Seven Great Dates For Icy Weather

Baby, it’s cold outside… but your love life doesn’t have to look so bleak! Try these seven dates to keep your love fires stoked all winter long.

By Theo Pauline Nestor

et’s face it: it’s way easier to think of fun dates when it’s warm outside. A picnic in the park, a walk on the beach — dates just make themselves happen in the summer. But don’t let winter put a chill on your love life. The best dates are the ones when you have a blast and get a little closer. And there are plenty of ways to do that in the winter, whether you stay cozy inside or pull on a few extra layers and head out into the frosty air. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Visit the aquarium, planetarium, or even the zoo.
The aquarium can be a romantic setting, especially if you go in the relatively quiet evening hours. The luminous tanks of fish and the darkened rooms evoke a magical feeling and are sure to inspire conversations about past or future trips to tropical
This hot trend from the 70s is making a big comeback.
settings or even childhood field trips to the aquarium. Similarly, if your city has a planetarium, take a date there one evening and check out the stars. Reclining back in those comfy seats and gazing into the night sky, you might even think for a moment that the two of you are lying in a grassy field on a summer’s night. The zoo might not immediately leap to mind as a fun winter activity, but the romance here comes from heading out all bundled up (thermos of tea in tow, of course) on a snowy day when no one is there. Again, magical.

2. Whip up some fondue.
This hot trend from the 70s is making a big comeback, and what a creative way to share an evening with your date — or invite a few friends over to join in the dipping fun! Make a meal of it by cutting up pieces of crusty French bread or your favorite veggies and dipping them in the melted cheese of your choice. Or skip dessert at the restaurant and head back to your place for chocolate fondue. Put your date to work slicing up your favorite fruit (strawberries or bananas, anyone?) while you prep the melted chocolate — half the fun comes from making the treat together.

3. Throw a game night.
Find out your date’s favorite childhood game (Scrabble? Life? Clue? Monopoly?) and build a great evening in around it (you can probably save yourself a trip to the store by just asking around: most of us have a few games stashed in the cupboard we’re happy to lend out). Build a cozy spot on the living room floor with throw pillows and blankets, whip up some hot chocolate and you’re all set. Got a fireplace? Why not make some indoor s’mores or get some Jiffy Pop and fire up a fun snack of fresh popcorn?

4. Hit the rink.
Think outside the box next Friday night and take your date skating. Search for skating in your area and you’re sure to find an ice- or roller-skating rink not too far from you. What a fun way to spend
Bundle up and go for an old fashioned horse-drawn carriage ride together.
an evening! Most rinks play great nostalgic music from the 80s and 90s. This way, you do feel like you’re getting “away from it all” when you’re spinning around the rink with your new flame singing along to The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

5. Bowl a few rounds.
The thing about bowling is just about everyone can bowl — and it doesn’t really matter if you’re not very good. So what if you throw a few balls down the gutter? Get a bite to eat first (you don’t want to risk being distracted from the game) at your favorite local restaurant, then head over to the lanes for a few hours of old-fashioned fun.

6. Embrace the cold and play outside together!
And at some point, you just might want to go for it and, gulp, go outside! C’mon, it’s not that bad. Throw on some warm clothes, pull on a pair of gloves and go play in the snow together. Build a snowman, make snow angels, go sledding, snowshoeing (it’s easy to rent snowshoes in most locations, by the way), or just take a romantic walk along the beach or lake. Looking for something a little more upscale? Bundle up and go for an old fashioned horse-drawn carriage ride together. The best part will be coming back inside to warm up afterward. Hot chocolate, a roaring fire, cuddling — or all of the above.

7. Cut a rug.
Can’t dance? How about you and your date take a Sunday afternoon or Friday night dance class together? OK, admittedly, it can be a bit scary at first to go out of your comfort zone, but it’s usually outside our comfort zones that we have the most fun and let our guard down. And that is how we get to know each other, right? East Coast Swing, waltzing, line dancing, the Tango, the Lindy, Salsa — just think of the possibilities!

Theo Pauline Nestor is a regular contributor to Happen magazine and the author of How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over.
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