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Date Night Guide for Lakeland + Polk County

Date Night Ideas Lakeland Florida

Are you planning a date night with your husband, wife, or significant other in the Lakeland, Florida area? Looking for ideas for Valentine’s Day in Lakeland or Winter Haven? Wondering “what are the fun things to do for couples near me?”

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, planning a special date night, day date, or just have a free evening without the kids, Lakeland Mom can help you if you’re searching for a “date night near me.” Everything listed below has been suggested by our readers as their favorite things to do on a date night in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Polk County, and Central Florida.

Although we write for local parents, these fun date night ideas are for anyone on a date – from teens to college students to married couples to grandparents.

Fun Date Night Activities

These fun date night ideas are for the couple that loves to compete, play together, enjoy an activity on date night, or are looking for unique things to do. Most of these activities can be done during the day or at night unless noted below. All of these activities are fun double date ideas and good for group dates!

Family Fun Center – Channel your inner kid at Family Fun Center. Enjoy a round of mini golf, compete in 2-player games in the Arcade, challenge each other in Laser Maze or Laser Tag, and then pick out a prize for each other at the end of the night. The 18 holes of mini golf course are lit, making it a great stop after dinner out!

Arcades – Head to one of Lakeland’s “bar-cade’s” – these are bars that feature video games geared towards adults.
–Galaxy Bar is an 80’s Retro Arcade and Bar located in North Lakeland. 21 & up after 7pm.
–Rec Room is located in Downtown Lakeland. It is a bar with a focus on video games, arcades, board games, and other recreational activities.
–Artcade in Winter Haven has retro arcade games, pinball machines, and game consoles. Pay by the hour or play all day. (Not a bar)

Ax Caliber – Throw axes at Lakeland’s newest attraction, Ax-Caliber – Polk County’s first axe venue with a restaurant and coffee house. Located in Downtown Lakeland, it is a one-stop shop for dinner, drinks and fun.

Escape Room – If you and your date love a challenge, head to one of Lakeland’s two indoor escape rooms – Lakeland Escape Room or Escapology Lakeland. You’ll have 1 hour to solve the clues and escape. {Ideal for a double date or group date – the more thinking power, the faster you might escape!}

The Back Nine – Eat, drink, golf and have fun at this new venue in Lakeland. You can play on 3 Full Swing Golf simulators with access to 80+ courses including Pebble Beach and TPC Sawgrass. There is also a multisport option that allows you to play football, baseball, dodgeball, hockey, and more. Full bar and restaurant.

Take a Cooking Class – Get hands-on in the kitchen with a cooking class. Both Aprons and What’s Cooking Lakeland offer local cooking classes as well as cooking demonstrations {someone else cooks, you just watch and eat!}

Ice Skating or Roller Skating – Feel like a kid again when you go ice skating at Lakeland Ice Arena or Roller Skating at Skate World. Couples skate anyone??

Archery – Pretend you’re cupid at the archery range {except aim for the target, not your date!} Head to Adventures Archery for indoor archery practice, equipment is available for beginners through experts.

Batting Cages – Not the most traditional date idea but still plenty of fun, head to the batting cages for a sporty date night. We have 2 indoor batting cages in town that are open to the public.

Bowling – Who doesn’t love a night at the bowling alley? Put on those silly shoes and see who can get the most strikes or spares.

Movies – As a mom, the quiet of a movie theater is sometimes the ideal date night. 2 hours to zone out and not have to talk to anyone. We have a variety of movie theater experiences here in Lakeland and Polk County including IMAX, 3-D, D-Box motion seats, comfy reclining chairs, food and drinks during your movie (one has a BAR!), and more.

Silver Moon Drive-In – What could be more romantic than snugglingng up in the back of the car at the Drive-In.

Go to a Sporting Event – With 4 professional sports teams right here in Lakeland, you can catch a soccer, football, or baseball game as a date.

Get Coffee – This sounds simple but sometimes simple is good. Grab a cup of coffee and just spend time talking to each other. We’ve got a great list of local coffee shops.

Music + Live Performances + Community Events

Live Performances – Catch a show at one of our local performing arts venues including the RP Funding Center, Polk Theatre, Lakland Community Theatre, and Theatre Winter Haven. {Many events are also on our calendar}

Live Music – If you enjoy live music, LkldNow has a music calendar that is great for finding out where your favorite local artist is playing this week.

Community Events – Planning a date night on a specific date? Check our calendar to find things to do in Lakeland on a specific night.

