It may have been a flirty look across a bar, a heart-fluttering swipe right, a screw-your-ex-lets-hit-the-town declaration or a whirlwind Nora Ephron-style romance; whatever the reason, a date is on the cards. Now comes the tricky part: what exactly are you going to do? From outdoor activities for those dry days to plenty of back-ups in case the heavens open – we’re perfectly prepped with fun date ideas to take on in Manchester with your nearest and dearest this autumn.
1. Go for an autumn stroll in one of Manchester’s stunning parks
We’re so lucky here in Manchester to have so many wonderful parks and green spaces, and when the crisp autumn air finally hits, it’s the perfect wholesome date activity. Whether you take a picnic to Heaton Park, take part in a Parkrun at Platt Fields Park or Peel Park if you’re a sporty couple, or admire the flora at RHS Garden Bridgewater or Fletcher Moss Park, there’s a park activity for every couple, and it’s one of the more affordable date ideas to pursue in Manchester.
2. Get to know each other all over again by dining in the dark
Ever wondered what it’s like to eat in the dark? Studies show that 80% of people eat with their eyes — and with that sense eliminated, the theory is that your other senses (namely taste and smell) take over to elevate your meal to a whole new level. Perhaps a strange, but truly unique way to spend your first, fifth, or hundredth date, you’ll be able to discuss the sensations without sight, and get to know each other all over again.
Get your tickets here for Dining in the Dark, a unique blindfolded tasting experience with a surprise menu, and immerse yourself in a mysterious and interactive experience!
3. Take in a unique Candlelight concert
Concerts are always a great date idea, whether it’s a romantic evening or a lovely mate date. Why not take that up a level with a Candlelight concert? Experience your favourite tunes recreated by skilled musicians in Manchester’s most beautiful and historical venues. Whether you’re mad for Oasis or Taylor Swift, obsessed with classical music from the likes of Vivaldi, or love your film and video games, there’s something for every couple. Experience the best soundtracks from Hans Zimmer and The Legend of Zelda, and be transported to another world at Manchester Cathedral or Ancoats’ own Halle St Peters.
4. Experience a festival or gig in Manchester
Speaking of gigs, this music-centric city always has something going one for the gig-loving couples out there. From small gigs from local and touring bands to epic blow-outs at the arena and stadiums, the array of gigs we have going on is immense, and during the autumn the indoor venues really come into their own, often packing out their schedules week on week, perfect for a lovely date for gig-lovers.
5. Be amazed by the street art at Colors Festival
How about a date discovering artwork that covers entire walls in a venue that’s been completely repurposed for the experience? Luckily for you, Colors Festival includes images of some iconic faces, skilfully crafted by some amazing artists. You’ll find yourself strolling through brightly coloured immersive rooms that have the XXL sized art plastered across the spaces creating a unique art experience you can interact with. This one’s for those couples who like something a bit different and truly impressive.
6. Get your caffeine fix together at one of Manchester’s wonderful coffee shops
If you’re a couple of coffee lovers, or perhaps looking for a low-pressure environment for a first date, look no further than our wonderful coffee shops in Manchester. Sit and sip on your favourite beverage at the likes of Federal or Just Between Friends, and if iced coffee is your bag, why not sit al fresco on an unseasonably warm autumn afternoon? This one’s simple but effective, and sets you up for success if you’re both into cafe culture.
Whether you’re a fiend for action, love a romance or can’t wait for a horror fest through October, you can’t go wrong with a cinema date. Why not catch the latest blockbusters at some of the UK’s favourite cinemas, with discounts on Vue and Odeon tickets available for any screening you could think of. Sit back, relax and scran some popcorn with your loved one.
8. Enjoy a tipple at a lovely terrace bar
Here in Manchester we’re proud of our bars and array of establishments serving any beverage you could ever want, and trust us when we say they’re prepped for any type of weather. Despite Manchester’s generally rainy climate, we’re ever the optimists and boast our fair share of terraces and beer gardens to enjoy a tipple in the sometimes unseasonable sun. Sit back with your date at Dukes 92 or The Wharf in Castlefield for some lovely surroundings of canals and industrial reminders, in the chic Northern Quarter at the likes of Terrace or Flok, or elsewhere in Manchester including Ancoats or Spinningfields where you’ll find a huge selection of date ideas, whatever mood you’re in. Plus, all of these offer indoor seating for when the weather inevitably turns!
9. Join a craft beer tour around the city
Are you a couple of beer lovers? There are no better date ideas for a pint-mad duo than a craft beer tour, and Manchester is a hotspot for breweries. From Shindigger and Seven Bro7hers to Cloudwater and Manchester Union, the craft brewery in Manchester is thriving, with higher quality product than ever, with many welcoming tours and customers to their taprooms. There are also organised craft beer tours, ensuring you hit all the locations of note, sipping as you go – what a perfect date!
10. Escape the city for a romantic day out
OK, we know Manchester is the bee’s knees, but the amount of wonderful places you can get to not far from the city is truly impressive. Whether it’s taking in the sea air on Blackpool seafront, having a walk in the fresh air of the moors, or exploring pretty towns and villages, a date out of the hustle and bustle of Manchester could be just what the doctor ordered. Think ice creams, funfairs and bobbing in and out of shops – you can’t beat it!
11. Spend an evening locked up at Alcotraz Prison cocktail bar
Ever wondered how you’d both look in an orange jumpsuit, behind bars? Well, the Alcotraz Prison cocktail bar experience will take you on a quirky date, if you fancy something drastically different to the norm. Successfully smuggle liquor behind bars and get it to the hands of the longest-serving inmates with this immersive experience, combining quality cocktails, live actors and impressive set design. Enjoy personalised cocktails with your other half and get playing the part – you might even wish you had a life sentence!
Alcotraz Prison Cocktail Bar, 1A Watson St, Manchester, M3 4EE.
12. Tour Manchester’s vintage shops and find some gems together
Manchester is truly famed for its vintage shopping, and if you’re both vintage fiends, it’s one of the better casual date ideas. Wander through the emporium that is COW Vintage, tour the hidden gems in Pop Boutique (especially downstairs), and the wonders that Blue Rinse has to offer, all within the confines of the Northern Quarter. Afflecks is also worth a visit for the variety of vendors that trade there, as well as to soak up the history of the building, and if you feel like going a bit out of town, look no further than Pear Mill Vintage Emporium and Top of the Town Vintage in Stockport.
13. Try your hand at shuffleboard
Show your competitive side with a shuffleboard date. The game involves sliding a disk – or a ‘biscuit’ as it is otherwise known – along a narrow lane or a table in order to score points. Add in plenty of drinks, a gang of mates, and you’re promised one hell of a good time, plus there a plenty of spots in Manchester to give it a go! Shuffleboard is also a great activity for double dates, and you could get away with calling it exercise, too, even if you down a pint or two in the process.