56 Fun, Unique, and Affordable Winter Date Ideas

updated Dec 9, 2023
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Credit: Rachel Manns

There are so many reasons to love winter, like offering the excuse to slow down a bit, perfect your hygge game, stock up on your favorite candles, and live in your coziest sweaters for a season. However, this season can start to feel a bit dull after a while — especially if you live above the Mason-Dixon line — as extra-cold temperatures may tempt you to stay in with the latest Netflix series night after night. It’s the perfect time to refresh your list of winter date ideas, and luckily we’ve got you covered. 

Whether you’re itching to get out or are looking for a reason to keep date night at home this weekend, we’ve gathered 50-plus ideas for a romantic winter rendezvous with the person you love most. There’s something for everyone on this list — whether you and your partner are sporty, creative, hobbyists, or a mix of all three — to ensure you two have a magical season together.

At-Home Date Ideas

1. Paint taper candles.

Candlesticks are perfect for this time of year, and instead of purchasing hand-painted taper candles, why not make a date night out of it and paint them yourself? 

2. Set up an at-home coffee shop.

Warm beverages and delicious pastries in the wintertime hit different. Play barista and make your partner their favorite coffee-house drink at home. Sit at the table and enjoy — just like you would at your favorite cafe. 

3. Sit in the hot tub.

Or draw a bubble bath for two. 

4. Cuddle by the fire.

Bonus points for throwing on your favorite vinyl and falling asleep snuggled up on the couch. 

5. Have an electronic-free evening. 

Put away the laptops and phones and spend time getting to know each other without Netflix. Try something like painting or playing board games instead and opt for candle light instead of bright bulbs for extra ambiance.

6. Have a bake-off. 

Pick a handful of recipes and get your Great British Baking Show on. Even better? After you’ve crowned a winner (and had a few nibbles) drop leftovers off with loved ones for a sweet, unexpected surprise.

7. Marathon watch a competition show.

There’s nothing more worthy of your Saturday attention than a reality competition show. So choose a weird one, get cozy, and spend the day trying to predict who wins. You can even create a bracket!

8. Take a calligraphy class.

You’ll impress everyone on your holiday card list with very fancy writing. Who knows, you just may have found a fun new side hustle.

9. Plan your dream vacation. 

Make an evening of planning out your ultimate getaway. Don’t just talk about it: Look into accommodation options, find cool spots and eateries, and bookmark it all so you can officially make it happen in the (hopefully) near future.

10. Make a mini bucket list. 

Sit down in the morning with your coffee and write a list of 10 (fun!) things you want to accomplish before the end of the day, week, month, or season.

11. Try a new-to-you food or cuisine. 

This is a great way to test your couple culinary skills — order a cookbook centered on a cuisine you both love but might not be the most adept at making in the kitchen, as well as any other supplies you might need for a DIY cooking night.

12. Switch places for a day. 

Does your partner usually go on a run in the mornings while you read? Try switching routines and then discussing it at the end of the day. 

13. Organize important memories into a scrapbook. 

Dump out that cardboard box with every movie ticket stub you guys have ever kept and put them together in one place. It’s a great excuse to walk down memory lane and find a way to display your favorite photos.

14. Make pancakes.

Be like Jack Johnson and make an entire morning of creating a mini brunch spread for the two of you, or deem one evening a breakfast-for-dinner event. Don’t forget the syrup and plenty of toppings.

Credit: Anik Polo

15. Do a holiday-themed craft. 

Forget thinking that making snowflakes and ornaments is only for children. This can be a fun activity for two people. Plus, your home can never have enough decorations.

16. Have an indoor camp-out. 

Sleeping outside is probably out of the question right now, so set up a tent or a sleeping bag and blankets indoors, turn on an outdoor sounds playlist, and enjoy the fun of camping sans the cold. Might as well make some indoor s’mores, too.

17. Marathon watch YouTube videos. 

Enter the world of YouTube and find channels that amuse you for a few hours. 