Romantic Restaurants in Lakeland

Although kids are always welcome at these restaurants, these are local favorites for an adults-only dinner.

Nineteen61 – One of my personal favorites in Lakeland, Nineteen61 serves Latin American cuisine with a modern twist and an upscale dining experience. Open for lunch and dinner daily as well as Sunday brunch. Reservations are recommended. {Nineteen61 gets our #1 spot – it was the most recommended restaurant by our readers when we asked for date night favorites!}

Frescos Southern Kitchen and Bar – Frescos serves a combination of modern and traditional southern eats, handcrafted cocktails, and a delicious weekend brunch. Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Scarpa’s Italian – Serving local Florida seafood and Italian classics in a relaxed but refined family environment. Housemade pasta, delicious traditional Italian dishes, a lovely wine menu, and my favorite appetizer in town – fried eggplant. Open nightly for dinner, reservations recommended.

Texas Cattle Company – A local favorite, family-owned and operated restaurant for over 40 years in Lakeland, USDA Prime & Choice aged steaks are hand-cut and seasoned daily. {TIP – if you’re having date night on a birthday, Texas Cattle offers a Free Birthday Steak!}

Palace Southside – As described by a reader “it’s so quaint and like stepping into a little cafe in Italy!” This local favorite offers traditional Italian fare. Located in the Lake Miriam Plaza.

The Terrace Grill is also a favorite place for a romantic dinner, as of publishing it is temporarily closed for renovations. Check the website for updates.

Romantic Restaurants in Lakeland Florida

Date Night Bars + Restaurants in Lakeland

Looking for a restaurant or bar that is more “fun” than “romantic”? Here are more local favorites to visit on a night without kids.

Federal Bar – Pub fare and craft cocktails make this a Lakeland favorite for happy hours and live music. Open for weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner – check website for hours. A dog friendly {and baby friendly} patio is located along the side of the restaurant and bar.

Red Door – Enjoy a scratch kitchen, classic cuisine with a modern twist, plus wine bar and craft beverages on the front porch of this renovated historic home with a view of Lake Morton. Serving drinks and dinner. Outdoor seating available on the porch.

The Joinery – This popular food hall has a variety of food vendors to choose from plus a bar. Open for lunch and dinner with a lively atmosphere. Indoor seating is located in the bar area, outdoor seating is available on the front patio looking over Lake Mirror and also along the back of the building. {TIP – try the ice cream, it is A.MA.ZING!}

The Poor Porker – Described as a “retro oasis in the heart of downtown Lakeland,” the Poor Porker serves mouthwatering beignets and coffee on weekends. All seating is outdoors.

Swan Brewing – This craft brewery and taproom has ample indoor outdoor seating with views over Lake Wire. Food Trucks and live music rotate on a regular basis. Open weekdays for happy hour and dinner, weekends for lunch and dinner.

Cob and Pen – Enjoy the yard games outside this renovated 1927 Tudor House when you sit outdoors at Cob and Pen. Serving happy hour and dinner daily and weekend brunch.

Yard on Mass – Offering eclectic food trucks, craft beer, wine, cocktails, live music, yard games, and more. Open weekday evenings and weekends for lunch and dinner. Both indoor and outdoor seating are available.

Revival – Enjoy craft cocktails, beer, and wine in this downtown bar with a refined atmosphere where books line the walls and mixologists pour signature cocktails. Located in Downtown Lakeland.

Ford’s Garage – Enjoy the fun atmosphere in this car-themed restaurant that serves burgers, comfort food and delectable desserts. Located just off I-4 in north Lakeland. Open daily for lunch and dinner. A large outdoor patio is located at the front of the restaurant, but be sure you peek inside to check out the car decor and fun restrooms.

Lakeland Florida Date Night Ideas

Romantic Restaurants in Winter Haven

Although kids are always welcome at these restaurants, these are local favorites for an adults-only romantic dinner in Winter Haven.

Arabellas – Serving Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, created from the freshest ingredients and served in a warm, casually elegant atmosphere. Open for lunch and dinner.

Nutwood – This farm to table restaurant is a local favorite that serves local fare, sustainable and delicious. Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday Brunch. Outdoor dining is available on the patio.

Date Night Bars + Restaurants in Winter Haven

These amazing restaurants in Winter Haven are ideal for a night out or a daytime lunch date.

Fire Eatery andBar – Fire’s lunch menu includes burgers, wings, salads and more. The dinner menu has fresh seafood, angus steaks and a full service liquor bar. Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday Brunch. Located in Winter Haven.

