The papers are signed. You have the keys in hand. The boxes are unpacked. Now what? There is no shortage of great Central Florida date night ideas. Here are ten to get you started:
1. CATCH A MOVIE
The days of standard-issue seating and limited concession options are a thing of the past. Theaters throughout Central Florida offer seats as comfy as those in your living room and all manner of extras. One such example is Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20. In addition to recliner seats with padded footrests, the venue offers 3-D, IMAX, and 4DX theaters, a full bar serving beer, wine, and mixed drinks, and validated garage parking.
For a different experience, longtime local favorite, The Enzian, in Maitland, never disappoints. An alternative cinema house, the Enzian is home to the Florida Film Festival and features great classic movies and independent and foreign films year-round in a cafe setting where servers regularly circulate to check on drink orders or to drop off flatbread, burgers, chili fries and the like. In addition, the Eden Bar, located just outside the theater, is a great place to stop for a drink and a quick bite even on nights you won’t be watching a movie. Patrons can enjoy signature cocktails, wine, and appetizers in a romantic setting near the fountain and string lights and under the swaying oaks.
2) CHECK OUT GREAT LOCAL RESTAURANTS
Orlando has a thriving culinary scene and there’s no better time to explore it than during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining, now through Monday, October 7th. (The promotion typically runs through the end of September. You can thank Hurricane Dorian for that additional week.) For the fourteenth straight year, Orlando’s best restaurants are offering three-course, pre-fixe menus for $35 per/person. As an added bonus, the first dollar of each meal will go to support local charities, the National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI Greater Orlando and Lighthouse Central Florida . This year over 120 restaurants will be participating including Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Del Friscos, Roy’s, The Melting Pot, The Capital Grille, Todd English’s Blue Zoo and Christini’s Ristorante Italiano.
3) PREPARE A FABULOUS MEAL
For foodies or foodie wannabes looking for a more hands-on approach to their dining, Truffles and Trifles, is a nationally recognized cooking school and a great place to bond over a sumptuous meal and spirits. Classically trained chefs walk amateurs through every step of meal prep in fun and laid-back classes hosted in the company’s state-of-the-art, commercial-grade kitchens. Join other couples for September’s French Bistro Date Night where you and your sweetie will prepare, then enjoy, Croque Monsieur – a grilled cheese with a bechamel sauce, French Onion soup with brandy and white wine, goat cheese, and mushroom tart, ham and gruyere crepes, sauteed chicken in a Riesling sauce, French Beef Bourguignon, braided French Bread, Pate a Choux pastry, profiteroles and French Vanilla ice cream with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.
4) EXPLORE ART MUSEUMS
Orlando is home to a number of wonderful museums. Most offer special events that are perfect for a couple to enjoy together. One such event taking place at the Orlando Museum of Art this month, An Opening Reception for Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers + Steven Althouse: Metanoia is a dual exhibition with the Mennello Museum of American Art. Featuring a large scale mural by revered turn of the century artist, Steichen, and a collection of his photographs and paintings, as well as Althouse’s magnificent wood, leather and metal sculptures, the event will take place on Friday, September 20th from 5:30 – 8:30. The Tommy Shugart Organ Trio will be performing and there will be a cash bar, complimentary soft drinks and light hors d’oeuvres.
5) GET A BIRD’S EYE VIEW
The The Wheel at ICON Park Orlando, formerly called the Orlando Eye and modeled after the famed London Eye, is a great way to see Orlando from a different vantage point. The Ferris Wheel-style structure consists of 30 air-conditioned pods and takes passengers on a 23 minute, smooth circular ride, ascending to a height of 400 feet. In addition to great views of the city, riders will enjoy lighting and audio effects and, if desired, adult beverages. Couples who want to enhance the ‘tourist for an evening’ experience may want to pop over to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum afterward and snap a selfie or two with Jason Momoa, Pitbull, Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Aniston and more. Both of these attractions are owned by the same company so look for a package deal if you plan to do both.
6) THEME PARK IT
Another favorite date night activity for locals is Halloween Horror Nights. This year’s 80s themed event opened on Friday, September 6th, and will go through Saturday, November 2nd. It will feature ten all-new haunted houses each with some connection to the decade, including one inspired by Ghostbusters (Who you gonna call?) and one by the pop-culture classic, Stranger things. Dig up your old shoulder pads, tease your hair high and grab someone whose hand you want to hold when someone comes after you with an ax.
7) LET THE MUSIC TAKE YOU BACK
Velvet Sessions hosted by Orlando’s Hard Rock Hotel is a great place to catch legendary artists i.e. Bret Michaels, recently seen with Karen here, Joan Jett, Foreigner, Eddie Money and other greats in a laid back, rather intimate setting. In addition to the great tunes each show includes specialty drinks and appetizers.
8) GO SKATING
Orlando temps rarely dip below the 60s, but that won’t stop you from enjoying an evening on the ice. The RDV Ice Den is a cool spot to spend an evening with someone you love. Afterward, consider dropping by The Glass Knife for a hot chocolate and a decadent dessert.
9) SEE A SHOW
The Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a beautiful entertainment complex in downtown Orlando offering a wide variety of concerts, plays, classes, and workshops. The venue’s Broadway series offers Central Floridians the opportunity to catch the hottest shows and all the classics without having to catch a flight to New York. Among this season’s offerings: Les Mis, Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady, Mean Girls, Aladdin the Musical and Beautiful.
10) CHEER FOR YOUR TEAM
Orlando boasts a number of professional, semi-professional, minor league and college sports teams. Cheering them on is a great way to spend a few hours. The Orlando Magic made it to the first round of the playoffs last year. Don your blue, black and silver and watch them try to get even further starting in October. Monday, the 7th is the first home (preseason) game. Orlando City Soccer has been around since 2015. The team, which plays at Camping World Stadium when at home is always exciting to watch.