Springtime will be here before we know it — 41 more days until the official first day but who’s counting? (Me. I am.) Until then, we’ll have to hunker down and enjoy a few more weeks of indoor entertainment.
Here are some out-of-the-box, interactive dates to keep you from falling into the same old dinner and drinks routine.
Blend your own custom wine at The Ritz – 201 E. Trade Street – The hotel’s lobby bottle shop Hidden Wine hosts an interactive wine blending experience that’s equal parts education and tasting. It’s $65 per person and you’ll leave with your own signature bottle of wine.
Eat your weight in melted cheese at Orrman’s Cheese Shop’s Raclette Night – 224 E. 7th Street – What better way to cozy up on a winter night than with a plate of bubbly, hot melted cheese. Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m., Orrman’s features raclette, a wheel of semi-hard cheese that’s fired under a broiler and scraped onto a plate of roasted potatoes, bread and meat. Get a standard plate for $10 or add meat for $13.
Scale walls at Inner Peaks – 2220 S. Tryon Street and 9535 Monroe Road – No experience is necessary and you can rely on autobelays to simplify the climb without relying on your partner. The $27 First Timers package includes a daypass, harness, shoes and chalk.
Flow through yoga at The Mint Museum – 500 S. Tryon Street – NC Yoga Bar hosts classes at The Mint Wednesdays at 5:30 and 6:45 p.m. Classes are free for members and $10 for non-members. Stick around afterwards to explore the museum for free until 9 p.m.
Take a swing at Topgolf – 8024 Savoy Corporate Drive – The range is outside, of course, but the luxury heated bays stay comfortable year round. Hourly rates are per bay (which accommodate up to 6 people) and range from $25 – $45/hour. Walk-ins should definitely expect a wait on peak nights. Reservations are available and cost anywhere from free to $50 per bay depending on the night.
Try not to embarrass yourself at Flight’s Drunken Spelling Bee – 314 N. College Street – How well can you spell with a few drinks under your belt? Find out the last Friday of every month at Flight. Registration to participate is free and runs 5 – 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.
Relax at The Ritz-Carlton’s Aqua Lounge – 201 E. Trade Street – Did you know you can access the swanky spa (including an Aqua Lounge with an indoor pool, whirlpool and salt room) even if you’re not staying at the hotel? Two options: 1) Book a spa service and receive complimentary access to all spa facilities, or 2) Book a spa facilities day pass for $45 (available Sunday – Thursday only).
Bounce around at Sky Zone – Sure, kids love trampoline parks, but there are some grown-up activities too. Check out the $10 SkyFit classes Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:45 p.m. or their $12 Tuesday night Dodgeball Derby 7 – 9 p.m.
Play games at Queen Park Social – 4125 Yancey Road – Tired of the predictable “Let’s grab a drink” date invite? Mix it up at this social house with hands-on activities like bowling, shuffleboard, skee ball and more.
Nerd out at Discovery Place’s Science on the Rocks – The 21+ after hours party takes place the third Friday of each month and features hands-on experiments and themed cocktails. $10 in advance or $12 at the door.
Learn to make your own beer or wine at Seven Jars – The combo brewery/winery/distillery offers tours, tastings and hands-on classes just 7 miles west of Uptown. Classes are offered Saturdays 10 a.m. – noon. Call to learn more and book a reservation.
Cheer on the Checkers – 2700 E. Independence Boulevard – Chubby the mascot will deliver a rose to your date for $15 at the February 14 Valentine’s Day game. Call (704) 444-1888 to reserve a special delivery or see the full game schedule.
Sip wine and sample chocolates at Petit Philippe – 2820 Selwyn Avenue – The wine shop is home to 22 Degrees Chocolates, a luxury small-batch chocolatier. Buy a bottle off the shelf or work your way through the featured flight or tasting and pair it with fancy, almost-too-pretty-to-eat chocolate out of the case.
Try your hand at one of Charlotte’s 11 escape rooms – A good way to test the viability of a budding relationship is to throw it into the pressure cooker that is an escape room. Check out our complete guide to all the options.
Laugh it up at open mic night at Comedy Zone – 900 North Carolina Music Factory Boulevard, Suite B3 – Up and coming performers from a 200-mile radius show you what they’ve got with a 3-minute set. Shows are usually Tuesday nights but check the main calendar for updates. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
Hit up a Hornets game – 333 E. Trade Street – They’ll be handing out Steve Smith “Agent 89” bobblehead dolls to the first 7,500 fans on March 10.
Play classic arcades at Abari – 1721 N. Davidson Street – Cocktails, craft beer and classic games. Nothing to complain about here.
Learn to make fancy desserts at The Ritz-Carlton’s Bar Cocoa lab – 201 E. Trade Street – The immersive 4-hour experience lands you in the kitchen alongside award-winning Ritz pastry chefs where you’ll learn to make things like French macarons, tiramisu and chocolate eclairs. Classes are $150 per person and include a keepsake apron.
Sample whiskey flights at the Ballantyne Hotel – Gallery Bar features rotating daily whiskey flight selections. Stick around for dinner at Gallery Restaurant.
Have dinner on a yacht on Lake Norman – You’ll set sail on Lady of the Lake, a 93-foot luxury yacht, where you’ll enjoy a 3-course indoor dinner. An open air deck allows for great sunset views.
Go bowling at 10 Park Lanes – 1700 Montford Drive – The Montford classic is not your average bowling alley. It features a full restaurant, 3 full-service bars, patio games and live music. Go for the stacked mason jar, a portable meal made with your choices of barbecue, veggies, mac and cheese and more.