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Date night ideas for every type of Soda Citizen

Got a hot new fling? Hoping to spice things up with your longtime partner? We’re here to help plan your next date night in Soda City.

The nick

Plan a date to see an Indie film at the Nickelodeon Theatre. | photo via @nicktheatre

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Kids, this is the story of how I met your mother, and it was all thanks to COLAtoday.

Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly how the 2000s sitcom went, but if Ted Mosby had consulted us for date night ideas, we could’ve shaved the show down to two seasons (and saved his kids a lot of time). Regardless of whether you’ve met “the one” or are hoping to impress someone new, we’ve got 25+ local date night ideas that are legen — wait for it — dary.

For the ones who want a night out on the town

Enjoy laughter and entertainment at various comedy nights happening around town. Buy tickets to The Comedy House. Note, guests must be 21 years old or older to buy tickets.

Immerse yourselves in the world of local theater events, experiencing the magic of live performances or indie movies. Purchase tickets from Town Theatre, The Nickelodeon Theater, Koger Center for the Arts, and The Township Auditorium.

A widely grinning person sits before a completed bowl on a pottery wheel, hands wet with clay.

Give pottery a whirl at State of the Art Gallery and Pottery Studio.

Photo via @stateoftheartsc

Whether you want to share a special moment at a pottery studio, crafting unique pieces together, or looking for athletic, art, or cooking classes, we’ve got recommendations for how to keep learning around Columbia.

S.C. State Museum Boeing Observatory

SC State Museum Boeing Observatory | Photo by @rea_mass

Embark on an otherworldly adventure by stargazing as a couple at two local observatories — one at the South Carolina State Museum and the Melton Observatory on the University of South Carolina’s campus.

If the way to their heart is through their stomach

Indulge in a delectable steak dinner at Halls Chophouse, savoring perfectly cooked cuts and a fine dining experience with regionally-sourced seafood.

Treat yourselves to an upscale seafood restaurant and enjoy a luxurious ambiance in a restored historic setting on the Main Street District at Smoked, known for prime meats, locally sourced produce, fresh seafood, and hand-crafted cocktails.

Lula Drake

Enjoy wines from a James Beard Award Nominee restaurant. | Photo by @patmikekelly

Step into a James Beard Nominee + historic wine bar, sipping exquisite wines paired with a selection of fancy cheeses, creating an unforgettable evening at Lula Drake Wine Parlour.

Spice up your date night at a Coa Agaveria y Cocina, savoring unique cocktails and flavorful dishes with exceptional Mexican cuisine.

A hand holds a paper cup with a Piecewise sleeve around it, backdropped by a counter with plants and patrons drinking coffee at tables.

There’s great chai and plenty of spaces to work at Piecewise. | Photo by COLAtoday

Keep it relaxed and cozy with a local brunch or a casual coffee date, enjoying each other’s company in a laid-back setting.

If you love the great outdoors

Embark on thrilling kayaking tours, paddling together through scenic waterways and discovering Cola’s nature with help from Palmetto Outdoor, Carolina Outdoor Adventures, or follow our guide on how-to float down the river.

Congaree National Park Trails

The Boardwalk Loop Trail is wheelchair accessible. | Photo by @hdcarolina

Explore the great outdoors with our full hiking guide, featuring eight local trails around the Midlands.

Discover picturesque spots + plan a Soda City picnic, sharing a grab-n-go meal amidst each other’s company + nature.


Take a stroll with your date along one of Columbia’s rivers. | Photo by @thanamesjames

Take romantic strolls along one of Columbia’s rivers, enjoying the tranquil ambiance and the company of one another.

For the ones who like to play games (just not with your heart)

Unleash your inner child at a bar arcade restaurant, savoring drinks + playful competition with classic arcade games at Transmission Arcade.

Challenge each other to a fun-filled game of Capital City Cornhole, enjoying some friendly rivalry in the historic Cottontown neighborhood.

The Grand

Embark on some friendly competition at The Grand. | Photo by @thegrandonmain

Hit the lanes at various bowling alleys around the Midlands, including The Grand, Bowlero, JC’s Lexington Bowl, or Royal Z Lanes, rolling strikes and spares together for an entertaining date night.

If you’re really hoping that it works out

Climb to new heights at a Captial Climbing Gym, opening soon in Cayce, where you and your partner can conquer challenging walls and build strength together.

Get in sync with dance classes around town, moving to the rhythm and sharing some elegant twirls on the dance floor at Blue Moon Ballroom, Esmeralda Dance Studio, or Columbia’s Ballroom Company.

Experience a transformative workout at Rise Fitness + Wellness, sculpting your bodies and strengthening your bond.

Join Fit Columbia classes for a variety of energetic workouts, embracing a healthy lifestyle side by side.

Pickleball Columbia.jpeg

The new pickleball courts at Southeast Park in Columbia. | Photo via Pickleball Group of the Midlands

Engage in the fun and competitive spirit of playing pickleball, serving up excitement and creating lasting memories.

If you want an “old fashioned”-style date

Indulge in the rich flavors of sipping bourbon together, actually drinking Old Fashioneds at Bourbon, savoring each moment and the warmth it brings.

Don’t want the night to end? Go grab dessert from Kaminsky’s, The Robinson Room, Sweet Cream Co., or O’Hara’s Bakery Cafe and take a leisurely stroll, cherishing each other’s company.

Embark on a local tour to explore the hidden gems of the city and then enjoy a delightful dinner, creating cherished memories.

Soda City Market

Browse over 150+ vendors each Saturday in the Main Street District. | Photo by @jwrigh

Experience the vibrant charm of a local farmers market or take a stroll through Soda City, appreciating the simple pleasures of a Saturday in Columbia together.

If you wanna show off by knowing all the hottest events in town

  • Shameless plug: Sign up for our daily newsletter, where we call out our top picks of things to do around town. Your date doesn’t have to know we’re behind it, you can take all the credit.
  • Stay up-to-date on the coolest local events around Columbia with our events page.

What did we miss? If you know a perfect date spot that’s not on the list, guide us in the right direction using this survey.

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