Fall is officially here — even in Texas. And, with the crisp freshness in the air and cooler temps comes a festive energy in the air where sparks easily fly. After all, ‘tis the season for cuddling and cozying up to your S/O — or finding one stat.
So, there’s no better time to set up a dreamy date that’s filled with romance and adventure — and maybe some delicious decadence, too.
Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors, connecting over arts and culture, snuggling up in a sultry hotspot, or scoping out some sweet views, Austin has so many swoon-worthy ways to show the love.
See a movie under the stars at Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In
Where: 2103 E.M. Franklin Ave.
Save the #NetflixandChill for a rainy day, and take that screen time to the next level at this old-fashioned drive-in where you can absolutely feel free to make out in your car. But, if you’re really going to watch the movie, too, then you can expect the best of childhood flashbacks, classics, indies, and pop culture faves.
Go to Green Pastures
Where: 811 W. Live Oak St.
Have a romantic little rendezvous at Mattie’s at Green Pastures. The restaurant is housed in a charming, 19th century Victorian home where elegant modernity reigns supreme. The rustic, farm-to-table menu varies seasonally — so it’s just right for fall. And, the upstairs bar is a sultry-chic little spot, too.
Treat yourselves to a couples massage at Milk + Honey
Where: 100A Guadalupe St.
An urban escape downtown, this spa has just the thing for you and your S/O: the Couples Retreat. It’s three hours of pure bliss that you can share together.
Carb up at The Backspace
Where: 507 San Jacinto Blvd.
Winter’s coming; bring on the pies. The Backspace has some of the prettiest handmade Neapolitan pizzas crafted with farm-sourced ingredients and hand-stretched dough. All that melted cheese straight from the wood-burning oven is pretty sexy, after all.
Embrace the enchantment in Mayfield Park
Where: 3505 W 35th St.
Take a stroll through this magical park that can’t help itself, it’s just so romantic with vibrant peacocks roaming the grounds, reflective koi ponds, sweeping shade trees, and more.
Get happy at Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin
Where: Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
Love makes you happy — and so does this monumental 2,715-square-foot building by renowned American artist Ellsworth Kelly. It features a rainbow of glass windows — and all sorts of plays on light — and was created as a space for joy and contemplation.
Escape to Mexico (sort of) at Fonda San Miguel
Where: 2330 W. North Loop Blvd.
The old-world, hacienda-style place is authentically charming with classic regional Mexican cuisine and a festive vibe.
Share a bottle at Vino Vino
Where: 4119 Guadalupe St.
The vino’s always flowing at this cozy Hyde Park neighborhood bar with an impressive bottle list along with cheese boards, snacks, and small plates for just the right pairings.
Take your love to the next level at Austin Bouldering Project
Where: 979 Springdale Rd., Ste. 150
It’s like rock-climbing, but without the ropes and harnesses — the climbs aren’t too high off the ground. And, yes, there’s a giant, squishy pad on the entire floor beneath you. If you and your date are newbies, there’s an intro class every Saturday, too.
Have a lick at Dolce Neve Gelato
Where: 1713 South 1st St.
Gelato is always in season, especially the lush clouds of the stuff at this cute gelateria. And, yes, they have a sign inside that says, “We do it in front of everyone.” We’ll leave that to the imagination.
Strike a pose at Jo’s
Where: 1300 South Congress
The coffee’s great, but let’s face it: The real reason to go here for a date is the sweet “I love you so much” pic for the ’gram.
Stroll South Congress
Where: South Congress Avenue
Whether you’re bar-hopping, boutique-browsing, or just bopping around, this vibrant ’hood boasts such quirky character, lively music, and cool places to eat, drink, and shop, that it’s always a good idea.
Get soulful at C-Boys Heart & Soul
Where: 2008 S. Congress Ave.
There’s classic soul, funk, and R&B music onstage, a spacious patio outside, and a cozy-sweet “Jade Room” lounge upstairs that has been styled after ’50s-era Japanese bars. What more could you want?
Be #BrunchGoals at Launderette
Where: 2115 Holly St.
They have pancakes and pastries, but the savory side of the menu is where you’ll really want to be — especially in the fall, with the towering breakfast BLTs, fried chicken sammies, and more. Weekday happy hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. is a pretty sweet option, too, at this retro-chic spot.
Have an experience at Native Hostels
Where: 807 E. 4th St.
