Dating might as well be called “drinking” because that’s pretty much the go-to thing — no matter if you’ve swiped right or have been set up through mutual friends.
So, what’s a girl or guy to do if drinking anything more than a virgin spritzer is out of the question.
We have good news: There is hope. Lots of it. These thirty-seven places offer up a host of ways to hang — no bar tab involved.
But, even if you do drink, you’re still allowed to read this list. In fact, you probably should. After all, the bar scene can start looking pretty basic (and boring).
Where: 1706 Westheimer Rd.
If the name isn’t reason enough, you’ll bond over your common love for a sugar rush here. The patisserie has treats galore — and the handmade, flaky Nutella croissant should probably be shared, too. It’s also a great neighborhood café for a casual-chic lunch and dinner.
See Houston from a whole new vantage point. Kayak together with a guided skyline tour that runs 7.65 miles from Woodway Memorial Park to Sabine Street and navigates through Memorial Park, Hogg Bird Sanctuary, Buffalo Bayou Park, Waugh Bridge Bat Colony, Eleanor Tinsley Park, and of course, the downtown skyline.
Where: 1963 W. Gray St.
Reenact that steamy Ghost pottery scene (well, sort of) at this paint-your-own pottery studio, where you’ll go home with a souvenir of your own making.
Where: 2400 Mid Lane, Ste. 130
Have some shots — juice shots, that is — at this shop that also specializes in blending exotic superfoods into their smoothies, acai bowls, and more.
Where: The Heights, 1835 N. Shepherd Dr.; Montrose, 4306 Yoakum Blvd.
Pizza night is perfect here. But, weekend brunch is where it’s really at, especially with Cap’n Crunch waffles drizzled with condensed milk syrup, carbonara benedict, breakfast taco pizza, and other uniquely delicious spins on breakfast-y faves.
Where: 1500 McKinney
With too many free activities to name, Discovery Green is always a good idea — from yoga and dance classes to outdoor concerts and jam sessions, movies, and more. Of course, just strolling the perfectly manicured grounds and the Lindsey Waterside Landing by Kinder Lake is quite sufficient, too.
Where: 2811 Airline Dr., Ste. 5
Date night is looking pretty delicious at this place that offers a host of couples cooking classes — from steakhouse classics to a sushi rolling party, and Tex Mex faves.
Where: 1000 Bagby
We’re not suggesting you go house-hunting — yet. But, Sam Houston Park has another type of “Open House” worth seeing with your S.O. Artistic duo Havel Ruck Projects transformed a previously abandoned house into an interactive temporary public sculpture that includes vintage photos of people, places, and things with pops of Houston’s downtown poking through the Swiss cheese-like holes.
Where: 501 Texas Ave.
Stay fancy, and have a night at the opera (or ballet) at this majestic venue that’s home to the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera as well as other touring productions.
Where: 4721 Main St.
This next-gen donut shop doesn’t do standard fried dough. First of all, flavors rotate regularly but could include matcha, triple raspberry, strawberry shortcake, caramel, and so many others. Second of all, they’re made from scratch using real ingredients and none of that hydrogenated stuff. Of course, they have a full breakfast and lunch menu, with coffee and matcha, too.
Where: 125 W. Gray St., Ste. 100
Indulge in a bit of roleplay at this escape-room-inspired adventure, where you can be a detective with your partner in crime or help save the Apollo Lunar Mission.
Where: 1100 Elder St.
Coffee shops are always a good idea. But, this one serves up an even better reason to visit: All profits go towards providing for and feeding the Houston homeless community.
Where: 3614 W. Alabama St.
Break bread at this sweet eatery — whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The outdoor garden space is charming, too, as the restaurant is tucked within a nursery.
Where: Hermann Park, 6000 Hermann Park Dr.
So, we’re not saying you should be a cheap date. But, the price is right (meaning, free) for Miller Outdoor Theatre’s shows at Hermann Park that range from jazz and ballet to concerts, musicals, and more. From March through November, you can take advantage of the packed program of artistic, culturally diverse productions — and have a picnic in the park, too.
Where: Art League of Houston Building, 1953 Montrose Blvd. Ste. A
You can definitely get your drink on at this sunny, artistically inspired coffee shop in the heart of Montrose — meaning everything from the most beautifully hued amethyst lemonade to celadon pearl tea, homemade horchata, aqua fresca, and of course, all the coffee. The gelato is a must, too. As the shop is located on the grounds of the Art League of Houston, it showcases the works of local artists throughout the year.
Where: 2009 West Gray, at Shepherd
The historic movie theater shows indie flicks, classics, special musical and theater films, and regular screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to make “going to the movies” a bit more inspired.
Where: 925 Bunker Hill Rd.
