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Date Night in Edmonton: Singles' Edition

by Courtney Higgins

So Valentine's day was a bust. It happens to the best of us. It's not you, its them... and this is no time to drown your sorrows in discounted chocolate. Step one: find a date. Step two: reel them in with the perfect hang out.

Deciding where to go on a first date in Edmonton is not for the faint of heart, especially if you find yourself in the murky waters of the online dating world— looking at you, Bumblers. Like selecting the perfect playlist on Spotify, choosing the right spot to meet up with a potential special someone is enough to make anyone anxious. Hey, you have other things to worry about... what are you planning on wearing btw?

Never fear. I've got a list of go-to date ideas, conveniently ranked by your level of initial romantic interest. Now get swiping!

The dinner date (dream doctor/philanthropist/triathlete/organ donor)
We all know that candlelight is flattering, so head to The Almanac on Whyte Avenue to capitalize on that glow. The setting is pretty perfect, so much so that I may or may not have done a double header for lunch and dinner in the same day (hey, I like to be efficient). This spot is casual enough to cozy up and get to know each other, but formal enough to feel like you're on a proper date.

Bonus Round: The Princess Theatre is right next door, so you can spontaneously grab tickets to the newest, buzz-worthy flick if the date is going well.  

The casual hangout (that outdoorsy, mountain-man/woman with great hair and extensive pop culture knowledge)
If you have made it past a week of exchanging witty texts, than I would suggest grabbing pints at Kelly’s Pub on 104th for a couple of reasons: super casual, great location, and quality beer selection. Also, there are plenty of dark corners where your best buds can be discretely on standby. If things are going well and you want to up the swank level, Bar Bricco or Rocky Mountain Ice House on Jasper Avenue are only two blocks away.

Bonus Round: For something a little more exciting and to flex your beer-ology muscles, head to a local microbrewery. Situation Brewing in Old Strathcona or Biera in Ritchie Market are both great spots to cozy up over local pints and seriously delicious eats. Plus, Biera has a Cheese Bar with some of the finest cheese this lady has ever had the good luck to snack on.  

The lunch date (the accountant who is a reeeally sweet)
You can never go wrong having lunch at Café Bicyclette in the French Quarter, especially with their charming winter patio. Grab a seat by the outdoor fireplace and hunker down to get to know your date over a croque-monsieur and a frothy latte.

Bonus Round: If you end up realizing that your mother was actually right about nice guys all along, a stroll through Mill Creek Ravine is an excellent opportunity to keep the conversation going. Extra points if you can remember any of your mandatory elementary school French lessons.

The coffee date (not your type, but has a cute dog)
This one’s tricky but District Cafe on 109th Street and Block 1912 on Whyte Avenue are both in perfect locations, have plenty of seating, strong coffee and reliable wifi connections so you can keep swiping under the table if the date is a dud. Who knows? Maybe the love of your life isn't what you expected they'd be. Cheers to being open-minded.

The dreaded group date (blind date match-up)
We’ve all been there, your workmate Laura swears you’ll get along with her boyfriend's best buddy from kick ball. You have your reservations but alas, nothing to do on Friday night. So here we are. If there ever was a time for a group activity, it's now. Why not propose a friendly game of Risk (yeah right) at one of Edmonton’s many amazing board game cafes or hit up an escape room? Both will minimize awkward small talk, and will force you to problem solve right out of the gate. If it goes well, you can always apply for the next season of Amazing Race!