So the conversation starts out like usual. There’s the pick-up line, the where ya from/where do ya work small talk, you find something in common, the conversation gets a little flirty, and then BAM invitation to meet up. So assuming you want to meet up [and not hook up] the pressure is on to find an interesting venue to kill the first impression, let the pheromones fly and see if the chemistry is for real.
So in order to help you nail the first date, I’ve evaluated various venues through a rigorous chemical equation for love, measured that result against the probability for a second date, and then vetted through personal trial and error to give you the top places (in no particular order) to go on a Tinder date in Houston.
Dates for those who like culture:
1. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston: Great place to walk around, make insightful [bull shit] comments about abstract art, do a quick Freudian analysis of your date’s subconscious based on their interpretation of the string and tissue paper piece stuck to the wall with gum. Best of all its free, so that way you don’t experience the awkward who-picks-up-the-bill moment. (5216 Montrose Boulevard, Houston Texas 77006)
2. Miller Outdoor Theatre: Bring a blanket and a picnic and sit on the grassy hill to see anything from a traveling symphonic band to a live musical to a movie screening. It’s always free and it’s no big deal if you talk during the performance. But if you discover that you have nothing in common, the show serves as the perfect excuse for distraction if the conversation starts to gets awkward. Parking can be difficult, so plan ahead because otherwise you may be [unfashionably] late. (6000 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030)
3. Twilight Epiphany: Located on the campus of Rice University is an incredible piece of light/sculpture/art designed by renowned artist James Turrell. It’s a bit hard to find, so you’ll be able to evaluate your date’s sense of direction and ability to deal with adversity as you navigate the maze that is Rice University. Try to get there around sunset to witness the beautiful contrast between the art, the changing sky colors and Med Center skyline. (6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005-1827).
Dates for those who need a drink stat:
4. Bar Boheme: Whimsical and exotic, this bar has an eclectic, homey vibe that in general is a Houston must-see. Located in Montrose, Bar Boheme welcomes vendors to sell artistic goods in the afternoons and has fairy lights that illuminate the patio at night. Hands down the drink to get is either the frozen moijito or the frozen sweet tea cocktail. For bar snacks, go for the Vietnamese fries. You get a mountain of potato strings drizzled with vibrant Asian flavors like sriracha, garlic mayo and cilantro—even if your date’s a dud the drinks, fries and atmosphere will still cause you to look fondly onto your time spent here. (307 Fairview Houston, TX 77006)
5. Saint Dane’s Taco Tuesday: Happy hour until 7pm. Dollar tacos all night. $3 tequila shots. Karaoke that that starts at 9pm. Saint Dane’s is the place to be. It’s packed all night which makes for a delightful evening full of cheap food, amusing conversation and priceless entertainment. (502 Elgin Street, Houston, TX 77006)
6. Leon’s Lounge: Oldest bar in Houston—located in Midtown but with none of the yuppie, uptown vibes. Amazing craft cocktails (try the Green on Red made with bell peppers!) and homemade empanadas. Leon’s Lounge is dark and mysterious with eclectic chandelier and stained glass lighting so if you’re concerned about recognizing your date—consider sitting outside on the patio. (1006 Mcgowen St. Houston TX 77002)
Dates for those who are competitive:
7. Bingo: Held at the Lodge 88 in the Heights every Thursday, this bingo event attracts everyone from bachelorette parties to blue haired grandmas to 10-year-old birthday parties. Bring a pizza and split a $7 pitcher of Shiner, and soon you and your date will be cheering/booing with the 700 other people in hall as the monotone announcer calls out “O69.” Doors open at 5:15pm and games start at 7:30pm. Get there early (to eat and booze and assess your date) because they generally reach capacity and shut the doors around 6:30pm. (1435 Beall St. Houston, TX 77008)
8. Little Woodrow’s Turtle Races: This takes “wanna grab a drink” to the next level. Occurring every Thursday in at Little Woodrow’s in Midtown, turtle races are exactly what you think they are. You “bet”, turtle’s race, and you [generally] get a free drink. The first round of races generally begins at 9:30pm and goes until 11:30pm ish. The crowd is usually pretty rowdy and makes for great turtle [and people] watching. (2306 Brazos St. Houston TX 77006)
Dates for those who like to be active:
9. Sign up for a 5K: So you’ve found a date that dabbles in sports and claims to go on a nice long run daily? Well then you should totally check out the Houston Wellness Project 5K series. They are free runs that occur monthly in different parts of Houston. You can sign up online at little as 3 days before the event. So you get asked out on Thursday? You could be running your first couples 5K on Sunday. (Various locations)
10. Yoga in the Park: Every Tuesday (6:30pm) and Saturday (9:30am) Discovery Green hosts a free yoga series! Some mats are provided—or you can bring your own. The series generally runs March – November. During the winter (assuming it’s not too warm #houstonproblems) hit up the same area in the park and try ice skating on the lawn. (1500 McKinney, Houston, TX 77010)
If you don’t have a blast and a half at these places and secure yourself a second date—it’s probably for the best. Your date is probably a fun-sucking dud, who lied on Tinder to get with your hawt ass. But no worries! You’re just one more right swipe away to finding your true love….