Seven Great New Year’s Dates

Looking for alternatives to that traditional midnight kiss and champagne toast this New Year’s Eve? Here are seven ways to celebrate that don’t involve bars, restaurants or nightclubs.

By Laura Schaefer

t’s easy to understand why New Year’s Eve has gotten the reputation amongst bartenders and waiters as amateur night. Along with St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a special time of year when practically everyone and his or her brother is trying to get into a restaurant or bar, only to pay double the
I’m a big fan of turning dates into fun activities.
usual prices. There has to be a better way to have an enjoyable and fun New Year’s, right? Of course there is! We asked the experts to help us out with this problem, and they came up with a bevy of great ideas for a memorable New Year’s date that are anything but clichéd. Whether you’re a partier or a fitness buff, we’ve got a fresh plan for some memorable New Year’s romance. Read on…

Great Date #1: Have a gourmet meal prepared in your home
“Beat the crowds and the chilly weather and hire in a professional chef to cook a gourmet meal for two,” suggests Sarah Pease, owner and creative director of Brilliant Event Planning based in New York City. “For a little extra interactive touch, ask the chef to include a cooking lesson so you can both participate in crafting the dinner. Ring in the New Year feeling by pampered and enjoying the romance of a private dinner served in your own home.”

Great Date #2: Take a midnight run with your fellow fitness buffs
Look for a formal group run in your city, or put one together yourself for a moonlit jog (just be sure your chosen route is ice-free. “I’m a big fan of turning dates into fun activities,” says Jonathan Ages, CEO and founder of Blood, Sweat & Cheers. “One of my favorite ways to ring in the New Year is to skip the expensive parties and long bar lines in favor of a fun and social jog around New York City’s Central Park. Every year an organization puts one on, and it makes for a fun, active and social way to kick off the year. You get to see the awesome fireworks, wake up without a hangover and know you’ve kept at least one of your resolutions already,” says Ages.

Great Date #3: Head out on the road for parts unknown
“Pack up a bag without knowing where you’re going and just start heading in one direction,” suggests relationship expert and “love architect” Kailen Rosenberg, star of Lovetown, USA on the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. “You are creating a unique and brand-new memory — one that you will look back on in the years to come. Bring your favorite music, sing out loud together, play car games… even stop on the way at roadside attractions. This experience will help you bond and bring you together. It’s a great activity to do with another person as you end one year and enter into another.”

Great Date #4: Get away from it all and bask in nature’s glory
“My best New Year’s happened three years ago,” says Marissa Anwar, an operations director in Toronto, Ontario. “We went up to the cottage with my boyfriend’s guitar, enough food to last us three days and some fireworks. It was cheap,
Sometimes, you just want to party like a rock star…
fun, un-crowded — and most of all, memorable.” Brianna Wolbers, a librarian from Wisconsin, agrees with this tactic: “My husband and I went stargazing on New Year’s once; there was something going on with the moon that year. Anyway, we grabbed some blankets and binoculars and went driving in the countryside until we found a good spot. It was fun and memorable to do something nerdy.”

Great Date #5: Mobilize a traveling party plan by bus
Sometimes, you just want to party like a rock star… and what better time could there be than New Year’s Eve? “Organize a group of friends willing to rent a party bus,” suggests Pease. “Stock it with bottles of champagne and other easy-to-mix cocktails (to reduce spilling), put on some wild music, and then direct your driver to cruise around the most picturesque areas near where you live while you enjoy your own mobile party. This is a great way to bar-hop with others without the danger of anyone drinking and driving.”

Great Date #6: Go skiing or sledding at midnight
“The shift in atmosphere or temperature stimulates the brain and its neurotransmitters,” says Rosenberg. “Have hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps on hand, and at midnight, throw on your warmest boots, put a big blanket around you two, feel the cold wind on your faces, and give your date an awesome kiss,” she advises.

Great Date #7: Embark on a mini-adventure trip for two
This one will take a little planning, but a mini-vacation can make your New Year’s extra memorable. “My girlfriend and I have been taking little adventures on New Year’s,” says Apollo Lee, a blogger, composer and web developer in Silicon Valley. “The year before last, we’d only been dating for a little less than two months, so we wandered down to Solvang, CA, which is a pretty little Danish town near Santa Barbara. This coming New Year’s, we’re flying to Seattle, renting a car, taking the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia, then taking another ferry into Vancouver on New Year’s Eve. We aim to do a new adventure trip each year. For years, I started off the New Year in clubs with a disco ball overhead. While that’s been fun, I like the idea of starting the year out fresh with an adventure nowadays. It flavors the entire rest of my year.”

Laura Schaefer is the author of Why We Fall Out of Love and Planet Explorers New York City: A Travel Guide for Kids.
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