As an Austin Professional Matchmaker and founder of Something More, I have set up over 3000 dates over the past 9 years. My experience has shown that the typical dinner date doesn’t go over well with the relaxed and quirky vibe Austin is known for. Therefore I am constantly searching for unique Austin date ideas that will create romance and help you get to know someone in another light besides just candlelight! Doing an activity on a date is a great way to ease the pressure, and it lets someone see a cool, fun side of you that may not come across in a stuffy restaurant.
Plus, if you’ve been together for a while, trying something new could reignite those flames. According to numerous scientific studies, novel experiences can flood the brain with dopamine and norepinephrine, the same chemicals that are released when you first fall in love.
A lot of my recommended date ideas in Austin are based around physical activities. People here don’t let 100 degree summer days stop them from taking a run or going on a long bike ride. In fact, besides being the musical capital of the world, Austin is known for being a super fit city. Its not quite LA, but there’s a juice bar on every corner and every third person you meet is a yoga, Barre, or Soul Cycle instructor. As further evidence of Austinites commitment to physical fitness, Austin is constantly ranked as one of the most bike friendly cities. In addition Austin boasts a massive parks system, which spans more than 29,000 acres. With a never-ending list of things to do, a booming job market, and some of the friendliest people in the country, it’s no surprise that 100 people move to Austin every day.
1. Score a Hole In One
Get silly on a date with mini-golf, the king of non-sports. Relax, have fun, hit a ball through a windmill, and have some laughs. Enjoy drinks and upscale golfing in your own private bay at Top Golf Austin, or go for a nostalgic experience at Peter Pan Mini-Golf.
2. The Sky’s the Limit
Sometimes you just need to get above it all, and what better way to do so than with a romantic helicopter tour of downtown Austin? There’s a reason people on dating shows are always being shoved into helicopters together; the sweeping views of sunset and skyline, combined with the thrill of being reminded of your own mortality, really gets the heart pumping.
3. Death Becomes Her
One of Austin’s most unique tour experiences, Haunted ATX offers Austin’s only mobile Haunted tour. Travel in an authentic Cadillac hearse that has been converted into a spooky limousine and explore downtown Austin’s landmarks as you learn the real history of the destinations and the murder mysteries behind Austin’s ghost stories. What better reason to hold her hand than when she gets spooked by the scary sounds and sights! Learn more about Haunted ATX here.
4. Take a Hike
Covert Park at Mt Bonnell is known as one of the most romantic places in Austin as evidenced by the number of wedding proposals that happen here every year. Start off by climbing the 100 steps until you reach the top of the mountain. It may be steep, but the views are so worth it. These views have attracted tourists since the 1850s, and it’s easy to see why. Spend an afternoon at one of the nearby picnic tables and enjoy your lunch amongst your beautiful surroundings.
5. Don’t Panic
Want to see how your date deals with problems on the very first date? Try an escape room, an enclosed space where you and your partner have to escape within the hour. During the challenge, you’ll have to solve puzzles and unlock clues to break free. What’s more, you’ll be too busy navigating through the activity to worry about first-date jitters. Austin Escape Room
6. Make His Heart Race
Here’s an example of one of the most exhilarating Austin date ideas. Austin is home of the only Formula One track in America so naturally a racing date is a must Just like mini golf and bowling, go-kart racing is a light activity that’s bound to be enjoyable for you and your date. Plus, you can always introduce a little incentive into the race — for example, something like “Whoever wins gets to pick our next date activity. K1Speed is definitely one of the most exhilarating Austin date ideas in town.
7. Trivial Pursuit
This is probably best suited for a third date, when you’ve come to terms with introducing your weird friends to your date. Geeks Who Drink are all over town, all week; find a spot near you and seal the deal with your team’s vast knowledge of fictional planets. Shout-out to Qo’noS!
8. Get Starry Eyed
We all know the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. This state has some seriously dark skies and very few activities are more romantic than finding a quiet, starry spot, laying out a blanket, and admiring the night sky with your beloved. If you’re willing to put your phones away and focus just on each other, you might even have one of the best talks you’ve ever had in your relationship. Get ideas on where to find the perfect spot check here: Comprehensive guide to Austin area stargazing.
9. Skate on a Date?
You might fall, you might be off balance, and you might look a little silly. But you know what? That’s endearing. Be willing to fall, since then your date has to help you up. How else would you get to hold hands so quickly? Roller skaters—if your date is game, dress up 70s style. Playland Skate has adult night every Tuesday.
