If you’ve been on a few dates with someone at this point and are looking for something more active to do together, these are some suggestions I think are fun ways to spend time “doing” rather than having constant face-to-face over dinner. You’ll find my favorite outdoor, fitness-related, artsy, and music-focused adventures below.
18 Best Active + Artsy Date Ideas
Hike River Place Nature Trail – A 30-minute drive from downtown Austin, this hike is roughly 2,700 stairs. If you’re fit and want to see if your date can keep up with your adventurous spirit, drag them on this outing, and then bond over your soreness the next day.
Austin Bouldering Project – With locations on the east and south side of town, this climbing gym is a non-traditional way to get out of your head and into your body on a date! If you’re athletic or just open to experimenting, definitely try this out with a date. You’ll have a lot of fun bouldering and jumping off the manmade rocks, and find yourselves cheering each other on while you climb. Laying down in between climbs on the cushioned floor and getting to know each other while resting in between the workout is a fun way to shake up a date. Just be careful of that arm pump (where your forearms blow up from climbing) if you are new!
Mount Bonnell – You could call this a hike, but do NOT bring out your hiking boots. Mount Bonnell is a set of stairs that leads to one of the best views of Lake Austin. Throw on something comfortable and make your way up to watch the sunset with a glass of wine and some snacks at the top either on the rocks or at a little picnic table.
Carpenter’s Hall Turkey Club
Austin Bouldering Project
Sunday Chicken Scratch Bingo – The Longhorn Saloon on Burnet is an old spot with fun characters and live music. For $10 y’all can laugh with crossed fingers that your chicken leaves a scratch on your previously selected number. Roam around inside the dive bar for some drinks and enjoy the crowd.
Butler Pitch + Putt & Carpenters Hall – Golfer or not, Butler is a nine-hole putting course with freshly groomed grass and a burger truck. Bring your own clubs or rent when you arrive. There’s usually a wait at peak times, but their fridge full of beer and seltzers will keep you two company. I love the grassy area up top to just sit and hang anyway! After a round, walk over to Carpenters Hall at Carpenter Hotel for brunch. I like to order the Turkey Club or one of their seasonal salad bowls. The inside wooden benches offer a fun vibe with big windows overlooking the patio with heaps of sunshine bolting through creating a perfect day date.
Butler Pitch & Putt
Generator Athlete Lab
Night Swim at Barton Springs or Commons Ford – Most people think of dinner and drinks for dates, but why not have a cold swim to change things up? Both of these places are beautiful after dark, and it’s a fun non-drinking activity for an alternative (also helps you fall asleep when the night is over, ha!) The grass at Commons Ford is a great spot to picnic–so bring a blanket, wine (if you want), cards, and cheese to chat over before you jump in! Make sure you at least go to Barton Springs once in your life on full moon eve tow howl along and cackle with the Austin hippie community. It’s an unmatched experience.
Zilker Botanical Gardens – Not a lot of locals know about this activity. Pay the $5 to escape downtown Austin and enjoy the nature path and blooms right next to Zilker Park and Mopac.
Generator Athlete Lab – I suggest doing this with someone you have been seeing for a while. It’s an up-close and personal infrared sauna experience for about 30 min, and then you’ll do three cold plunge rounds together after ( I went with a gal pal but love this as a date idea). This is a fun time for asking questions and doing something healthy for your body. Usually, dates involve a lot of eating and drinking, so I say use this as a way to recover together after a wild weekend.
Free Thursdays at Laguna Gloria or Blanton – Laguna Gloria has an outdoor sculpture park that is beautiful for a walk-through on a nice day and right across the street from Mount Bonnell. On your home, grab pizza and wine at Flo’s Wine Bar & Bottle Shop. The Blanton has the only free-standing building Ellsworth Kelly has designed and it’s fun to walk in the little building and see how all the rainbow windows hit the light. I also always enjoy perusing Blanton’s gift shop and have bought really cool pastels there.
See a show at Magic’s Theater – This theater is out by Jester King (you could grab some beer + pizza here and then catch your show), and though I haven’t been, I have heard great things! It’s always fun driving through the Hill Country and having a close night out of the city.
Or a show at Bass Concert Hall – Go see a Broadway or comedy show here. Some examples of shows that have been here are Aladdin, Jerry Seinfeld, Trevor Noah, and Hairspray.
Comedy Show – I don’t know about you, but a sense of humor is important to me when going on a date. If you want to make sure they are funny and can handle a (sometimes) uncomfortable setting, these are some top Comedy Clubs in Austin:
- Downtown: Fallout Comedy
- East side: East Austin Comedy Club
- Domain: Capital City Comedy Club
- East Sixth: Comedy Mothership (Joe Rogan’s)
Sahara Lounge – Bring a date here for Africa Night on Saturdays where they feature a free food buffet, African music, and fun instruments. This east side spot is my favorite weekend dance party in Austin, and it pushes you to listen to music outside the typical bar playlist. I would want to dance and show off this crowd to my date if they have never been!
Drinks at Hotel San Jose – A jungle oasis tucked in one of the only quiet corners of South Congress, Hotel San Jose is known for their Frosé and celebrity sighting. Afterwards, walk over to Continental Club or C Boys for live music.
Speakeasy – This is another spot on South Congress closer to the capital to grab a drink and hear some live music. The Spazmatics are my favorite 80s cover band that wear neck braces, glasses, capes, and crazy outfits. You’ll end up singing every song along with them on Wednesday nights. ZooDust is a 90s band that also regularly plays on certain Fridays of the month where you can sing your heart out.
Tuesday Jazz at Half Step on Rainey – I went on a date here specifically to see jazz and blues singer Mac Mcintosh perform his Tuesday night residency which is every week from 9:30 p.m.- 11:30 p.m. While I would never normally go to Rainey St., the crowd is dressed to the nines ready to dance and watching the whole takeover of this audience this late on a Tuesday is jaw dropping. Everyone is a pro and is welcome in this cool community. Mac who I believe is in his 80s has a cracking good voice and heart of gold. Get some style in here and then end the night with a greasy burger at NADC Burger in the back of Idle Hands.
Hotel San Jose
Some other favorite music venues of mine that always feature up and coming acts as well as popular musicians everyone loves: