Show Your Significant Other Some Love With a Weeknight Excursion
Southern California is imbued with romance and beauty everywhere you look, so why should a candlelit dinner be reserved for only the weekends? Not only are there less tourists and crowds at your favorite restaurant on a Thursday night, but dates during the week are a great way to both invoke magic into the mundane and fall back in love with where we live all over again. We’ve picked our top 12 spots in Orange County for weekday dates, so you don’t have to wait until Friday night at 5 o’clock to have some fun. Orange County Date Ideas
1 | A Perfect Trackside Ambiance Orange County Date Ideas
Looking to treat your date to excellent bites, fresh garden-to-glass cocktails and a gorgeous ambiance? Look no further than San Juan Capistrano’s historic train depot restaurant, Trevor’s at the Tracks. Watch the trains pass by, sip wines from the all-California wine list and wow your date in this irresistible setting. With a motto of “Locally Acquired, Globally Inspired,” Trevor’s at the Tracks focuses on a diverse menu made from locally sourced, sustainable ingredients—including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options—with many of the freshest herbs and vegetables coming directly from their beautiful, lush, on-site garden. Trevor’s has everything a classy date night restaurant should have…superb service and unique food options such as Calcutta Curried Roasted Veggies, Ahi Poke Nachos and Chimichurri Steak Fries; however, what really sets it apart is the local, live musicians that serenade the patio seven nights a week! Skip the two-hour weekend wait times and turn your Tuesday into the highlight of your week.
Location: San Juan Capistrano
Why make your weekday date a dinner reservation? Spice up your work lunch breaks and meet your significant other for lunch at Costa Mesa’s Fork and Knife! Or maybe you’re searching for a first date idea that’s relaxed but still intimate. This fast-casual hotspot offers everything from grab n’ go snacks and small plates to soups, salads and made-to-order sandwiches, all which are perfect for taking to the local beach or park. Dig into the decadent Smoked Short Rib Grilled Cheese or feast on the tasty House Pastrami on Rye, made with thick-cut pastrami, Amish slaw, Swiss cheese, dill pickle and Russian dressing. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, order the smoked salmon & romaine salad or classic avocado toast. Whichever you choose, your lunch break is sure to be the highlight of your day with good food and good company.
Location: Costa Mesa
Take your date to the artsy, cozy town of Laguna Beach for a summer date they’ll be sure to tell their friends about. Start at neighborhood restaurant Harley Laguna Beach for happy hour sips and bites. Intended to feel like a home away from home, Harley will ease any pre-date nerves and jitters. With a stunning interior filled with greenery, modern decor and a friendly atmosphere, Chef Greg Daniels creates soul-warming dishes that match the mood, making guests feel welcome and at ease. Keep things casual with a seat at the bar, or sit tucked away in an intimate, plush booth. Order the roasted cauliflower to start, along with a Hibiscus Martini cocktail before moving to a main dish like the baked local halibut and fried chicken sandwich. After you and your date have warmed up with punch lines and finding commonalities, it’s time to stroll down a few blocks to the Laguna Beach event of the summer: Festival of Arts and the Pageant of the Masters. From July 5 to September 3, watch famous works of art truly come to life through a theatrical performance at the outdoor amphitheatre––this year’s performance theme is “Made in America”. You’ll have the opportunity to explore local art, check out special exhibits and even enjoy live music. We can almost guarantee a, “I had a great time! I’d love to see you again,” text.
Location: Laguna Beach
4 | Old World Romance in OC Orange County Date Ideas
Gone are the days where you must plan a trip to Venice, Italy for a dream-like gondola date. Since 1993, Gondola Adventures has offered relaxing cruises daily and nightly, complete with multi-course Italian food and drinks, through Newport Harbor’s romantic waters in boats worthy of European canals. Some of Gondola Adventures’ boats are indeed imported traditional Venetian gondolas. But if you’d like to follow tradition to a tee, couples are then obliged to kiss under a bridge for eternal happiness, just like they have under the Venetian Bridge of Sighs since 1600.
