14 cute, Covid-safe winter date ideas for when you can’t sit in the house anymore

14 cute, Covid-safe winter date ideas for when you can’t sit in the house anymore
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This story is proudly presented by Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery. The husband and wife team behind Criswell & Criswell, Drs. Bryan and Kara Criswell, go together like a mug of hot cocoa and a string of twinkling holiday lights – perfectly. Here’s to a season filled with even more perfect pairings.

It’s safe to say that date night looks a lot different this year. Thanks, Covid.

While at-home dates can be cozy and fun, sometimes you want to put on real pants and safely enjoy a change of scenery with your boo.

Here are some cute, Covid-approved winter date night ideas to get you out of the house and into the holiday spirit.

(1) Glide into the romantic spirit at the Whitewater Center

Lace up and pretend you’re a kid again. Skate your way around 17,000-square-feet of ice, and when you get tired of falling, head over to the Airstream for some hot chocolate, or a beer.

And don’t forget to peruse the not-so-typical light display. The half-mile walking trail features nature-inspired, immersive light installations by Charlotte artist Meredith Connelly.

Perfect for: Romantics who want to feel like a kid again

Details: Check the daily activity schedule for ice skating hours. $20 for a single activity pass, $6 parking. The ice rink and light trail are open through February 16.

Agenda related guide: Ice skating open at the Whitewater Center — plus a half-mile illuminated walking trail

ice skating whitewater center charlotte

(2) Catch a drive-in movie at Camp North End

On select Thursdays, Camp North End transforms into the perfect spot to catch a drive-in movie. Upcoming showings include Little Women on Dec. 10 (I can confirm this is a great one) and the holiday classic Elf on Dec. 17.

Perfect for: Cinephiles

Details: Capacity is limited to 60 cars to keep everyone safe. Tickets are $30 per car. Proceeds benefit service organizations in the North End community, like Crisis Assistance Ministries and Second Harvest Food Bank.

camp north end by night

(3)  Eat your way through Taste of the Season at Carowinds

Fill up on your favorite holiday delicacies at this outdoor food festival. You’ll find dozens of treats to choose from, plus seasonal shows, holiday decor, and shopping.

Perfect for: Festive foodies

Details: Capacity at the event is limited and tickets are required. Grab yours now. Take advantage of the admission, tasting, and parking bundle for $39.99.

carowinds taste of the season courtesy

Courtesy of Carowinds.

(4) Pack a picnic for Rosie’s Wine Garden in Optimist Park

With string lights overhead and tables scattered throughout the intimate garden, this places oozes winter romance. Bundle up and pack a picnic, then grab a drink (or a hot chocolate!) from the bar. Expect to pay between $7-$14 for a glass of wine and $4-$7 for a beer. You’ve got yourself a dreamy date night under $15.

Perfect for: Budget-conscious romantics

Details: Hours are 4-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. It’s free to hang out at the garden.

Full Agenda guide: You can stroll through McGill Rose Garden with wine in hand

christmas decorations at mcgill rose garden

(5) Order one of everything at Optimist Hall

It’s a classic couple debate. Neither of you can decide what you want to eat, so you debate in circles until you get frustrated and end up eating at the same place you always go to. Break the cycle when you venture to Optimist Hall. You’ve got tons of different cuisine styles to choose from, all in one place, plus there’s plenty of space to spread out and an outdoor seating area so you can dine safely.

Currently open: Bao and Broth, Zukku Sushi, Papi Queso, The Dumpling LadyVillage Juice Co., Ava, Velvet Taco, and more.

Perfect for: The indecisive duo

Related Agenda guide: Everything we know about Optimist Hall

soup dumpling from dumpling lady

Soup dumpling from The Dumpling Lady inside Optimist Hall

(6) Browse the Christmas Village and Light The Knights in Uptown

Check out the stunning holiday light show at Truist Field, the home of the Charlotte Knights. When you’re done, browse the neighboring Christmas Village. It’s perfect for holiday shopping, plus you can enjoy European-inspired food, like bratwurst and strudel.

