Kalamazoo Date Night Done Right: 95 Local Ideas for Couples + Best Date Night Restaurants

Kalamazoo Date Night

Refresh Your Kalamazoo Date Night with a Bevvy of Local Options

While the traditional dinner-and-a-movie is a perfectly acceptable way to spend date night, it’s too easy to use that as a fallback plan when you spontaneously find yourself child-free for an evening.

And it makes sense, because who has the time and energy to scour the internet and quiz friends for new date night recommendations? Spoiler alert: I do.  

From sports-loving couples to introverted homebodies, gamers to outdoor lovers, you’ll find a listing brimming with ideas that satisfy any Kalamazoo couple.

Find a sitter, run (don’t walk) out the door with your sweetie, and make your date nights exciting again with this MEGA list of 95 Kalamazoo date night ideas, including the top five best date night restaurants.

Dates for Couples that Love Sports + Recreation

1 Watch a Kalamazoo Derby Darlins game for a fast-paced and exciting way to spend a Saturday night. It’s not just women on skates – this is a full-contact sport. 

2 Ride ATVs: If you like to play dirty, book riding time at the Zeigler Motorsports Action Park. Three tracks are available for all skill levels to ride motocross or ATVs.

3 Go rock climbing: Shout your love from the mountain tops – or close to it – when you ascend indoor rock climbing paths at Climb Kalamazoo.

Photo: Climb Kalamazoo

4 Join a sports league. From cornhole to Wiffle ball, there’s something for every couple at Kalamazoo Sport & Social Club.

5 Attend a lively Kalamazoo Wings Hockey promotion game night, including 90s Night, Wizards, Wands & Wings, The Office Night, Guns N’ Hoses, and more.

6 Show some love for local college athletes and attend a Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College or Kalamazoo Community College sporting event.

Western Michigan Football

7 Head to the race track: Ricky Bobby fans will appreciate watching a night of racing at Kalamazoo Speedway.

After the race, walk over to Victory Lane to congratulate the winning drivers. The pit area is also open so fans can meet the drivers, take pictures, and get autographs.

8 Head to the stadium: Catch a baseball game with the Kalamazoo Growlers.

Kalamazoo Growlers Baseball
Photo: Kalamazoo Growlers

9 Go rollerskating: If strapping on shoes with four wheels is how you roll, visit Kalamazoo’s Rollerworld during their many theme nights, including 80s Adult Night, Hoverboard Night, and late-night skates.

10 Go skiing: Enjoy the thrill of downhill skiing and snowboarding at Timber Ridge or Bittersweet Ski Resort. Afterward, grab food and drinks at their restaurant and bar. 

Otsego skiing
Photo: Bittersweet Ski Resort

11 Try Bowling: If bowling is right up your alley, you’ll have a blast at Airway Fun Center and Revel and Roll West.

12 Take Dance Lessons: Waltz. Foxtrot. Tango. Jive. Learn to dance in a fun, judgment-free zone at local studios like Wellspring Dance Studios, Mosaic Dance or Sharon’s Dance Studio.

13 Get Bendy: Find your flow with a steamy sesh of hot yoga

14 Visit Allegan Event: Adrenaline junkies will get their hearts pumping at Allegan Event.
Choose your adventure among their ropes course, free-fall simulation, vertical drop slide, zip lines, and climb walls. 

Allegan Event 2022
Photo: Allegan Event

15 Go Golfing: Get your daily dose of iron and hit The LYNX GC. The Otsego golf course offers a variety of year-round events such as comedy nights and in the summer 9 and dine (9 holes of golf and dinner).

After the race, walk over to Victory Lane to congratulate the winning drivers. The pit area is also open so fans can meet the drivers, take pictures, and get autographs.

16 Try Ice Skating: Hold each other steady (and help each other up) when you try ice skating at Wings West, The Rink Battle Creek, or the outdoor rink at Millennium Park in Portage..

Portage Ice Rink
Outdoor ice skating at Millennium Park

17 Ninja & Parkour: Act like a kid again and check out Airborne Adventure. Test your skills on the Ninja Warrior Course, Warrior Launch, Parkour Blox, Zip Line, and more attractions. 

Dates for Couples Who Love the Outdoors

18 Go snowshoeing: Try a winter date night at Kalamazoo Nature Center. Afterward, cuddle up with hot chocolate around a bonfire.

