Everyone claims that they’ve got the definitive list of the perfect date spots in Charlotte. But here’s the thing: dates are not “one size fits all.”
Couples (or, uh, whatever you call two people who just matched on Tinder?) have their own distinct interests — and what one couple loves, another may hate.
For example, while an evening of slinging back PBRs at Dog Bar may sound like the perfect evening to me and my fiancé, maybe that’s not quite your speed.
Whatever personality type(s) you and your boo fall into, there’s a date night specific to your interests here in the Queen City.
The active couple
Sweat it out at a local run club.
There are SO many different run clubs and MeetUp groups to be found in Charlotte. If you’re looking for one that’s also got a social aspect, you can consider a brewery run club like NoDa Run Club (2921 N. Tryon St.) on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at noon. You can find an up-to-date list of all the brewery run clubs in the area here. Or if you’d prefer a “dry” run, you can find those here.
Flow together at free yoga classes.
Whether you’re total beginners or yoga pros, you can enjoy a free 60-minute class at Free Range Brewing (2320 N. Davidson St.) every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Or if you prefer an outdoor flow, you can check out the free classes offered at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.) every day of the week — just note that you’ll have to pay $6 for parking.
Take a hike (literally).
A quick 40-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, Crowders Mountain (522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain, NC) offers more than 20 miles of scenic hikes ranging from leisurely to strenuous.
One option for your hike is Backside Trail, which is a direct route of only 0.7 miles one way but is rated strenuous and ends with 337 steep steps to reach the summit.
Another popular option is Pinnacle Trail, which is two miles each way with a steep switchback and a boulder to maneuver around to reach the top of Kings Pinnacle. This hike may be longer in distance than Backside Trail, but it’s definitely less challenging.
The artsy couple
Meet at the museum.
Make your way to either The Mint Museum Uptown location (500 S. Tryon St.) or Randolph location (2730 Randolph Rd.) to ooh and ahh over one of the largest art collections in the Southeast. Bonus: you can get free admission at either location on Wednesdays from 5 – 9 p.m.
Or you can visit The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (420 S. Tryon St.) to view more than 1,400 pieces of mid-20th-century modern art from the Bechtler collection. You can also check out Bechtler By Night on the third Friday of each month, during which the museum opens its four gallery floors to the public free of charge from 5 – 9 p.m.
Catch a live performance.
If you’d rather make your way to a comedy show, poetry reading, or any other kind of live performance in an intimate setting, check out the calendar at The Evening Muse (3227 N. Davidson St.) to get your tickets.
Go gallery hopping.
The first Friday of each month from 5 – 9 p.m., you can explore a variety of local galleries at the South End Gallery Crawl. Galleries will stay open late to show off their latest exhibitions, often also offering music, food, drink and the opportunity to meet the artists behind the pieces you’re viewing. Find out more here.
The nerdy couple
Enjoy some friendly competition at game night.
Mark your calendars for Potions & Pixels Board Game Night every other Wednesday at the 7th St. Public Market (224 E. 7th St.) from 6 – 9 p.m. It’s totally free to join in on the fun, whether you want to play a nostalgic game from your childhood, a party game, or a more complex strategy game.
Or if you prefer arcade and video games, there’s always Abari Game Bar (1721 N Davidson St.), Charlotte’s first bar/arcade hybrid. You can try your hand at dozens of arcade games, pinball machines or classic game consoles. And if you work up a thirst, there are nine craft beers available along with cocktails and specialty sodas — including SURGE, a childhood favorite.
Explore a local book store.
If you’re both bookworms at heart, make your way to a local shop like Park Road Books (4139 Park Rd.) or Book Buyers (1306 The Plaza) to explore the aisles and find books you can each curl up with together once you’re done. Note that you’ll be greeted by a friendly four-legged face at both spots — a dog named Yola at Park Road Books, and a cat named Deena at Book Buyers.
Embrace your love of learning with a SkillPop class.
