25 Romantic Fall Date Ideas That Aren’t ‘Drinks’

25 Romantic Fall Date Ideas That Aren’t ‘Drinks’
cheerful african american couple piggybacking in autumn at the parkskynesherGetty Images

How is it already autumn? This year has flown by, and not necessarily in a good way. But, wait, is it still possible to connect? Outside of your house? With another person? Yep. Dating can still work.

“The purpose [of dating] in my eyes is supposed to be to get to know each other, see if you guys want a serious relationship with each other, and then be able to make sure you guys are on the same page,” says Stephan Labossiere, also known as Stephan Speaks, an author and relationship coach. Marriage is the ultimately goal for a lot of people, but even if that’s not your thing, dating can help you find someone who’s a fit…for whatever puzzle you’re working on. (Just have some key COVID-related conversations first.) Fall is as good a time as any to connect with a new partner—in fact, it might even the best time, as folks are gearing up for cuffing season. Plus, there’s something romantic about wearing a cozy sweater and sipping a warm beverage.

Look: The leaves are changing. The weather is kinda perfect. And you can avoid crowds. So, if you make a connection, make an effort. Get creative. There’s more to do than drinks!

For more dating inspiration, check out our guides to first date ideas, second date ideas, winter date ideas, and budget-friendly date ideas that won’t break the bank. Last but not least, follow these key dating tips to maximize your chances of seeing them again!

1 of 25

Get out on the grill.

You’re probably planning to use it already. So invite your date as you marinate, and enjoy her presence with your perfectly seared steak.

2 of 25

Visit an orchard.

And buy some stuff. This year, some businesses (if they’re still open) have seen a downturn in sales. So support your local economy, and pick up sweet treats, when you go apple picking and more.

3 of 25

Rent a scooter or two.

They’re already everywhere, right? Use an app for the rental. Then roll through your city, navigate safely, and stick together.

4 of 25

Create a scavenger hunt.

This requires some planning, but you can do it. Buy sealed candy or little items your partner might love, and write out a few clues. Then hide the items in places that match the hints. The final prize? You.

5 of 25

Go back to the drawing board.

Fall brings school supplies, so it’s easy to find artsy items in stores or online. Buy your materials, take a seat, and take turns sketching each other. Even if you’re no Picasso, effort counts.

7 of 25

Say “cheers.”

This isn’t your typical toast. Plan to visit a vineyard; October is harvest season in some areas. Hopefully, you’ll discover something great.

8 of 25

Play photographer.

Your date can be the model. Make it Instagram-worthy by choosing a location with cool fall leaves or nice lighting. Tip: Learn a few shooting basics so you do their beauty justice.

9 of 25

Pop into a panel discussion.

School’s in session, and it’s election season. That means you can find lectures, book discussions, and other panels online. Book in advance (try your local bookstore or an event site), and walk out a little more informed.

10 of 25

Take a martial arts class.

Taekwondo, anyone? Check your local listings to see what’s open and what’s required. Then dive in with your date and do some sparring.

11 of 25

Try a guided meditation.

Feeling wound up as the year winds down? Meditation can help you get calm. Find a quiet environment, settle in with your date, and push play on your smartphone. Get free options via the UCLA Mindfulness Meditation Center or on YouTube.

12 of 25

Take a day trip.

A short drive can make you both feel brand new. Try an outdoor destination that you’ve never seen. And if you have to grab lunch, check out the new city for a new experience.

13 of 25

Sip on hot cider.

Now you can find an authentic cup. So take a break from pumpkin spice overload, settle into a cozy space, and offer a toast with this classic.

14 of 25

Schedule a ghost tour.

Hopefully neither of you have scared each other by this point. If you pass the vibe check, book a trip to a so-called haunted house—together.

15 of 25

Play tourist in your own city.

You know all the cheesy stuff you said you’d never do? Try it now. With fewer people traveling, you two might as well see that weird landmark everyone loves.

16 of 25

Walk the dog.

Are you a dog dad? If your furry friend is generally cool—no biters, please—bring your pup on the date. Or have your date bring theirs. Either way, you all get some exercise.

17 of 25

Go rock climbing.

If you do this at an indoor facility, when they’re open, you can get hooked into the safety gear and scale a wall. If your date thinks Spiderman is sexy, they might think you are, too.

18 of 25

Take a hike.

If you prefer the outdoors, go to a rocky trail. It can be great to get moving at a higher elevation.

19 of 25

Go camping…kind of.

Grab some blankets, your drinks of choice, and a few snacks. Then settle into your backyard or a nearby campsite for a bit so you can talk—and cuddle up—under the stars.

20 of 25

Play minigolf.

Check to see if courses near you have reopened, and confirm any safety guidelines. And if your date needs a hand lining up their shot…well, you’ll be happy to help.

21 of 25

Run a 5K race.

Sign up for a fall event with your date. Your participation might even benefit a good cause. And if you’re avoiding crowds, virtual races are an option, too.

22 of 25

Have a jam session.

If you’ve got talent, whip out your musical instrument (emphasis on musical) and play a solo, or see if your date has skills to share. If not, there are always lessons on YouTube.

23 of 25

Channel a chef.

The holidays are just around the corner, so learn a festive recipe with your date. You can hold off on the turkey, but new sides are good bets.

24 of 25

Go to a farmer’s market.

It’s veggie season. Stop into a local market to pick up fresh produce. And if the squash and pumpkins start calling your names, answer.

25 of 25

Get lost on purpose.

This is perfect for fall, especially if the leaves are changing. Hop into your car, close Google maps, and see where you end up. And if your final destination is just an open field? Call it an adventure.

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