves exploring new cities, consider learning a new language together. Masterclass offers every possible class imaginable with well-known celebrity teachers like Gordon Ramsey, Yo-yo Ma, and Natalie Portman.

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

Two girls cooking together
Bring five-star dining right into your kitchen by booking a meal kit and cooking dinner together. There are a few different services that offer delicious chef-designed recipes with perfectly portioned, responsibly sourced ingredients that will have you both whipping up a storm. Omsom, which was launched by two Vietnamese sisters in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, promises authentic Asian dishes that can be cooked within 30 minutes. Pair your meal with a bottle of bubbly (or a new red wine if a Cabernet is more your date’s thing) and you’re good to go.

9. Enjoy a craft cocktail

We might argue that some of the best dates start during happy hour. There are a ton of craft cocktail recipes available online and about as many classes if you prefer a little more direction. Learn the basics of cocktail making with a few YouTube videos or an easy-to-follow recipe book, or dive deep into the world of mixology with an online class. We guarantee the trip to the liquor store is a date unto itself. The best part? Even if neither of you has a knack for shaking and stirring, you both get to drink all the alcohol after anyways.

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

Channel your inner kid and challenge your date to a night of Skee-ball, arcade basketball, and air hockey. Healthy competition is always fun, and a good sense of humor is a known turn-on. Even if you end up losing every round of Pacman, all of the laughter and gentle ribbing will set the foundation for an excellent time.

12. Work out together

Whether you choose to do yoga or boxing, exercising together encourages mimicry, which is when we imitate another person’s movements or patterns. Research has shown that when partners mimic each other, they feel more attuned to each other’s needs, which establishes trust and rapport. Try a new fitness app or make your way to a studio, gym, or park near you for a sweaty bonding activity that’s perfect for the cold weather.

13. Go stargazing

A romantic tent set up under the stars in the night sky

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

Psychologist Arthur Aron and anthropologist Helen Fisher both found in their research that novelty is the key to long and lasting relationships. Novelty (both inside and outside the bedroom) can come in many forms and includes taking risks and trying new things. Winter is a great time to expand your horizons because the season offers so many activities that are only available at this time of year. Try skiing, sledding, ice skating, and even ice fishing. Exciting experiences encourage feelings of personal growth, which is a great foundation for new relationships. At the very least, you can both discover a new favorite pastime.

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

Couple walking around outside the 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

A Harvard study says that adrenaline plays a big part in building attraction. While indoor rock climbing might not be the easiest (or first) option as far as winter date ideas go, we’re pretty sure it’ll top the list of most fun dates ever. Indoor rock climbing is a great way to get a little heat going and is an excellent exercise in trust – after all, you do have to spot each other as you each make your way up the wall of your choice.

19. Carol

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

Couple playing video games together and flirting

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.

Patricia Ann Lee

Patricia Ann Lee

Patricia Lee is a writer from the Philippines, who appreciates a well-made laminated pastry. While she holds a day job as a physician, writing has always been her first love. She thinks of dating as a great exercise in communication.

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