Grove Roots  This local craft brewery and taproom located in downtown Winter Haven is inspired by Central Florida’s juicy history. Check website for hours, food truck schedule, live music and special events. Head outside for patio tables and green space.

Tanners Lakeside – This waterfront restaurant and bar in Winter Haven is accessible by land or by boat on the Chain of Lakes (Lake May). Live music and special events happen weekly (corn hole tournament anyone??) Outdoor seating on the back deck along the lake.

Harborside – Sunset views over Lake Shipp make this a great place to enjoy outdoor dining in Winter Haven. Known for steaks, seafood, and casual American fare. Open daily for lunch and dinner, accessible by boat. Outdoor dining on the patio or the screened deck.

Outdoor Dinner Dates

Prefer somewhere that is outdoors? We’ve got a separate list specifically for Restaurants with Outdoor Seating.

Day Date Ideas

Going on a local Day Date? There are plenty of things to do outdoors during the day here in Lakeland and Central Florida.

Bok Tower – Bok Tower is one of the most beautiful places in Polk County. Take a stroll to see the variety of flowers and vegitation and be sure to get a photo in front of the Singing Tower.

Go Hiking – Explore a new trail or visit your favorite shaded hiking spot. We’ve got a list of outdoor hiking trails in Polk County including local favorites spots like Circle B, Holloway Park, Colt Creek State Park, and Lakeland Highlands Scrub.

Go for a Bike Ride – if you’ve got bikes, we’ve got trails. Check out this list of paved bike trails and mountain bike trails.

Go for a Walk – We’ve got plenty of paved walking paths and scenic trails where you can get some exercise, go for a run, rollerblade, or just take a leisurely stroll to enjoy being outdoors with your significant other.

Visit a Museum – You’ll have plenty to talk about when you explore the exhibits at a local museum. The Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland and the Polk History Center in Bartow are both free.

Lakeland Florida Date Night Ideas

Go on a Picnic – Pack the picnic basket {and maybe an adult beverage} and pick a picnic spot from our list of 10 Places to Enjoy a Picnic in Lakeland.

Play Disc Golf – Again, not your traditional date idea, but still lots of fun! My family recently discovered disc golf and LOVED it. We played at Hidden Oaks Disc Golf Course at Loyce E. Harpe Park.  Follow the road as far back as you can drive to find the course. {TIP – everyone needs their own frisbee to play}

Take an Airboat Tour – It might qualify for the most unique date you’ve ever been on! Escape into nature where wildlife, birds, and alligators are abundant.

Go kayaking or canoeing – Floating down a river or exploring the coast of Florida in a kayak is the perfect way to spend a day when the weather is beautiful. With plenty of lakes, rivers, coastlines, and springs only 1-2 hours from Lakeland, we found plenty of amazing spots to rent a kayak or book a tour, including 3 right here in the Lakeland area.

Go on a Mural Scavenger Hunt – we’ve got a list and map of 20+ amazing murals in Lakeland.

Water Sports – Enjoy time on the water with your date. Paddleboard Winter Haven is ready to teach you how to use a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard). Lessons and tours are available on the Chain of Lakes in Winter Haven. You can also waterski or wakeboard at Elite Cable Park in Auburndale.

Lake Mirror Walking Trail Lakeland at Night

Ideas for Free Date Nights

In addition to the free daytime activities listed above {hiking, biking, disc golf, and some museums), these are free date night ideas.

Hollis Garden – Stroll through this amazing botanical garden in Lakeland and learn about the variety of flowers and plants there. Opens at 10am, closed Mondays. {TIP – take a picnic lunch to enjoy on the amphitheater steps}

Go for a nighttime stroll – One of our favorite night time views is Lake Mirror at night. The pathway is nice and wide with views of Downtown Lakeland all lit up.

Walk around at Disney Springs – This isn’t in Lakeland but it was a common suggestion from our readers. Just 45ish minutes from Lakeland, Disney Springs has restaurants, bars, shops, and more.

Family Date Nights

Ok, so if the kids are with you it probably doesn’t really qualify as a “date,” BUT if you’re looking for something to do in Lakeland that is family-friendly we’ve got plenty of ideas for you. Head on over to our Guide to Indoor Fun, our Guide to Outdoor Fun, or our Ultimate List of 100+ Things to Do with Kids in Lakeland and Polk County!

Motherhood + Parenting Guide

Check out our Motherhood + Parenting Guide for more articles on motherhood, social groups, 1-on-1 time with kids, and more.