Inspire me with Phoenix’s Ideal Date Locations

February 8, 2016

phoenix date night header

When you’re looking for date night ideas, Phoenix has you covered, from top-notch restaurants to romantic settings to active endeavors. Don’t go with the usual dinner and a movie. Instead, capitalize on all of the exciting activities Phoenix has to offer. With such a wide selection, it’s easy to find something both you and your date can enjoy. Here are some of our suggestions for a successful Phoenix date night.

A date night is special, whether it’s your first date or you’re making time to reconnect with your spouse, and the restaurant you choose should be just as special. Skip the chain restaurants. Go for something local, unique, or award-winning to make it a memorable meal for you and your date. Not sure where to go? Here are a few restaurant ideas that won’t leave you bored or wishing you had gone somewhere else:

  • Pizzeria Bianco: If you want something delicious yet comfortable and familiar, choose Pizzeria Bianco. A wood-fire oven and homemade cheese set the flavor apart, while the charming restaurant helps you build the romance. Known to have some of the best pizza anywhere, this restaurant often comes with a wait of several hours, so plan accordingly.
  • Fry Bread House: Go a different direction with the Fry Bread House, which was named an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation. Enjoy Native American fry bread with all sorts of toppings, many you wouldn’t think of yourself. This restaurant option is ideal for a casual date, as the décor isn’t exactly upscale or romantic. The food definitely makes up for it.
  • Quiessence at The Farm: Impress your date with this one-of-a-kind dining experience, located in a renovated home on The Farm at South Mountain. With both indoor and outdoor seating, Quiessence offers an intimate, romantic setting with a farm-to-table menu using locally sourced ingredients.
  • Vintage 95: American classics highlight the menu at this wine bar, originally serving as the first post office in Chandler. Its transformation includes all of the romantic touches: low lighting, intimate décor, leather seats, even a fire to set the mood. Sip a favorite vino and share an appetizer at this top Phoenix restaurant.
  • Beckett’s Table: Another restaurant featuring American classics, Beckett’s Table often changes and evolves the menu, making it a treat each time you bring your date here. The contemporary décor creates a warm feeling, suitable for a romantic evening, while the fireplace on the patio offers literal warmth for your outdoor dining experience.

Compare Art Critiques

Even if you and your date don’t share the same taste in art, Phoenix offers plenty of diverse art experiences you can share together. From galleries to special art events, this date night idea gives you something of substance to discuss. It might even give you some insight into your date’s personality. But don’t count them out if their art tastes vary from yours.

Try one of these art-based fun date night ideas in Phoenix:

  • First Friday Art Walk: If your date night falls on the first Friday of the month, head downtown to discover the culture and spirit of downtown Phoenix. Each month, art galleries and venues stay open late for the First Friday Art Walk, organized by Artlink. Feed off the energy of your fellow art enthusiasts as you discover new artists. A trolley offers transportation to different stops in the area, making it easier to cover more ground. Artlink also hosts annual art events, such as the Art Detour and Art d’Core Gala.
  • Phoenix Art Museum: Tour the Phoenix Art Museum, the largest art museum in the southwest, with your date. The museum often hosts live performances, independent film showings, and festivals, in addition to its regular collection of art from around the world.
  • Phoenix Center for the Arts: Create art with your date at the Phoenix Center of the Arts. Class options span a variety of art types, including ceramics, writing, photography, painting, printmaking, dance, and music. Choose a class with recurring sessions to ensure yourself additional dates with your sweetie.
  • Taliesin West: Enjoy a different type of art with the architectural feats of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West. Wright built the home with the help of his apprentices and used it as a winter home. Choose one of several tour options to see the inside of this architectural marvel, which fits in well with its desert location at the foothills of the McDowell Mountains.
  • Musical Instrument Museum: Another variation on the art theme is the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Over 6,500 instruments from around the world are on display at the museum, including instruments played by famous musicians such as John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and even Taylor Swift. Create a musical duo with your date in the Experience Gallery, where the Musical Instrument Museum allows you to play musical instruments from around the world.

Catch a Flick

Going to a movie is almost a cliché when it comes to date night, but the West Wind Drive-In Movie Theater is the exception. Take your date back in time with the classic romance of a drive-in movie. Snuggle in the back of your car as you watch a first-run movie in a fun outdoor setting. Since you’re sitting in your own car and not in a movie theater, you can carry on a conversation with your date without getting shushed by the crowd.

Get Active

The climate here in Phoenix means you’ll have plenty of active, outdoor date options year round. Make sure your date knows ahead of time if you plan to get sweaty during your outing. Some people prefer to stay perspiration-free, especially in the early stages of a relationship.

Hiking is a logical date option in Phoenix. We have no shortage of hiking trails of varying difficulty levels. Take your date to Dobbins Lookout on South Mountain. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Valley below. Pack a picnic, or hike back down to the bottom and head to your favorite restaurant. Papago Park is home to Hole-in-the-Rock, another creative option for a picnic date. Climb to the opening, and enjoy the mountain views while you enjoy a picnic lunch.

Another option is to explore nature in the Phoenix area from the back of a horse. The Ponderosa Livery Stable is one business in the area that offers guided trail rides in South Mountain Park. Take in the rock formations and ancient petroglyphs in the park. Don’t forget to have someone snap your photo together on your horses.

