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  • Rob Glover

Great Date Night Ideas in Gaston County

“What do you want to do tonight?”

Whether it’s your first or fiftieth date, that question never seems to get easier to answer.

No worries, we’ve got you covered.

From wine tastings to outdoor adventures to taking a rescue pup for a stroll, here is a list of ideas for your date night in Gaston County.

Dinner and a Movie (3 Different Ways)

Interior of Webb Custom Kitchen, a former grand movie theater turned restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Webb Custom Kitchen

We’re kicking the list off with a true date night standard: dinner and a movie. In Gaston, you have plenty of options for this time-honored tradition.

Of course, you can go the classic route with tickets to a flick at Regal Franklin Square. Before showtime, stop at Portofino Italian Restaurant and share a pizza or one of their huge seafood platters. They offer a few beers and have a nice wine selection as well.

The next option is to have your dinner with your movie at Webb Custom Kitchen. Originally Webb Theater, the restaurant shows classic movies (without the sound) while you dine. The best part is the food and custom cocktails. A couple favorites are the charbroiled steaks or the pan-seared Chilean sea bass.

Want to score some major creativity points? Stop in Belmont Specialty Foods and put together a picnic basket. Then stroll to Stowe Park for an outdoor movie.

See a Different Kind of Star on a Different Kind of “Screen”

The 360 degree domed planetarium at the Shiele Museum
Photo courtesy of The Shiele Museum of Natural History & Planitarium

The Schiele Museum in Gastonia has a lot to explore. One of the coolest things at the museum is the state-of-the-art planetarium. The programs change, so check in with admission staff to confirm what’s on. But just about everything at the 360 degree, domed theater is pretty amazing. Sprouts Cafe is nearby for a pre-show lunch. They create several vegan and vegetarian items every day, but their bacon cheeseburger is also legit. And their homemade desserts are worth the visit on their own.

Play Disc Golf

A disc golf "hole"

A round of disc golf makes for a fantastic first date. Moderate exercise in nature tends to ease first-date jitters. Plus, you don’t have to be an experienced player to enjoy the game.

All you need are a couple discs per-player, which you can get Dick’s Sporting Goods in Gastonia.

Gaston is home to several great courses. Rankin Lake Park is a top choice and Kyle Fletchers BBQ is just down the road for post-play food. Goat Island also has a nice course, and it’s conveniently right next to tacos and the new outdoor patio at Doffer’s Canteen.

Get Active

Paddling on the Catawba River

Disc golf is just one way to take date night outdoors in Gaston County.

Another stellar option is a hike at Crowders Mountain State Park to catch an amazing sunset. Start at the Sparrow Springs Access (the Main Ranger Station) and take the Pinnacle trail roughly 2 miles to the peak. Stop at Tony’s on the way home for chili dogs and homemade ice cream.

Next up, rent a couple of paddle boards or kayaks from Tailrace Marina. Impress your crush by pointing out the great blue herons, red tail hawks, and giant ospreys that spend their days on or near the river. Just on the other side of the marina’s parking lot, J.R. Cash’s Grill & Bar (formerly J. Peters) is a convenient spot for prime rib, huge salads, and river views from their large patio.

Finally, grab a bike from Gaston’s Bike Share program and ride Gastonia’s Highland Rail Trail. The trail is an easy, 1.5 miles one-way peddle starting from downtown. The bike share station is near the trailhead. Once you’re done on the greenway, keep pedaling to Viva Tequis for some made-to-order guacamole and a top shelf margarita.

Make Something Special

Photo courtesy of AR Workshop Belmont

Being creative together is such a great way to break the ice or break out of the date night rut.

Located in Belmont’s South Fork Village, A Little Bit of Art offers canvas and ceramic painting and doodle art classes. District 8 Beer Company is right next store, so you can grab your favorite beverage to sip while you create.

AR Workshop in downtown Belmont provides everything you need to create a bunch of crafty creations. You and your significant other can make wood signs, dog beds, serving trays and so much more. You can bring your own beverages here as well.

Wine and beer tastings

A red, a rose, and a white: three glasses of wine at Luna Hombre
Photo courtesy of Luna Hombre

What’s great about wine and beer tastings for date night is that you’ll have a built-in topic of conversation. Try to guess varietals and taste each option with different food parings.

Both the Grape & Barley and The Social Vineyard are great choices to learn about, and try, new varietals. They each offer tastings, classes, and delicious snacks designed for a perfect pairing. The Social Vineyard also has a regular schedule of live music and other events.

Luna Hombre has half-priced wine by the glass each Wednesday. So you can create your own line-up to sample. Their ever-creative small plate menu makes it easy to pair. And their dessert board is perfect for sharing.

If beer is more your thing, you’re in luck. You can get a flight from the rotating taps at both Growlers USA or Mount Holly’s Summit Beer Shop (their decor is incredible). Or go right to the source and try the offerings from Cavendish Brewing.

Take a pup for a walk

If you don’t mind a third wheel on your date, and when it’s an adorable puppy who would, you can volunteer for Gaston County’s Samaritan Walker’s Program. Basically, you’ll take a well-deserving pup out for a stroll, giving him or her a break from the stresses of shelter life.

What are your favorite date night spots in Gaston County? We’d love to hear them.

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