19 River fun: Few things compare to the peaceful and relaxing feeling of floating down a river with the sun on your face. Kalamazoo offers multiple spots for warm-weather tubing, kayaking, or canoeing.

20 Visit Bates Alley: this awesome hangout spot in downtown Kalamazoo offers seasonal outdoor events.

Painted pavement covered with a canopy of white lights makes this an extra special date destination.

Downtown Kalamazoo Events Summer

21 Play Putt-Putt: Jungle Joe’s added an outdoor mini golf course to their fun center. 

22 Get spectacular views. Try a private, hot air balloon ride.

Local trips are offered through Michigan Balloon Corporation in Kalamazoo and Balloon Rides over Battle Creek.

23 Dine outside: Enjoy a fun rooftop view from the patio at University Roadhouse

24 Support local vendors: Browse the Kalamazoo Farmers Market and support local farmers and artisans.

25 Find a free outdoor event: Try Kalamazoo Parks & Recreation or Portage Parks & Recreation.

26 Go star and sky gazing: Visit the Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium. Sure, it’s indoors – but you’ll feel like you’re outdoors.

27 Take a hike with flushed cheeks guaranteed.

Enjoy nature’s beauty by hiking Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy preserves or bring your rain boots and traverse the watery bridges at West Lake Nature Preserve.

Portage Hiking Trail

Dates for Couples Who Love Music + Entertainment

28 Enjoy a diverse cultural experience at the Black Arts + Cultural Center, from the Black Arts Festival to Face Off Theatre Company, film series and art exhibitions.

29 Visit All Ears Theatre: Watch actors, musicians and sound effects artists perform on stage before live audience in the style of radio’s golden age.

Performances are recorded and broadcast at a later date on WMUK 102.1.  

30 Catch a concert, comedy show, or sing-a-long movie event at the historic Kalamazoo State Theatre.

Photo with Kids State Theatre Feature Photo

31 See a free concert. Attend Concerts in the Park in the summer. 

32 Snag tickets to Miller Auditorium: You’ll find a wide variety of Broadway shows as well as comedians, musicians, and date night-worthy special performances.

33 Support local actors by attending a show at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Barn Theatre or Farmers Alley Theatre

34 Try Wings Event Center: They host concerts, comedy shows, sporting events and other special performances throughout the year. 

35 Drive-in for fun: For a new twist on a movie date, head to one of drive-in theatres.

36 Head to the Arcadia Festival site in downtown Kalamazoo for summer festivals and outdoor concerts.

37 Get nostalgic: Enjoy 80s music performed by the high-energy and always-entertaining Spazmatics the next time they’re in District Square.

38 Support young thespians and attend outstanding student performances from Portage Central Performing Arts, Portage Northern Performing Arts, Kalamazoo Central Theatre Department, and Center Stage Theatre.

39 Enjoy live music at a nearby brewery or restaurant. Try Bell’s Brewery, Old Dog Tavern, or The Thirsty Hound.

Photo: Bell’s

Dates for Couples Who Love to Play

40 Try a gamers’ paradise: Arcade fans will love the arcade game selection and tasty food at LFG Gaming Bar.

41 Go Retro: Love PAC-MAN or Donkey Kong? Visit Klassic Arcade in Gobles for some retro gaming fun.

42 Spend an evening at Henderson Castle socializing with other mystery aficionados and deciphering clues during a Murder Mystery Dinner.

43 Add Airway Fun Center to your list: they offer an outdoor ropes course, go-karts, mini-golf, an arcade room, bowling, and more. 

Bowling Lanes Portage

44 • Find proof of aliens at UFO Diner. Absolve yourself of murder before the police arrive. Pick one of many themes and work together to escape a room at Escapology.

45 Chill at One Well Brewing and play a plethora of board, card, pinball, and arcade games. In warm weather, enjoy their canopied, outdoor patio.

Restaurants with Outdoor Seating

Dates for Couples Who Want to Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

46 Wax Poetic: What’s that smell? Oh, it’s your love. Drop by the studio at Kalamazoo Candle Company and create your own unique candle scent and label.

