7 Healthy, Inexpensive Ideas for Your Next Atlanta Date Night

datewellBase image: Jeremy Brooks. Edits: WellATL.

Compared to some of the active date nights Atlanta has to offer, the standard dinner and a movie sounds positively snooze-worthy. Whether you’ve just swiped right on Tinder or you’re taking your significant other out on date number 578, these healthy date night ideas are sure to make your darling’s heart flutter with excitement. And remember: Endorphins from exercise can increase your happiness and rev up your sex drive. Go get ’em, tiger!

Go roller skating.

Glide right into your bae’s heart by strapping on a pair of skates and showing off your smooth moves. There’s nothing hot about showing up on family night or when there’s a rink full of kids sporting Dora the Explorer birthday hats, so plan ahead.

You’ve got a few options: Sparkles Family Fun Center (666 Smyrna Hill Drive, Smyrna) hosts adult nights from 8 p.m. ’til midnight on Sundays, but if you haven’t been on skates in a while or think you’re a little bit rusty, you might want to consider the less busy Thursday Adult Night (9:30 p.m. ’til 12:30 a.m.) instead. The Sunday night sessions are not for the faint of heart. There’s a “beginner’s area,” but you’ve got to hobble your way across the intimidating fast lane to get there. It’s much like a game of Frogger. Witness:

Thursday night admission is just $5. Sundays are $7. You’ll pay $4 to rent skates on either night. Adult beverages are available, and DJs vary but are generally pretty fantastic. Atlanta Family Fun Centers are another option. Golden Glide (2750 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur), Cascade Fun Center (3335 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta), and Metro Fun Center (1959 Metropolitan Parkway, Atlanta) not only feature roller skating but also a variety of inflatable wackiness suitable for adults. Woohoo!

  • At Golden Glide, adult skating is from 8 p.m. until midnight on Sundays and from 11:30 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Fridays ($8 admission plus $3 skate rental). The 15,000-square-foot wooden skating rink has a bumpin’ sound and light system. You should know that the inflatables —which look like wicked fun — are not open at the same time as the adult skate, so you and your date might have to mingle with some kiddos for a little while if you wanna hit the bouncy castle.
  • At Cascade, grown-ups should rock up between 8 p.m. and midnight on Wednesdays and Sundays (same prices as Golden Glide) to skate to some awesome eighties music. Like Golden Glide, the inflatables are available for adults, but aren’t open during adult skate nights. Boo.
  • And at Metro, adult night is from 8 p.m. until midnight on Tuesdays (admission is just $3 and skate rental is $3 more). This 120,000-square-foot megaplex o’ fun has some bonus features over the other two locations, namely a laser tag arena, a fitness center with full-size indoor basketball courts, and 30 lanes of bowling including Friday and Saturday night Cosmic Bowling from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. For $19.95 and hour, you’ll get to bowl with laser lights, black lights, fog machines, thumping music, and glow-in-the-dark lanes.

Romance factor: 4… 6 if it’s “couples skate only”
Fitness factor: 10

Learn to ballroom dance.

What’s even more romantic than stomping all over one another’s feet? Learning how to move together with the grace and precision of two gazelles galloping in sync. Ballroom dancing is about as close as you’re likely to get to that, so give it a shot. Never danced before? Even better. Doing new things triggers dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain, the same neurotransmitters that play a part in that giddy feeling you get when you’re falling in love.

Ballroom dance

No, you don’t have to dress like this… but you can if you want.
Image: György Rétvári

Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta has two studios, one near King Plow Arts Center and the other in Duluth, where you can learn to fox trot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha-cha, two-step, and Eastern Swing your way to true love. New dancers can get five lessons for what seems like a bargain basement price of $30 — two private lessons, two group classes, and a private practice party complete with dim lights and refreshments. They also specialize in teaching couples to dance for their weddings… you know, in case this whole dating thing works out.

