When it comes to dating, I wouldn't call myself a pro. But when it comes to thinking up cute ideas of things to do around Austin, that's another story. I find dating to be particularly stressful (mostly because I'm a surprisingly messy eater, very clumsy, and hate being paid for) but I've had a few good dates around town.
Even though Austin men were recently named the 'worst behaved singles in America', there are still plenty of cute and fun things to do if you're celebrating Valentine's day with your boo or your bestie.
Brunch + Congress Bridge
I love nothing more than a hearty brunch followed by a walk across South Congress Bridge. Not only does it show off one of my favorite views in the city, but getting some fresh air after eating a big meal with a latte in-hand always makes me smile! For brunch, I frequent Walton's Fancy and Staple, 24 Diner, Annie's Cafe & Bar, and Forthright Cafe.
Picnic at 360 Overlook - Lower Ledge
Two years ago, I took myself to the 360 bridge for Valentine's day. This spot has always been a favorite of mine in Austin. I love how peaceful it gets when the cars stop rushing by. It's a great place to be alone with someone and get a chance to really know each other without the distractions of a restaurant, bar, or party. Instead of going up to the top of 360 Overlook, I always veer off onto the lower ledge about halfway up the trail. It's far more private, and you don't have to watch people snapping Instagram photos.
A few years ago, I skipped a date event and went on a culinary adventure with the friend I was taking out that night. It was easily one of my most memorable nights in the city! We went from one restaurant to the next, ordering an appetizer each at every restaurant. It's easiest to do this downtown so everything is within walking distance. My favorite places for appetizers are Peche, Second Bar + Kitchen, Italic, and Roaring Fork.
Zilker at Night
I remember the first time I stepped foot into Zilker park at night, and there's no other way to describe it than magical! It's pitch black in the park after the sun sets, and you can see the entire skyline lit up between a break in the trees surrounding the area. It's great for a romantic night of skyline gazing (since it's sometimes too bright for stars) on a picnic blanket! The fact that you're surrounded by complete darkness and can't see anyone else in the park makes you feel like you're alone in the middle of the city. Make sure you go before 10pm so you don't get kicked out!
East 6th + Barbs
If you're looking for something seriously fun to do on maybe a second or third date, this is a great way to let loose and get sweaty! I find drinking on East 6th preferable to anywhere else in Austin, because there's less pomp and circumstance that goes into it. My favorite East Side bars to visit are Yellow Jacket Social Club, Whisler's for craft cocktails, The Volstead for dancing, and Rhino Room for a game of connect four. For more ideas, take a look at my East Austin City Guide! Finish the night by taking a ride share to Barbarella, and dance all that alcohol out of your system.
Get your hipster on at AFS Cinema! This teeny tiny theater is owned by Richard Linklater and only offers around 2-4 movies on any given night. They serve candy, small bites, and alcohol, and the no-frills theaters are retro af! The red carpet, dim lighting, and lounge seating in the lobby make this theater an intimate, incomparable Austin find.
Day Trip to McKinney Falls
One of my all time favorite dates was a day at McKinney Falls State Park with someone I had just started seeing. The weather is perfect from March through October, and the park has multiple watering holes you can cool off at after hiking. I'm not a fan of getting to know people while sitting across the table for a typical dinner date, so I always jump on dates that involve hiking! Make an adventure out of it and grabs snacks, drinks, or picnic food to bring with you and eat while you're at the park.
These are just a few of my favorite things to do around the city (that don't revolve around drinking!) Whether you're out with the girls or just meeting someone special for the fist time, Austin's romantic scenery is the perfect place for something amazing to bloom.