Ah, winter. The romantic lull of the snowfall drifting lazily in the twilight hours. The sound of jingle bells ringing softly from a horse-drawn carriage. The look on her face as you get down on one knee in the middle of the ice-skating rink.

Okay, we might be getting ahead of ourselves a bit. But just because you’re not ready to pop the question doesn’t mean you can’t treat your lady like the queen she is this winter. Grab your sweetheart for a night you won’t forget with one of these 16 secret places in the Queen City to bring your girlfriend.

Charlotte Checkers

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Grab your honey and head to the arena: Ice hockey season is in full swing (pun intended) and the Charlotte Checkers have a full schedule through the end of 2018. Get a seat by the wall for a thrilling experience that will have you and your date joining in the excitement of the crowd as they cheer on their favorite frosty team.

Complete the date with a surprise jersey for your sweetheart from the on-site gift shop or treat her to some classic game-day eats at the concession stand. Bonding over your favorite sport is the perfect way to build a foundation for a lasting relationship.

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Mert’s Heart and Soul

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Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Mert’s Heart and Soul serves up an intimate dining experience unlike any other. With soft lighting and gentle soul music emanating through the speakers, this cozy and delicious establishment is a perfect date night destination.

While you’re in the area, catch a show at nearby Queen City Theatre Company for a more refined take on the old “dinner and a movie” duo. Your date is sure to be impressed by your sophisticated taste (don’t worry; we won’t tell her the idea was ours).

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Amelie’s French Bakery

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A trip to Paris may be out of the question, but Amelie’s French Bakery is a great alternative for the Parisian princess in your life. Customers rave that this Queen City eatery combines neighborhood flea market vibes with the classic style and taste of the Left Bank in Paris.

Traditional, French-inspired pastries, soups and savories decorate this delicious menu. Be sure to take a look at the seasonal offerings as well for a festive flavor to kick-start your winter taste buds. No one does food (or romance) better than the French, n’est-ce pas?

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The Evening Muse

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A concert always seems like it’d be a good idea, but let’s face it: The noisy crowd is not conducive to proper date night romance. Lucky for CLT residents, The Evening Muse provides a perfect setting for those seeking an intimate live-music experience.

Featuring performances from all genres, you’ll be able to catch a great performance with your favorite music, all without the intruding rumble of rowdy concert-goers in a smoke-free room. Enjoy a cozy concert with your SO at this Charlotte venue.

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NoDa Gallery Crawl

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Head down to NoDa every first and third Fridays from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. for the bi-monthly gallery crawl. Peruse local artists’ work as you stroll the quirky streets of Charlotte’s SoHo equivalent with your date. Be sure to check out the murals outside the galleries as well—there’s no end to the artwork that’s present in this nifty neighborhood.

While you’re admiring the latest gallery additions, be sure to grab a bite to eat at one of NoDa’s fantastic neighborhood eateries. From Cajun cuisine to craft pizza, the restaurants in this area know no bounds. This is sure to be a date night that you and yours remember for years to come.

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Cajun Canvas

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Get all your favorite couple friends together for a creative and fun group date night that comes to you. Cajun Canvas brings private painting classes to your location with expert artists to provide all materials and guidance to ensure you walk away with your very own masterpiece.

The best part about this paint and sip class is that since it travels to you, you don’t have to worry about driving home after a full night of wine and paint. Break out the spirits and let the inspiration flow as you cheer on your favorite artist in the room as she masters her craft.

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Tosco Holiday Music Party

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There’s nothing more romantic than classic crooner carols emanating through an intimate theater space while you and your date dance the night away. We’re speaking of course about the Tosco Holiday Music Party at McGlohon Theater. Join the fun of this time-honored Tosco Music Party tradition as more than a dozen performers play all your favorite holiday tunes.

The party will be held December 8, but don’t worry if you can’t make it. Tosco Music Parties are held throughout the year, and the 2019 schedule can be viewed on their website. The next party will happen February 2 — the perfect night out for you and your Valentine.

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Opera Carolina

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Treat your lady to a night out to the opera as Opera Carolina performs Carmen, January 19. Romance, drama, death, and jealousy — this timeless classic has it all with a sensational score and breathtaking vocals to boot. The tragic love story is as riveting as Romeo & Juliet, with the daring heroine, Carmen, at the helm.

Your date will love the ornate Belk Theater at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Complete the night with a package deal through Opera Carolina’s partnerships with four of Charlotte’s most flavorful and exquisite restaurants, including The Asbury, The Dunhill Hotel, Aria Tuscan Grill and The Punch Room (scroll on to learn more about this one in particular).

