Top 10 date ideas in Charleston

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Middleton Place picnic | Photo by @rachelredphotography via @charlestonweekender

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With cooler weather hitting its stride in our daily forecast, ‘cuffing season’ is almost upon us. To help ensure your future coupled-up status, we worked with Element– a dating app that connects couples through a shared experience– to bring you recommended date ideas that are sure to impress.

Charleston is consistently ranked as one of the most romantic cities in the country, and it’s easy to see why: beautiful beaches, cobblestone streets, and delectable dishes all make up just a fraction of the city’s charm.

But with so many enchanting aspects, how do you decide on where to take a date? What are the best first date locales in Charleston?

While we cannot guarantee chemistry– we can connect you to ten suggestions for a great date in the Holy City.

Sunset boat tour

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Schooner Pride | Photo by @schoonerpridecharleston

Many people would argue that Charleston is best seen by water– and there are plenty of options to do so. Palmetto Breeze is a 100-person catamaran that leaves from Shem Creek, offering you plenty of post-sail dinner options still overlooking the water. If you want something more intimate– castaway on the Schooner Pride. They even have speed boat rentals, if you and your date have a need for speed.

Middleton Place

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Middleton Place | Photo by @shananigans_cooper

If you are a nature or history lover, this is the best spot for a first date. Beautiful gardens encompass every corner of this sprawling plantation. They also host a multitude events, such as the fall garden strolls and wine tasting– allowing you to sip both old + new world wines while carrying on a conversation from one flower blossom to the next. 🌹🍷

Theatre 99

A lot of dates can feel like interviews– where you run through a series of standard questions over drinks or dinner. A comedy show is a great alternative, allowing you + your date to relax (let the professionals do the entertaining) and laugh together over some improv. 🎭

Take in a local festival

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Coastal Carolina Fair | Photo by @shameless_nomad

Charleston has a plethora of events and festivals going on year-round– some that gain national attention (such as the Spoleto Festival) as well as smaller, lesser-known affairs (such as the Coastal Carolina Fair). Events are great icebreakers (it’s easier to start a conversation when you’re both doing something other than sitting)– plus it has been said that most great relationships start from a shared experience. Bonus: click here for a list of local events happening this fall.

Walking tour

Charleston Tour

Downtown walking tour | Photo by CHStoday team

“…But I thought only tourists went on those things?” We’re challenging you to take the walking tour plunge… Whether your new to town, or a born + bred Charlestonian, touring the city with an experienced guide should provide you with a new perspective (or at least a new IG profile pic with a scenic backdrop), or perhaps take you down a quaint side street you never knew existed. Being able to connect with your date on the facts you did and did not know allows for an open debate. Plus, there are packages that are less focused on being a ‘tour’ with a guide and more about just cruising around town romantically. We recommend trying the Love Stories of Charleston Tour to learn the amorous truths of the city.

Friendly competition

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Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park | Photo by @witness2fitness

A surprising amount of people have told Element how much fun a mini golf first date would be. Indulge in a little friendly putt-putt competition at Frankie’s Fun Park, or go all Ricky Bobby on the go-karts. If you’d prefer to work together as a team– try Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park– their date night events are just $50 per couple.

Bike the bridge

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Couple using the Holy Spokes Bike Share on the Arthur Ravenel Bridge | Photo by @emmaswan.a via @holyspokesbikeshare

The most incredible views from the top of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge are best seen from outside your vehicle. Rent a couple of bikes from Holy Spokes Bike Share and set out on a two-wheeled adventure. With the city whipping past, bike over to the River Watch Café on the Mount Pleasant Pier + cool down with a milkshake– with two straws, of course.

Culinary Tour

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Chicken & biscuits from Poogan’s Smokehouse | Photo by @pooganssmkhouse

Skip the traditional dinner and take your taste buds on a walkabout through Charleston’s flourishing culinary community. Spend 2.5 hours traversing through the city, meeting local chefs, and tasting some of the best food the Lowcountry has to offer. Perhaps there a Lady and the Tramp moment in your future?

Stingrays Game

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Stingrays Game | Photo by @sinbinphotos

Good ole’ North Charleston Coliseum offers a fun atmosphere (try attending on a themed-night) while not breaking the bank (most game day tickets cost around $15, with concession stands offering grub without the gourmet price tag). Check out opening night of the Stingrays, tomorrow, Oct. 20. Get tickets here. 🏒

Charleston Museum

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Charleston Museum | Photo by @vicmarwil8705

Founded in 1773 and knowns as “America’s First Museum,” the Charleston Museum is the perfect place for a quiet, intimate date. Learn more about the Lowcountry’s history + explore exhibits, including the upcoming display– A Photographic Artist: Morton B. Paine’s Shots of Speed.” Afterward, head to a nearby restaurant + quiz each other on museum facts over cocktails.

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