For this Gem City Sunday post, I’m sharing some fun and unique Dayton date ideas!
One thing that’s really important to me is getting to know the city I’m in. Whether I’m traveling for a weekend trip or calling a city a new home, I like to get to know the city through its sights, attractions, and most importantly, its food. Even though I wasn’t excited about the prospect of moving to Ohio in general, I was excited to visit a new state I had never been to, along with the surrounding states I had also never visited.
Something I pride myself in is being able to find things to do in an area and making sure I prioritize having new experiences. A big part of my anxiety is the feeling of missing out. I never want to leave a place feeling like I didn’t do as much as I could. Even after living in Louisiana for 12 years, I still made a list of things I wanted to do before moving to Ohio because I didn’t want to feel like I missed out on anything.
Now that Kyle and I have been living in Ohio for over a year, we’ve had some pretty amazing experiences. We’ve traveled to every single state that surrounds Ohio, and we’ve visited multiple cities within the state. Beyond that, we’ve also turned Dayton into a nice temporary home, and we’ve had some really fun date nights.
If you’re in the Dayton area and looking for a fun and unique date night idea, you’ll love this Datin’ in Dayton guide with 15 Dayton date ideas!
TAKE A COOKING CLASS AT LITTLE CITY COOKING SCHOOL
When I made Kyle his Year of Dates gift, I selfishly put in a cooking class because it was something I had always wanted to do. There are a few different options for cooking classes in Dayton. The company we took a cooking class through was called Little City Cooking School, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The class is run in the basement of the woman’s house who owns the school. There are several different cooktops and cooking stations for the class, along with stools to enjoy your food and a sitting area to mingle with the other cooks. Kyle and I did a Spanish tapas class, but they have several different themed classes going on all the time. You can click here to check out their full calendar. It’s a small space, so they sell out quickly and often. You’ll want to plan ahead of time to secure a spot.
SPEND A DAY AT THE “BEACH” AT BUCK CREEK STATE PARK
I feel like I often crave a trip to the beach, especially after working on a cruise ship, but it’s been awhile since I’ve lived in close proximity to one. During the summer, I just wanted to get out of the house, but I didn’t feel like going to the pool. I stumbled upon Buck Creek State Park, which has a decent sized “beach” area. The sand is a little rocky, and I would highly recommend water shoes if you plan on getting in the water, but overall, Buck Creek is the perfect spot for a day date. Kyle and I brought a Bluetooth speaker, some adult beverages, and some snacks. We went a little earlier in the morning and enjoyed a quiet few hours before the crowd starting rolling in.
RENT CANOES OR KAYAKS IN BELLBROOK
I absolutely love spending time in the water, which is why I thought a fun little float down the Miami River would be a really fun day date idea. At Bellbrook Canoe Rental, you can rent canoes and/or kayaks and spend a few hours on the river. They’ll shuttle you up to the launch site, and then you’ll easily float down the river back toward the original rental building. There are a few small, beachy areas where you can pull off with your boat and enjoy some time off the water, which is what we did. We packed a cooler with snacks and drinks that easily fit inside of our canoe, and when we found a good area to pull off, we sat and had some sandwiches and rehydrated. It’s also dog-friendly, so if you’re looking for a fun day for the whole family, Bellbrook Canoe Rental is perfect.
SPEND SOME TIME AT 2ND STREET MARKET
2nd Street Market is located in a historical freight house, and it houses a number of different vendors with everything from produce to flowers and cooking oils, soaps, syrups, and more. On a day date, you can browse through vendors, and some even give out samples. You can shop for things that you need or gifts for others. There are also places that serve food, so you can enjoy a hot (or cold) lunch after wandering through the booths. On certain days, they have small events or live music.
ATTEND GOAT YOGA AT SECRET EDEN
Goat yoga is something I’ve wanted to do since it became a new trend. I wanted to see what it was all about. In Louisiana, they only offered it during special events, so I was excited to find a place in Dayton that did it regularly. At Secret Eden, you get to meet the goats before the class starts. This is a good opportunity for photo ops. They even allow you to pick the goats up, so if you find one that takes a liking to you, definitely grab at the opportunity to take a photo.
The staff at Secret Eden was super friendly. What I liked about the class was that it was easy and informal. I am not a big fan of yoga in general because I’m not good at it, and the beginner classes are still a little challenging for me. At goat yoga, I didn’t feel the pressure of having to get everything perfect, especially when the wandering goats and chickens were a welcome distraction. The staff makes sure everyone gets plenty of opportunities for photo ops. We lucked out and picked the most gorgeous, perfect day to try goat yoga. It was such an awesome way to start our day, and it was definitely an unforgettable experience. I’d totally do it again.
SPEND THE DAY AT YOUNG’S JERSEY DAIRY
Young’s Jersey Dairy is a sweet little gem in Yellow Springs. It’s amazing for a day with the family, but even though we don’t have kids, Kyle and I had a lovely day date at Young’s Dairy. They have two restaurants where you can grab a good meal, along with a plethora of different ice cream flavors that they make in house. They also have goats, sheep, and a pig that you can pet and feed, and they have cows that you can watch them milk in the evenings. They have two mini golf courses, batting cages, a driving range, and various rides for kids. There are also lots of different events throughout the year, especially during the fall. When Kyle and I went, we pet some goats, enjoyed some lunch, tried some ice cream, and played a round of mini golf.
