Ten Great Boston Date-Night Ideas

Forget about just staying in to watch Netflix and eat takeout—date night is back, baby!

Photo by Joe St. Pierre, styling by Madison Trapkin

Whether you’re planning a first date or keeping things exciting after a decade of marriage, or anything in between, Greater Boston’s got plenty of fun food, drinks, and activities to entertain. Below, find 10 of our favorite date-night itineraries (a meal, an activity, and a nightcap), plus some great dinner-for-two deals.

1. Dinner and an (Upgraded) Movie


FIRST: Grab a meal at one of the newest indies in the neighborhood, Hook + Line, a modern New England seafood restaurant from the team behind Alcove in Boston’s West End. The lobster roll two ways—one with mayo, one with butter—makes for an especially shareable choice. hookandlinebos.com.

NEXT: Catch the latest release or obscure deep cut at the Austin-based cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse—which finally arrived in the Seaport in late 2023—without interruption: There’s a no-talking, no-texting rule that is taken seriously. The heated (!) seats are extraordinarily comfortable, and right from those seats, you can order snacks, booze, or even a full meal if you’re still hungry. drafthouse.com.

NIGHTCAP: Check out two great options in the same building as Alamo: Stay upstairs for a 24-karat-gold-garnished espresso martini and live music at Grace by Nia, or head to the ground floor to choose among a variety of flavored mojitos at Caribbean newcomer ZaZiBar. gracebynia.com; zazibar.com.

2. Live Music and Dancing


FIRST: Swoon over some of Boston’s best Irish food—particularly the day-boat fish and chips or the beef and Guinness pie—with a side of live music at the Dubliner. The centrally located pub is always bustling, a perfect energy-packed precursor to hitting the clubs. thedublinerboston.com.

NEXT: Head down the street for cocktails and dancing at Caveau, a gorgeous nightlife destination with Alice in Wonderland vibes, courtesy of the crew behind Yvonne’s, Mariel, and other local hits. caveauofficial.com.

NIGHTCAP: About a 10-minute walk away, find ultra-creative cocktails (and plenty of hair-related puns!) at the Wig Shop, open until 2 a.m. seven nights a week. The Absinthe Ritual, available for groups of two or more, is the perfect way to end a date night. wigshopboston.com.

A boozy milkshake (two straws, please!) and a Bruins game make for the perfect date-night pairing. / Photo by Joe St. Pierre, styling by Madison Trapkin

3. Boozy Milkshakes and Hockey


FIRST: Start the night off strong with an alcoholic milkshake at A&B Kitchen & Bar (bonus points for sharing a single one with two straws, if that’s your thing). Flavors such as chocolate salted bourbon and adult Oreo go perfectly with the restaurant’s juicy burgers. anbkitchen.com.

NEXT: Head to TD Garden to watch the Bruins crush the opponent of the day. Of course, we won’t judge if you snag tickets to, say, Disney on Ice or the latest pop show instead of hockey. tdgarden.com.

NIGHTCAP: Whatever event you went to at the Garden, it was probably pretty rowdy. End the night on a chiller note at Alcove, one of the more peaceful options in the neighborhood. The restaurant has an exceptional bar program with innovative cocktails and mocktails alongside some intriguing beer and wine picks. alcoveboston.com.

4. A Museum Stroll and Mexican


FIRST: Peruse thought-provoking contemporary art at the ICA. (Unusual for a museum, it stays open until 9 p.m. Thursdays and most Fridays—convenient if you’d rather do dinner first!) Don’t miss a new immersive video installation that opened in February and runs through early August: Worcester native Wu Tsang’s Of Whales is inspired by Moby Dick but reimagines the story from the whale’s perspective. icaboston.org.

NEXT: Keep things casual with counter-service Mexican at New York import Borrachito. We can’t get enough of the savory birria quesadilla, featuring a spiced, stewed blend of short rib and bone marrow. borrachito.com.

NIGHTCAP: After finishing your meal, look for the walk-in freezer-style door; it’s actually the “secret” entrance to Borrachito’s back room, a cocktail bar with options such as an horchata espresso martini or fruity margarita-inspired concoctions. DJs liven things up on Fridays and Saturdays.

