Need some new and fun date ideas to keep things fresh in the empty nest? I get it! When the kids were little, date nights were an occasion. You had to book the sitter, bathe and jammie up the kids early, prepare an evening meal for the sitter to feed them, and then get yourself ready.
If you were anything like us, you kept things pretty simple on the actual date—dinner and a movie would do just fine, thank you! In the empty nest, there are no kids’ schedules to work around (So great! Right?). But since you’re alone together every night anyway, it can be challenging to motivate yourself to come up with fun date ideas that are original and unique.
Today, I’m sharing eight great date ideas for empty nesters. This isn’t some crazy list of date ideas like going up in a hot air balloon or something! Instead, these are real things that we’ve enjoyed since our nest emptied. I hope they inspire you!
1. Go to a late-night movie on a weeknight.
I’m talking after 10 p.m., people. Why? Um, because you can. Empty nest blessed, y’all! We love doing this, and even after four years as empty nesters, we still feel kind of rebellious and wild when we do it! 🎥🎬🍿
2. Go to a sporting event.
We’re blessed to live in a city with an NFL team, an MLB team, an NBA team, and even an NHL team! We also live a short hour and a half away from our college town, and we’ve loved taking little day-long road trips to games.
3. Go to a concert.
Last year we decided that we would each pick a concert and go to each other’s chosen one with good attitudes and no complaining! Bob chose Barry Manilow. Suzy chose Cher. (Don’t ask me why, but I love her! I’m not proud of it. 😂) When we were on our way to see Barry Manilow, my husband asked me what my favorite Barry Manilow song was. When I told him it was “Sweet Caroline,” he almost had an accident.
4. Go to a nearby hotel for a night.
Bob and I love to head to a nearby hotel for a little mini-getaway! We live in a city with lots of really fabulous hotels, like The Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Hotel Crescent Court. But our favorite place to go is The Southlake Town Square Hilton! It’s at the heart of an outdoor shopping center, complete with loads of delicious dining options and a 14-screen movie theater.
5. Dine al fresco.
Why does food eaten outside taste better? 🤷🏻♀️ We did this last weekend and decided to one-up ourselves by even walking to the restaurant. That means we had to wear our tennies and when we got to the restaurant, we had to apologize for our schlubby appearance! 👟
6. Cook Dinner Together and Indulge in Unhurried Conversation.
Bob and I love to cook together. We usually make breakfast for dinner! Yep! We’re talking bacon, eggs, and pancakes, of course. (We really need to up our game with one of the date night cookbooks on the gift guide! Keep reading for more on those.) When we sit down to eat, we like to go through a couple of questions from our TableTopics box. It’s a box full of thought-provoking questions that act as the best conversation starters!
A few example questions:
- What’s the best advice your mom ever gave you?
- How did you spend a typical childhood day?
- If we could have dinner with any six people, who would we choose?
- Which one of us is the worst backseat driver? (BTW, it’s 🙋🏻♀️ me, of course!)
- Who should play us in a movie of our lives?
I added it to the Empty Nest Blessed Valentines Day Gift Guide this year because it’s been such a precious relationship-builder for us.
7. Netflix and Picnic and Chill.
We do this almost every weekend! We spread a giant flannel backed vinyl tablecloth on top of your bed. We order our favorite takeout. (We always order fajitas from Cantina Laredo!) We watch our favorite Netflix show. (We’re working our way through season three of The Crown right now – so good!)
8. Go to an amusement park. As adults.
You’ll be amazed at how fast you can make your way through the park when you are not pushing a stroller and stopping for the potty every 30 minutes! 🤣 Go early and leave when it gets crowded or go late and stay until the park closes. We did this last year and had a blast!
Need help planning? I highly recommend my long-time friend and fellow empty nester Shannon Leyerle, who owns Vacations by Shannon. She’s an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner who can find you the best deals and help you set up a customized vacation plan. (And her services are free!)
