When it comes to planning where to take your date, you’ve got loads of options, but what will make you stand out from the crowd of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes?
All dates are not equal. So if you want yours to be memorable, whether it’s the first, the second or all the ones that come after, you might have to think outside the box. Luckily, we’ve put together a handy list of ideas to help you keep things fresh, time after time. So you need only match them up with the lucky guy or gal you’re wooing.
First Dates – Awesome Icebreakers
When it comes to first dates, a couple of drinks will certainly help to break the ice, but a sit down dinner might be too much. You want to talk, but you also need entertainment – so what’s it to be?
Play a game of shuffleboard
BrewDog North Street has made its way onto this list for two reasons – on the one hand, it has a rather spectacular selection of beers, enough to please every palate, and on the other, it has three giant shuffleboard tables downstairs to keep you and your date entertained.
Mix art & drinks at The Tetley
It surely wouldn’t hurt to show off your cultural side, so why not have drinks and a bite to eat at The Tetley? Not only will you be able to try some of the famed brewery’s creations, but you can also check out the latest contemporary art exhibitions.
Drink cocktails at the Tiki Bar
Want a holiday romance without setting foot outside of the city? No problem, just visit the Tiki Hideaway, tucked away above Call Lane Social. Here, you can enjoy a cocktail or two surrounded by palm trees, beach huts and a party atmosphere.
Enjoy a spot of jazz at The Domino Club
How about a spot of jazz to ease away the stresses of the week? The best place to find it is at The Domino Club, an underground jazz bar hidden inside Lords Barbering. You’ll impress your other half just by knowing it’s there – treat them to delectable cocktails and cost-price rare whiskies as you listen to the latest live acts on stage. If everything goes well, you might even stay for the DJ.
Explore Leeds Art Gallery
Now that it’s reopened, Leeds Art Gallery is right back up there as one of the city’s best first date destinations. It’s free and you can get to know your date while you gaze upon some really quite incredible art, including new acquisitions like Arena (2000) by Alison Wilding and Xanadu by German abstract artist Lothar Götz.
Go wine tasting at Lazy Lounge
A little wine can go a long way towards breaking the ice, especially when it’s combined with the expertise of the folk at Lazy Lounge. For £20 a head, you can pick up a little vino know-how with your date, tasting seven wines with the added bonus of some tasty pairings to stave off the nibbles.
Visit the crocodiles at Tropical World
It’s not exactly a conventional date, but that’s what makes Tropical World the perfect choice. Check out the famed meerkats, wander the halls filled with butterflies and even get a glimpse of their latest addition – crocodiles. Wondering where the booze is? Obviously you’re going to the Roundhay Fox first.
Play a round of golf at Roxy Swingers Club
Roxy Ball Room is the perfect first date material. Head upstairs to the mini-golf course, where you and your love interest can take on nine tricky holes, including a loop-the-loop and a fair few corners. Winner buys the drinks?
Have a few beers at The Reliance
As first date bars go, there are few better places to go than The Reliance. There’s no bells or whistles, it’s just a cool, laid-back bar where they serve quality beer in a lovely setting. If this one turns out to be ‘the one’, you won’t have any qualms coming back year after year to celebrate.
Catch a gig at The Brudenell
The city’s most legendary gig venue is the obvious choice for music-loving couples and with such a vast array of shows for you to choose from, you’re sure to find something that floats both your boats. The cheap as chips drinks prices won’t do any harm either.
Second Dates – Deal Clinchers
By the second date, you know you’re interested, so you can go for full on entertainment, or if you’re feeling brave enough, a meal – though you’ll probably still be struck with ‘have I got something in my teeth’ paranoia.
Eat whatever you want at Trinity Kitchen
So you don’t know what your date likes yet – no problem, just go to Trinity Kitchen. You can take your time, pondering the different street food vendors, and if you don’t fancy the same thing, who cares, just order what you like and pick a pew to eat together. Hell, you could even treat your new love interest to a glass of champagne from Oh You Pretty Things.
Look out over the city from a rooftop bar
There’s nothing more romantic than a skyline view, and Leeds has plenty of rooftop bars that will be happy to oblige. SkyLounge is the highest, it promises 360° views from the thirteenth floor, but Angelica is equally popular – if you want something more laid back, try Headrow House for cocktails, beer and chilled out tunes.
Watch a film at Everyman
With those cosy sofas and the wine coolers built into the side tables, Everyman Cinema is the perfect choice for film-loving dates. Tuck into a pizza while you watch the movie or go for the traditional popcorn, the choice is yours.
Indulge in street food at Belgrave Feast
Who could resist the combination of street food, craft beer, art and entertainment laid on by Belgrave Music Hall on the second Saturday of the month? Tuck into a little bit of this and a little bit of that while getting to know your date’s tastes.
