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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

If this week’s date night is approaching and the thought of sitting in another restaurant is boring you more than your longest lecture and you’re wondering what else is there to do around cowtown? Well, I have a few ideas for you. Last January I found myself on not just a first date with a really cute guy, but a fun first date. My now boyfriend and I went rock climbing, then tried on Unniversity of Connecticut gear at the bookstore while we drank our post-climb smoothies. Honestly the only awkward part of the date was sharing an elevator with an old couple right at the end — no chance for a goodbye anything! 

But hilarious cock-block aside it was probably the most fun reintroduction to dating I could have asked for. So now that my romance creativity is flowing, I want to share some of the dates we’ve been on and ideas we have yet to try. 

  • Something active: Let your adventurous side fly by choosing a date that engages your whole body in a physical activity. The UConn Rec Center has so many cool programs, so get on the app or website and poke around till you find something interesting. Maybe you want someone to come with you to a workout class, the Rec is overflowing with options for that. Then there’s the rock wall, if you’re a fan of climbing this is a super fun date idea, almost like an adult playground. Lastly, the Rec center offers different outdoor trips that vary with the season. Paddle boarding, skiing, hiking, and mountain biking are just a few of the options.
  • Go to a sporting event! We are the basketball capital of the world, people! Take advantage of those student tickets while you have them. Look into the other sports on campus (hockey, baseball, soccer, football, ect.) or around the area too. Maybe this is a chance for you to go see a team you’ve never considered before. Also check out the local sports teams. When it’s in season, the Hartford minor league baseball team the Yardgoats are affordable, fun, and they’ve got delicious fried dough. What’s not to like?
uconn hockey game
Photo by Maggie Brand
  • Something seasonal: Any fall-loving lady knows there are plenty of apple orchards around here and could point you in the right direction. I don’t know about you, but wandering through trees with snacks an arms length away and donuts at the end sounds pretty sweet to me. Or if you want something a little more high energy, in the fall there’s the Big E if you’re willing and able to make the drive to Mass. In the winter of course you have to try ice skating and you know what goes great with chilly air? Hot chocolate. If you like skating but the ice isn’t your style, there’s also a roller skating rink in Vernon. In the spring and summer look for vineyards or flower gardens (try Elizabeth Park in West Hartford) to stroll and sip amongst.
  • Cook together, but really together. This idea is only fun if you really commit to it. Both people need to contribute equally to the planning, making, and enjoying of the meal. This could be extra romantic if you add some mood lighting (aka candles) and some fun, introspective, or raunchy conversation starters.
  • Something creative: Whether it’s sip and paint or picnic and paint, there are lots of ways to tap into your creativity. If you’re looking for something super lowkey, grab a book and a blanket and head to a park for companionship and reading. Or maybe pottery painting is more your speed. How about museums? Right on campus we have Benton, which you should not write off. One time I discovered they had a polar bear on loan from the Museum of Natural History and another time, pieces from the Guerrilla Girls. Or if you’re looking for an affordable date idea in NYC, Connecticut students can “pay what you like” every Friday and Saturday night from 5:00-9:00 pm at the MET for date night at the museum and sip on wine as you stroll through hundreds of years of art–you can train all the way to the edge of CT for free using your UConn UPass.
  • Something chill: Ice cream and horsebarn hill, star gazing at the observatory, or smoothies and a campus walk are all lowkey and budget friendly ways to meet someone and still make it feel intentional. If you’re an evening drinks kind of person, but you still want to hear your partner, try the Graduate Hotel bar. If you like going to the movies, every Tuesday at the East Brook Mall is $6.00 ticket day, and the hibachi place across the hall, Asian Bistro, is fantastic for double or triple dates.

I could probably come up with a million more ideas, but hopefully there’s something in here that piqued your interest or inspired you in some way. Happy dating!

Caroline is graduating senior at the University of Connecticut studying English and Graphic Design. When not writing and creating, you can find her with friends, making new ones, or working on one of her many hobbies.