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Distinctly Durham Date Ideas

Estimated Read Time:
4 minutes

Love is in the air, y'all. Our sidewalks are perfect for a lovers' stroll, but also serve as the best path to unique adventures for you and your loved one.

Posted By Discover Durham Staff

Thanks to Durham’s world-class dining scene, it’s pretty easy to plan a date centered around a night out at a bar or restaurant — but if you're looking for something out of the ordinary, check out these unique date night (or day!) activities you could only embark on in the Bull City.

Pique your collective curiosity

The popular Ninth Street shopping and dining neighborhood is a just five-minute drive to Duke University’s top attractions or a 20-minute walk if you feel like going hand-in-hand. On Thursday evenings, enjoy free admission to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, where you can view artworks from the museum’s permanent collection and rotating exhibits. This year, enjoy this performance of Tao Drum Heart at the Carolina Theatre.

Animal lovers will get a kick out of touring the Duke Lemur Center, home to the largest collection of lemurs outside of Madagascar. The 75-minute tour costs $12 per person and introduces participants to 10 different lemur species living at the center. Is there anything more adorable and lovely than lemurs?

Get moving with your boo thang

Those rose-colored glasses probably mean you're wandering about with stars in your eyes.

Wander wisely.

Nature-loving couples will be thrilled with all the outdoor date options in North Durham. Start the day at Rock Quarry Park and tap into your inner child at Eno River State Park, where nearly 30 miles of trails wind along a swift, shallow stream that’s popular with anglers, photographers, and sightseers. Don’t forget to stop by the West Point Mill for a tour.

South Durham is the place for a date that will get your heart pumping! Start this afternoon date at Defy Gravity trampoline park for an Open Jump session that will burn calories — from jumping, but also laughing at each other trying to stay on your feet. Tickets start at $8 for a half hour of jump time, and unless you’re very physically fit, a half hour will leave you exhausted and happy.

If you have any energy left post-hike, boost that heart rate one more time at Mission X Escape, an escape room where you and other team members must solve a series of puzzles and clues in order to escape within a set time frame ($30 per person). What better way to exercise some teamwork?

Working out the kinks with your significant other (or friend!) is always an option at Durham's yoga studios. Try a class at La Vita Yoga, Durham Yoga Company, Global Breath Studio, Community Power Yoga, or Three House Studios. Interested in heating things up? Get on your mat at Arrichion Hot Yoga Durham or Hot Asana Yoga Studio to enjoy 'the original hot yoga.'

Play (and paint!) the town with your love

If you and your beau love old-school arcade games, don’t miss Quarter Horse Arcade on Mangum Street. On Free Play Mondays you can leave your quarters at home while enjoying games like Galaga and Ms. Pac-man. Boxcar Bar + Arcade is a recent addition to the Central Park district and boasts games, drinks, pizza, and events for couples to enjoy. Looking for pinball, Skeeball, air hockey, and more? You've come to the right place.

If you're looking for an artistic expression of your affection, use the pixel wall art display at Durham Central Park to proclaim your adoration for all to see! Create a piece of art to take home at AR Workshop, or discover some Instagrammable moments in the Bull City as you take in local murals with the Discover Durham Mural Finder. Grab a free one at the Visitor Info Center!

What's more — share your #majorlove as Major the Bull looks on in CCB plaza. Maybe your adorable date will wind up on our social feeds for all to see!

Enjoy the sweet and savory with your sweetheart

Starving for lunch after your adventures? Fuel up on fresh tacos, chiles rellenos and agua fresca at Super Taqueria. Or grab a burger and beer at Dain’s Place, an iconic neighborhood dive.

Lunch options abound all over Durham, but consider seafood and hush honeys at Saltbox Seafood Joint, or sharing a slice and relaxing at Pompieri Pizza, a classic Neapolitan pizzeria. The wood-fired ovens, Italian ingredients and natural light give off such romantic aura, you might feel like you’re in Naples. In the mood for something a little fancier? Try Asian fusion tapas and cocktails to share at Juju, or some of the South American variety at the James Beard-nominated Mateo Bar de Tapas.

Wrap up your date by staring into each other's eyes (and avoiding brain freeze) over a milkshake (with two straws, like in the movies!) from The Parlour, where seasonal flavors include turtle pie and peppermint mocha. Enjoy more sweet treats together at Pincho Loco, The Mad Popper, or Dulce Café.

And for a casual date at any time, snuggle up together like these lovebirds with a delicious concoction at one of Durham's original coffee shops Beyù Caffé.

Looking for more romance in the Bull City but don't want to break the bank? Check out our list of free things to do, and full list of Valentine's Day events.

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Discover Durham Staff