Dates usually involve you, your significant other (or potential significant other) and a restaurant or coffee shop. And while your favourite meal at your favourite place with your favourite person -- we know, #loveliveshere -- is a great way to spend time together, why not switch things up a bit and try something new? With different things to see, do and talk about, you'll create new memories together -- and then you can pop back in to see the waitress who knows your order by heart with new stories to tell.
Here are some ideas for a date night to rekindle that first-date feeling -- or lock in a second date.
See it live
We've all been on those dinner-and-a-movie dates, where you spend half the date sitting in silence unsure of whether to share the armrest or wondering whether you're chewing your popcorn too loudly. Instead, you could enjoy dinner and a live show; laughing at a comedy show, singing along to live music or immersing yourself in a great piece of theatre. Whether it's the Goliath Comedy Club in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg or the Cape Town Comedy Club at the V&A Waterfront, the South African comedy scene is full of names you know and love as well as rising talent that will have you in stitches. Visit the Market Theatre or Artscape, or find smaller and more intimate theatre spaces to watch a show. Pack a picnic and head to an outdoor concert in one of the many parks and open spaces in your city, or catch the circus while it's in town!
Catch some sunshine
A little fresh air and sunshine is enough to lift any mood, so why not head outdoors with your partner and spend the day soaking up beautiful surroundings? You could try a new hiking trail or head out on a mini road trip to explore what's happening an hour or two outside your city. If you're a sports fan, find out when your favourite team is next playing nearby and watch the game live. If you're an active couple, turn your workout into an opportunity to bond and add a little competition to make it interesting. Maybe race the last 100m -- winner gets a massage (you can thank us later).
If learning about and seeing new (or very, very old) things is something that you love, why not turn a stroll through museum or art exhibition into your next date? Wandering through a gallery can be quite intimate and there is a whole lot to be discussed over a drink after you're done. Visit a museum with a theme that you love or would like to learn about and share the experience with your partner. Do you love sport? Try the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town. If you can't get enough of your favourite South African artists, find out where they are exhibiting. And if you really want to put your brain to the test, team up and try to solve your way out of an escape room where you'll need to beat the clock as you find clues and use them to get yourselves out of a locked room.
Meet the makers
Take a wine or beer tour at your favourite wineries or breweries to see where the drinks you love come from and what goes into making them. You could even try a tasting to the tour. The Cape Wine Route is filled with wine farms where you can while away the day, enjoying a charcuterie board and learning about the wines on offer. SAB World Of Beer in Johannesburg offers a tour through the history of the golden water. The Spice Route in Paarl just outside of Cape Town is home to CBC Breweries and offers both both wine and beer tasting. You can try a wine and chocolate pairing too if that catches your fancy.
Jump and climb
Indoor trampoline parks have been popping up all over the country and can be a great way to feel like a kid again as you bounce around and try to nail those summersaults that came so naturally when you were younger (you'll want to go on a school night if you're to avoid tripping over little children, though). If you're up to it, why not challenge your partner to a race up a climbing wall at an indoor rock climbing park. It may take a little skill but it's always good to get out of your comfort zone.
Dates are not only for a romantic partner -- they can be a great way to bond with friends. A pamper party, at a day spa or at home, is a wonderful way to unwind and catch up with your nearest and dearest -- feet up and a glass of bubbly in hand, of course!
February is the month of love. At the Huffington Post South Africa, we take a look at how South Africans are finding and holding on to love. Author Shubnum Khan tells us about how cross-border romances are made or broken, tech journalist Nafisa Akabor looks at how social media replaced your meet-cute and lifestyle editor Sarah Koopman has some advice on how to get away from that tired old dinner-and-a-movie setup. Find them all and more here, or try these.
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