Houston may be known as the culinary capital of the south, but there’s so much more to do on date night than go out to dinner. Don’t get me wrong, a night out at one of Houston’s many fine dining establishments is a night well spent. However, there’s plenty for couples to do in the city besides dinner for two. If you’re looking for a Houston date idea that won’t break the bank and will score you points for uniqueness, continue reading for 17 creative date ideas in Houston — for any budget.
The Houston Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest museums of its kind in the United States. The museum houses an impressive collection of antiquities and fine art, as well as a brand new, modern art wing. Marvel at everything from ancient Egyptian pottery to stunning Warhol portraits. On Thursdays, the museum is free, making it the most cost effective of all the Houston date ideas.
As the name suggests, Buffalo Bayou Park stretches along the winding buffalo bayou from Memorial Park to downtown and runs between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. The green space reaches 2.3 miles in length and has running trails, walking paths, bike paths, large open fields, volleyball courts, and plenty of scenic bridges. The majority of the park boasts skyline views that are sure to make your walk together memorable. Head to the park at sunset to watch the bats at the famed bat bridge.
The Menil Collection houses the impressive art collection of the museum’s founders, John and Dominique Menil. The Menil Collection sprawls over several blocks of Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, where visitors will find oak tree-lined streets leading the way to modern art sculptures and the famed Rothko Chapel. This spot is a go-to date idea if you’re seeking out a picnic on a sunny day. Stop and grab lunch between exhibits along West Alabama.
Located in the River Oaks Shopping Center on West Gray, River Oaks Theater stands as a monument to the past. This popular art-house theater is known for its midnight showings of cult classics such as Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Room, and more. They also regularly feature classic movies, like Ferris Bueler’s Day Off. Recently, the theater was saved from demolition by a local company that sought to preserve a piece of Houston cinema history.
Houston’s live music scene has always lived in the shadow of neighboring city, Austin, but that all may change soon. In the last year, Houston has added two new concert venues to its already lengthy list of show locations. 713 Music Hall stands as the perfect in-between-size indoor complex that strikes the balance between festival atmosphere and intimate crowd show. White Oak Music Hall recently launched an outdoor venue that will have you believing you’re at Coachella. Each venue hosts events every weekend with big-name artists and local talent drawing a crowd each night. If you’re looking for an energetic Houston date idea, score tickets to your favorite band.
Montrose is one of Houston’s liveliest neighborhoods with some of the city’s best bars, restaurants, and cafes. The stretch of Westheimer between Hazard and Montrose is full of Houston’s trendiest eateries, cafes, and bars. For a fun date night, pick a restaurant on one end and walk towards the other for drinks afterward. Pop into every bar you see and sample signature margaritas, craft beer, and cocktails.
Texas’ history isn’t all cowboys and horses, the state actually has a heavy Germanic and Czech influence. One of the most prominent aspects of Texas culture that is German in origin is the beer garden. In Texas, they’re called Ice Houses, but the concept is the same: outdoor venues and cold beer. Head to one of Houston’s many ice houses with your date for a fun afternoon of drinking in the sun. West Alabama Ice House stands as one of Houston’s oldest, no frills ice houses.
Momentum Climbing on Silver Street is a favorite date spot for Houston’s outdoorsy crowd. As one of the largest climbing gyms in the country (43,000 sq. feet), this gym features strictly bouldering walls with everything from beginner-friendly to expert-only. If you’ve never climbed before, head on in with your date to learn together. You can rent everything you need onsite.
Head downtown with your date to Minute Maid Park to watch the Houston Astros with your date. Ticket prices vary, but there’s usually always a cheap option. If you’re looking to save, make sure to plan your visit on Dollar Hot Dog Night. Once the game is finished, walk over to East Downtown to sample some of the city’s newest bars and restaurants.
A zoo date may sound a little cliche, but the Houston Zoo is tucked away in Hermann Park. So, if the zoo isn’t your thing, picnic in Hermann Park in the shade under oak trees with hanging Spanish moss. The park sits between the city’s Medical Center and the museum district, so a picnic in Hermann Park is a perfect way to end a museum date.
Located in Hermann Park, Miller Outdoor Theater is a hillside outdoor amphitheater that hosts free concerts, plays, and orchestra events year-round. Miller Outdoor Theater has served as one of the city’s favorite community gathering places since 1923. It is the only free outdoor theater of its kind in the United States. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, pet-friendly Houston date idea, this is it.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science houses more than just dinosaur bones and physics exhibits. It’s also home to the Cockrell Butterfly Center. The Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is a living butterfly habitat in a massive enclosed greenhouse. This three-story glass structure is built around a 50-foot waterfall and simulates a tropical rainforest and is filled with exotic plants.
In Houston’s bustling Midtown neighborhood, local bar Little Woodrow’s hosts a unique Thursday night experience every week. Every Thursday, hundreds gather in Little Woodrow’s Midtown location to watch turtle races. The bar has been hosting this odd event for years, and it has quickly become a town favorite. Turtles are deposited into the center of a ring, and race (slowly) towards the edges. Spectators pick their favorite to win using a card system, and winners are rewarded. If you and your date are new to town, this is a must of all the Houston date ideas. Even better, it’s completely free!
Houston has several bayou trails that are perfect for a bike ride. Wherever you are in the city, there’s most likely a Bayou adjacent trail somewhere nearby. Brays Bayou Trail runs near Hermann Park behind the Medical Center, White Oak Bayou trail runs through the heights north of downtown, and Buffalo Bayou trail runs from along Allen Parkway towards downtown. Pick up a CitiBike or bring your own for the ride.
Like most cities nowadays, Houston’s craft beer scene is booming. If you’re new in town, start with the oldest craft beer in Texas: Saint Arnolds. Saint Arnolds recently opened a sprawling East Downtown beer garden where you can sample their classic beers and ciders while enjoying the weather with your date. Other celebrated breweries in Houston include Karbach Brewery, Buffalo Bayou Brewery, and 8th Wonder Brewery. To top it off, each one has an excellent beer garden that’s ideal for a sunny day date.
Along with the trendy stretch of bars in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood located along Westheimer, you’ll also find a stellar selection of thrift and vintage clothing stores. Spend an afternoon browsing wacky vintage clothes in one of the city’s most prominent second hand stores, Pavement. You can also shop while benefiting a good cause at Out of the Closet, a thrift store that benefits the Aids Health Foundation.
Ninfas on Navigation originally opened in 1973 and has been a local favorite since day one. This classic Tex Mex spot serves up tasty authentic Tex Mex with some of the city’s best margaritas. If you’re going to only have Tex Mex once, this is the place to try it. Split fajitas with your dinner date and have a few frozen margaritas before hitting the nearby bars.