Chill-y Date Ideas

4 mins read

‘Tis the season for autumn and winter dates. Whether it’s with your partner or even some friends, get away from–or perhaps embrace–the cold with the seasons’  best date activities. 

Art Museums

Transcend space and time through beautiful art by visiting one of many fine art museums in San Francisco, such as the de Young or the Legion of Honor. Experience works by Georgia O’Keeffe and John Singer Sargent at the de Young, and feast your eyes on the extensive Rodin collection––as well as the paintings of Monet––the Legion.

More locally is the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford, only a few miles away. Enjoy free admission to view one of the largest Rodin collections in the world, as well as a wide selection of works from all over the globe, spanning from ancient times to the modern day. Make sure to bundle up when roaming the Rodin Sculpture Garden, an outdoor exhibit featuring some of the artist’s most famous works.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, stop by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) where Yayoi Kusama’s famed Infinity Mirror Rooms are currently on exhibition. The MoMA also displays the works of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Frida Kahlo. 

Big fan of animation? The Walt Disney Family Museum on the coastline of San Francisco is one of the most unique museums in the Bay. See the detailed inner workings of the animation process of Disney’s two-dimensional films, ranging from sound design to concept art as well as cinematography. Read about the genius of Walt Disney and observe the original sketches and animation panels. 


Don’t bring your special someone to a random cafe and call it a day! Downtown Palo Alto is filled to the brim with trendy cafes, each with their own distinctive qualities.

Check out Coupa Cafe on Ramona Street for cozy seating options and a homey atmosphere, as well as a delectable lunch menu. The Spicy Maya hot chocolate is a tasty and soulful drink, perfect for a rainy day. Drop by the beautiful Oklava Cafe on University Ave for the perfect Turkish coffee, sweet treats, and top-tier service. Cafe Venetia, also on University Ave, is a fan favorite. Pair house-made pastries and desserts with the finest coffee money can buy and soak in the Italian-style ambiance. If coffee isn’t your thing, drop by Tea Time on Ramona Street for cozy seating arrangements and European-style tiered dessert platters. 

Ice Skating

What are the cold weather seasons without ice skating? Grab your scarves and gloves and head down to Winter Lodge in Palo Alto to glide (or stumble and fall) your afternoon away. Don’t forget to visit one of the many local restaurants nearby to fill up after using up all that energy.

Cat Lounges

Cat lounges are criminally underrated for what may be the closest we can get to heaven on Earth. KitTea Cat Lounge and Cafe in San Francisco is home to dozens of cats to hang out with that are available for adoption. Enjoy a complimentary beverage during your visit with these fuzzy friends. KitTea also hosts multiple unique seasonal events. Check them out at 1266 Valencia Street. 

In San Jose, The Dancing Cat welcomes visitors with their colorful environment and adorable cats that are also available for adoption. Bask in the presence of these little angels at 702 East Julian Street. When visiting cat lounges, make sure to respect establishment policies and treat the cats with great care. 

Cloudy Weather Movies

With some buttered popcorn and calming chamomile tea, you can enjoy a relaxed at-home date from the comfort of your home. We think that certain movies simply have that “bundle up from the cold weather” vibe. 

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted comedy, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is a phenomenal choice. Adapted from the beloved Roald Dahl novel of the same name, this claymation film follows Mr. Fox’s pursuit of finding his family a better life and his conflicts with local farmers. Another classic movie that will make you want to curl up by the fire is Harry Potter

For a romance, the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a must-watch. Observe an unlikely love story blossoming between the charismatic Elizabeth Bennet and the misunderstood Fitzwilliam Darcy. This beautiful adaptation of the classic Jane Austin novel is chock full of stunning cinematography and romantic moments sure to make anyone’s heart burst. 

The 1989 Dead Poets Society is the autumn season wrapped up into one touching coming-of-age movie. Bust out your argyle sweaters and corduroys, and witness a group of boys’ inspiring journey of finding meaning and value within their lives shaped by artificial expectations. This captivating film is sure to hit close to home for stressed-out high schoolers.

Co-op Games

Playing video games is an engaging pastime that can be enjoyed even when you are apart from your partner. Feeling cozy? Try your hand at Stardew Valley, a relaxing farming simulator where you and your date take care of a farm and build friendships with charming villagers. Pop in your headphones for this one as the soundtrack is not one to miss out on.

If you’re in the competitive mood, boot up Gang Beasts, a hilarious melee fighting game. Attempt to maneuver comedically gelatinous characters, avoid dangerous environmental hurdles, and be the last one standing to take the win! 

For something more skill-oriented, consider It Takes Two, the critically acclaimed multiplayer action-adventure platformer. Gameplay was specifically designed to be played in pairs, making it the perfect couples’ game. Overcome trials and tribulations with one another, and unfold the heartwarming narrative on the nature of human relationships. 


There are also plenty of fun ways to hang out with friends and loved ones on a budget. Making special winter-themed food can be one way to connect over something delicious. Try picking up a gingerbread house kit, where you can hold a grand competition on who can construct the most elaborate house. 

If you don’t like the spicy taste of gingerbread, try creating your own caramel apples. You can set up a charcuterie board with toppings like nuts and sprinkles and different sauces, like caramel, chocolate, or strawberry. Personalizing your treats is such a fun way to enjoy an at-home activity and a delicious dessert.

Rain Walks

With all the beautiful spots in our pocket of Northern California, a cozy walk in the rain might be the way to go. At the Stanford Dish, Arastradero Creek, and Bedwell Bayfront Park, you can enjoy a magical walk through some beautiful local nature. So, open up a colorful umbrella, flip on your raincoat, and pull up your fuzzy socks for a free and romantic experience.

Despite the cold, date ideas are bountiful. No such thing as “too much” exists when showing someone that you enjoy their company!

Leehan is a senior and this is her first year in journalism. She finds interest in fashion, the arts, and M-A’s diverse student life.

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