Perfect for: The multitasking couple that wants to get ahead on holiday shopping during an enjoyable evening out

Details: From December 10th on, you’ll get to enjoy Light the Knights, a walkthrough holiday experience filled with festive light displays. The event is ticketed this year, so grab yours now. You can purchase tickets for Light the Knights and the Christmas Village, or just the Christmas Village. Tickets are $10 for both or $7 for just the Christmas Village.

(7) Stroll through Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

The holidays inevitably feel different this year, but you can still enjoy a dose of much-needed festivity with a trip to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s Holidays at the Garden event. They’ve scaled down the event for safety reasons, but you can still enjoy gorgeous holiday light displays as you sip hot chocolate and toast marshmallows at one of the firepits.

Perfect for: The couple that still wants this year to feel merry and bright

Details: DSBG is staggering arrival times to keep visitors safe. Grab your tickets here. They’re $14.95 for adults.

reflection of christmas lights at daniel stowe botanical garden charlotte

 (8) Learn something new at a virtual Skillpop class

We’ve all got a lot more time on our hands these days, which makes it the perfect year to learn something new. Skillpop is offering virtual classes in tons of topics, from holiday pie-making to homebrewing kombucha. Pick your favorite and grab two tickets. Pop open a bottle of wine and turn it into the perfect date night. It’s way better than just bingeing Netflix again.

Perfect for: Lifelong learners

Details: Classes start at $20 and are led by live instructors. You also have the opportunity to ask questions, so you’ve got the benefits of in-person learning, sans Covid risks.

(9) Check out the lights at Speedway Christmas

This drive-thru light show features more than four million lights on display for your viewing pleasure. The course is almost four miles, so there’s plenty of merriment to enjoy. When you’re done, head over to the 5,400-square-foot ice rink and showcase your skills… or lack thereof, which is also fine.

Perfect for: The couple that wants to stay distant, while still enjoying the season

Details: The event is ticketed. Get yours here. Prices vary depending on your preferred day. Ice skating is $15 an hour, including skate rental. Ice skating tickets are available at the rink.

christmas tree at charlotte motor speedway

(10) Visit a vineyard

You’ll find a plethora of beautiful vineyards an easy drive from Charlotte, including Treehouse Vineyards, Childress Vineyards, and more. While most now require reservations and have temporarily paused wine tastings, you can still enjoy a glass of your favorite vino as you cozy up and take in the views.

Perfect for: Wine snobs

Details: Check out the Agenda’s guide to seven vineyards all within an hour’s drive of Uptown.

veronet vineyards

(11) Explore Charlotte’s street art

The Queen City is home to lots of beautiful murals created by local artists. Throw on some layers and check out the works of art throughout the city. If you don’t want to miss any, peek our guide to Charlotte street art.

Perfect for: Art enthusiasts

Mural by Abel Jackson

(12) Take a self-guided walking tour of Fourth Ward

Fourth Ward is an adorable neighborhood that looks like it’s straight out of a storybook. It’s especially picturesque around the holiday season. Friends of Fourth Ward has organized a self-guided walking tour so you can enjoy the neighborhood’s views in a safe way. Check out the mobile-friendly and printable versions here.

Perfect for: Couples that love to browse Zillow and dream


Photo by Austin Caine

(13) Visit the North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo is located in Asheboro, about an hour and a half from Uptown. It’s the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, and it’s worth seeing. Tickets are $15 for adults.

Perfect for: Animal lovers

Details: During Covid times, you’ll need to purchase a timed entry ticket or reserve a time prior to arriving. The Zoo has limited the number of daily guests to keep everyone safe. For more information on their Covid protocol, click here.

(14) Head out to McAdenville aka Christmas Town, USA

Is it really the holiday season if you don’t go out to McAdenville? If you’re not familiar, this small town (about a half-hour from Uptown) goes all out when it comes to decorations. You won’t want to miss it. This year marks the town’s 65th year. The schedule for seeing the lights is a bit different this year, so read up on it first before you attend. Also, sadly, events like the Christmas Tree Lighting aren’t happening this year.

Perfect for: Clark Griswold-types

decorations at mcadenville christmas

Looking for more things to do? Here’s the full Axios Charlotte calendar with more than 50 cool, upcoming events in Charlotte.

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