If you’re both the type of people who love to learn, then find a SkillPop class that speaks to you and embark on the educational journey together. Topics change on an ongoing basis, and vary widely. You could learn anything from guitar fundamentals to terrarium design to how to craft the perfect cheese board and more.
boujee classy couple
Sip craft cocktails at The Punch Room.
Located Uptown on the 15th floor of The Ritz-Carlton (201 E. Trade St.), The Punch Room is an upscale speakeasy that just oozes 19th-century glamour. You can choose from a variety of hand-crafted cocktails and specialty punches — we recommend sharing the “Top of the Hill Punch” made with Topo gin, champagne, blackberries, Earl Grey tea, rosemary and lemon. And of course, we never say no to a post-drink macaron or two.
Splurge on an upscale dinner at Gallery Restaurant.
Luxuriously located at The Ballantyne Hotel (10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.), Gallery Restaurant offers farm-to-table fare in a posh, refined setting. We suggest starting with an artisanal meat and cheese board, then enjoying the sea scallops or the bone-in cowboy ribeye for your main course. And don’t even think about skipping dessert when there’s a chocolate bourbon crème brûlée calling your name.
Have an intimate evening at members-only speakeasy Dot Dot Dot.
Nestled in the back lot of the Park Road Shopping Center you’ll find Dot Dot Dot (4237 Unit B Park Rd.), a “culinary driven bar experience” featuring a large selection of whiskey, spirits and cocktails along with a robust food menu. We’re partial to the burrata, ahi tuna poke and American wagyu flat iron in terms of food. For cocktails, you should definitely try the Penicillin (Monkey Shoulder scotch, honey, ginger, lemon and McClelland’s Islay scotch, served over ice) or the Bee’s Knees (Botanist gin, local honey and fresh lemon, served up).
Test your cooking skills at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen.
Instead of just going out to dinner for the zillionth time, why not make your own meal together? Whether you and your S.O. are total novices in the kitchen or have years of experience, there’s a class at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen (2104 South Blvd.) for you. Classes vary based on ingredients’ seasonal availability, so check out the current course selection here.
Sweeten things up at Bar Cocoa.
If you and your S.O. love the sweeter things in life, then you’ve got to check out the chocolate, pastry and dessert cooking classes at Bar Cocoa in The Ritz-Carlton (201 East Trade St.). Keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming workshops where you can learn to make desserts from French macarons to sorbet and beyond. There’s even a dessert and wine pairing class!
Take a food tour of Charlotte.
Want to explore the culinary scene in a Charlotte neighborhood other than your own? Take a look at the FEAST Food Tour calendar to see when you can catch upcoming food tours of Uptown, NoDa, Plaza Midwood, Dilworth and South End. Your tour will incorporate stops at gastropubs, delis, fine dining establishments and breweries, so you’ll get to try a little bit of everything. More details here.
The adrenaline junkies
Go whitewater rafting, zip lining, mountain biking and more — all in one place.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or not, there are SO many activities to choose from at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.) As we mentioned earlier, you can check out their yoga series or go kayaking for a relaxing, yet active day out. Or if you’d rather get your adrenaline pumping, you can get an activity pass to try activities ranging from whitewater rafting to Deep Water Solo and much, much more.
Pro tip: opt for a day pass instead of an activity pass if you’re looking to try more than one activity.
Jump around at a massive indoor trampoline park.
There are more than 10,000 sq. ft. of connected, world-class trampolines at DefyGravity, where you both can partake in all sorts of activities that are so much fun, you won’t even notice them burning your core and leg muscles. Try open jump, the ninja obstacle course, extreme dodgeball, foam pits and more. Find out more here.
Throw axes around (either competitively or for fun) at Lumberjaxe.
As you may have seen when our team tried it — here’s the video for proof, and somehow Sallie won — Lumberjaxe (933 Louise Ave. #108) is an indoor competitive and social axe throwing facility in Charlotte’s Belmont neighborhood. Spots fill up quick, since apparently we all secretly want to wield sharp weapons and throw them at walls, so be sure to make a reservation before you go.
Photo: CharlotteFive Archives