Ottawa is a city that can definitely get repetitive. Unlike cities such as Toronto and Montreal, we don't have new restaurants opening a few times a month. In fact, when we do get something exciting, everyone seems to know about it and are looking for the opening date.
Not to sound dramatic, but that definitely makes it hard for date night. You either stay at home and watch movies, go to dinner, or catch a movie. Those things are all fun, but they get super repetitive and the last thing you want to be is bored in your relationship.
A lot of dates in Ottawa are repetitive, but that's not to say they're not fun. All of the date ideas that everyone loves are popular for a reason. But it may be time to branch out! If you're one of those couples who believes they've done everything fun in Ottawa about a hundred times, then read on! I guarantee there are a few on here you haven't.
For Restaurant Dates, click 'NEXT'
Underrated Restaurant Dates:
Bai Du // 1385 Baseline Rd
This underrated spot needs to be more known. It's a hotpot, sushi, and BBQ restaurant that serves basically all of your Asian cravings. If you and your bae go to the same restaurants all the time, this is the perfect place to switch it up. Plus, the decor is stunning so this can be considered more of a fancy date night!
The Merry Dairy // 102 Fairmont Ave
This ice cream shop used to solely be a food truck, until they decided to make all of our dreams come true and open up an ice cream shop! Out of all the ice cream shops in Ottawa, this is definitely the most underrated. They have unreal soft serve ice cream and frozen custard that will make any date night sweeter.
Sutherland Restaurant, Bar and Coffee House // 224 Beechwood Avenue
This hidden gem of a restaurant is good for a breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner AND coffee date. I mean, what more could you want? If you're looking for an upscale and different restaurant, this is the one. The vibe is so relaxed, but it's still fancy enough for a date if that's your kind of thing.
Overrated Restaurant Dates:
BeaverTails // 69 George St
Let me get this straight, BeaverTails themselves are NOT overrated. But as a date idea, there are definitely other dessert places you could find that you've never tried before. BeaverTails are amazing any time of the year, we all know that. So venture out and try something new, but if you miss the good ol' cinnamon and sugar fried dough, it will always be there for you.
Zak's Diner // 14 Byward Market Square
Realistically, we're always craving the food from Zak's Diner. And if diners are your thing, this is a great spot in Ottawa to fulfill your love for diner food. However, if you want more of a fancy date, this isn't the place to go. Maybe your bae gets off work late and you need a spot that's open 24 hours–Zak's Diner will be there for you. It really depends on what you're in the mood for, but for a special date night, a milkshake probably won't cut it.
SuzyQ Doughnuts // 969 Wellington St W
Again, not a bad food at all (actually they're delicious AF), but for a date there are definitely other things you can do than wait in line for a long time for donuts. Maybe stopping by on a Sunday after a nice stroll in Westboro, but realistically, a donut date shouldn't be a thing. Bring them home and make them part of your date night there!
For Outdoor Dates, click 'NEXT'
Underrated Outdoor Dates:
Picnics // Any Ottawa Park
It's so weird to me that picnics don't seem to be that popular in Ottawa considering how many nice parks we have. Major's Hill Park, Andrew Haydon Park, the list goes on. It can also be a cheap date night if you just want to bring a few items, or it can be extravagant with cheese and crackers. Honestly, who doesn't love a good picnic?!
Ciné-Parc Templeton // 1779 Boulevard Maloney E
Even though they may be popular because of Tumblr and whatever, drive-in movie theatres are still so underrated. With Netflix at our fingertips and dark movie theatres, we tend to forget we have such a cool opportunity for date night at a drive-in theatre. Bring some blankets, some snacks, and pillows and cuddle up.
Terrace on the Canal // 191 Colonel By Dr
This spot is perfect for a lowkey night, especially if you want to spend it outside. This terrace along the Rideau Canal is actually stunning, with little lights above you to set the mood. It's a mix between a patio and a community park, so everyone is welcomed. Besides obviously not being open during the winter, it's open from spring to fall depending on the weather. It's the perfect date night spot if the weather is nice at night, and you can sip on a drink while you lounge!
Overrated Outdoor Dates:
Hiking // Gatineau Park
Okay, you had to see this one coming. Although it's SO fun to hike, you can also find other things to do that don't include sweating your ass off. It's great exercise, but let's be real, it's only fun when the weather is crisp and cool and not humid, which is only about a month out of the year. For a date idea, unless you really know who you're dating, it can be a stressful date. Especially if someone in the relationship isn't a huge hiker!
Skating // Rideau Canal
I mean, it's the biggest outdoor skating rink in the world, so that's really cool. But in theory, you're cold, you just want to go for the BeaverTails and well, you're cold. In the winter, date ideas can be hard to come up with because it's always snowing and always cold. Once you've skated on the Rideau Canal a couple of times, you feel like that's good enough. Don't get me wrong, it can be fun, but it's definitely a date idea that everyone does and that everyone secretly doesn't enjoy.
Hog's Back Falls // Colonel By Dr
This ain't Niagara Falls. It's a stunning place, but it's also not that exciting. It's at it's best during the fall with all the colourful leaves, but other than that, you're over it in about 5 minutes. This is a simple date that you can do if you're short on time but still want to get out of the house and into nature, but it definitely isn't all it's cracked up to be.
For Fun Dates, click 'NEXT'
Underrated Fun Dates:
The Loft Board Game Lounge // 14 Waller St
Who doesn't love to play board games? Honestly, I don't think The Loft will ever become overrated. It brings us back to being kids, they have every board game you could ever want (I once played a Grey's Anatomy game there, so) and they also serve food and alcohol. If both of you want a lowkey date night and love competing, this is the perfect date night.
Flying Squirrel Ottawa // 1901 Cyrville Rd
If you don't love trampolines, you're lying. And a trampoline park? Sign me up! If you and your bae want to get up and moving and burn a few calories but can't be bothered with the gym, come to Flying Squirrel. They have neon lights that make the room so much cooler, and they have a ton of attractions that will leave you wanting to stay all night.
Funhaven // 1050 Baxter Rd
If you want to be like kids again, check out Friday nights at Funhaven. Friday Night Live is a set fee of $34.99 for 6 unlimited attractions, a $6 FunCard, and the choice between a pizza meal deal or an alcoholic beverage. Did I mention they have an indoor roller coaster? You're bound to have so much fun on this date night, and win some prizes!
Overrated Fun Dates:
Color Me Mine // 1595 Merivale Road
I feel like unless you love painting, this date can be kind of stressful. It's also very expensive if you're tight on money, but that's not saying it's not fun! If you and your bae are creative, then this is the date for you. However, if you don't haven't painted or done anything artsy since you were required to in high school, chances are you'll be bored as hell painting a mug.
Calypso Waterpark // 2015 Calypso St
Yes, this place is a good time. And it even has 35 waterslides. However, a ticket for the day is $46.99 and that's not including food. Unless you're a fish in water, you probably won't want to spend that much for one day. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE waterparks. I live for them, but unless you haven't been to a waterpark before, I would save your money and just find someone with a pool!
Nordik Spa-Nature // 16 Chemin Nordik
Listen, relaxing is not overrated. And Nordik Spa-Nature isn't technically overrated, but it's a date spot that everyone knows and loves. If you want a unique date, this probably isn't the spot since you'll 100% see someone you know chilling there too. It is worth the money for sure, but in terms of it being underrated, I don't know a lot of people who haven't been here. So the 'quiet and relaxing' date night would work here if not everyone knew about this spot.