Go on a lazy afternoon pub crawl
What better way to get to know each other than with a lazy Sunday afternoon pub crawl? Ours will take you to seven pubs – it kicks off with roast dinner at Whitelocks and finishes with the quiz at The Reliance, so you’re in for a cracking day out.
Go cheap & cheerful at The Social
Not only is The Social one of the coolest bars in Leeds, it’s also one of the cheapest, so treat your new love interest to a few drinks, then follow it up with a game of foosball. Top tip – this date is even better in the summer when their beer garden comes into play.
Buy & drink beer at Tall Boys
If you want a twist on the traditional bar, why not try Tall Boys Beer Market? Here you can pick your brews from the impressive range in the ground floor store, then take them upstairs for a small corkage fee to enjoy in a relaxed space that’s perfect for getting to know each other.
Test your tolerance at the Chilli-Shop
If you’re the competitive type with a love of hot food, the Chilli-Shop will make for a fun afternoon. Nip in to browse their Museum of Pain, with some of the hottest sauces and chillies in the land – and while you’re there, take advantage of their free tasters, to see who can handle the heat.
Cosy up inside or head out to a beer garden
Come rain or shine, there’s always somewhere in Leeds for you to take your date. You can choose from a host of cosy pubs in the winter, with roaring fires, hearty food and beer aplenty. Come summer, the outdoor spaces come into their own with a multitude of beer gardens for you to choose from.
Get a drink, pre-Prohibition style
Despite being one of the best cocktail bars in Leeds, Blind Tyger still flies under the radar, so you might just be able to surprise your date with something very cool indeed. Innovative concoctions are served up in an intimate pre-Prohibition style bar that’s perfect for dates.
All the Rest – Keeping the Magic Alive
No matter how long it lasts after those first few dates, you’ll want to keep the magic alive – and that means getting creative every now and then.
Rediscover your love of the theatre
It’s time to go back to the theatre. Whether it’s the work of homegrown treasures like Northern Ballet and Opera North, a huge West End production paying a visit to Leeds Grand Theatre or one of the small, independent shows popping up at Holbeck Underground Ballroom – there’s something for everyone. Look out for immersive theatre from the likes of Riptide and Sneaky Experience.
Have dinner at Man Behind the Curtain
What better way to celebrate that special anniversary than with a blow-out meal at the city’s only Michelin Star restaurant? Working your way through a plethora of courses that are nothing if not adventurous, their tasting menu will see you trying things you’ve never had before.
Do the same venue, in a different guise
The longer you stay together, the more the city will change – but one place that’s guaranteed to reinvent itself is The Hedonist Project. This New Briggate bar changes with the seasons, switching from a Caribbean-style rum joint to a spring gin bar – why not make revisiting it a tradition?
Revisit the city’s landmarks
Living in Leeds may well have turned the city’s landmarks into wallpaper, but if you look, if you really look, you’ll soon realise that they’re as good for locals as they are for tourists. So why not rediscover the city’s hottest attractions together?
Escape the room
Leeds has a surprising number of escape games for you to choose from. Tick Tock Unlock and Locked in Games are now joined by The Great Escape Game and Parapark. Hell, you can even try the UK’s first ever virtual reality-powered game experience, The Hyper Reality Experience. This is perfect for double dates, so bring your friends.
Have an absolutely crazy night out
Neighbourhood has arrived in Leeds and it’s batshit crazy. We’re talking spontaneous flash mobs, live sax and drums players, explosive dance performances, acrobatics and even fire breathers. If you want to spice up date night, this will do the job.
Head out to the countryside
From Roundhay Park to Temple Newsam, Golden Acre Park and the beautiful Meanwood Valley Trail, Leeds has loads of outdoor spaces for you to explore. But if you want to try somewhere new, head to St Aidan’s Nature Park. Pack a picnic and watch the sunset over the reedbeds.
Go freejumping at Oxygen
The UK’s favourite freejumping park opened in Leeds in 2016, and it’s perfect date material. Together, you can take on Oxygen’s 100 interconnected trampolines, jumping, bouncing and leaping your way to the end of one of the most unusual dates you’ll ever come across. Don’t forget to make a leap of faith into their giant airbag and compete on the obstacle course.
Shop together, cook together
Sure, you could eat out, but why not eat in? Head over to Rafi’s Spicebox in Leeds Kirkgate Market and they’ll make you up a curry mix, just the way you like it. You pick up everything else you need while you’re there, then head home to cook up a delicious feast. It tastes even better when you’ve made it together.
Try all manner of watersports at Yeadon Tarn
Just because we don’t live on the coast, doesn’t mean you can’t do watersports. Just head to Yeadon Tarn. You can go kayaking, open water canoeing and even improvised rafting at Leeds Sailing & Activity Centre. And if that doesn’t float your boat, it’s also a Royal Yachting Association Training Centre for powerboating, dinghy sailing and windsurfing.Cover image credit: Mat Dale