With 39 nightclub-inspired lanes and dynamic video walls, this bowling alley puts a modern spin on good, old-fashioned fun. If you get thirsty, they have sweet lemonades in surprising tropical flavors like strawberry fusion, watermelon splash, and cherry chiller.
Where: 800 Bagby St.
If your date is a Broadway-loving babe, then a night at the Hobby Center will probably fit the bill. All the most talked-about touring productions are here.
Where: 601 Richmond Ave.
You can totally play games at this place that has ping pong, bocce, Jenga, and corn hole in their unique outdoor gaming environment. And, with food like mini sliders with 44 Farms beef and jalapeño jam, beef short rib mac ‘n’ cheese, and fish tacos, the menu’s not bad, either.
Where: Rice Village, 5211 Kelvin Dr.; CityCentre, 794 Sorella Ct.
You can get his and hers frappes at this Italian café and coffee shop with their cute pink bubblegum and blue cotton candy frozen drinks. The location at CityCentre has gelato, too (and gelato-stuffed treats).
Where: 2531 Kuester St.
Dust off those cowboy boots! This Houston honky-tonk has live music every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They also have a full menu of gourmet tacos, too, to fuel your evening shindig.
Where: 2201 Airline Dr.
Get cheesy at this shop that stocks more than 150 varieties. They offer free tastings that cover a range of styles, milks, and origins in case you’re feeling overwhelmed at all the cheesiness.
Where: 2200 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 160
Caracol means “snail” in Spanish. Haven’t tempted you yet? Even if you don't get the ceviche de caracol (conch ceviche) at this coastal Mexican restaurant, there are so many other seafood-centric plates — like Chef Hugo Ortega’s masterful rendition of oysters. They’re aphrodisiacs, after all.
Where: 114 Main St.
Break out the retro dance moves (and possibly the costumes) at this after-dark scene that’s a love child of ’80s dance culture and contemporary electro, disco, and EDM. They have thematic events regularly, but you can count on Fridays and Saturdays to be all ’80s all night long.
Where: 1820 Franklin St.
Forget Saturday Night Fever, PacMan Fever Friday is where it’s at. And, it happens every first and last Friday of the month when Joystix turns its showroom into the ultimate arcade with more than 200 new and classic games.
Where: 4501 Woodway Dr.
Find all sorts of natural beauty at this 155-acre urban sanctuary, where you can both embrace the great outdoors.
Where: 1601 NASA Pkwy.
Have an out-of-this-world time at this gateway to NASA Johnson Space Center and fly to the moon and back (hypothetically speaking, of course).
Where: 215 Kipp Ave., Kemah
Whether you both are low-key people-watching or taking a spin on the roller coaster, the boardwalk is plenty entertaining.
Where: 5216 Montrose Blvd.
Go modern at this destination in the Museum District. The iconic stainless steel building is almost as fascinating as the cutting-edge exhibits.
Where: 5200 Montrose Blvd.
Get cerebral together at this place that serves a forum for dynamic conversations on a diverse range of psychological, artistic, and spiritual topics. They have more than 200 classes a year (think Film and Psychoanalysis, Laughter Yoga, Origami, and more).
Where: 22422 FM 2920, Hockley
There’s something just so retro-charming and romantic about a drive-in theater. After all, who wouldn’t want to cuddle up to a double feature under the stars. This place is a little out of the way, so you may want to save it for a special date — someone you know you want to spend all night with.
Where: 3636 Rice Blvd.
You can never go wrong with cookies and milk (and ice cream). So, even if you’re planning on an easy #NetflixAndChill date night at home, take it up a notch by baking a dozen of Tinys treats together with their ready-made dough.
Where: 1611 Lamar St.
This unique urban dining experience at Discovery Green has indoor-outdoor environments and beautiful food to match. The brunch is stellar. But, so is their periodic Sunday Supper featuring a private dining experience with the chefs and a menu of farm-to-table vegetables, local gulf seafood, and house butchered meats.
Where: 100 Jackson St.
The place to see quirky performances, weird comedies, and offbeat-but-cool shows, the Rec Room will always be unexpected — and totally worth a night out.
Where: Multiple locations
Hop on a bike and pedal around the city together. With stations located in Downtown, Montrose, Midtown, The Heights, and the Museum District, you can really go anywhere — or hit Sam Houston Park to hop on any number of the Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trails.
Where: 701 Avenida de las Americas
Shop ‘til you drop or just browse around, all for a good cause, at this curated boutique that showcases some of Houston’s best designers and makers and thus fosters the creative community in the city. There’s a new roster of designers every two months with goods in arts, home, apparel, and accessories.
Where: 4106 East Nasa Pkwy.
Namaste — in a whole new way — at Pinky’s, where the weekend SUP Yoga classes have you downward dogging on a stand-up paddleboard. Of course, you can also kayak here, if yoga sounds a bit too intimidating.