10 High Culture Date Ideas This summer, you and your spouse can enjoy the finer things in life—without emptying your wallets. BY JESSICA CHEN
There's something about watching marine life that's relaxing.
A high culture date doesn’t mean splurging for orchestra seats or dropping a couple Benjamins on a bottle of wine. Culture is a matter of soaking in your surroundings and appreciating the art that exists in your area. This summer, make time to see, hear, taste and dance your way into these high-culture date ideas.
1. Get tickets to your old favorite band. Whether it’s the soulful R&B of Brian McKnight or the early ’80s rock of The Police, rediscover the tunes that helped you fall in love. For an eclectic set of oldies but goodies, check out your city’s concerts in the park. Grab a bottle of wine and a couple lawn chairs, and enjoy the evening under the stars.
2. Paint a picture. Take your spouse on a hike to his or her favorite scenic lookout or landscape. Bring a case of watercolors, folding easels and a couple light canvases or water color paper. Spend a day painting the view together and come home with a renewed appreciation of nature and of each other’s artistic talents.
3. Attend a spoken word performance. Many cafés and bookstores will host poetry readings. But if you’re looking for something with a little more social and political commentary, try spoken word—a combination of lyrics, poetry and stories in a spoken performance. Take the night in with an open mind and come out with a richer understanding of the people around you.
4. Feast on a chocolate tasting. There’s nothing more decadent than indulging in the rich flavors and creamy textures of chocolate with your loved one. To unfold the full experience, check out a chocolate tasting etiquette guide (click here) before you go. A tasting can start at $10 and will be the sweet escape you and your spouse are looking for.
5. Take in your city’s local flavor with an art walk. Sample your city’s contemporary museums and galleries and learn about the local emerging artists. Some walks open up to local artist lofts as well. Spend the day browsing and exploring at your leisure and find affordable pieces to purchase and take home—not to mention you'll be supporting your local community.
6. Take ballroom dancing. Surprise your spouse by signing up for a dance class. Try the Salsa or the Merengue, the Mambo or the Lindy Hop. Whatever your forte, this newfound skill will make you shine on the dance floor and boost your confidence at social events. Best of all, it’s something you and your loved one can learn and enjoy together.
7. Watch an indie flick or a movie outside. Some cities have film festivals; others project feature movies on an outdoor screen. If your local theater isn’t showing the movie you want, creating an outdoor theater at home is just as easy. All you need is a computer that plays DVDs, a projector and a flat sheet or surface to dub as a screen. Order dinner and enjoy a classic film by moonlight.
8. Go on a photography excursion. Try your eye at photography. Map out a tour of the city or the city outskirts. Bring an SLR camera and shoot photos of one another by the sites and scenery. Try using different lenses, filter papers, flashes and exposures. You can even extend this to a night tour, taking pictures of the high rises, sky scrapers and city lights. This is one date you’re sure to remember—not to mention you'll have proof.
9. Enjoy an evening at the aquarium. There’s something undeniably relaxing when you’re watching marine life and spending summer evenings on the pier. Certain aquariums extend summer hours for evening events, such as live music, a beer and wine bar and dinner for two.
10. Document the summer in a scrapbook or photo book. Finally, preserve your summer memories in a custom photo book, which you can create on iPhoto (www.apple.com) or Blurb (www.blurb.com) among other places. Simply upload your pictures, crop as needed and drop them into pre-made page layouts. Insert captions, quotes and song lyrics for the finishing touches. Present it on a late summer evening, knowing there’s no one else you’d rather spend those long summer days with than your spouse.