18. Learn a dance.

Whether it’s a TikTok dance or a YouTube tutorial — or even Darrin’s Dance Grooves — there are plenty of ways to learn a new step or two.

19. Learn how to brew something. 

Whether it’s coffee, beer, or kombucha, learn how to brew a favorite drink together. Then you can sit back and admire the fabulous works of art you’ve created (or at least tried to).

20. Give each other a massage. 

Up the relaxation vibe of a typical back rub by hosting a spa night at home. It’s romantic, and a great way to step away from everyday stress and enjoy each other’s company.

21. Break out the video game console. 

Whip out the Nintendo Switch and compete for the Mario Kart championship title. Just try not to get too mad if you don’t like the final score.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

22. Take a virtual cooking class. 

Every company from Airbnb to private culinary schools are offering fun online courses that’ll teach you and your partner a few new dishes and tricks. For bonus points, learn to make something neither of you can cook at all.

23. Make pasta from scratch. 

Pasta is a perennial date-night food, and you can turn it into an entire evening by making it together. Grab a favorite bottle of wine, turn on some Frank Sinatra, and you’ll have a date night to remember.

24. Or, try your hand at pizza from scratch.

You now have the excuse to splurge on one of those fancy pizza ovens you’ve seen all over social media. It’ll warm up your kitchen and create memorable nights in for years to come. 

25. Go through old photo albums.

Pull out the old photo albums and laugh with your partner about former fashion choices and childhood haircuts. It’ll be fun, promise!

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez Hart; Nails: Mamie Onishi

26. Have an old-school movie night. 

Whether you’re in the mood for watching one movie or a marathon, create some ground rules or set a theme. Maybe you and your partner want to pick out your favorite movies from childhood and watch them together, or you both want to pick movies where the main character works in a certain field (All The President’s Men and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days journalism double-feature, anyone?).

27. Plan an indoor picnic. 

Think about your favorite activities to do together in nicer weather and find out how to adapt them to the winter season. For example, clear out the living room and create a cozy picnic setting by the fireplace for a romantic afternoon.

28. Bake something special. 

Choose a new recipe or teach your partner a family classic. Either way, you end up with a sweet treat!

29. Start a mini book club. 

If both of you adore spending time with your noses in a novel, why not bond over the same one? Pick a book you both will enjoy, read at the same pace, then pick an evening to share some snacks and your thoughts in lieu of yet another night of TV. 

30. Round up a Scrabble tournament. 

May the best speller win.

31. Play a game that will bring you closer. 

There are plenty of options out there now, and if you’d rather skip a classic board game, why not try one that’ll help you grow closer on an emotional level? Our top pick is We’re Not Really Strangers.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

32. Make a cheese board. 

This date involves cheese, a trip to the grocery store, and a minimal amount of skill. Need I say more? If you’re really big cheese connoisseurs, might as well opt for a cheese subscription box so you don’t even need to leave the house and you have a monthly date set up.

33. Have a fondue night. 

Cheese. Chocolate. Pointy metal sticks. You know the drill. What could go wrong?

34. Plan dates for the rest of the year. 

Use this list or come up with your own ideas for a dozen or so date ideas for the rest of the year. Schedule them now in your planners. It might actually help you and your partner stay close throughout the year.

Group Date Ideas

35. Host a wine tasting. 

Have each person pick out two or three bottles they already love or have been wanting to try and do a little research on each before meeting up. Taste together and enjoy with a cheese board for a romantic and enlightening evening in. 

36. Host a quiz night. 

For a group date, compile your best trivia knowledge (or outsource it) and invite all your pals over. Set a theme and ask everyone to bring a snack or drink to lighten your load.

37. Host a hot chocolate competition. 

Grab a bunch of ingredients and see who can make the best hot chocolate. Plus, you can build one of those trendy hot chocolate boards together to dress up your drinks.

38. Turn your house into a date night hotspot. 

Pick a night where you get all dressed up, invite some friends, and share some hors d’oeuvres and fancy drinks. Don’t forget to turn on that jazz playlist for a living room dance party!

