8 Non-Boring, COVID-Safe Seasonal Date Ideas
From Bumble’s Dating 101 in 2021 guide.
Editor’s note: this post was published on January 4, 2021. We urge readers to abide by guidelines issued in their local areas since then.
While we’re still living with COVID, many classic winter traditions, from big holiday parties to packed choral concerts, are on pause for safety’s sake. And that goes for winter dating traditions, as well—whether your go-to winter first date is a screening of It’s A Wonderful Life or a long, fireside evening in an intimate wine bar, odds are that it’s off the table for now.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with matches in person until the weather warms up. Though it’s crucial to get to know someone and their COVID risk by first going on virtual dates, and to take proper safety precautions, if you both feel comfortable meeting, there are plenty of in-person COVID date ideas that will let you get to know each other a better and have some fun, while also keeping the risk of transmission low.
Walk in a Winter Wonderland
Take a stroll through your neighborhood or, if they’re open, your local botanical gardens or a national park. Spend the afternoon admiring the plants in your neighborhood that are still going strong, even in the cold (it’s a little inspiring, right?).
Have a Snow Day
If you live somewhere snowy, try sledding or snow-shoeing — just stay six feet apart. And if neither of you know a snow-shoe from a snowplow, don’t worry; lots of outdoor gear stores and rec centers offer cheap introductory classes that will get you on your feet and give you plenty to talk about later (like that one guy who came to class in shorts).
The sky is clearer during winter, so you’ll be able to make out the constellations. And if you don’t know any besides the Big Dipper constellation-identifying apps can guide you through the night sky wherever you live.
Go for a Ride
Take a bicycle ride to check out the foliage — or just for some fresh air. Choose a quieter road or dedicated cycling path, so you can focus on chatting with each other and taking in nature instead of worrying about traffic. And bundle up out there!
Head to a Zoo
Get in touch with your inner child on a trip to the zoo. Zoos throughout the country are currently open with safety protocols in place, making them a great place to see animals from colder climates, like wolves and Siberian tigers, and have some seriously goofy fun in the process.
Though many classic winter sports like ice hockey aren’t exactly ideal first date activities, that doesn’t mean you and your date can’t explore your sportier sides this time of year. Try an out-of-the-box sport experience at a year-round mini-golf course, batting cage, or an outdoor ax-throwing range (yep, it’s a thing).
Host a Private Screening
If you live in a milder climate (or just don’t mind the cold too much), drag some blankets and chairs into the backyard, buy a cheap video projector that hooks directly to your phone or laptop, pop some popcorn, and have a movie screening. Watch an old classic, or one of the many new movies released this year that you haven’t gotten to see on a big screen.
If giving back to your community is a big part of your life, volunteering with a date is a great way to connect on a deeper level. Nonprofit and volunteer organizations have plenty of opportunities for safe volunteering, from walking dogs at an animal shelter to packing up food deliveries for folks who need them.