Whether it’s a first date or much needed night out with your significant other, one of the most common complaints I hear amongst couples is “What to do on a Friday/Saturday that doesn’t involve a bar?” But what do you do when you don’t want to spend $40+ bucks at the movies (wowzas…that was a first in a long while for us this past weekend).
Creativity is the key here, folks. My parents have had a date night every Friday night since before I was born. And they have 8 kids. Maybe it’s because of this that I believe that time together is the most important part of “date night.” But, I understand, date night should be fun. So, where do you go? What do you do?
Food is always the first thing that comes to mind. I am usually pretty mindful of the fact that it’s date night day and I try to eat accordingly for breakfast and lunch because I want to actually be hungry. Below are my recommendations in order of price range (ranging from most expensive to least expensive):
- Downstairs at the Loft– Great atmosphere, incredible food. The chef is a former Hunter’s Pub chef.
- The Fish Market– Great atmosphere, great food. The acoustics are not ideal and it can be hard to hear at times, but still top of the list.
- Black Cow-Now open for dinner, this yummy restaurant is owned by the same folks who gave us Hunter’s Pub.
- Cafe Amici-Quiet and secluded, the atmosphere is perfect for good conversation and the food is the most authentic Italian food in the area.
- Osakas-Looking for good sushi? Osakas is located in the Landings and is my favorite place for good sushi and sake.
- Thai House-Yes, I choose Thai House over Chili Thai. Also in the Landings.
- Chef Lee’s-Chicken Fried rice is never a bad option and we all know Chef Lee’s is the best. (Although, I have to admit that we LOVE the little hole in the wall spots like the one on Manchester Expressway).
- Deorios-Looking for a good, hometown spot? Deorios has been around forever and is a great spot for pizza and other yummy, carby dishes.
- Mark’s City Grill-Located on Old Moon Road right by the gas station and Knology. Sounds charming, I know, but these are the same folks who own Hunter’s Pub and Brown Cow.
And then there’s what to do after. This is where things can get tricky. But you can’t over think it. What do you enjoy doing? Reading? Watching movies? Putt-putt? Music? Art? Peruse Barnes and Noble, and if the actual movies are too expensive or just plain boring, check out the library and the museum, both of which have art films on a regular basis. The $1 movie theater also has a screening room which shows movies that otherwise would never make it to Columbus. Hollywood Connections-I know, every grownup’s worst nightmare, has putt-putt. Most of the time, on a putt-putt course, you have your general area to yourself. Still good for date time. Downtown has free concert series on a regular basis-winter being the only time when there really isn’t anything going on. And there is a great new shop downtown on Broad called Brushes and Beverages. Great couples thing to do.
Night Owls will love No Shame, a product of the Springer Opera House. Every Friday night at 10PM, you can see some of Columbus’ most talented and least fearless folks perform their original pieces for only $5. Must be 18 or older. I.D. has to be shown at the door.
Too much to plan an “event” afterwards and want to get out of the city limits? The drive can be the best time for good conversation. Try the following places in no particular order:
- Hunter’s Pub-Located just off GA Highway 219 (706.628.5992). Great atmosphere. Best steak in the world.
- Hamilton’s– Located on the corner of Gay and Magnolia in Auburn, low light’s, a great wine list, and delicious seared tuna make Hamilton’s a new favorite.
- Oscars– This little gem is hidden right outside of Warm Springs on the South side. It’s almost as if there are two different restaurants in the same building. One side is quiet and quaint, while the other side has a bar and karaoke.
- Luke’s-Another gem hidden away in Cataula, Georgia, a mere 20 minutes from Columbus. Entertainment on the weekends and more good steak.
Date night doesn’t have to be a huge production. And it doesn’t have to be something that you put a whole lot of thought into. In fact, it’s better when it’s effortless. Which is probably the reason we have big city envy when it comes time to plan that date night. But Columbus does have options and it is possible to have a good date night in our hometown. You just have to be on the lookout for fun and creative ideas.
At any rate, date night is not about what you do, it’s who you do it with. I can’t count how many times I have asked my mom what she and Dad did on their date and she has replied “Dinner at (insert eating spot here) and Home Depot.” It’s all about quality time. I can admit that is not ideal for a first date-in fact, it might scare potential long-term relationships away if you start picking out paint colors and choosing appliances too early in the game. But, again, think quality time, not production. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. It costs nothing to pick up a couple or books or magazines and read for a bit in the Cafe at B&N.
Planning a date night? Tell me what you did or are going to do!