5. Pinball and Pig


FIRST: Get a little competitive at Roxy’s Arcade, a spacious den of nostalgia hidden behind a fake freezer door (yep, another one!) at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. Sip cocktails with game-themed names (Rainbow Road, for instance) while playing pinball, Big Buck Hunter, Mortal Kombat, Donkey Kong, and more. roxysarcade.com.

NEXT: Just a few doors down, settle in for dinner at Pagu, where the menu jumps from Spain to Japan and beyond. Hungry couples with a penchant for pork should try the suckling pig for two, served with bao, hot sauce, romesco, and pickles. Share a slice of Basque cheesecake for dessert. gopagu.com.

NIGHTCAP: You found the hidden arcade; now find the hidden cocktail bar. An oldie but a goodie, Brick & Mortar offers an exciting mix of original and classic cocktails behind an unmarked door. Shell out a few extra bucks for the “special reserve” cocktails, twists on classics featuring rare and small-production liquors. brickmortarltd.com.

Photo by Joe St. Pierre, styling by Madison Trapkin

6. Baked Goods and Glass Blowing


FIRST: Grab an on-the-go pastry breakfast from La Saison Bakery, renowned for its sourdough bread but also an excellent source of buttery croissants, fudgy cookies, and other treats. If the weather’s warm enough, up the romance quotient by spreading out a picnic somewhere in the sprawling Danehy Park nearby. lasaison-bakery.com.

NEXT: Glass-blowing classes at NOCA Glass School give lovebirds the opportunity to bond while making something with their hands. Beginner options include learning to craft whimsical little figurines; more-experienced couples should reach out to the school to learn about qualifying for higher-level classes. nocaglassschool.com.

MIDDAY-CAP: Down the street, Gran Gusto is quietly one of the best Italian restaurants around. Go all-in on pizza if you’re hungry for lunch (we love the Diavola with hot salami), or just sidle up to the bar for a glass of Italian wine or a cocktail. grangustocambridge.com.

7. Rock Climbing and Dumplings


FIRST: Carbo-load for the night ahead with a casual dumpling dinner at Mei Mei: The “Dumpling Party” platter lets you try a combo of three different varieties (two of each), but if you’re really hungry, consider springing for the 30-piece version. It’s meant for four or five people, but… meimeidumplings.com.

NEXT: The couple that boulders together stays together. Grab a day pass or book an instructional class to enjoy Rock Spot Climbing’s amenities, perfect for newbies and climbing veterans alike. rockspotclimbing.com.

NIGHTCAP: After all of that climbing, you’ll want to quench your thirst with a pint at Castle Island Brewing Co., which pours IPAs, lagers, and more. And if you’ve worked up an appetite again, Bardo’s Bar Pizza is on-site with tasty South Shore–style pizza. castleislandbeer.com.

8. Pasta and Planetarium Rock Music


FIRST: Cheesy pull-apart garlic bread with pesto; fried kataifi-wrapped mozzarella; pillowy pumpkin cappelletti with brown butter: Geppetto is waiting for you at Cambridge Crossing with swanky digs and Italian-inspired cuisine. thelexingtoncx.com/geppetto.

NEXT: When night falls, things get a little bit rock ’n’ roll at the Museum of Science planetarium. Depending on the date and time, you can catch a David Bowie, Pink Floyd, or Lady Gaga show, during which impressive visuals are displayed under the planetarium dome to a soundtrack of your favorite musical artists. mos.org.

NIGHTCAP: Return to Cambridge Crossing for beers at Lamplighter Brewing Co.’s second taproom, where you could find anything from hot-honey lager to a mango, Sichuan pepper, and sea-salt sour ale. lamplighterbrewing.com.

9. Theater and Late-Night Chinatown Eats


FIRST: Just because we’re a few hours away from Broadway doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a spectacular theater night right here in Boston. The city’s busy musical-theater schedule has some popular Tony Award–winning picks coming up this year: Catch the tour de force Hadestown at the Wang in April or the masterpiece Les Misérables at the Opera House in August, for example. bochcenter.org; citizensbankoperahouse.com.

