Call the sitter. Get a pizza for the kids. It’s time to head out on a date — with your partner.
Having regular date nights helps you stay connected, and gives you the chance to talk about something besides who’s going to pick up whom from basketball practice and who’s making dinner. To remember why you became a couple in the first place. And Northeast Ohio offers plenty of perfect date night spots to fit just about any budget and interest.
1. See Akron’s Artistic Side
The modern-meets-old-school in a mix of brick, steel and glass makes just walking through Akron Art Museum a date-worthy endeavor. In February, check out one of the museum’s larger exhibits, “Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines,” which includes ceramics, sculpture and paintings that challenge the notion of crafts versus fine arts. Dress up and channel your inner art critic while attending the opening party for the exhibit on Friday, Feb. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. Or pop in any Thursday, when gallery admission is free, for an inexpensive, art-filled night out (open Thursdays until 9 p.m.). Dine before or after at one of the many downtown Akron restaurants, like the comfort food meets avant-garde mix at Crave or upscale Mexican fare at Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar.
2. Dine on Dogs while Listening to Bands
Gordon Square’s corner bar, Happy Dog, has become a Cleveland landmark (there are now two locations). Bands play regularly on the restaurant’s main stage. But fans are equally drawn to the eatery’s simple, yet inventive, menu: hot dogs and tater tots. Take your pick from an all-beef or vegan dog and then choose from among 50 toppings and sauces, all made in-house. Sloppy joe-slathered dog with nacho cheese and marinated cremini mushrooms? Yeah, you can have that. You can even top it with Froot Loops.
3. Get Board with Each Other
From Abandon Ship to Famiglia, Moustache Snap! to The Game of Life, Tabletop Board Game Café literally has a game for everyone — the spot stocks more than 1,000 games. Pay a small fee for access to the library of games and then get playing. Grab snacks or dinner while you play. The paninis are a standout with inventive combos like the Turhamon — turkey and bacon stacked with buffalo chicken dip, diced tomatoes and muenster cheese.
4. Get Creative at Cleveland’s 78th Street Studios
Every third Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., the 78th Street Studios transforms into one of Cleveland’s coolest hangouts. The extensive brick building that once housed a car company, and then American Greetings’ Creative Studio, now includes art galleries and studios that open their doors for the free event. Live music, food and drinks are also part of the festivities.
5. Romantic Weekend with Lake Views
The hour drive from Cleveland to The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake will give you plenty of time to chat as you wind your way to this lakeside resort. Keep planning simple by opting for the Two-Night Wine Excursion Package, which includes lodging, along with a wine shuttle trip to a local winery and wine tastings at the on-site restaurant, plus breakfast. Skirting the edge of Geneva State Park, get out and explore the area via snowshoe or cross country ski — both are available to rent from The Lodge. For a warmer view of the area, crank up the heat and spend the day driving through Ashtabula County’s renowned covered bridges.
6. Tap into your Inner Adrenaline Junkies
Race your partner to see just who is the better driver — and who can go faster around each tight turn at BOSS Pro-Karting. Located near the airport, there are public racing times available every day so you don’t have to plan in advance to pull off this fast-paced date. Expect to don a racing suit, gloves and a helmet before stepping into your electric kart (this also is your chance for a great selfie with your sweetie!). Each race lasts around 7 minutes, during which you’ll be able to lap the route 10-15 times. Once you’re done racing, head north into Lakewood’s Barroco Arepa Bar for earthy corn tortillas made thick and then grilled before being stuffed with taste bud-pleasing combos like braised beef hugged with caramelized plantains.
7. Make History Downtown
Embrace the city’s rich history at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, which has entertained guests of celebrity stature like The Beatles, political greats like Martin Luther King Jr., and U.S. presidents such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman and others. Take a 5-minute walk to East 4th Street to dine at Cleveland’s famed The Greenhouse Tavern, chef Jonathon Sawyer’s anchor, upscale eatery, or Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro. Trade a day meandering through Tower City and Public Square for the Cleveland Museum of Art instead by overnighting at University Circle’s Glidden House. With the look and feel of an upscale, European B&B, the boutique hotel is within walking distance of the museum and the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
One simple way to save on dates? Swap babysitting!
Trade babysitting duties with another couple. For a more high tech option, download the Komae app (mykomae.com), which lets you create your own “village,” exchange free babysitting with as many families as you’d like, and more. The app was developed by two Akron moms who saw the need for trusted, affordable care for their children.