Celebrating an anniversary? Taking your crush on a first date? Want to rekindle the spark? Funky eateries, cozy hideaways, outdoor adventures, the perfect night in—we’ve planned for every occasion. We’ll leave the hard part (finding that special someone) up to you.
Something unexpected and, dare we say, magical. Think whimsical, romantic—a move that takes her breath away. (And, please: not because she sees those four little words on the Jumbotron at the Pepsi Center.)
Never underestimate the element of surprise; that’s why starting your night at a nice—but not too nice—eatery like Encore on Colfax is a good strategy. It’s loud and not overly romantic, but it’s swanky enough that when she tells the story later you’ll feel good about your choice. Reserve one of the cozy booths so you can hear yourselves talk and be close enough to hold hands. When the bill comes, casually bring up some post-dinner options: maybe a walk outside would be nice. Then, you can point out—like it just occurred to you, of course—that the Denver Botanic Gardens is just a 15-minute walk away, and probably beautiful this time of year. If you’ve timed it for December (in which case, hop in the car to drive over after dinner), the Blossoms of Light display is a perfect excuse.
Take her by the hand as you do a loop, enjoying the serenity of the gardens in summer or the magic of the lights over the holidays. Make sure you know where you’re going (find a map on the gardens’ website), because you’ll eventually want to steer her to the Romantic Garden gazebo. Lead her in, get down on one knee—yep, ladies still love that move— and ask her to be your wife in an enchanted moment she never saw coming.
TIP: Ask the staff at the gardens to decorate the gazebo in tiny white lights. Have two cupcakes, a bottle of sparkling cider (booze is not allowed), and a bouquet of flowers arranged on the table inside.
WORST DATE: "It was a memorable first date with a flight attendant, who drank quite a bit at dinner. We then walked to Comedy Works in Larimer Square, where she considered the two-drink minimum a nice start. When the night’s headliner lampooned ‘stewardesses,’ my inebriated date was on her feet, yelling at the stage that they were FLIGHT ATTENDANTS, dammit, not STEWARDESSES! My good friends at Comedy Works tugged my sleeve and said, ‘Dom, please take your friend out of here.’ Uh, there wasn’t a second date." —Dom Testa, radio personality, Mix 100