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Queen City Segway

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Arguably the most fun you’ll ever have while on a tour, Queen City Segway is a great way to get to know Charlotte’s rich history and most iconic spots all while riding around on a Segway. Laugh the day away with your date as your guide takes you through the city to such tourist favorites as the Historic Fourth Ward, Elmwood Cemetery and the Panthers football stadium.

The tour also features some secret views of the city that would even surprise Queen City natives. Enjoy a night on the town like none other as you and your date ride through Charlotte’s gorgeous city streets and reconnect with your carefree spirit.

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Potions & Pixels Board Game Night 

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This next date spot is tons of fun and won’t cost you a dime: Potions & Pixels Board Game Night is a free, public event that occurs most Wednesdays from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Play board games at 7th St. Public Market and various other locations throughout Charlotte, all free of charge!

Potions & Pixels is a traveling game night event that selects different venues throughout the city, so be sure to monitor their Facebook events page for the next spot. How often can you have this much fun without breaking the bank in the process?

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Abari Game Bar

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A perfect night for the quirky couple, Abari Game Bar has over 30 arcade games with a side of suds, featuring craft beers, cocktails, and housemade sodas. Release your inner child and engage in a little friendly competition with your gamer girl while you throw back a few delicious, local beers.

Charlotte’s favorite (and first) game-bar hybrid is a great place to go for a group date as well. It also features an area where guests can kick back on couches and enjoy all the best console games. What’s more: It’s open until 2 a.m., so the fun can go all night long.

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The Punch Room

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Located on the 15th floor in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, The Punch Room is a 37-seat cocktail bar designed to recall the intimacy, glamor, and exclusivity of a 19th-century club. Harkening back to the speakeasy stylings of the Prohibition Era, the glitz and sophistication ooze from the bar’s design to its expertly crafted drinks.

The bar uses only the freshest ingredients, featuring local fruits, herbs, and vegetables with its small-batch spirits. Take a trip to this vintage spot and enjoy what 19th-century luxury felt like with your favorite gal by your side.

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Dot Dot Dot

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Want an even more exclusive speakeasy experience? Head over to Dot Dot Dot. But wait — before you go, make sure you get your members card. You heard that right: This secret spot is strictly members-only and comes with a dress code to match.

Also featuring 37 seats, this extra-exclusive club has an extensive whiskey collection on the elaborate back bar with an expertly staffed culinary team. Using only fresh, local ingredients, a meal at Dot Dot Dot can be traced back to local area farms and purveyors, including: Anson Mills, Carolina Craft Butchery, Carolina Heritage Farms, Dukes Bread, Freshlist, Urban Gourmet Farms, Lucky Leaf Gardens, Siano Mozzarella, Springer Mountain Chicken and The Chef’s Farmer. Get in on the secret with your sweetheart.

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Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen

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Try your hand at cooking with Chef Alyssa and her husband as your guide. This local culinary couple started their business of teaching others how to cook soon after dating and offer a litany of classy designed based on skill level.

The two have a full schedule of upcoming classes just in time for the winter season. So you and your date can warm each other’s heart this season by taking what you learn in Chef Alyssa’s kitchen home with you for the holidays.

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Bar Cocoa

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Perhaps the exclusivity of The Punch Room wasn’t your cup of tea. In that case, head over to the Ritz-Carlton’s lobby for Bar Cocoa, a delicious dessert bar, retail shop and cooking lab right in the center of Queen City.

This cute and cozy patisserie offers a dining nook and sidewalk terrace where you can munch on house-made pastries, French macarons, cakes, house-made gelato, and Norman Love Confections. Skip the dinner and go right for dessert with your date; your secret’s safe with us.  

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DefyGravity

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Get ready to have the most fun of your adult life at DefyGravity. This uniquely entertaining spot featuring over 5,000 square feet of connected trampolines in a 26,000-square-foot facility. (That’s math for a ton of trampolines and a ton of fun.)

With over 20 trampolines — including the famous angled-wall trampolines — you and your date will never come down from the high you’ll get from all that bouncing. Come find out what other surprises this fantastically fun adult playhouse has in store for you.

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Impress your girl the next time she leaves you in charge of date night with one of these great ideas. Have you taken your girlfriend out for an epic date in the Queen City? Let us know about it in the comments below. We hope you live happily ever after this winter!

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