NEXT: Steps away from the Theater District, Chinatown is one of the city’s best neighborhoods for hungry night owls. Sadly, many places don’t stay open quite as late as they did pre-COVID, but you can still find an excellent meal at 11 p.m. Try Peach Farm for live-tank seafood or Dumpling Café for xiaolongbao (called “mini juicy buns” on the menu). peachfarmseafood.com; dumplingcafe.com.

NIGHTCAP: Share the “cold tea for two”—oolong-tea-infused vodka with peach and lemon—at modern Asian restaurant and cocktail hot spot Shōjō. The name is a nod to the code phrase for after-hours alcohol illegally served in Chinatown restaurants back in the day. shojoboston.com.

Photo by Joe St. Pierre, styling by Madison Trapkin

10. Sushi and Board Games


FIRST: Laughing Monk Café’s à la carte Thai and sushi menus both make for an enjoyable evening out, but for the most date-night-y option, reserve an omakase feast ahead of time, an ever-changing parade of beautifully plated nigiri and sashimi. (A well-done rendition of the omakase is also available to go if you’d rather stay on the couch for this date!) laughingmonkcafe.com.

NEXT: Cozy up at Tavern of Tales for a night of board games, many of which are available for free play—no reservations required. You’ll find two-person-friendly options like Hive Carbon, Spirits of the Wild, and more—as well as snacks and drinks service—or you can rent a private room ahead of time for a larger selection of games. tavernoftales.com.

NIGHTCAP: Stroll down the street to Yellow Door Taqueria for margaritas (frozen or not) and other fun cocktails, particularly in the tequila and mezcal realm. And why not throw in an order of churros with dulce de leche if you’re still hungry? yellowdoortaqueria.com.

Seeing Double

Two’s company with these can’t-miss dinner deals.


Best of Boston wine bar Nathálie has declared Tuesday night “Two’sday Night” with a $65 dinner-for-two, available from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. each Tuesday. The special menu includes “all of [Nathálie’s] culinary hits … designed for two people.” (It’s an eclectic mix; you might see everything from fried chicken skewers with sherry gastrique to blue crab with potato gnocchi.) Reservations available, but walk-ins welcome.

Fenway, nathaliebar.com.


Pasta lovers, this one’s for you. Mida’s “Mangia Monday”—available on Mondays at the restaurant’s South End and East Boston locations—is $80 for a two-person feast that includes bread, salad, and your choice of five à la carte portions of Best of Boston pasta, such as bucatini all’amatriciana, gnocchi, and classic carbonara.

South End and East Boston, midarestaurant.com.

Myers + Chang

On Monday through Wednesday nights, this Washington Street mainstay offers three different date-night menus designed for two, such as the “Omnivore’s Delight” ($65): tofu fresh rolls, Sichuan sliced beef, Taiwanese fried pumpkin, char siu chow fun noodles, ginger-scallion bok choy, and rice.

South End, myersandchang.com.

Phở Hòa and Ánh Hồng

In Vietnamese cuisine, bó 7 mòn is a set menu of seven courses that showcase beef, whether grilled or ground in congee. Phở Hòa and Ánh Hồng—two local stalwarts that teamed up under one roof in 2022—offer a filling rendition priced at around $50 for two. Come hungry.

Dorchester, phohoarestaurant.com.

Summer Shack

Head to either local outpost of the Shack for “Cheap Date Night” every Thursday, where $90 per pair gets you two apps, two entrées, and dessert to share. You’ll find options such as lobster pot stickers, Rhode Island–style fried calamari, shrimp scampi linguine, fried chicken (a hidden gem on this seafood-focused menu!), and a brownie sundae.

Back Bay and Cambridge, summershackrestaurant.com.

Thistle & Leek

This neighborhood-favorite gastropub offers a “Sunday Supper” for two every week during the colder seasons—reservations strongly recommended—for $90 a pair (add a carafe of wine for $30). The ever-changing menu includes several starters (such as pork rillettes with herb salad and sourdough toast), mains (such as coq au vin with pommes puree and house salad), and a “pud,” a.k.a. dessert (such as flan with poached rhubarb and pistachios).

Newton Centre, thistleandleek.com.

A version of this guide was first published in the print edition of the February 2024 issue with the headline, “Love Is in the Air.”