The ABCs of Dating in the ATL
From first date to long-term relationship, Atlanta offers no shortage of ways to woo your sweetheart.
STORY: Claire Ruhlin | PHOTOS: Stephen Payne
Deciding how to spend date night can be a head-scratching task, especially when warm, summer nights and weekends bring with them too many options to count. Here, we help take the guesswork out of planning your next amorous outing with an A-to-Z guide to Atlanta’s most eligible date ideas.
ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Impress your date with an evening of sophisticated music at Performance in the Park, a free concert by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Piedmont Park on June 14. Dial up the romance by bringing along a picnic dinner for two.
BIKE THE BELTLINE
Take a tour through Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods—and grab a couple beers at one of the many watering holes along the way—with a bike ride on the Atlanta BeltLine. Not a bike owner? There are plenty of spots you can rent from, including Old Fourth Ward’s Atlanta Bicycle Barn (grab a bike lock for an additional $5) and bike share program Relay Bike Share, whose racks can be found throughout the city.
COOK SOMETHING UP
If you or your honey has a knack for whipping up or consuming a good meal, put on your aprons and tackle the kitchen together. If it’s a night in you’re after, order a fresh meal kit from local companies Garnish & Gather or PeachDish. A step-by-step-recipe and pre-measured ingredients make the process a breeze, so no need to worry about ending up with a kitchen disaster. For a night out, sign up for The Cooking School at Irwin Street, which is nestled right by Krog Street Market and holds cooking classes for individuals, couples and groups throughout the week.
DIP ’N DAB
Sip on wine while exploring your artistic sides with a BYOB painting class at Midtown art studio Dip ’n Dab. Just bring along a bottle of wine and some nibbles, and the studio will provide a step-by-step tutorial— along with a canvas, paint supplies, an apron and a drinking cup.
Thrill-seekers and true-crime lovers should head to Big Escape Rooms Atlanta for a date that’s as fun as it is engaging. Work in a team to escape a themed setting—an abandoned circus with a murderous clown or a virus-stricken, post-apocalyptic world, for instance—by following clues and solving a series of puzzles. Attend as a pair and be assigned to a team, or make it a double date and enlist another couple to join the group.
Come summer, Atlanta is blooming with outdoor festivals, from art shows to musical performances. Browse local artwork at the Virginia- Highland Summerfest June 9–10 (admission is free); enjoy live music and tours in a cemetery (yes, really) at Tunes from the Tombs June 9 at Historic Oakland Cemetery; or sip more than 200 beers, wines and ciders at the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest June 16 at Historic Old Fourth Ward Park.
GRANT PARK FARMERS MARKET
Stroll through Atlanta’s oldest city park on Sundays and browse a robust lineup of local goodness, from pastries and pantry provisions to fresh fruits and veggies. Just make sure you come hungry; we recommend starting off with a few treats from Revolution Doughnuts and a cold brew from Banjo Coffee. Be sure to pick up a few of the most heavenly English muffins you’ll ever taste from TGM bread and seasonal soups from Mad Mama Gourmet. Feeling especially romantic? Purchase a bouquet of fresh, local flowers from Chattahoochee Queen.
HOP CITY CRAFT BEER & WINE FREE WINE TASTING
Two words: Free. Wine. Every Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Krog Street Market’s Hop City Craft Beer & Wine hosts a free tasting featuring three to four different wines. If you’re hungry afterwards, grab dinner from one of Krog Street’s food stalls, and then, if you have room, head to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for dessert.
IMPROV AT VILLAGE THEATRE
Sometimes you just need a good laugh, and intimate comedy venue Village Theatre offers just that. Pay $5–$10 to attend a live improvisational show that takes its material from audience suggestions, so no two performances are the same.
JAZZ AT THE HIGH
Enjoy music, drinks and art every third Friday of the month at the High Museum of Art’s Friday Jazz. Held in the atrium from 6–10 p.m., the event features a rotating lineup that spans a range of jazz styles, from bebop to swing. Performances are free with museum admission, so be sure to tour the latest exhibitions while you’re there, including Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, opening this month.
KAHLUA COFFEE AT CAFE INTERMEZZO
A cozy, Italian-inspired cafe nestled among Midtown’s high-rises, Cafe Intermezzo feels like a romantic spot in the heart of Europe, and it boasts some of the city’s most indulgent desserts. Choose from an extensive beverage menu, whose highlights include boozy coffee drinks, and pick out a hearty slice of cheesecake or pie from the restaurant’s sprawling pastry counter to share.
LUMARY CANDLEMAKING WORKSHOP AT CITIZEN SUPPLY
For a date on the creative side, try your hand at custom candlemaking at a workshop led by Aaron Tovi and Anderson Duncan of Lumary at Ponce City Market’s Citizen Supply. After settling in with some libations, you and your date will learn about the science behind candlemaking and how to concoct your own personalized scent. You’ll also name your fragrance and create a custom label for your 7-ounce candle, which can be picked up a few days after the workshop once it’s cured. But you won’t be leaving empty-handed: Each guest also receives a 4-ounce Lumary travel candle.
MOVIES AT MIDTOWN ART CINEMA
Put an indie spin on the classic movie date and show off your artistic taste. In addition to certain mainstream releases, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema features harder-to-find independent and foreign films. The charming theater also serves beer, wine and spirits.
