ParentClick Santa Barbara

Real Couples, Real Dates


Ideas for Date Nights That Go Beyond Dinner and a Movie… How do you get time out with your partner?

On the phone with a friend one morning, I moaned about the price of going on a date. You know the list: dinner, movie, drinks, parking, and paying for a babysitter on top of it all! My friend, a wonderful wife and mother of many, quipped dryly, “Well, it’s cheaper than therapy.” And with that, my attitude about dating my husband changed.

Dating your partner is essential. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of life and suddenly weeks or months go by before realizing that a romantic partnership has turned into a business partnership. We have all been through stressful seasons when our homelife becomes more about finances than fun, more diapers than dates, but maintaining a loving connection with our spouses is incredibly important for the health of our families. Spending time with my husband outside of the house makes me so happy; I come home refreshed, energized, and reminded of why we do all the everyday stuff; why we are, in fact, in this together. Maintaining a healthy relationship with my husband is not just good for me; I want our marriage to be an example to our children of how healthy, loving relationships work.

Dates do not have to be complicated or expensive. They certainly don’t have to follow a formula. The point is to have a quality connection, try something new, and show genuine love and concern for each other. I asked a variety of friends and colleagues for their best date suggestions. These are real dates from real couples. I can’t wait to try them out myself!

Date-At-Home… Date night? What mythical loveliness could you be talking about? Just kidding. I mean, date nights are few and far between around here, but I know they do exist. Actually, a couple weeks ago we did a date-at-home night. We picked up Los Agaves and ate it from the take out containers while sitting on the floor in the living room after our son went to bed. Delicious, no mess, no cleaning, no paying the babysitter, and there’s something about a carpet picnic that kind of makes everything more fun. We didn’t check our phones or our email, and then we ordered a movie on amazon and cuddled on the couch. ~Anna

Breakfast dates – everything as simple as a breakfast burritos and coffees from Daily Grind and going to the beach, Cafe Stella, or Summerland Beach Cafe. We’re a bit more fresh in the morning, as are the girls, and sitter doesn’t have to do bedtime routine. ~Audrey

Drive-in movie theater for us! It’s inexpensive, we can enjoy a movie while simultaneously chatting and snuggling without having to worry about disrupting others. And since its always a double feature, we can stay out all night or call it quits after one movie if we’re feeling tired. ~Megan

Speed Dates & morning dates… My ideal romantic date that does not seem to happen more than once every few months is when we can go dress up a bit and pick a new restaurant and go out for a leisurely dinner. Often our dates these days seem to be trying to grab 30 minutes together where we can connect and catch up with each other. Since this does not allow time for dinner or a movie, we try going for a walk on the beach in the morning when we have more energy to talk and less distractions. ~Rachael

We love to do a “progressive dinner” downtown. Drinks at one restaurant, dinner at another, and we usually finish off the evening by grabbing dessert to go at a third and enjoying a walk. ~Becca

Exercise Together… We usually begin date night with a work out (we’re crazy, I know). Working out with each other is one of our favorite things to do, so we usually sweat a bunch, then hop in the pool or hot tub at the gym. We then grab some food (our favorite is just going to the hot food/salad bar at Whole Foods) then to a movie, or home to snuggle up on the couch and watch some tv. It doesn’t take much to make us happy ~Bethany

Take-Out… One of our favorite weekend Date Night options is to put the kids down early, order Saigon In & Out (always #33A with extra noodles) and catch up on our favorite shows or enjoy a movie. My kids like these nights too because they get to read in bed, or listen to a book on CD. My younger daughter will enjoy a couple of read-along books I keep stocked from the public library. Easy and stress-free bedtime routine! ~Chrystal

Trying NEW restaurants (we loved the new Ca’Dario Pizzeria on Victoria St- feels like you are at a little wine bar in Italy and is cheap!) ~Leah

For nights on the town, we’ve been enjoying Eureka Burger where we have a goal of trying each of the burgers on the menu. If we’re feeling young enough, we’ll see a movie at Paseo Nuevo! Love these nights! ~Chrystal

We haven’t been able to implement a routine date night during this season of life, but on the few occasions we have had a chance to go out, we’ve made it a real treat going to one of the fancier restaurants in Santa Barbara, places we wouldn’t normally go for just a casual date. ~Heather



July 12, 2015

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
[You can use a screen name if you prefer.]