A Procrastinator’s Guide to Last-Minute Boston Date Ideas

Forgot to make a reservation? Happens to the best of us. Here's how to fix it.

The Rink at 401 Park. Courtesy photo by Mike Diskin

So you slept on making dinner reservations, huh? Can’t find a table anywhere for a special evening with that special someone on that special occasion?

Don’t panic! There are plenty of date night possibilities in and around Boston that don’t require much pre-planning at all. So unless you’ve got a time machine back to a couple weeks ago, this is your best shot at snatching romance from the jaws of defeat.

Go skating

Outdoor skating rinks aren’t what they used to be. They’re better. All the rage right now are tricked-out rinks surrounded by grab-and-go food and adult beverage options. If gliding around the ice with your beloved sounds nice, we’ve got just the guide for you right here.

Do dinner at home

Can’t cook? Don’t! Might we suggest you stop over at one of our favorite new spots in Boston right now: the EBO & Co. Grocery in East Boston, where you can grab a dozen oysters and (ooh la la) a surprisingly reasonably priced portion of caviar if it suits your fancy. Snag a couple snacks from their carefully curated shelves, and you’ve got an evening’s worth of culinary delights covered.

Take an online cooking class

Missed your chance to book a romantic cooking class for two? Why not take an online class from your own kitchen. As a matter of fact, Boston’s own Joanne Chang recently joined the ranks of Masterclass to offer baking lessons, so that’s not a bad place to start. Or if you’d rather go savory, fellow Best of Boston winner Mei Mei has also been offering online dumpling classes, too.

Walk the Emerald Necklace

lights in the emerald necklace

Photo courtesy of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy

It’s lovely all year, sure, but we’re big fans of the newest addition to Boston’s winding network of parks these past two years: bridges splashed with emerald-green light. Called “Lights in the Necklace,” the installation runs through March 20, and it has lovey-dovey Instagram photoshoot written all over it.

Go stargazing

You don’t have to go far to see real-life stars overhead (in fact, with the right equipment, you can actually see them from Boston!). But to really get a low-light pollution stargazing experience, we suggest leaving the city and heading out on a date to the Sturbridge Trails Heins Farm Conservation Area, one of the many perks of taking your partner out to the hinterlands past 128.

Take an art gallery tour

The MFA and Gardner are tried-and-true date spots, sure. But if you’ve already visited recently, you can always opt for an art-appreciation tour that’s a bit more freewheeling. Here are some of Boston’s best art galleries that let you drop in, if you’re so inclined.

Go to the beach

We’ve said it many times, and will continue to say it: The best time to go to the beach may just be the off-season. It’s quiet, parking’s easy, and the shores this time of year are absolutely full with dogs having a blast. So dress warm, brace tight, and take a long stroll along the gusty coast. Pretty romantic, no?

Take a local movie scene tour

Is your partner a Hocus Pocus fanatic? Have they watched Knives Out more times than is practical? Did they, for reasons that escape you, enjoy Grown Ups? Then why not pack some snacks and set off on a tour of all these iconic locations from the world of Massachusetts-based cinema.