There are some incredible restaurants in Vancouver that will have your mouth watering just by looking at the menu. There are classy bars in every neighborhood that are sure to impress your date as soon as you walk through the door. Want to check out a movie? There’s no shortage of excellent theatres in the city where you can watch the latest flicks and share a big ol’ buttery tub of popcorn. However, if you want to take your date somewhere out of the ordinary and share an experience they’ll never forget, skip the typical dinner, movies, and drinks and plan something a little different.
Smart is the new sexy and science is fun no matter how old you are. If you’ve got a brainy babe you want to impress, head to Science World After Dark to really see how much chemistry you’ve got between you. This 19+ event is held monthly at TELUS World of Science and admission gives you access to explore all the exhibits and galleries in an adult only environment. They have food, drinks, music, activities, and special guest speakers. Some nights may involve a murder mystery with a scientific twist and others may feature live performances and entertainment. While you’re there you can hit up the OMNIMAX Theatre, which will put every other movie date to shame with its fully immersive wrap around screen and out of this world digital sound system.
If your special someone is into animals, biology, or aquatic life, the Vancouver Aquarium is the place to go. With over 50,000 animals and 30 different exhibits, you and your date can spend hours gazing at the cute critters or deciding which of those water bound predators are the most terrifying. Make your date even more memorable by adding an encounter with the sea lions, penguins, or otters to your visit. You can treat your date to a bite at the Courtyard Café or surprise them with a keepsake from the gift shop so they can always be reminded of your aquatic adventures together.
Spice Things Up
Rather than waiting for a server to bring your meal to you, sign up you and your date up for a cooking class and do all the work yourselves. The Dirty Apron offers 4 hour cooking school courses where you’ll be provided with everything you need to craft a gourmet 3 course meal, including experienced chef instructors who will walk you through every step. When the meal is ready, you can dig in at the communal dining table and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a glass of wine. If you like the idea of a cooking school but don’t want to get your hands or apron dirty, try the 2.5 hour demo and dine class, where you and your date can simply watch, learn, and taste while your meal is prepared in front of you.
Dinner in the Dark
There’s definitely something to be said for taking your date out to a nice dinner. The dinner date is certainly a classic, and for good reason. If you want to share a meal together but you think your date might like something a little more daring than the typical romantic Italian restaurant, make a reservation at Dark Table. You’ll be seated in a pitch black dining area and your meal will be served by blind or visually impaired servers. Not only will you gain a truer appreciation for your food through the loss of your vision but you will also be given the chance to interact with your date in an atmosphere that might be a step or two outside of your comfort zone. If dining in the dark sounds too daring for you, Vancouver has a few other unusual restaurants that would make the perfect setting for anything but an ordinary dinner date.
Grabbing a drink is without a doubt the easiest and most popular type of date that could ever be had. You can sit at the bar for a quick cocktail or grab a booth and cozy up for hours. It’s easy enough to call it a night after a drink or two, or decide to stay and chat until closing. While going out for a drink is about as typical as you can get when it comes to planning a date, going to a unique bar or pub can really make all the difference. At the Shameful Tiki Room you and your date can disappear into the dimly lit recesses of this tropical oasis and sip on ridiculously exotic cocktails like the Tiki Puka Puka or the Skull & Bones. Order the Mystery Bowl to share and you’ll be treated to a blend of rum, juices, secret spices, and over the top fanfare.
Thrills and Chills
The PNE fairgrounds are home to endless forms of excitement throughout the entire year. During the summer, you’ll find the Pacific National Exhibition running at full steam, with vendors, food trucks, live performances, beer gardens, and everything else you could want from one of the largest fairs in Canada. Playland at the PNE operates over 35 different rides and attractions, allowing you to hold hands as the Ferris Wheel makes its way around, or cling together for dear life as the wooden roller coaster sends you careening down the tracks. During the month of October you can come here for Fright Night, a haunted version of the typically lively amusement park. In the winter, the Aurora Winter Festival turns the park into a North Pole-inspired winter wonderland. Regardless of what’s going on here, it can always make an exciting backdrop to an unforgettable date.
A Whole New World
For some real fun and games, take your date to a virtual reality experience. Suit up and step into another dimension where you can work side by side to rid the world of the zombie horde or protect the planet from alien invasions. If you want to show a gamer a good time, Sandbox VR is home to the most state of the art VR gear and they also make all of their own games, with titles like Amber Sky 2088, Curse of Davy Jones, and Deadwood Mansion. If you’d rather hang out in more of an arcade style spot, Vancouver has plenty of other options for virtual reality arcades.
Love is Battlefield
Nothing says “I love you” like a barrage of .68 caliber paintballs hurtling towards you while you flee from your significant other. A day of getting pelted and splattered with high velocity paints isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly a lot more exhilarating than splitting a bag of popcorn at whatever new rom-com is playing. On a rainy day, head to Richmond Indoor Paintball where women get free entry every Friday. For some outdoor paintball fun you can check out Delta Force Paintball in Maple Ridge, or head to any of the other awesome paintball fields in the Lower Mainland.
Sleuth it Out
Whether it’s your first date or you’ve been together forever, escape rooms are a great place to learn a little more about someone. How are they at problem solving? Will they keep their cool if things get frustrating? What type of escape room would this person choose? And most importantly, how long would you like to be locked in a room with this person? Picking an escape room and sticking it out together is a great way to see if you two can make a good team, and hopefully, you’ll have so much fun together it won’t even matter if you solve your way out or not. SmartyPantz escape rooms offer games for a few as two people with varying degrees of difficulty, currently hosting rooms such as Spies & Lies, Thirst for Murder, and Morning Never Comes.
A Splash of Color
There’s something so romantic about pulling up a stool, sipping some wine, picking up that paintbrush, and both of you making an utter mess of your paintings because you’ve been too distracted making eyes at one another. Obviously if your beau or belle is artistically inclined, a paint night is a great idea, but it can also be a ton of fun for those who’ve never even held a paintbrush. It’s not about painting a masterpiece, it’s about creating beautiful memories with that special someone, doing something a little out of the ordinary. You can easily find a Paint Nite in your area at Yaymaker, or check out some of the other interesting activities like Plant Nite or Candle Maker.
Rather than spending an evening chit chatting over appetizers or discussing the latest movie selections, plan your next date night at one of these neat places and talk about something a little more unique than just cuisine and pop culture. If you’re planning a first date, these places can provide unique situations to help you really break the ice and get to know each other. Or, if you’ve been married for 10 years and it’s your turn to choose the spot for your monthly date night, any of these options will definitely add some unexpected fun to the evening. Whatever the case, skip the fine dining and flowers and turn your next date night into an exciting adventure.