Date Night: 52 Ideas for First Date or Chosen Mate

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Photo courtesy Kreative Kiln

You have it in the calendar.

It’s that recurring event squished at the end of the week — after the soccer games, church meetings, rehearsals, concerts, games, parties … oh, and work.

“Date Night.”

It’s also the easiest thing to skip. It sounds hard. Optional. Cold. Expensive.

And what is there to do, anyway?

Cross off that last excuse because Utah Valley Magazine has gathered 52 anytime ideas (one for each week of the year) to make date night a do-not-cancel experience.

  1. Grab a burger. Starting with a classic. Let’s face it, this was probably your last date night. There are a number of places to get a fantastic burger, but Seven Brothers, Chubby’s, CHOM and JCW’s are worth a try, if you don’t already have them in your meat-lovers rotation.
  2. Put yourself in a pickle. One of the fastest growing — and all-skill friendly — sports in the country is pickleball. With courts throughout Utah County, the sport is perfect for mixed doubles. So, grab another couple, some paddles and serve. “Zero-Zero-Two.”
  3. Van Gogh out. So maybe we don’t have any Van Gogh on display locally, but there are a number of art museums with a variety of artists on display. The BYU Museum of Art is free and has a number of Friday night date activities. The Springville Museum of Art is also free and hosts a number of local art exhibits and is one of the major catalysts in Springville’s reputation as our local Art City.
  4. Wedge yourself in. After a busy week, get in the car and choose your favorite canyon. We have an abundance of mountain slots, and each offers unique views, lookouts, hikes and picnic areas.
  5. Reap the harvest. Maybe this idea isn’t “any time,” but in the summer and fall there are a number of farmers markets, including large ones in Provo at LaVell Edwards Stadium and Spanish Fork in the parking lot of the city building.
  6. Lend a hand. Serving together can be a way to reconnect and put your own collective challenges into perspective. Pick an organization, friend or neighbor and put on your gloves.
  7. Creep your way through the night. Take the Heber Valley Railroad — the “Heber Creeper” — for a different perspective and a call back to simpler times. The train offers amazing views and plenty of time to talk and reminisce.
  8. Certify yourself. Parents love to worry. It’s one of the things we do best. Take some of that anxiety and do something about it. Certify in CPR and first aid. UVU, BYU and the local Red Cross all offer classes.
  9. Make the most of the music. Velour has put Provo — and artists like Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees — on the music map. You’re not too old to be part of the scene (seriously, you’re not). So take advantage of this gem on University Avenue and you’ll be toe-tapping in no time.
  10. Pedal off road or on. Whether you are looking for an intense mountain biking experience or a leisurely pedal through neighborhood pathways, a bike ride increases endorphins and gives an open-air view to the beauty surrounding us. Pick your favorite trail and start pedaling.
  11. Throw it back a few years. Restart the fire by re-creating your first date. Maybe it was a simple walk around campus or an elaborate scavenger hunt, but either way, make time to reconnect. Expert tip! Don’t forget a time-appropriate soundtrack.
  12. Keep it clean. The Soap Factory in downtown Provo sets you up to create your own all-natural soap, lotion or lip balm in one of more than 400 shapes. It’s a smell-good experience and is a perfect way to get out of the date-night doldrums.
  13. Go fore it. Get the clubs out and swing for the greens. Utah Valley offers amazing golf conditions almost every month of the year. If you don’t have the time — or disposition — for a full 18 holes, consider a date to the driving range. In the coming months, Utah Valley will welcome The Golf Club to Vineyard, which will offer climate-controlled golf bays and a setting perfect for first dates or chosen mates.
  14. Rise and shout…together! With two Division I athletic departments in Utah Valley, you can choose your color, your sport and your venue for a sporty date. We suggest going to a men’s volleyball match at BYU. The Cougars are a perennial power nationally, and the Smith Fieldhouse gets rocking.