NEW REALM BREWING
New Realm Brewing, which opened on the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail at the beginning of 2018, has quickly become a local go-to, and it’s easy to understand why. The sprawling venue offers a brewhouse, restaurant, tours, a dog-friendly patio and a sprawling rooftop garden with views of the Atlanta skyline—all the ingredients for the perfect date night. “We wanted to create an environment that was casual, laid back and fun,” says New Realm cofounder Carey Falcone. “Our location on the BeltLine lends itself to making New Realm Brewery the perfect spot to mix and mingle with friends new and old.”
THE OPTIMIST HAPPY HOUR
The Optimist offers some of the best seafood around, and you won’t find a better bargain than $1 oysters at the restaurant’s Oyster Happy Hour, available at the Oyster Bar from 5–6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 3–4 p.m. on weekends. Linger on the outdoor patio for drinks and a game of mini golf.
THE PAINTED DUCK
West Midtown’s The Painted Duck—sister concept of Buckhead’s The Painted Pin—describes itself as “a distinguished drinkery, duckpin bowling and gaming parlour,” which might just be the ideal date-night recipe. Housed in the Stockyards Atlanta with little more than a neon sign to denote its entrance, the sprawling, moody venue is a playground of grown-up gaming. In addition to 16 lanes of duckpin bowling, Painted Duck is home to offbeat pub games of Belgian feather bowling, horseshoe, shuffleboard and snookball. There’s also an expansive bar (sample the signature Duck L’Orange cocktail) as well as a food menu. If you’re planning to bowl, make sure to get there early; lanes are first come first- serve and tend to fill up quickly.
QUEEN OF CREAM ICE CREAM + COFFEE PARLOR
Mobile-cart-turned-ice-cream-parlor Queen of Cream is as Instagram-worthy as it is delicious. The sunlit eatery serves house-made, small-batch ice cream with local and organic ingredients. Flavors range from unique—think lavender honeycomb and Black Pearl, a vegan coconut ice cream with coconut ash and chocolate—to classics such as Tahitian vanilla bean and deep chocolate. Grab a cone to-go and wander the leafy streets of nearby Inman Park.
Even if you don’t like sports, you’ll enjoy watching the Atlanta Rollergirls, the city’s first flat-track roller-derby league, compete in dynamic, high-energy matches at the Yaarab Shrine Center. Prior to the show, shop local, artisanal goods and enjoy live music. The events are BYOB, so don’t forget to come prepared with your drink of choice in tow.
Enjoy carnival games, mini golf and a three-story slide at Skyline Park on the roof of Ponce City Market. Inspired by retro amusement parks, the event space boasts panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline (try and catch it at sunset, if you can). Pick up a walking taco from and a frosé from the concessions stand, or nab a table on the patio of Nine Mile Station, Skyline Park’s adjoining beer garden and restaurant.
TEA PARTY AT TIPPLE AND ROSE TEA PARLOR AND APOTHECARY
Put your pinkies up and enjoy an afternoon high tea at Virginia-Highland’s Tipple + Rose Tea Parlor and Apothecary, whose cozy, eclectic interior is romantic in itself. Select a traditional, Southern, vegan, gluten-free or brunch menu. Choose from more than 100 different tea flavors and nibble on a spread of light bites including homemade scones, deviled egg salad, pimento cheese finger sandwiches and an assortment of macarons. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.
URBAN TREE CIDERY
Not a beer lover? Tour Atlanta’s first hard cider producer, Urban Tree Cidery, whose modern, industrial-style tasting room boasts a selection of house-made ciders as well as full bar and liquor license. The cidery doesn’t serve food, but guests are welcome to bring their own provisions to pair with a glass or flight of cider.
Located just off the BeltLine’s Eastside trail, Venkman’s is as much of a live music venue as it is a restaurant and bar. Housed on an industrial warehouse, formerly the Nu Grape Soda Bottling Factory, Venkman’s showcases an eclectic mix of sound curated by Peter Olson and Nicholas Niespodziani of Yacht Rock Revue. Sidle up to the bar for drinks or settle into a table and order from a menu of reimagined comfort food. On weekends, stop by from 12:30–2:30 p.m. for bottomless mimosas.
Nestled in charming Morningside, Whiskey Bird borrows influence from Asian and American cuisine—think Yakatori, Hong Kong sliders and soba noodle salad. Belly up to the bar and enjoy a frozé or whiskey cocktail (you can’t go wrong with whiskey here), or soak up a summer evening over dinner on the restaurant’s back patio.
XOCOLATL SMALL BATCH CHOCOLATE
If the way to you or your beau’s heart is dessert, head to Krog Street Market for a micro-factory tour and tasting at Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate. Sip on wine and learn about Xocolatl’s “bean-to-bar” chocolate-making process. Afterwards, experience a guided tasting of single-origin dark chocolates from around the world.
YOGA ON THE SQUARE
Stop by Midtown’s Colony Square any Wednesday at 6 p.m. through September 26 for a free, outdoor yoga class hosted by CorePower Yoga, Dancing Dogs Yoga and Exhale Spa. Be sure to bring a yoga mat and your “ohm.”
Zoo Atlanta hosts its annual outdoor event, Art Gone Wild, this month. On June 4–8, watch a selection of artists produce artwork “en plein air,” taking inspiration from wild animals and the zoo’s grounds. On June 16 and 17, the zoo will host a show and sale of the work produced during the event.