47 Learn new culinary skills to impress your family with a cooking class.

48 Create delicious candy or work with fondant icing to create a cake masterpiece at Cake N Candy.

49 Build a masterpiece: Create a painted canvas showpiece, including step-by-step instructions at Wine and Canvas.

50 Fridays never looked better. Stroll from shop to shop in downtown Kalamazoo during the monthly Art Hop.

51 Keep things steaming while you learn the fundaments of glass blowing at Glass Art Kalamazoo.

52 Visit Pinspiration in Portage for some DIY craft creativity; they also have a full bar and splatter paint room.

Pinspiration-Kalamazoo-Bar

53 Are you a succa for plants? Join Wedel’s Green Thumb Club and enjoy severalevents throughout the year.

54 Make the quick drive to Mattawan for a crafty date night at Vintage Inspired.

55 Paint Your Pet at The Thirsty Hound. Purchase drinks while painting Fido (they allow you to bring in your own food).

Check their calendar for upcoming pet-friendly events.

56 Art Bayou isn’t just for painting your own ceramics.

Try your hand at glass fusing, mosaics, and special projects like plaques, pendants (for essential oils), bird feeders, clocks, bowls, handy holders, votives, garden stakes and wind chimes.

Kalamazoo Pottery Painting

Dates for Couples Who Want to Eat, Drink + Be Merry

57 Latitude 42 has great food, brew, AND special Dine-to-Donate events benefiting local organizations. 

58 Craft it up: For a different kind of craft, support your local microbreweries, including One Well and Presidential Brewing Company. 

59 Head west to Texas Corners Brewing Company for locally sourced eats, plus craft hard ciders & brews.

Bonus: they have a great outdoor patio for summer nights.

60 Bundle up and enjoy a drink and meal in an outdoor igloo or heated patio.

Bird Dog’s igloo in Mattawan

61 Celebrate a special occasion at Bird Dog in Mattawan.

62 Make it a morning date: Grab breakfast at one of the best breakfast restaurants around.

63 Go nuts for donuts: Enjoy sweets with your sweetie at Sweetwater’s Donut Shop.

64 When love is brewing, cuddle up with a cozy coffee nook at Walnut & Park Cafe.

65 Wine and dine at special food events happening at Lawton Ridge Winery and Cody Kresta Winery.

66 Cool off with ice cream: Try a new-to-you shop and enjoy a sweet treat.

67 Enjoy a craft cocktail or dinner at the Stamped Robin restaurant in downtown Kalamazoo or a late lunch at 600 Kitchen & Bar with farm-to-table offerings.

68 Grill up your own food: Restaurants Black Rock Bar & Grill in Portage and The Grill House in Allegan both have tableside grills.

69 Grab brunch at Louie’s (downtown or Texas Corners).

70 Dine outside: Take advantage of a beautiful summer evening and enjoy a favorite patio.

A number of area restaurants have inviting patios or water views.

Portage Outdoor Dining
Centre Street Tap House’s patio in Portage

Best Date Night Restaurants

We asked, and you delivered on the best restaurants in Kalamazoo: after over 6600 votes, these were the faves for local date nights:

🍽 Voted # 1 Best Date Night Restaurant

663 10th St Plainwell, MI 49080

Owned and operated by Tom and Jan Rose, Four Roses is a casual, fine dining cafe with a focus on fresh, flavorful dishes and outstanding service.

Entrees are made fresh daily and locally sourced. Some favorites include the whitefish Grenoble, maple mustard baby back ribs and Bell's braised beef (braised in Bell's Kalamazoo Stout).

Four Roses offers 12 rotating taps that are all Michigan craft beers, in addition to seasonal, local beers and ciders in bottles. They also serve a number of Michigan wines.

Make a Date Night or Date Lunch here: they are open from 11AM - 3PM and 5 - 9PM on weekdays (Tuesday - Friday). Saturday evenings, they serve dinner from 4 - 9PM.

Where to Find Four Roses Cafe
Find Four Roses at 663 N 10th St in Plainwell, just north of the Plainwell Municipal Airport.


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🍽 Voted # 2 Best Date Night Restaurant

57649 Murray St Mattawan, MI 49071

Bird Dog is a modern American restaurant that focuses on fresh, local & seasonal fare.

This intimate restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating but has limited tables. All tables are first come, first serve; expect a wait at popular meal times.

Bird Dog also serves specialty cocktails, wine and craft beer.

Favorite appetizer: firecracker cauliflower

Where to Find Bird Dog
Bird Dog is located on Murray Street in Mattawan, just north of Front Street. Murray Street Brewing Co is across the street.


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🍽 Voted # 3 Best Date Night Restaurant

9110 Portage Rd Portage, MI 49002

Located on West Lake in Portage, Cove Lakeside Bistro offers a fantastic lakeside view as you dine on seafood and other tasty entrees at this Millennium favorite.

