Austin is consistently ranked one of the best cities for dating. Why? A strong economy, loads of young people and tons of cool things to do.
Of course, this also bodes well for those who are already in a relationship. So let’s dig into some great ways to wow our sweethearts with the king of all date nights: The three-stop date downtown.
First up, some planning. Assuming you going to drive, consider some parking options — there are many. (See a little guide here.)
Now, consider what kind of night you and your mate will enjoy. For our purposes, we’ll look at a light-hearted plan for people who want to keep it simple or are just getting to know each other; a romantic night for special occasions or just because; and a fun party night to remember.
Keep it Simple
First: A snack, a drink and a stroll. Shake off the day with a little happy hour at Parkside where great drinks are born. Indulge in some oysters or nibble on sweet bread croquettes. Check the weather — the rooftop patio is the place to be. But the bar area is comfortable, too.
Then: Wander a few blocks over to HandleBar, where you can play some giant Jenga. Yes, Jenga involves carefully pulling big blocks of wood out of a tower until someone pulls the wrong piece and it all comes crashing down. Plus, there’s pinball, pool and a great rooftop patio.
Lastly: Score a late dinner at Easy Tiger. Get your people-watching in — perhaps an overdose — as you stroll down 6th Street for some mouth-watering sandwiches at Easy Tiger, just past Waller Creek on the south side of the street. They also have great sausages and cheese plates. To round the night out, grab something to bring home from their fantastic bakery.
A Romantic Evening
First: Drinks and an appetizer at Max’s Wine Dive on San Jacinto Boulevard and East 3rd Street. Select a glass or bottle from the extensive wine list and snack on some pan borracho (drunk bread) or order some oysters.
Then: Dinner at III Forks. Take a short stroll down to Lady Bird Lake and enjoy the sunset and the fresh air along the gravel trail. Head back to the city on 1st Street and there’s a nice steakhouse waiting for you and your sweetheart.
Lastly: Walk a couple blocks over to Congress Avenue and East 3rd Street for a jazz show at the Elephant Room. This basement-level jazz club is everything a jazz club should be: dark, ruggedly elegant and filled with personalities. They have great talent just about every night.
A Wild Night (group date friendly)
First: Let’s get this party started! Meet up at La Condesa for some fantastic drinks with Mexican flair and a couple savory street tacos to fuel the night.
Then: A concert at Austin City Limits Live. Pick a night with a show you’ll both love, order tickets and get a taste of one of the best live music venues around. Wander the hallways upstairs to see vivid photos of some of the legends who have played the Austin City Limits TV show.
Lastly: Shake off the concert with a 15 minute walk down 4th, 5th or 6th Street to Red River and East 7th Street. Consider stopping in anywhere that looks fun or tasty along the way. And then have a little after party at Swan Dive, Barbarella or Plush on Red River — options abound in this neighborhood if a little club dancing isn’t your thing. Maybe nab a late night slice of pizza at Hoboken Pie on Red River near East 8th Street before heading home, perhaps in a taxi, with a big smile on your face.