Who doesn't love a music festival? No one. But, the hefty price tags (and months of lead time) mean they're not always the most date-friendly situations. Don't fret: Palm Desert isn't the only place for audible action in the summer, and plenty of it's F-R-E-E. Parks and beaches become impromptu stages and some bigger cities even host several concerts a week. Keep an ear out, because we bet at least one of your Spotify favorites is playing a local gig this week.
Celebrate Brooklyn!, Prospect Park Band Shell, Brooklyn, NY; Dates and times vary.
Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concerts, Santa Monica, CA; Thursdays, 7 to 10 p.m.
Metro Parks' Big Band Series, Centennial Park, 2500 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN; Saturdays, 7 to 10 p.m.
For a fun outdoor activity that's an upgrade from those collegiate pastimes — Frisbee, Hackey Sack — give this lawn game a try. First played in ancient Rome, it's survived centuries and is making a play for the dartboard's spot as the trendiest bar recreation. And, challenging your date to a game is a great way to subtly introduce your competitive side.
Greenwood Park, 555 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY; 718-499-7999.
Black Jack Bar, 1612 14th Street NW, Washington. D.C.; 202-319-1612.
Tin Roof Bistro, 3500 North Sepulveda Boulevard #100, Manhattan Beach, CA; 310-939-0900.
There is nothing wrong with snagging a $3 bottle of merlot at Trader Joe's, but the world of fermented grapes is so much vaster, and doesn’t have to involve a pricey vineyard trip for two. Many local wine shops offer inexpensive (or even free) wine tastings. In addition to sampling some fine bottles, wine aficionados will explain origins, notes, and tastes of whatever vino is showcased. Call it educated imbibing. Bonus: For those potentially awkward first dates, this event can provide just the right amount of liquid courage.
Astor Wines, 399 Lafayette Street, New York, NY; 212-674-7500. Free tastings several times a week, with a 15% bottle discount.
The Wine Bottega, 341 Hanover Street, Boston, MA; 617-227-6607. Free six-wine tastings every Friday, 5 to 8 p.m.
Vino Buys, 137 SE 28th Street, Portland, OR; 503-235-8545; $10 buys a five-wine tasting with bread and snacks every Friday, 4:30 to 8 p.m.
For pairs wanting to explore a new side of town, renting bikes for the day is the way to go. Routes can be as long or short as you wish, and you don’t have to shell out a ton for two wheels — most cities offer a 24-hours pass for under 10 bucks. Plus, we hear that exercise can boost sex drive, which seems worth a try even if it's bunk.
CitiBike, New York City: Instead of cycling downtown, head up the Hudson Greenway from 59th street to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. Marvel at medieval art and architecture — it's like rolling through Game of Thrones.
Divvy Bikes, Chicago: Fly down the Lakefront Trail, which hugs Lake Michigan and provides unreal views of the skyline.
Capital Bike Share, Washington, D.C.: For cooling river breezes on those sticky summer days, cycle the Mount Vernon Trail from Rosslyn, VA, to our first president’s estate.
Whip up a meal together that's far superior to your favorite takeout. Many locales have a wide range of courses from traditional sessions like "Easy Italian" to more niche offerings such as "Fermentation 101." Some higher-end classes can run up to $50, but with tips and guidance from master chefs and three hours of eating, we say it's worth the splurge. Plus, you can forever use your newfound skills. Teach a man to fish, and all that.
Brooklyn Brainery, 190 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn, NY; 347-292-7246.
Hipcooks, 2833 South Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA; 310-841-2738.
The Cheese School, 2124 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA; 415-346-7530.