  15. Discover your inner lumberjack and jill. Axe throwing is hitting the mark on group dates around Utah Valley. Channel your inner lumberjack and jill by firing sharp blades and satisfyingly sinking them into soft wooden targets at numerous locations in Utah Valley, including Heber Hatchets.
  16. Tickle your funny bone. Nothing brightens the end of a long week like a good laugh. Provo is home to three comedy clubs — Dry Bar Comedy, ImprovBroadway and ComedySportz — and is the perfect location for date-night gut-busting. Each offers a little different feel, but all three have one thing in common — the giggles.
  17. Devour mobile dining. Food trucks can be found — usually together — throughout Utah Valley. Grabbing a bite at these gatherings is playful, delicious and saves you from having to agree on where to eat.
  18. Go mesozoic. Dinosaurs can be dino-mite — even without your third-grader. BYU and Thanksgiving Point each boast ample collections.
  19. Resort to getting away from the valley. Sundance Resort is a local cultural staple and a high-class destination for an evening get-away. Enjoy fine dining, a show or just a quiet night of breathing the mountain air.
  20. SCERA yourself. The SCERA has anchored the culture of Orem since 1933 and is still a source of education and entertainment. While there’s a variety of venues and activities available, nothing beats a date night watching a show under the stars at the SCERA Shell amphitheater.
  21. Hike the Y. You’ve seen it. Now hike it. Bring your kid’s HydroFlask. But maybe not your kids.
  22. Get a global view of the culinary scene. We have a vibrant international cuisine scene for a population our size. Let your fork take a stab at food you haven’t tried before. Bombay House, Asado Argentinian Grill and The Happy Sumo are all worth a try and are a break from traditional continental dishes.
  23. Unwind at the spa. You don’t have to be on vacation to enjoy the spa. Utah Valley is full of options. Amara Day Spa, Salon & Boutique, Calm Spa and Salon, and Seasons Salon & Day Spa were each recognized by Utah Valley Magazine readers as top day spas in our annual “Best of” voting. Looking for a medical spa? Consider winners Aesthetica Medical Spa, Spa Trouve and Elase Medical Spa.
  24. Learn to lead. You don’t need to be Fred-and-Ginger level to enjoy a night of dancing. But lessons might be fun, too, right? The SCERA offers adults-only classes.
  25. Celebrate a little. Fine dining every week might be cost prohibitive, but we all have reasons to celebrate. There are number of luxurious fine dining options, including La Jolla Grove in the Shops at Riverwoods, Provo.
  26. Hang ten. Provo Beach in Provo features the FlowRider, letting us mountain dwellers channel our inner Kelly Slater to try surfing.
  27. Travel back in time. Knowing where we came from gives us perspective on where we’re at. Visit a local history museum to learn more about those who came before. Provo Pioneer Village on 500 West offers a look at how the other half lived — 150 years ago.
  28. Hit the disc links. Holes in one aren’t limited to the ball and tee variety. Disc golf is fun, uses a different skill set and is perfect for couples play. A quick search for “disc golf course” will find one in nearly every city.
  29. Spelunk together. Find the heart of Timpanogos Cave together by taking a guided tour. The national monument is located in American Fork Canyon and includes a (somewhat strenuous) one-and-a-half mile hike.
  30. Get a little bit bouncy. Try your hand at American Ninja Warrior-style exercise. Trampoline parks are not just for kids. They also invite parents to unwind and have fun on a Friday.
  31. Say cheese. Chances are, you have a state-of-the-art camera in your pocket. Put it to good use! Do an impromptu photo shoot together. For extra points, don’t post the results on Instagram. But, then, did it even happen? #yes
  32. Enjoy the movement. With the Utah Symphony utilizing the new Noorda Center at UVU and the Utah Valley Symphony playing regularly at the Covey Center, there are multiple chances to see what all the fuss about this Beethoven fella is all about.
  33. Build your own pizza. MOD Pizza and Blaze Pizza each offer the chance to order a personalized pizza perfect for a quick, all-American bite of Italy.
