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Date Night Number One: Ice Cream
There’s probably some kind of scientific reason why having dessert feels like falling in love, but we don’t need to understand the chemistry to know sharing a scoop of ice cream with our honey bunnies tastes particularly sweet. (Actually, there is. Chocolate, in particular, contains phenylethylamine, which has proven aphrodisiac properties.) Fortunately, there’s no shortage of lickable treats in the metro area, some of which are doled out with a side of you-know-you-want-to-kiss-me ambience you’d want for date night on a hot summer evening. Here, five of our favorites.
The vibe: From the owners of Denver Beer Co., this little ice cream hut sits adjacent to the brewer’s South Downing Street taproom, which means it’s easy to introduce another aphrodisiac into the mix, should you be so inclined.
Your order: Sticky Fingers (graham cracker, toasted marshmallow, and dark chocolate)
The vibe: The now iconic 28-foot-tall milk can in LoHi from which you order your date’s favorite flavor has a magic that really can’t be described except to say it just feels joyful.
Your order: Salted Oreo
The vibe: Yes, you’ll likely wait in line at this classic ice cream parlor, but that’s half the charm. Once you’ve secured your cone, find an umbrella-covered bistro table and lean in close.
Your order: Triple Death Chocolate
The vibe: Sweet Cow has six locations, all of which have a slightly different atmosphere—but the small-batch goodness is available at all of them.
Your order: Butter pecan
The vibe: Industrial chic with cute white cups placed wooden boards and a hand-written menu on a giant chalkboard.
Your order: Salted Caramel
Date Night Number Two: Mini Golf
If you’ve ever seen Tin Cup, you know that golf can be sexy. Putt-putt, despite its diminutive size, can be just as flirtatious—if you can see the fun in windmills-as-hazards. Maybe it’s just us, but there’s something sweet and silly and delightful about playing a game that no one is ever actually good at but that makes everyone laugh anyway. Plan a date night with the better half of your twosome at any of the following metro-area mini courses.
You’d never know this well-maintained putt-putter’s paradise, which also has a water driving range, is tucked just off the west side of Santa Fe Drive in the Overland area. With two courses—both of which require skill, or dumb luck, to avoid several water hazards and sand traps—to choose from, a BYO alcohol policy (no glass bottles!), and hours that run until 11 p.m. during the summer, there’s no good reason not to check out your partner’s form on the tee. $9/round
For a little ambience, this kitschy 36-hole course in Littleton turns out the lights on Thursday nights between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and lets LED golf balls and course markers provide just enough glow to smooch…er…play by. $7/round
Located in Westminster, Adventure Golf & Raceway offers 54 holes that have all the tacky trappings you want in a round of mini golf. Lean into the Spring Break 1998 vibe—minus the booze but with the soft serve ice cream and (hopefully) some hungry eyes—while tapping your ball past water features, fire effects, pirate ships, and an erupting volcano. $8.75/round
Date Night Number Three: Go-Karts
The helmets and race suits aren’t exactly fetching, but date night doesn’t always have to be a dewy, romantic affair. Sometimes heart flutters can come from getting behind the wheel of a go-kart, whipping around a 0.75-mile-long track with 17 turns at 45 mph, and rubbing your SO right out of contention. Located in Morrison on the grounds of Bandimere Speedway, the track is open all summer, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sundays)—but kids younger than seven can’t take to the track on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays, making those days best for adult fun. That is, if you call whooping and hollering and shrieking as you try to outmaneuver your partner acting like an adult. The only downside to car racing as foreplay is that it’s relatively short-lived at only 12 minutes per session ($40). Fortunately, you can often add an additional spin around the track for $30.
Date Night Number Four: Amusement Park
Yes, it’s tacky and pricey ($49.99) and the air smells of funnel cake, but there’s something about a theme park on a warm summer night—especially when you’ve left the kids at home with a babysitter. Maybe it’s all the twinkly lights. Maybe it’s getting pushed into each other on the Tilt-O-Whirl. Maybe it’s that I’m-in-a-movie feeling when you can reach out and grab hands on the chair swings. Maybe it’s the slow kiss at the top of the Ferris wheel. Whatever it is, it’s real and available for temporarily living in a teenage dream every night at downtown’s legendary Elitch Gardens. At 9 p.m. on July 3, however, the park’s fireworks display will make it an even more rom-com-perfect evening.
Date Night Number Five: Water Park
Typically infested with kids, it’s difficult to see a water park as a viable date night option. That’s what makes Adult Night at Englewood’s Pirates Cove so enticing. From 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. on three glorious nights (July 6, July 20, and August 3) this summer, adults can listen to live music, grab bites from the snack shack, and torpedo their ways down as many waterslides as they want. Or, if climbing the 35-foot-tall slide tower isn’t your thing, the lazy river offers a low-key way to splash that hottie you brought with you.
Date Night Number Six: A Movie
While we hope you have a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible to roll up in, any vehicle with a functioning FM radio will do the trick at this Commerce City–based drive-in, the last of its kind in the metro area. For $10 per person, you get a date night filled with two movies, the first of which typically starts just after dark. While it’s not always the case, the opening show is often a kid-friendly flick (right now, it’s The Bad Guys), during which adults sans kids can enjoy some snacks and some…uh…alone time in the back seat. The PG-13 rated stuff—Jurassic World Dominion, at the moment—often starts around 10:20 p.m.