GO TO A DAYTON DRAGONS BASEBALL GAME
I want to preface this by saying that the Dayton Dragons are not a good baseball team, but boy, are those fans loyal. I love the energy surrounding a fun game of baseball, even when the team isn’t good. The little games they play between innings is fun, as is the prospect of catching a free t-shirt. The food is tasty, and the drinks are cold. It’s just a fun time. The first time Kyle and I went to a game, we got free hats!
GO TO A DRIVE-IN MOVIE AT DIXIE TWIN DRIVE-IN
I had only been to a drive-in movie once before, and even though I was by myself, I had a fun time. Going to a drive-in movie is such a throwback experience, and going for a date night has so many perks, especially at Dixie Twin Drive-In. First of all, it’s dog-friendly. We brought Gunther along, and they have a grassy area near the screen where he could run around and use the bathroom if he needed to. Another awesome thing about Dixie Twin is that you can bring your own food and drinks. You can literally bring whatever you want. The people next to us brought Domino’s pizza, and I was extremely jealous. If you don’t want to bring your own food, they also have a snack bar that has traditional movie theater snacks along with things like funnel cakes, which we fully indulged in. My tip would be to bring your own radio because it’s kind of hard to hear the movie just through your car speakers. You can also stay and watch a second movie if you want to.
GET A LITTLE COMPETITIVE AT SCENE 75
Something Kyle and I learned about ourselves is that we love arcades. We’ve found ourselves ending up at arcades more often than not when we’re visiting a new city, especially when they have a good barcade. Scene 75 is unlike any arcade I’ve ever been to, and it’s huge. They have multiple rooms of tons of different arcade games, along with things like mini bowling, laser tag, go-karts, inflatables, mini golf, and so much more. Not only that, they also have a full-service restaurant and multiple bars throughout, so you can bring your drink with you while you play.
HIT THE TARGET AT WILD AXE THROWING
When axe throwing started becoming a thing, I didn’t think it was something for me, but I found myself having so much fun when Kyle and I went on a double date at Wild Axe Throwing. Although this was the first and only time I’ve been axe throwing thus far, I imagine that it’s similar to most other axe throwing places where you play different games while trying to hit the target and such. At Wild Axe, they have a bar, but no food, so they allow you bring in your own. We had just come from dinner, and I didn’t quite get to finish my food, so I shamelessly brought my leftovers into Wild Axe, and I would 10/10 recommend pairing an axe throwing date with leftover spaghetti.
SEE A SHOW AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER
There always seems to be something going on at the Schuster Center, and I constantly find myself wanting to go. I love going to shows at the Schuster Center because it’s an excuse to dress up (although they won’t kick you out if you don’t). Kyle and I have gone to lots of different shows here, including “Waitress,” “Chicago,” and “The Book of Mormon,” and we also saw Straight No Chaser perform live.
DO AN ESCAPE ROOM AT GREAT ESCAPE
Kyle and I have a mutual love for escape rooms, and all of the ones we’ve done together, we managed to escape. We went on a double date to Great Escape and had a really fun time. If you don’t think you’ll be particularly good at an escape room, you can actually join other people that have already signed up for that particular escape room, so you don’t have to do it alone. You can also opt to make it a double, triple, or even a quadruple date, and see if all of you can escape the room together. They have a few different rooms to choose from, and you can see what their difficulty levels are before you choose which one you want to do. If you like puzzles, solving clues, and thinking outside of the box, escape rooms are definitely a fun idea for date night.
PLAN A BREWERY HOP
If you’re a fan of craft beer (or even if you aren’t), Dayton has a ton of different breweries in the area. For Kyle’s birthday, I planned a little brewery hop for us and his friends, and we went to five different spots that are within walking distance of each other. If you want to do a brewery hop in Dayton, check out our Dayton brewery hop itinerary.
GO ON A HIKE
One of the wonderful things about Dayton is that it has a beautiful hiking scene. They do a great job keeping up with their hiking trails, especially the ones located in MetroParks. No matter what season it is, I’d 100% recommend the hiking trails. We’ve gone hiking during all seasons, and they all have their perks. If you’re looking for a spot to go for a hike in the Dayton area, check out 8 of my favorite Dayton hiking trails.
GO TO A FESTIVAL
One of my favorite things about Dayton is the number of festivals they have going on at any given time. In the year we’ve been living here, Kyle and I have been to so many different festivals, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Overall, the festivals have incredible food, good drinks, a selection of different vendors, and live music. We have yet to be disappointed. Some of my favorite festivals we’ve gone to are Italian Fall Festa, Hauntfest, Germanfest Picnic, Dayton Celtic Festival, the Ohio Renaissance Festival, and Dayton PorchFest, but there are so many others.
What’s your favorite thing to do on date night?
Gem City Sunday is a series where I share blog posts about some of my favorite things in Dayton, Ohio. Why Dayton is called Gem City is unknown, but I do think this city is a little gem. My boyfriend, Kyle and I moved to Dayton during the summer of 2018, and the city found a way into our hearts. Check back on Sundays for new Gem City Sunday posts with topics ranging from my favorite restaurants, festivals to check out, things to do in Dayton, and lots more.