  34. Book it! Find a local bookstore and hunt for bargains — or just browse together.
  35. See the future. Virtual reality is the future and is finding its way into our entertainment. Enjoy a night at VR Junkies in Orem to see what the future looks like.
  36. Find a festival. With more than 600,000 residents, Utah Valley is full of cultures and cities. And many have annual festivals. From city events like Fiesta Days in Spanish Fork to cultural experiences like Polynesian Days at Thanksgiving Point, there are many ways to get a different view of the world. Leave your passport at home and travel the world within county borders.
  37. Nickel play your night. With a small entry fee, enjoy the video games of your youth for a nickel. Plus, you can finally determine the air hockey champion!
  38. Outstate your date. Roller or something colder? Skating gives you a reason to hold hands and lean on each other on a date. If you haven’t been in a while, be ready for a sore rear end in the morning. You’ll also feel your stomach muscles from laughing together.
  39. Race against time…and the other team. Get competitive and head to an escape room — like Get Out Games in Provo. Grab a group of friends and beat them and the clock to take home bragging rights.
  40. Get your hands dirty. Kreative Kiln in Highland offers a pound of clay and the know-how to create your own masterpiece (read: basic bowl, cup or small vase). Then, they fire it in their kiln giving you a unique art piece for your home.
  41. Covey your date in fun. With a variety of activities, performances, shows, exhibitions and experiences, Provo City’s Covey Center for the Arts is a cultural anchor of downtown. From BYU’s Vocal Point to ballet to Peter Breinholt, the 2020 season is full of nights you can both agree on.
  42. Hit a flick. There’s a reason dinner-and-a-movie is a classic. Sometimes date night just calls for a little escape. Find your favorite local recliner seat (or sticky foot theater) and settle in for two hours of kid-free entertainment.
  43. Go extreme gardening. From the Tulip Festival, concerts and peaceful waterfalls, the Thanksgiving Point Gardens are a scenic date destination.
  44. Paint a plate. It doesn’t have to be a plate, but circles are popular at ceramic decorating studios like Color Me Mine in Provo, Painters Palette in American Fork or The Wildflower Studios in Spanish Fork.
  45. Go to Hale. The Hale Center Theater in Orem is a one-of-a-kind, theater-in-the-round experience. With professional level performances in an intimate setting, the Hale gives you live theater to laugh and cry about.
  46. Belay on! Hit the ropes with a visit to The Quarry in Provo for indoor rock climbing. You’ll have fun tackling challenges together.
  47. Knock ’em down. Grab another couple and challenge them to 10 frames at your favorite bowling alley. Provo Beach, Jack and Jill Lanes, Fat Cats, Miracle Bowls, South County Lanes, UVU and BYU all offer the chance to roll with your friends for the night. Bumper pads included.
  48. Have your date a la mode. Any weekly date is made sweeter with a scoop of ice cream. And Utah Valley has a whole sundae full of unique, quality options. Try a new flavor each week — perhaps at Brooker’s Founding Flavors Ice Cream in Vineyard or Ike’s Creamery.
  49. Get on the Noorda track. The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at UVU has already welcomed Audra McDonald and a performance of Sweeney Todd. Future performances include Bernadette Peters and Chanticleer. What are you waiting for?
  50. Be a dining tourist. Get out of your dining rut by visiting another city and asking locals for a unique favorite spot. Go in and order the most popular item. Consider it a culinary adventure in your own backyard.
  51. Recreate the best date ever. Pick a city recreation center and try something new. Rec centers offer a wide variety of options extending beyond the swimming pool. Let off some steam by hitting a racquetball around.
  52. Stalk each other. Get the competitive juices flowing with a group date of laser tag. Utah Valley features laser tag venues — like Provo Beach — and mobile laser tag like Darcstar, if you want to keep things closer to home.
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Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at greg.utahvalley360@gmail.com.

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