date nightAs a working mom of two, I am often exhausted when the weekend rolls around, but I’ll usually jump at the chance to have a date night with my husband.  However, our date night routine has gotten pretty stale and we are often left wondering “What should we do with this child-free time?” I do make note of new restaurants we want to try, but I feel like we need to infuse our alone time with something besides another meal!  Me and Jim are pretty adventurous, or at least I thought we were until our little people arrived.  Now that our littlest is seven months old, I think it’s time to put a little more thought into our date nights.

I brainstormed a list of places I’d like to go or things I’d like to do if we were given a couple of hours of alone time.  I tried to think of activities in multiple price points, and some in which we would be active participants (read: NOT sitting in a movie theater!).  Recently, I’ve fallen into the trap that a date has to be at night, even though we’ve certainly enjoyed day dates in the past (and bonus: someone is with your children while they’re awake!).  I think I’m going to post this list on the fridge so we can choose a new idea next time we go out.

Learn Something:

  • Take a class together: a cooking class or photography class would be fun!
  • Visit one of Charlotte’s many museums or historical sites.  A simple online search will turn up several ideas in any area of town!
  • Visit one of our new breweries and take a brewery tour to learn about craft beer.
  • Make the short trek to North Carolina’s wine country for a day of winery tours and tastings.
  • Stroll through Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens to see the unique gardens each season.  This is especially fun during the holiday season or early spring.

Be Active:

  • Spend a few hours at Carowinds riding roller coasters and eating funnel cakes.
  • Visit the White Water Center to kayak, ride the rapids, zip line, or just sit back and watch other people while listening to live music (on select nights).
  • Trek one of Charlotte’s many greenways.  We’ve explored the Sugar Creek Greenway between Central Piedmont Community College and Freedom Park with our children, but it would be fun to park at one end and walk or ride our bikes at our own pace, stopping to eat, drink or shop as we wished.
  • Rent bikes at one of the bike share kiosks in and around uptown.  Ride around for a while (i.e., explore the area around Freedom Park and then take the bike back to Freedom Park) or ride to a new location and get another bike when you’re finished.
  • Play golf or tennis, or challenge each other to a running or swimming race.
  • Take an exercise class together: yoga, spin, kickboxing.

See the City:

  • Visit the airport observation lot before or after a meal, or take a picnic, and talk about where the planes might be going or where you’d go if you could get on a plane right now.
  • Ride the Lynx (if you’re like me and live near uptown, ride it anyway just for the experience.  Or if you ride the Lynx to work on weekday mornings, try it out on the weekends for a different experience.)
  • Attend a sporting event.  Can’t get Panthers tickets?  Watch the Knights play baseball, the Bobcats play basketball, the Hounds play lacrosse, or the Checkers play hockey.

Give Back:

  • Volunteer together: One example is to visit the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte and make breakfast (weekends) or dinner (weeknight). You can contact someone at your favorite charity or organization to find out what volunteer opportunities are available.

What if you don’t have the time or the funds or the energy to actually leave the house?  You can always prepare a meat and cheese plate and pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy after the kids have gone to bed, find a recipe for a new dessert to make together, and play a board game (our favorites are Scrabble and Boggle).  Or perhaps watch that movie from 2009 that you’ve been meaning to watch.

What are your favorite ways to spend date night/day?