Updated: 4 January 2020
By Phil O'D
I’ve been married for coming up six years and one of the things my wife and I have always prioritised is date night. We are both very busy people and realised that if we can schedule in work, church, or any other obligation, why wouldn’t we prioritise our relationship?
The night of the week has changed over the years and on the odd occasion we skip a week, but it is a major key to the success of our relationship.
Seasons change and now we have a one-year-old. Our budget is restricted and we’ve had to be creative about having date nights at home - but that is for another blog.
This is ten fun and unique things (in no particular order) that we can personally recommend you can do in the beautiful city of Christchurch.
List of date ideas.
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1. Take a class.
While a cooking class may not be your cup of tea, the options of what you can do together are endless. Here are two exceptional ones we tried:
Kickboxing Class! Like a lot of fitness classes, you can join in at whatever level you are at and do as many or as few classes as you wish.
“Paint n Sip” This is a painting class with a difference. You sit down in front of a canvas, and a tutor instructs you step by step how to do the painting of the night. It’s hilarious how you all have the same instructions but your paintings end up so very different. All that and wine and nibbles is nothing to scoff at.
2. Escape rooms.
Christchurch has three escape room operators, each with multiple rooms.
If you haven’t done an escape room before you are in for a treat. They are for two to six people, so you could double date this one. The premise is that you are locked in a room with multiple puzzles to solve with the aim of escaping within an hour.
Each room has its own storyline and can be so varied that each time is a new experience. This is not something just for lateral thinkers, but is an experience that everyone can enjoy.
3. Port Hills.
The Port Hills, to the south of the city, are amazing and can accommodate multiple dates.
During the day, there are walking tracks, mountain biking (Adventure Park), or you can just admire the view of the city and then pop over for coffee and chocolate at She Universe in Governors Bay.
Even at night the hills are great. There are several places to park the car and look over the city lights. We’ve parked up with a guitar and sung some praise songs and had a picnic under the stars.
Truth be told, I am a kid at heart. What takes you back to your childhood more than an arcade?
Timezone by Riccarton Mall is my spot. Don’t worry about looking out of place, you'll find other normal adults playing there too.
Whatever you want to play whether it is Time Crisis, shooting basketballs, racing games or hunting, there are loads of games that you’ll both be able to agree on.
Check out what the special deals are as sometimes they have double dollars nights.
“If you have the slightest competitive edge, then this one's for you...”
5. The Groynes.
The Groynes is a large park to the north-west of town and it’s a great place for a picnic, with free BBQs available.
If you’re into fishing, there are trout in the lakes (make sure that both of you have your fishing licences). And if you have a four-legged friend joining you, there is a large dog park.
It’s just a great place all round for a date.
6. Spice up a movie at home.
Sometimes you want to just have a night in - but that doesn’t mean you can’t put in a little extra effort! Here are a couple of ideas to take your movie night to the next level:
Themed: If you are watching a movie that takes place in another time period or country, incorporate this into your evening. It might be sushi with ‘The Last Samurai’, dressing up for a spy movie or playing with Lego while watching the ‘Lego Movie’! It doesn’t take much to add that extra element to the evening.
Build a fort: As a kid, I used to make forts out of the couches and blankets. I remember seeing a flatmate do this for a date night and stole the idea. My wife and I built a fort in the lounge where we had fondue and watched a movie. Great fun!
7. Classic dates.
If you think about dates in classic movies, what comes to mind?
For me, I think of ten-pin bowling, ice skating, going to the theatre, or going out dancing. Christchurch has all of these available.
We have some great ten-pin lanes, a fantastic skating rink, numerous national and international shows, and places to both learn or go out dancing after a meal.
8. Quiz night.
If you have the slightest competitive edge, then this one's for you.
Lots of pubs or restaurant bars have weekly quiz nights and it’s another perfect double date idea.
While you might not win, it is a fun night with a lot of laughs and you might be surprised by what you or your partner knows.
9. The beach.
Christchurch has some amazing beaches.
From the popular beaches with shops nearby like New Brighton and Sumner, to the bays a little further away like Corsair Bay and Taylors Mistake, these beaches offer a range of date ideas.
Whether you want to take a dip, surf, or sit out under the stars and listen to the waves come in, the options are limitless.
10. Botanical Gardens.
This is one of my favourite places in the city. It just has so much going for it.
Not only are the gardens beautiful (rose, winter and the park itself), it also has other activities throughout it too.
You might like to visit the museum or head to the boat sheds and hire a kayak each or even take a romantic punt along the river.
There is so much more that this city can offer you as date ideas. I hope this list inspires you to try something new and to make dates a regular thing in your relationship!