Romance factor: 8+, depending on the type of dance. Once you’re onto the lambada, the “forbidden dance of love,” the dial is all the way up at 10
Fitness factor: 8

Solve the mysteries of a scavenger hunt.

For $15, you can get a whole scavenger hunt’s worth of clues and puzzles and an hour or more of togetherness, mystery, and entertainment. The charming little books, made and sold by Clue Town, will lead you and your beloved through a series of clues in your choice of walkable Atlanta locations: Downtown Decatur, Oakland Cemetery, the Eastside Trail, or Piedmont Park. You’ll use landmarks and your noggins to get from checkpoint to checkpoint. You’ll even get a little compass to help you along and a small prize for crossing the finish line.

Romance factor: 7
Fitness factor: 3

Practice your golf swing.

TopGolf is a more challenging than your standard putt-putt course and less intimidating to newbies than hitting the country club sans training (around 50 percent of patrons have never even golfed before). You and your sweetie will take turns whacking high-tech microchipped golf balls out into an outfield area with big color-coded targets. The closer to the target and/or the farther the distance, the more points you get. Easy as that. You’ll need to rent a “hitting bay,” which will cost between $25 and $45 an hour, depending on the time of day. The bays are good for up to six players, so hit up TopGolf on a double-date or triple-date; you’ll have more time to spend talking (or grossing everyone out with your PDA) and the cost per person will go down. Bonus! There are plenty of outdoor heaters, so you’ll stay cozy no matter what the temp, and servers will bring drinks from the bar and food from the restaurant straight to your hitting bay. There are also live bands and DJs, lounge areas, pool tables, and other places to sip cocktails and get to know each other better. Right now, the only metro location is in Alpharetta, but a Midtown location is on its way in the spring.

Romance factor: 6… maybe lower if you’re both really competitive
Fitness factor: 4

Go rock climbing.

Rock climbing is a fantastic date idea for the same reason that going to a horror movie is going to make for a much better time than a comedy. See, scary = sexy. At least as far as your body is concerned. Science has shown (science!) that when our hearts start racing around someone we find attractive, our brains assume that the physical arousal was caused by sexual attraction to that person. It’s called the two-factor theory of emotion. Plus, there’s that whole “trusting you not to drop me to my death” part, which improves communication and builds a solid base for a relationship.

Atlanta Rocks! (1019 Collier Road) is the most popular option, with more than 12,000 square feet of climbing surfaces and a convenient intown location. You can get a daily pass for just $15 if you are experienced with how to belay. You’ll get access to the whole place: free weights, cardio equipment, top-ropes, lead climbing bouldering, free wifi, locker rooms, and showers. If one of you is new to climbing, book a two-hour novice climb instead for $25. 

Wall Crawler Rock Club (1522 DeKalb Avenue) is another great option with similar pricing: $15 for a day pass or an Intro to Indoor Climbing Class for $30.

Stone Summit is slightly less central (3701 Presidential Way), but it’s worth a few extra minutes to get to the nation’s largest indoor rock climbing gym, right? With walls up to 60 feet high and bouldering and climbing that will challenge any level, it’s hard to go wrong at Stone Summit. Day passes are $18 if you need to rent gear, $15 if you have your own and include not only climbing but also yoga, cardio and strength equipment, towel service, and wifi. Belay lessons are available for $15/person, which includes rental equipment and climbing for the rest of the day. 

Romance factor: 6
Fitness factor: 10

Image:  via the Atlanta BeltLine. Art by Nick Kahler.

Image: via the Atlanta BeltLine. Art by Nick Kahler.

Take a walk down the BeltLine.

A stroll down the BeltLine makes for a great first or second date because unlike an activity like, say, seeing a movie, you’ll actually have a chance to talk and get to know one another. If you run out of topics, you can discuss the art that’s all around you. Plus, it’s getting a little chilly these days, so you might just need to hold hands to stay warm.

Romance factor: 8
Fitness factor: Depends on your pace, but probably 6 or 7 because you’re not there for speed

Do you have healthy date ideas that aren’t on this list? Let’s hear ’em in the comments!