10 cute winter date ideas that aren’t just “let’s go to a brewery”

10 cute winter date ideas that aren’t just “let’s go to a brewery”
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When cold weather hits, it’s easy to feel like hibernating, but these adorable winter date ideas are worth putting on real pants.

(1) Pretend you’re royalty during afternoon tea at the Ballantyne

Expect tea, French macarons, tarts, scones, gourmet cakes, and champagne. It doesn’t get much more elegant. Leave your attempt at a British accent at home, though. It’s not as good as you think it is.

Perfect for: Proud members of the finer things club

Details: Tea is 1-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Reservations are required. Tickets are $58 for adults, $25 for kids ages 5-12, and $15 for kids four and under. They offer themed teas throughout the year, so check the schedule and plan accordingly.

lobby at the ballantyne hotel


(2) Glide into the romantic spirit at the Whitewater Center

Lace up and pretend you’re a kid again. Skate your way around 17,000-square-feet of ice, and when you get tired of falling, head over to the Airstream for some hot chocolate, or a beer.

And don’t forget to peruse the not-so-typical light display. The half-mile walking trail features nature-inspired, immersive light installations by Charlotte artist Meredith Connelly.

Perfect for: Romantics who want to feel like a kid again

Details: Check the daily activity schedule for ice skating hours. $20 for a single activity pass, $6 parking. The ice rink and light trail are open through February 16.

Agenda related guide: Ice skating open at the Whitewater Center — plus a half-mile illuminated walking trail

ice skating whitewater center charlotte

(3) Eat oysters at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Eat oysters in an insanely beautiful setting at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s oyster roast on January 26. Tickets get you all-you-can-eat steamed oysters, plus there will be live music and beer and wine available for purchase.

Bonus: The town of Belmont is postcard-worthy, so take a walk through after you’re done. Grab a drink at The Jailhouse, a cool bar that used to be the town’s jail.

Perfect for: Seafood lovers

Details: Tickets cost $50 for adults and $12 for kids. Members get a discount. Oysters will be served every half hour starting at 1 p.m., while supplies last.

(4) Chow down during Queen’s Feast Restaurant Week

This is your chance to do fine dining without the fine dining price tag. More than 140 area restaurants in 10 counties are participating with prix fixe menu’s featuring three courses for $30 or $35.

Perfect for: Foodies on a budget

Agenda picks: 11 top restaurants serving three-course meals for $30-$35 during Queen’s Feast

(5) Plan a cozy getaway in Blowing Rock

The adorable town is like something out of a Hallmark movie. It’s perfect for (light) hiking, shopping, and eating comfort food.

Perfect for: Couples craving a weekend of leisure

Details: The mountain town is only two hours from Uptown, and there are tons of cute places to stay, whether you’re into a charming inn or a funky Airbnb. Check out our guide on 20 things to eat, see, and do there.

(6) Pack a picnic for Rosie’s Wine Garden in NoDa

With string lights overhead and tables scattered throughout the intimate garden, this places oozes romance. You can pack a picnic at home and grab a drink from the bar ($7-$14 for a glass of wine, $4-$7 for a beer) for a dreamy date night under $15. Save this one for those unseasonable warm winter days Charlotte is known to have.

Perfect for: Budget-conscious romantics

Details: Hours are 4-10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It’s free to hang out at the garden, and drinks are $14 or less.

Full Agenda guide: You can stroll through McGill Rose Garden with wine in hand

(7) Cheer on the Checkers

They were the 2019 Calder Cup champions, so go cheer them on in person at Bojangles’ Coliseum. January 24 is beanie night (the first 1,500 fans get a free Checkers beanie) and on Wednesdays, they have $1 beers.

Perfect for: Sports fans

Details: Check their website for the next home game, and other fun promotions/theme nights.

(8) Play games inside Pins Mechanical Co, now open in South End

The 23,000-square-foot space is the perfect pick if prefer to drink while doing an activity.

You’ll find duckpin bowling lanes, Jenga sets, giant Connect 4, foosball, bocce ball, ping-pong, video games, and even a giant Light-Brite. If you’re bored here, you probably should just break up. They’ve also got delightfully crafted cocktails to sip as you play.

Perfect for: The social, competitive couple

Related Agenda guide: Pins Mechanical Company and 16-Bit Bar+Arcade now open14 best new bars in Charlotte, right now

Details: All arcade games are free to play. Look for innovative cocktails, including large, shareable options. The space is dog-friendly, both inside and outside.

The Baller ($14)

(9) Order one of everything at Optimist Hall

It’s a classic couple debate. Neither of you can decide what you want to eat, so you debate in circles until you get frustrated and end up eating at the same place you always go to. Break the cycle when you venture to Optimist Hall. You’ve got tons of different cuisine styles to choose from, all in one place.

Currently open: Bao and Broth, Undercurrent Coffee, Honeysuckle Gelato, Pet Wants, Zukku Sushi, Spindle Bar, Papi Queso, The Dumpling LadyVillage Juice Co., Ava, Archer Paper Goods, Velvet Taco, and El Thrifty Social Club.

Perfect for: The indecisive duo

Related Agenda guide: See inside: Everything we know about Optimist Hall, a game-changing new food hall outside of Uptown, The 25 best new restaurants in Charlotte, right now

Details: There’s something about browsing the food stalls in a renovated mill that makes the dining experience a refreshing change from the typical dining experience.

soup dumpling from dumpling lady

Soup dumpling from The Dumpling Lady inside Optimist Hall

(10) Get wine drunk at Winey Grapes Charlotte

Nothing says love like getting a little bit day drunk together, right? Sample more than 100 different wines, listen to live music, and shop local vendors at this event, happening February 1 at Slate.

Perfect for: Wine enthusiasts

Related Agenda guide: 6 coolest wine bars in Charlotte

Details: General admission tickets are $30 before January 19 and increase $5 every week until the event  ($45 at the door). VIP tickets start at $45.

Looking for more things to do? Here’s the full Charlotte Agenda calendar with more than 50 cool, upcoming events in Charlotte.

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