After a long, tough year of pandemic-induced staycations and at-home takeout dates with your partner, some couples are venturing out again with precautions. But we might be just a bit dusty on where to go, and what a great date even involves after such a long break. We all know the importance of getting away and spending time with our partners, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do to have an exciting and fresh adventure, especially if you’ve lived in the same area for years. But with a tiny bit of planning and forethought, you can have an unforgettable date night right in town. Once you’ve finally booked your babysitter, check out these must-try dates around Cincinnati and Dayton to rekindle the flame.
#1 City-gazing and New Chicken
If you are still a little hesitant to hang out in a crowded restaurant or bar, take your food outside and enjoy one of the best views of the city. Take a break from takeout and go for the real thing: try China Gourmet in Oakley (you want to get the New Chicken) and head up the hill to Eden Park’s beautiful city overlook. Don’t be surprised if you find other couples there with the same idea, because it’s a truly captivating view of Cincinnati.
#2 A Kidless Zoo Trip and Throwback Pizza
Sure, you’ve seen the giraffes a hundred times — but always with your little ones in tow. That train can have a way more romantic feel when you aren’t worried about your kids falling out of it. Locals sometimes forget that our own city features the second top rated zoo in the country (according to USA Today’s 10best) as we chase our kids around the playground and petting zoo. Spend a little quiet time with your partner at Cincinnati Zoo bird watching, feeding the giraffes without kids crying about slobber, and grabbing a piece of LaRosa’s pizza that Cincy natives know somehow tastes the best by the slice only from the Zoo and Kings Island. Keep in mind that because of the pandemic, the zoo has book-ahead time slot reservations. Multiple times per month, the zoo offers adult sunset safaris, complete with cocktails and dinner options, followed by close encounters with animals and educational small group lessons.
#3 Mariemont Theater and Greater’s
If you haven’t visited the charming historic Mariemont town square, you will appreciate the architecture as well as the date night offerings. Mariemont Theater will have you feeling like you are living out a scene from the movie The Notebook, especially after many of us haven’t seen a movie since pre-pandemic times. The charming theater gives us back everything that the big box theaters took away: a more intimate experience, with just a few movies offered at a time, and a real walk-up ticket window that adds to the throwback feel. Afterwards, try the flavor of the month at Graeter’s and stroll around the square, taking in the sights. Parking can be a challenge, so wear some comfortable walking shoes.
#4 The Pine Club and the Air Force Museum
You haven’t really had a steak in the tri-state area until you’ve visited Dayton’s classic restaurant, The Pine Club, recognized by The New York Times and visited by hundreds of celebrities passing through town. Even if you are anti-tomato, you will be asking for more of their famous stewed tomatoes. Pair this amazing dinner with a trip to the National Museum of the US Air Force, one of Dayton’s massive but still somehow hidden treasures. Walk through each hanger to relive events with your favorite history buff. Don’t miss the current temporary exhibit all about the wonders of space that runs through September.
#5 Oregon District and Riverscape
With architecture dating back to the 1800s, just walking around the Oregon District in Dayton is pretty entertaining — but come hungry. Whether you are ready to bar hop from one craft brewery to the next, or sit down for a full meal, the options are endless. Some favorites include Modern Ol’ Time Tavern Dining at The Trolley Stop, where you will want to try the Macho NOT-chos, or head to Thai 9 for the most authentic Thai food in the city. (Heads up: It’s a business casual dress code, so no tank tops.) Before or after dinner, explore Riverscape, the Great Miami River-front park winding through Dayton that offers summer concerts, beautiful landscaping, and biking.