Location: Newport Beach
5 | Sky High at Hive & Honey Orange County Date Ideas
Picture this: a midweek date featuring golden hour tapas and drinks, a cozy firelit ambiance, comfortable outdoor seating and bee-utiful views of the Orange County skyline. At Hive & Honey, a rooftop bar and restaurant at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum, you can expect all of this––totally ideal after a long day of work. It boasts everything you need to get you and your date buzzing, from mesmerizing teddy bear cocktails (served in actual honey bottles!) and barbecue brisket Taco Tuesday plates to the occasional weeknight live music and DJ set. Our goal for the summer? Making weeknights actually fun. We’re starting here!
If your ideal weeknight date involves Taco Tuesday—and if your mouth waters at the idea of housemade blue corn tortillas, crispy melted cheese and scratch-made salsas—then Puesto’s Mexico City-style tacos at Bella Terra are an absolute must. The Mexican-American founders and chefs take inspiration from authentic, multigenerational Mexican cuisine and frequently visit the source to discover and deliver new flavors. Not only is the Puesto team masterful at tacos, but mixology as well. Be sure to wash your tacos down with a refreshing summer margarita after 4 p.m, when Taco Tuesday prices start.
Location: Huntington Beach
7 | Wine, Dine and Art So Fine Orange County Date Ideas
Surprise your date with a hidden urban gem: a serene, open-air dreamscape designed by renowned 20th-century modern artist Isamu Noguchi. Situated between two reflective glass buildings in Costa Mesa, the outdoor Noguchi Museum and garden makes for a peaceful walk through native plants, such as redwoods and cacti, and views of the Noguchi original sculpture, Spirit of the Lima Bean. Top the evening off by sipping a glass of natural wine of your choice and snacking on a delicious charcuterie board at nearby Semi Tropic Wines. They offer a selection of one-of-a-kind wines from all over the world, and trust us, you’re going to want to purchase a couple of bottles to take home.
Location: Costa Mesa
8 | Summer Nights in Lido Marina Village
Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach is the idyllic setting for playing, eating and drinking any day of the week. For an early-evening exploit, stop by Electric Boats Rental, where a whole fleet of electric boats are available to rent, perfect for exploring the harbor. Everyone knows the bay is less crowded during the weekdays! Wrap up your voyage with a romantic bayfront dinner lit by string lights at Lido Bottle Works, where Chef Joel Gutierrez and his team create seasonal menus of plated art, crafted with in-season and sustainable ingredients.
Location: Newport Beach
Here is an idea that will surely make them melt: indulging in plant-based, gluten-free waffle cones from Stella Jean’s and going for a sunset promenade in nature. Stella Jean’s Ice Cream in Costa Mesa offers a variety of inventive ice cream made by hand, from a Filipino favorite, Ube & Pandesal Toffee, to the vegan Strawberry Oat Crumble. They also carry a wide variety of teas! Walk off the sugar rush with a peaceful stroll through the verdant Pinkley Park, located just minutes away.
Location: Costa Mesa
10 | Waterfront Dining & Fresh Seafood Orange County Date Ideas
The Deck on Laguna Beach is an oceanfront gem located right off of Pacific Coast Hwy, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy some fresh seafood and refreshing drinks with your special someone. Sip on a bloody mary that’s mixed to perfection in-house, and slurp on some freshly shucked oysters beachside. If you prefer something more private, you can rent one of their bungalows! Each has its own unique theme, so you can pick one to match the vibe of your date, whether that’s disco/tiki or a surf-inspired sunset. Watch the sunset and feel the ocean breeze, it’ll definitely get you two through the week!
Location: Laguna Beach
11 | Craft Brews and a Ballgame Orange County Date Ideas
What’s more American than craft beer and a ballgame? Located directly across the street from Angel Stadium, Golden Road Anaheim Brewery and Pub is a must-stop before singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. Sip on a Mango Cart and play a round of corn hole before watching the Angels hit a few home runs on a brisk Thursday evening. Don’t let the weekends have all the fun—throw on your baseball cap, attend a weeknight game and enjoy a cold one for a much-needed mid-week activity.
To melt away the weeknight mundanity, get gussied up in your date-night best and book a reservation at Anaheim’s first neighborhood speakeasy, The Blind Rabbit. Located in the Anaheim Packing District, guests enter through a secret door hidden in sake barrels for an intimate 1920s experience that offers a lengthy liquor list of uniquely crafted cocktails, authentic imported absinthe and a plethora of hand-crafted cuisine for dine-in or takeout. And when you’re ready to bid adieu, exit through the bookcase.
Local Insight: The menu evolves every six months, so expect a new experience each visit!