If you're a lobster fan, the lobster roll is a must try.

Where to Find Cove Lakeside Bistro
Cove Lakeside Bistro is located in South Portage, across from H&B Market on Portage Road.


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🍽 Voted # 4 Best Date Night Restaurant

100 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo, MI 49007

If you want five-star service, Brick and Brine should be on your list. Located in the old Zazio's location, this restaurant prides itself on both its quality of food and atmosphere.

When the weather is nice, enjoy the open-air dining with sliding glass windows to bring the outdoors in.

Reservations are recommended and can be booked online.

Where to Find Brick and Brine
Find Brick and Brine in the lobby level of the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.


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🍽 Voted # 5 Best Date Night Restaurant

402 S Burdick St Kalamazoo, MI 49007

The Grazing Table specializes in elaborate charcuterie boards.

They also offer more traditional entrees like sandwiches ("handhelds" on their menu) as well as some signature mocktails.

Where to Find The Grazing Table
The Grazing Table is located in downtown Kalamazoo next to the State Theatre (corner of Lovell and Burdick).


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Dates for Couples Who Love Being Tourists in Their Own Town

71 Take a tour: Sign up for a Green Door Distilling tour to learn how they turn grains into your favorite spirits. Post-tour flight included.

72 Discover a craft brewery in West Michigan by joining a West Michigan Beer Tour.

73 Sample local wines along the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail. Don’t forget to check out other local favorites such as Tempo Vino in Kalamazoo and St. Julian in Paw Paw.

74 Take off on a special date by exploring the Air Zoo.

75 Visit the zoo. Binder Park Zoo offers a number of adult events including Corks and Conservation, Bonteboktoberfest and Hops with Pops.

Couples Date Night

76 Visit the KIA: View the current exhibit at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

77 Go float at Zen Dens.

78 Find some peace and quiet: read up on the latest books at an independent bookstore like This is a Bookstore or Kazoo Books.

79 Join a book club: Whether you’re into true crime, urban fiction, or general page-turners, join a book club that suits your fancy at Kalamazoo Public Library or Portage District Library.

79 Go for a ride. Nothing says romance more than a winter horse-drawn trolley ride, available in downtown St. Joseph.

80 Try a spooky outing: Snuggle close when learn the haunted history of Henderson Castle

82 Start your engines: You don’t have to be a car aficionado to appreciate the Gilmore Car Museum.

Stroll through the special exhibits and extensive auto collections, then grab a bite to eat in the retro Blue Moon Diner.

Gilmore Car Museum Interior

83 • Book a couples massage at a local salon.

84 Relax and unwind in the hot tubs at The Oasis.

85 Sink your toes in the sand and relax in the sun at one of the local beaches or visit at night to watch the sunset.

86 Donate blood: While you’re helping save lives, you get to lay back, relax, and have a snack without having to lift a finger.

If that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, I don’t know what is!

87 Ride the Holly Jolly Trolley: Visit downtown and shop under the twinkling lights at Christmas.

Holly Jolly Trolley Downtown Kalamazoo
All rides on the Holly Jolly Trolley are free

Dates for Couple Who Buck the Status Quo

88 Get a matching tattoo or piercing together: Try Art + Soul or Daybreak Tattoo. Call ahead to confirm the services offered.

89 Give back: Volunteer at Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes or other area agencies.

90 Train together: Train for a marathon or other distance run together with Kalamazoo Area Runners.

91 Get Inspired: If you love home decor and improvement, attend the Parade of Homes in June for inspiration for your own abode.

92 Learn something new together: Sign up for a class from the Kalamazoo Community Education Enrichment.

Dates for Couples Who Just Want to Stay Home

93 Cheese it Up: Visit The Cheese Lady and try some cheese samples and purchase your favorites.

Add a bottle of wine and artisan jams, dips, and crackers, and create a romantic picnic on your living room floor. 

94 Sign up for a date night box subscription: Choose your frequency or just try it once from Crated with Love or The Adventure Challenge.

95 Netflix and Chill: If you made it to the end of this list – binge-watch shows on Netflix, you’ve earned it.

Date Nights for All- Even Yourself!

Whether it’s a first date or the fiftieth date with your significant other – heck, even if you’re taking yourself on a date – Kalamazoo is brimming with date night options for everyone.

Are there any we missed that you would add? Let us know in the comments.

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