39. Sing karaoke. 

Even if your singing chops aren’t quite there, it could be fun to practice a romantic duet (choreography included) to sing at a local karaoke bar with friends or host your own at-home karaoke bar. 

40. Host an at-home happy hour. 

Get all the ingredients for your favorite cocktails or mocktails and build them together. There are even plenty of online classes now for teaching you how to create artisanal beverages, with or without alcohol, and you can ask friends to bring the bar snacks. 

Credit: Photo: Sidney Bensimon; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

41. Have a board game night. 

Turn off your phones, and amp up your competitive edge with a few two-player board games. You can also get friends involved to expand your game options.

Outdoor Date Ideas

42. Go ice skating. 

Whether it’s an outdoor rink decked out for the holidays or the local sportsplex where the high school hockey team plays, there’s something romantic about getting out on the ice. Practice some new moves or take a lesson if neither of you are that confident in skates. 

43. Hit the open road. 

A mini road trip, whether it’s for the day or overnight, can offer not only a nice change of scenery, but also plenty of quality time. Whether it’s a local beach, ski slope, state park, or charming town, make sure there’s plenty of time to explore and enjoy new views. 

44. Go antiquing. 

Looking for a new piece of furniture or home decor? Use it as an excuse to spend the day at local vintage and antique stores, which may end up leading to a fun restoration or painting project to take on together. 

45. Take a hike (or a brisk walk). 

This is a great, active way to explore your neighborhood or town while also having some quality time away from screens and other distractions to stimulate meaningful conversation. It’s also a good way to get moving during this chilly time of year.

46. Plan a duo exercise routine. 

Couples who love working out can plan a fun routine together or even partake in an obstacle course-style challenge that you can both get into. Turn your long run into a scavenger hunt by tasking one another to take photos of a list of items as you go. The person with the most snapshots wins.

47. Build a snowman.

No matter how old you are, the first snow of winter is always special. Bundle up and head outside to build a snowman with your partner. Then enjoy a warm mug of cocoa together afterwards. 

Out-of-the-House Date Ideas

48. Take a pottery class. 

Your neighborhood pottery studio is the perfect place to let your creative juices flow this winter. Decorate a giant mug fit for your favorite at-home lattes or plates that you and your loved one can use for date nights to come. 

49. Visit a museum. 

Depending on your collective interests and what exhibitions are happening in your area, an afternoon in a warm, inspiring museum could be just the cure for any winter blues. Plus, you could turn it into a mini-road trip if there’s an exciting event a town or two over. 

50. Sign up for a charity challenge. 

Whether it’s a marathon, bike ride, or walk, charities have made it easier than ever to partake from home now. Not only will you be doing something fun together, but you’ll also be giving back to a good cause — and you have some motivation to get off the couch this time of year as well. 

51. Set a themed gift swap. 

Write up a handful of themes for a gift swap, such as a board game, something kitchen-inspired, and a joke gift. Then set a monetary limit and go wild online shopping for one another. See how well you know each other and award extra points for creativity.

52. Try out a new-to-you art form. 

When’s the last time you did some art together? Pick out a new-to-you art form, whether that be painting, stamping, embroidery, or lino printing, and learn the basics during a long weekend. Who knows, you may have just found a new favorite hobby.

53. Head to the theater. 

Everyone needs some culture every now and then, and a wintry evening at the ballet or watching the local theater troupe’s latest production will be a nice change of pace from dinner and a movie.

54. Take a fitness class together. 

Whether you prefer to stream a class on TV or book something in-person, getting your sweat on together will be good for the mind and body. Take turns picking out classes with Class Pass until you find your new favorite way to move.

55. Take a dance class. 

Want to learn how to dance in a more professional sense? There are plenty of studios offering lessons in-person and online now, from salsa to merengue. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to whip out these moves on the dance floor.

56. Volunteer together. 

Volunteering is a bonding experience, but it also benefits others, which is even better — especially at a time when many people are in need.