You can pretend you’re adventuring somewhere exotic at this “experiential” hostel getaway that is equal parts grit and glam. Of course, you don’t have to stay overnight here — take bae to the bar and kitchen or hit one of their events like the intimate band performances, DJ spin sessions, tarot card readings, and decadent weekend brunch.
Grab a beer with a view at Jester King Brewery
Where: 13187 Fitzhugh Rd.
Craft beer may not seem all that romantic. But, consider the location: The brewery is located on 165 acres of beautiful Texas Hill Country land and the Tasting Room & Kitchen has a little something for everyone — beer lover or not.
Cozy up to a crazy dish at Holy Roller
Where: 509 Rio Grande St.
Oozing with a cooler-than-thou vibe that’s inspired by punk rock with a hint of religious kitsch, this downtown diner dishes up nostalgic, sinfully good brunch-centric fare — all day long. Cookies-and-cream "cake" pancakes come piled high; pot pie is baked-to-order and ridiculously flaky; the bombshell burger is, well, the bomb; and the choco tacos are a revelation. Plus, where else can you get French fries and soft serve on the same plate. (Oh, and let’s not forget the cocktails.) Good thing you can share multiple things with your S/O.
Go Texas-glam at The Driskill
Where: 604 Brazos St.
There’s a romantic grandeur in this historic hotel with the glossy marble, crystal chandeliers, stained glass, and luxe details. And, the second-floor bar is as old-world-Texas as it gets with rustic leather furnishings, cowhide, and more. You can also keep it really classy and go for high tea here.
Look at the clouds atop Mount Bonnell
Where: 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd.
Climb to the top of this 775-foot-tall limestone outcrop overlooking the Colorado River and be rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Austin and downtown. A picnic can also be quite dreamy on a not-too-chilly day — just bring the wine in a thermos and not glass.
Find mod and Mother Nature at The Contemporary Austin
Where: 3809 W. 35th St.
The art-in-nature, historic Laguna Gloria site features 14 acres of enchantment with meadows, gardens, and waterfront along with striking sculptures amidst the lush surrounds. If you really want to channel your inner artiste, you and your BF or GF can take art classes like ceramics, sculpture, watercolor, collage, drawing, and more. The museum also has a downtown outpost at 700 Congress Avenue.
Have a night at the theater at the Paramount
Where: 713 Congress Ave.
The gloriously ornate, historic theater is a must-see in and of itself, and its fall season of diverse performances — music, comedy, dance, and more — is, too.
Be the apple of his or her eye at Geraldine’s
Where: 605 Davis St.
It’s all about Apple Business at this place, where the glossy apple treat with cinnamon cumin mousse is like a fantasy on a plate. Dessert cocktails rank pretty highly, as well, with the After School Special (PB and banana infusions), Lickety Split, and more. Of course, dinner, brunch, lunch, and the nightly live music are all delicious, too, at this cozy-swank spot on the fourth floor of Hotel Van Zandt.
French kiss at Justine’s Brasserie
Where: 4710 E. 5th St.
Parisian and provocative, this chandelier-laced East Austin restaurant and bar — with super-late dining and floor-to-ceiling mirrors — is nothing short of sultry.
Share some s’mores at Halcyon
Where: 218 W. 4th St.
It’s just like camping — without any of the pitching-a-tent problems. There’s something just so cuddly about roasting marshmallows.
Hop aboard Capital Cruises on Lady Bird Lake
Where: Hyatt Regency Boat Dock, 208 Barton Springs Rd.
Cruise around the beautiful lake with bae on a daytime or sunset tour, both of which provide superb skyline views. If you really want to get fancy, you can book a private dinner-for-two boat.
Do arts and crafts together at Ceramics Bayou
Where: 3620 Bee Cave Rd.
Create your own pottery at this walk-in studio that has more than 400 ready-to-paint pieces to choose from.
Let Perla’s serve up an aphrodisiac
Where: 1400 S. Congress Ave.
Oysters are the real pearl at Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar with beautiful half-shell platters. Are they really an aphrodisiac? We’ll let you decide. If it’s not too cold, the patio’s pretty perfect, too.
Have some parks and rec time at Barton Creek Greenbelt
Where: 3755 S. Capital of Texas Hwy.
If nature is your love language, romance will definitely be in the air on these 13-ish miles of trails, where you can hike, bike, swim (if you don’t mind being a little chilly), kayak, and more. There’s plenty of pretty sightseeing along the way with places like Twin Falls, Gus Fruh, Campbell’s Hole, and Sculpture Falls.