If you prefer to have fun in the water, plan your date for Fort McDowell Adventures, where you can rent kayaks and explore the Salt River. The views are amazing, and you’ll see a variety flora and fauna on your float down the river. Or plan a two-hour float down the Salt River on tubes with Salt River Tubing. This option has a leisurely pace, so you can chat with your date as you flow with the river.

Take to the Skies

If you want the romance of sweeping views of Phoenix without the potential turn-off of sweating through your shirt on a hike, go up without the effort in a hot air balloon. Apex Balloons, Rainbow Ryders, and Hot Air Expeditions are three companies offering hot air balloon rides in the Phoenix area. Schedule the flight at sunrise or sunset for an added touch of romance.

Wander in a Garden

What could be more romantic than strolling through a well-landscaped garden? We recommend two public gardens in particular that work well as fun date ideas in Phoenix.

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix offers a calm, Zen-like feeling, perfect for a romantic stroll with your date. The garden features over 50 plant varieties and 1,500 tons of hand-selected rock, all with a Japanese-inspired design. Enjoy the more than 300 fish in the koi pond. Other features of the garden include a waterfall, tea garden, and Shachi monument. Participate in a tea ceremony at the teahouse. The ceremonies are held on the third Saturday of the month, so check the schedule to see if it lines up with your date schedule.

Another garden option is the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, located in Papago Park. With over 140 acres, the grounds feature five different trails, each with a different experience, all highlighting desert plants. Explore trailside exhibits along the way, or go during a temporary art exhibit or seasonal display. Las Noches de Las Luminarias is one such seasonal display, which runs from the end of November through December. Enjoy the beauty of over 8,000 luminaria bags along the pathways, along with music, carolers, and holiday cocktails.

Cheer on Your Favorite Team

We’re lucky to have a wide range of sports teams here in Phoenix, including numerous professional league teams. Catching a game is a great option for a date — unless you cheer for opposing teams. That could turn the date sour quickly.

The sports options vary, with at least some type of sport available year round. Here are a few of the main sporting event options that could work for your next Phoenix date night:

  • Football: If you need date ideas in Phoenix in the fall, consider cheering on our very own NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals. A staple in Arizona since 1988, the Cardinals offer the excitement of an NFL game right here in Phoenix. Another football option is to head indoors to watch the Rattlers, a team in the Arena Football League. You won’t be disappointed. The team holds multiple AFL records and has several Arena Bowl titles.
  • Basketball: Another Phoenix sports option is to take in the fast-paced action of an NBA game with the Phoenix Suns or a WNBA game with the Phoenix Mercury. They play at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
  • Baseball: This all-American sport also makes a great date option. Head to Chase Field to see the Arizona Diamondbacks in MLB action. They won the World Series in 2001.
  • Ice Hockey: If you prefer to see action on the ice, take your date to an NHL game with the Arizona Coyotes.
  • Soccer: The Arizona United is a United Soccer League team entertaining fans in our area. You may even have the chance to snap a picture with Howler, the coyote-costumed mascot.
  • Roller Derby: The Arizona Derby Dames keep the action moving if you’re looking for an exciting date night activity. Even if you aren’t part of the game, you’ll feed off of the excitement of the roller derby players.

Enjoy the Theater

Phoenix offers plenty of theatrical performances throughout the year, but September offers something special. Ballet Arizona performs throughout September at various parks throughout the Valley. Watching ballet under the stars has to be one of the most romantic date ideas ever.

The historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix is another option for all sorts of performing arts. Take in a theatrical production, classical music, concert, or other shows at the theater. Originally built as a vaudeville house, the theater was restored in 1997 and features all sorts of ornate details, including a hand-painted ceiling. Take in all the details while waiting for a show with your date.

End on a Sweet Note

Not ready for your date to end? Extend it just a little longer with a sweet dessert. It’s tough to go wrong with dessert, but if you need some suggestions, here are some of our favorite dessert spots in Phoenix:

  • Urban Cookies Bakeshop: If you’re in the mood for cookies or cupcakes, this is your stop. Winner of the TV show Cupcake Wars, this shop knows how to make dessert. It also gives back to the community, so you can feel good about bringing your date here for dessert.
  • Pie Snob: Go a different direction and choose a pie for dessert from Pie Snob. Choose from fruit, nut, cream, and chocolate pies to satisfy your dessert cravings. Share a pie with your date or order one for each of you.
  • a Bakeshop: If you and your date have different tastes in desserts, try A Bakeshop. Regular menu options include cupcakes, cake by the slice, macarons, cannoli, cheesecake, and more. You can each get something that satisfies your sweet tooth without compromising.
  • Merci French Café and Patisserie: This French café offers pastries, macarons, sweet crepes, and homemade ice cream. It’s well known for its pastries, but don’t let that sway you from trying one of the other sweet options. Any option on the menu seems like a safe bet.

Dessert is a sweet end to your date, but don’t forget to enjoy sweets in moderation. When you say good night to your date, head home and brush those teeth to prevent cavities. AZ Family Dental offers cleanings that include thorough checks for cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral issues.

Explore Phoenix

When you want to impress your date with a creative date night, Phoenix offers just what you need. Spice up your marriage with creative date night ideas, or ensure yourself a second date with a new interest by showing them a good time at one of Phoenix’s many highlights. Explore more of what the city has to offer with our Phoenix guides, including recommendations on food trucks and our guide to living in Phoenix.

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