10. Paddles Up
Town Lake is one of the best day date ideas Austin has to offer. It offers activities that run across the romantic spectrum. Just getting to know someone? Opt for your own stand up paddle boards. A few dates in, maybe try a kayak for two. And once you and your partner in dating crime have gotten to the place where it’s okay to be a little silly, grab a swan boat and peddle around the lake like the love birds you really are.
11. Got An Axe to Grind?
Try axe throwing! This high-intensity sport has been gaining popularity over the last couple of years, loved for its quirky mix of danger and fun. With an open mind and the right chemistry, you can have a blast on your first date — and even blow off some steam if you’ve had a long, trying day. Urban Axes Austin
Channel your inner senior citizen with a rousing game of bingo at one of Austin’s bingo halls. There’s B-12 Bingo (South), Lucky Lady Bingo (Central) and Big Star Bingo (North) — just make sure you sit in the non-smoking room. BYOB is acceptable as long as it’s accompanied by good behavior.
13. A Bicycle Built for Two
Rent and ride a tandem bike together around Zilker Park. It scores highly on the dorky scale but these kinds of dates are always the easiest to laugh about. Have you ever seen two people trying to sync up getting onto a tandem bike? There is a 99% chance that it looked awkward. That’s why this is a great idea for a date. It’s slightly awkward at the beginning, filled with laughter and then ends with you syncing up perfectly. And in the end, isn’t that the way that every successful date goes? Barton Springs Bike Rentals
14. Be a Pinball Wizard
Pinballz is famous for its vast collection of classic pinball machines and new-school arcade games. Win game tickets and hook your date up with something from the prize shop. A spider ring? A handful of Tootsie Rolls? The sky’s the limit. Pro tip: you can BYOB; the catch is, they must be brought in one at a time.
15. I Love Rock n Roll
Just how much do you trust your significant other? You can find out easily by pursuing indoor or outdoor rock climbing together through one of Austin’s three amazing climbing gyms: North Austin Rock Gym (NARG), Crux Climbing Center, and Austin Bouldering Project (ABP). Climbing high while knowing that your love literally has your life in their hands will absolutely expose your current level of faith in them and build more of it when they keep you safe.
16. Come On, Let’s Twist Again!
Bust out those dance moves you remember seeing in Hairspray (you can admit it). On the Second Sunday of every month, The White Horse hosts Second Sunday Sock Hop, where records are played and the dance floor becomes a time machine. Well, not an actual time machine. You get it. It starts at 9pm; dress for the occasion!
17. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Nothing loosens up first date tension like a good laugh. So if you appreciate a great sense of humor, this idea will have you and your date in stitches! Going to a comedy show is a perfect way to break the ice and share a laugh with your new match.
If you want to take it a step further, improv games are hilarious and sometimes require audience participation. You and your new beau can show off your own set of skills. Austin’s beloved Hideout Theater has open jam sessions every Wednesday no experience necessary! And its FREE so you can spoil your date after the show with a nightcap toasting your amazing acting skills!”
18. Game, Set, Match
Spin is a ping pong enthusiast’s dream. There are 14 tables that come with bottomless ping pong baskets full of balls. While you are playing, sip on craft cocktails, and nibble on yummy appetizers like flatbread pizzas made to order. In the middle of Spin is the center court table, where the club’s professional players will take up shop for Friday night tournaments. Those pros will roam the club helping people with techniques and lessons.
19. Zippity Do Da
Did you know that Austin is home to the longest and fastest zipline in Texas? Stretching more than 2,800 feet long, their biggest line, the “Grand Finale,” starts 20 stories up and speeds patrons over a section of Lake Travis. And they even offer “Night Flights” during full moons — omg! Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
20. Let’s Get Crafty
For those who like to drink and make things, Upstairs Circus will provide hours of fun in downtown Austin. The name refers to the brain, and the purpose of the shop is to inspire creativity while offering cocktails. The project options range from making bracelets to art to leather clutches, and project assistants are available to help. If space is available, guests are welcome to visit the bar (which has games and adult coloring books) without project reservations.
So there you have it, some of the best Austin date ideas to help you reach your dating and interpersonal goals. Get out there, get moving, do something different, and, most of all, have fun! Get those endorphins flowing, get your adrenaline pumping, and show your date that you’re into more than just another cheese plate and bottle of wine.