Here are 14 date ideas that will make summer 2021 a memorable one, for the right reasons.
Whether you prefer adventure or leisure, this list has a mix for every budget.
(1) Go to an outdoor movie.
Charlotte has a few options for outdoor movies. Get something from every stall at Optimist Hall and picnic in the courtyard; catch Free Friday Movies at Victoria Yards; or head to Charlotte Motor Speedway ($30 a car).
Drive-ins: Or you can check out Hound’s Drive-In in Kings Mountain, Badin Road Drive-In in Albemarle or Sunset Drive-In in Shelby.
Who it’s for: The couple still lamenting the loss of Manor Theatre.
(2) Sip cocktails at one of Charlotte’s rooftop bars.
No one can deny the magic of drinking cocktail on a roof while the sun sets. Head to any of these spots where the drinks and views are equally good.
Our picks: Go with Charlotte Beer Garden if you’re looking for a casual spot or Búho Bar at the Grand Bohemian if you want something more sophisticated.
Who it’s for: The Instagram couple.
(3) Picnic in one of Charlotte’s best parks.
You can hire companies like Picnic Charlotte to curate a basket for you if you’re looking for next-level bougie. Or you can pick up provisions from your favorite spots and DIY. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Mere’s has charcuterie boards to go starting at $36, plus a selection of wines.
- Build your cheese board at Babe and Butcher’s new storefront in Camp North End.
- Get sandwiches, pimento cheese and crackers, wine, drinks, etc. from Reid’s and put together your own artisan picnic.
Where: Pick a spot from the 16 places to picnic around Charlotte.
Who it’s for: The couple that loves a main character moment.
(4) Show your competitive side at a game bar.
Charlotte has quite a few games bars, including Pins Mechanical, Palmer Street, Slingshot, Pinhouse and Queen Park Social. Take your pick or hop between a few for a date that makes “let’s grab drinks” a little more fun.
Who it’s for: New couples who are ready to move past dinner and drinks.
(5) Spend the day at the Whitewater Center.
From ropes courses and rafting to River Jam, you make a day of visiting the Whitewater Center. Single activity passes are $25-$49 and parking is $6. They have a restaurant and beer garden on site.
- You can see the River Jam lineup here.
Who it’s for: The adventurous couple.
(6) Cheer on the Knights at Truist Field.
The Knights still have plenty of home games for the season, and it can be a reasonably priced date. They have $3 domestic beers, $5 craft beers and $1 sodas on Thursdays. And the fireworks are on Fridays.
- You can find the schedule here. Tickets are around $11-$60.
Who it’s for: People who are nostalgic for classic summer activities.
(7) See a live show.
Almost all Charlotte-area venues will be open this summer, so make up for lost time and snag tickets to some live shows. The Fillmore, Neighborhood Theatre and The Evening Muse, among other Charlotte venues, have several summer shows.
- If you’re looking for a free option, Mint Museum Randolph hosts Party in the Park the last Sunday of every month.
Who it’s for: Couples who are trying to make up for the music festivals canceled in 2020.
(8) Go on a hot air balloon ride.
Have you crossed off every date on this list? Surprise your partner with a hot air balloon ride (as long as they’re cool with heights).
- Eagle’s Wings in Rock Hill does rides for two for $500. It lasts about an hour.
Who it’s for: Someone who wants to surprise their significant other with a new adventure.
(9) Do a brunch date.
A good brunch date always hits the spot. You can do Cafe Monte, 300 East or Zada Jane’s, or go with any of the restaurants on our list of 21 best brunch spots.
Who it’s for: The basics (I put myself in this category so I say it with love).
(10) Rent a boat on Lake Norman.
There are several places you can rent a boat from on Lake Norman, at a variety of price points. Lake Norman Marina, for example, starts around $299 on a weekday.
Bonus: You can do dockside pickup at Hello, Sailor or put it in park if you want to do dinner and drinks on the patio.
Who it’s for: Couples who’d rather be drinking Lover Boy in the Hamptons.
(11) Go flower picking at McLawland Farms.
McLawland Farms, less than 30 minutes from Uptown, lets you pick your own flowers and you can fill a mason jar for $14. You can make a reservation here.
Who it’s for: People who enjoy the little things.
(12) Take a dip at Coin Bar.
Indulge in a day by the Omni’s pool, which has lounge chairs and cabanas you can reserve, a giant TV and a full food and drink menu. Day passes for the pool are $25.
Who it’s for: Couples who want a vacation without the price tag of vacation.
(13) Spend the day at a vineyard.
Cool down with a wine slushie or expand your palette with a flight at any of these seven wineries, within an hour of Charlotte. Make it a group date and rent a party bus if you can’t decide on a DD.
Who it’s for: Those who enjoy couples trips.
(14) Hit the trail.
Walking in the woods without our phones out is one of my favorite ways to feel connected. Plus, it’s free, which is always a win.
- It’s hot out, we know, but many of these trails have tree cover.
- Seven Oaks Nature Preserve is my favorite. It’s just the right amount of challenging and it loops around Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden if you want to stop and explore.
Who it’s for: Couples craving time off the grid.
In a dating sort of mood? Check out Axios Charlotte’s Blind Date series here.