Best Date Night Ideas in Columbus, O-H-I-O

I recently wrote an article about the importance of regular date nights with the wife and it made me think – what’s a good idea for a date night? If you’re like us, you’re often on a budget but you want to have a good time. So, how can you have your cake and eat it too in Columbus?

183 Thurman Ave, Columbus, Ohio, 43206
Pic taken from a trip to Thurman’s in December of 2016

Of course, its technical name is “The Thurman Cafe”, but we all call it Thurman’s. This one has to be at the top of the list. Ashley and I are officially regulars here. In addition to all the great culture & history surrounding this German Village landmark, it has terrific food and service. The bartenders, hosts, and even cooks are all very pleasant company. They are super attentive and their “team-tip” (everyone shares tips, so everyone is your server) attitude is something you don’t see everywhere. I recently discovered TouchTunes which enhanced the experience even more, as I now take over the music when I come. The food is AMAZING. If you haven’t heard about their burgers, then you don’t really live in Columbus. But they have more than just burgers. Ashley and I found a new favorite in their Macedonia Fries and always crave their onion rings. Everything comes out fast, hot, & fresh. And, it’s all pretty reasonably priced. We can split a burger and the Macedonia Fries for under $20… That’s until we start adding drinks. After a great meal and great company at Thurman’s, you can take a drive or a walk through German Village before heading home. I love this date night. Bonus – we take the kids there a lot, too. Kids love it and the employees are of course great with them as well. More pictures:

The Book Loft
631 South Third St., Columbus, Ohio
Image taken from the Book Loft website

Since we’re talking German Village, you can’t forget the Book Loft. This one is a better location for just roaming around German Village on foot if the weather is nice. You can get a quick bite at Katzingers or Schmidt’s and head over to the Book Loft. If you like reading, or even just perusing the titles, then this is a great place to get lost with your spouse for HOURS. It’s a beautiful pre-Civil War historic building in German Village. It features 32 rooms stacked with books and gifts and it spans a whole city block. Finish it off with a nice stroll through the Village and you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect date night.

Arch City Tavern
862 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Ashley during a Christmas visit to Arch City Tavern

This is another of our favorites. A little pricier than Thurman’s, but excellent food and drinks. A great night spot, you are greeted by a friendly host, trendy music, and comfortable dim lighting. It definitely has a modern appeal through the music and design – it’ll make you feel almost young again. Almost. But, don’t worry, all the REAL young people that show up will help remind you that you are, in fact, still old. Again, things those of us on a budget MUST know: it features one of the better happy hours in the Short North with 1/2 off all drafts, wine, and pizza 3p – 6p Monday-Friday; and, (our personal favorite) $5 Burger Mondays. Don’t forget to stroll around the Short North when you’re done eating.

Go to a Clippers Game or
330 Huntington Park Ln, Columbus, OH 43215
Levi roaming around the grass seating area as the players warm up

The Clippers games are truly a Columbus staple. You can’t call yourself a true Columbusian (Columbusite?) without having been to a Thirsty Thursday, Dime-a-Dog Night, or Bobblehead Give-Away. We always get the “standing section” or “grass” tickets, because we constantly roam the park. I highly highly HIGHLY recommend trying the grass section on a nice May or June night. Get there early, spread out a blanket, and have yourself a little picnic and cuddles. It’s the best. After a couple innings, stretch your legs and get a trinket from one of the gift shops or a bite to eat. Then head out before the game’s over because, 1. You don’t want to get caught up in the post-game traffic and, 2. You’re already over-paying the babysitter so any time you can shave off is a plus.

And, I know, I know – this is supposed to be date night ideas. But I HAVE to mention how great this is for the kids, too. Right next to the grass area there is a little kids play area which includes fixed instruments and a splash pad. The play area has only one entrance/exit and it goes right back to the grass area. This is so great because us adults can hang out in the grass area while sipping on our beverages, downing our ‘dogs, and watching the game, while the kids play to their heart’s content and run off all that energy.

Levi playing on the fixed instruments in the play area, with Landon and Olivia in the background

Go to a Bucks Game
411 Woody Hayes Dr, Columbus, OH 43210
Ashley and I at a recent Bucks game

Another staple of Columbus society is to go to the ‘Shoe. This one is considerably more pricey, but you gotta try to go at least once a year. Go early so you can enjoy all the pre-game festivities and watch the full presentation of the band. If you’ve never been to a Bucks game then you need to know – this will be an all-day event. Even if it’s a night game, get there in the morning (the earlier the better). Parking will be at least $20 so bring some cash. Wear your walking shoes. DO NOT wear any variation of blue or yellow colors anywhere on your body.

Once you find parking, start off toward the stadium. High Street and Lane Avenue are loaded with food trucks and the restaurants are all swarming by lunch time. Walk around a bit or take a bus and find something to eat and/or drink. Maybe hit up a tailgate party or two – everyone is always welcoming. Get into the stadium at least a half-hour early so you can find your seats and watch the band come onto the field. The tradition of TBDBITL is one of the things I look forward to the most and really gets my blood pumping every time.

A quick pic of the band marching into Ohio Stadium

After the game, if you’re up for it, you can hit up one of the local bars or restaurants for a post-game pizza and/or cocktail. Traffic is usually a complete disaster for at least 2 hours after the game, so there’s no sane reason to be in a rush back to your car after the game. Like I said, it’s an all-day event. But, this is something special you can do with your significant other that will change up the pace of your date-days and you will have pictures and memories to take with you.

The Clay Cafe
4610 N High St, Columbus, OH or 1644 W 5th Ave, Columbus, OH

The Clay Cafe location in Grandview was a regular spot for me growing up. The idea is: you can pick out one from a number of pre-made clay dishes/decor, then you pick your paints and decorate it any way you like. Then you go at it and when you’re done you turn in your piece. They will glaze and fire it in their kiln and have it ready for you next day, or later that day. It sounds simple – and it is! This is a great opportunity for some good, clean fun with your spouse and an outlet for your creativity.

On Friday nights at the Grandview location (Wednesday at Clintonville) the Clay Cafe hosts free adult paint night. These nights feature live entertainment and you are welcome to bring snacks, beer, and wine (they provide the wine glasses). This one is fun, different, and cheap! Love it!

Give me some of your date night ideas by messaging Dad, Outnumbered on Facebook.

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