I love this cute heart sweater, and I nearly flipped when I saw it was only $15! I’ve already machine washed it and hung it to dry, and it came out great. I’m such a sucker for theme dressing! 🤣💖 The cute throw pillows on my front porch rockers are actually pillow covers that I put over these pillow inserts.
Valentine’s Day Gift Guide Favorites
When it comes to the Empty Nest Blessed Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, I definitely have my favorite items! This year, I got really into gifts that allowed someone far away to know you’re thinking of them.
1. Precious Ways to Stay in Touch
- Invented by a couple in a long-distance relationship, the chunky red heart on the front of this beechwood Lovebox spins to alert the recipient when you send a message through the app. Your loved one opens the box to read the sentiment on the mirrored screen inside and can return the virtual sentiment by spinning the heart. That sends a shower of digital hearts to the sender’s screen. 💝
- These touch bracelets work similarly! Download the app that connects the set and tap your bracelet to send a Bond Touch™ to your loved one. Theirs will light up and vibrate, so they’ll know you’re thinking about them. The rechargeable bracelets are made of waterproof silicone
2. Original, Affordable, and Green
All you do is add water to this under $10 “magic” plant. When it grows, the words “I Love You” are actually engraved on the plant! 😲 (I have no idea how they do this, but I’m dying to know!)
3. Mugs With a Message coffee
Bob and I love to sit and have coffee together on the weekends. (Actually, I’m a tea drinker.) We have quite a fun collection of mugs!
- When I found this set of 2 mugs that say “I Love You” and “I Know,” I just had to include them in the gift guide! We say that to each other all the time! 😂
- This pixelated heart mug is plain old white until you add a hot beverage!
- This set of 2 mugs says, “Weirdo” and “Weirdest.” Hey, if the shoe fits… 😂
4. Sweets for your Sweetie
Creative candy can make an affordable and unique gift! (Especially for your college or young adult kids, or your man, if he’s a kid at heart!) You can find some beautiful Valentine’s candy at Neiman Marcus, but Target has an affordable selection. (Check out their sports-themed candy for those hard-to-buy-for boys.) You’ll want to order with my links because the in-store selection is dwindling. Plus, if you have a Target Red Card, you’ll get 5% off on every purchase and free shipping on all orders.
- If your man’s a handy guy, this chocolate toolset is perfect and under $5. 🔨🔧
- Got an avocado lover in your life? How cute is this Avo-Cuddle chocolate gift set? 🥑
- My fisherman is getting this yummy Hooked on You Tacklebox full of fishing-themed candy. 🐟🎣 (BTW, this customizable fishing lure is also a good idea for your fisher-guy.)
5. Just for the Two of You
If you’re looking for something special to share that will actually make your relationship stronger, how about one of these?
- This is the TableTopics box I already mentioned. It comes in a pretty acrylic box, so you can actually leave it out on the table.
- A romantic cookbook is such a great idea! The Date-Night Cookbook is designed to help you cook together, and it sounds like so much fun! It might even break us out of our breakfast for dinner routine! 😂 The book includes ideas for evenings like Indoor Tent Night, Dining in Paris, and Dusk Beach Date. 💟 I’ve also heard great things about Date Night In: More Than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship.
- Need some new date night inspiration? Try The Surprise Date Challenge or Try Something New: 100 Fun & Creative Ways to Spend Time Together to shake things up a bit.
- Feeling really adventurous? Try this 100 Dates Bucket List Scratch Poster!
Love Amazon? Me too! Several of these gift ideas also made the Amazon-specific Valentine’s Gift Guide on the Empty Nest Blessed Amazon page! (Every time I mention Amazon, I’m required to state that as an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from any qualifying purchases you might make as a result of this post. 😀) You can check it out HERE.
What are some of your favorite date ideas? I’d love to hear about them! Would you leave me a comment below and share? Thank you!
Heart Sweater Photos by Megan Weaver.