Looking for fun and memorable date ideas? The more we experience the vibrant North Hills area, the more we are drawn to this ever-evolving slice of Raleigh which offers fun options like cool brunch spots, cafes, live music, wine bars, rooftop bars, tapas bar, art gallery, a bowling alley and more!
Let me start by saying a couples date experience does not always have to revolve around dinner, or a night out on the town. Caroline and I believe the best date ideas can be those where you simply spend time together, learn together, adventure together, and have loads of fun – day or night!
North Hills offers all of the above and we’re here to make it easier for you with our hand-picked date ideas and suggestions for all occasions – we’ve personally done everything on this list that we’ve created in partnership with Visit North Hills.
Whether you’re newly dating, engaged, married for 20 years like us, straight or LGBTQ, these date ideas for North Hills will suit any kind of couple.
And if you have kids like us, consider more day time dates, or early evening, especially if you have an older child who can mind the younger siblings – we love that our teen can now do that and we don’t have to worry about hiring a sitter.
Couples Massage at Woodhouse Spa
If you’re looking for date ideas in North Hills that involve some pampering and relaxation, look no further than the newly opened Woodhouse Spa.
Our experience started with a complimentary pre-massage drink in the quiet room followed by the Body Balance Massage for two (their take on a Swedish massage) and it was just what we needed as busy parents for everyday luxury and pampering.
Located at the bottom of The Eastern Residences on the Midtown side of Six Forks Rd in North Hills, Woodhouse Spa is a great new addition to North Hills and perfect for couples looking for everyday luxury and resort-style spa treatments.
Things that make Woodhouse stand apart from other spas:
- Time in the Quiet Room before, in between and after treatments
- Complimentary mimosa, spa water, or hot tea and snacks
- Amenities such as personalized locker with plush robe and slippers
- A true experience for all the senses, more than just a massage or facial
Other services at Woodhouse Spa you can consider include:
- Body treatments
- Salt Therapy
- Infrared sauna
- Renewal Bath
- Packages such as a Digital Detox
- Spring packages for mom
- and of course, various massages
Easy complimentary parking in a covered garage adjacent to the building or an open-air lot on the same block. Watch our video on Instagram
Dinner at Las Ramblas (Spanish Tapas)
We are still talking about our fabulous date night recently at Las Ramblas, one of the latest restaurants from Giorgios Bakatsias, the Triangle restaurateur behind other Midtown favorites such as Rosewater Kitchen and the newly opened Giorgio Pizza Bar.
If you prefer your dinner dates to be festive and fun versus intimate and quiet, this tapas restaurant in North Hills ticks that box.
From the mosaic tiled entryway to the giant bull behind the bar and painted murals of flamenco dancers on the walls, to the tasty tapas and cocktails, if you’ve ever dreamt of visiting Spain, this is as close as you can get to Spanish cuisine in Raleigh without paying airfare!
Las Ramblas features locally and Spanish sourced tapas-style dishes (small shareable plates), Spanish Wine and Sherry, as well as craft beer and creative craft cocktails.
As for the food, we highly recommend the Pork Cheeks, Tuna Tarte shots, Jamon, Soft Shell Crabs, Garlic Prawns, Rainbow Trout, and gluten-free Cheesecake, and Chocolate Mousse!
Tables are seated close together – true Spanish tapas bar style – which helps create the lively atmosphere, and we found the staff to be attentive with impeccable Southern manners and fun to chat and laugh with.
Reservations are advised. Hot tip: arrive early for a pre-dinner drink at the awesome bar. Read our full review of Las Ramblas Raleigh.
After Dinner Drinks
If your kids are taken care of at home, why end the night here! We had some time up our sleeve after dinner at Las Ramblas for a few more cheeky date night drinks and because we felt like Margaritas headed to our favorite Mexican spot in North Hills, Bartaco.
Like Las Ramblas, there’s a fun tempo at Bartaco. The music runs from rock to cafe zen and everything in between, and the bar sits at the center – it’s one of the few North Hills restaurants that caters to nighttime foodies (and drinkers) with a midnight close (Fri/Sat).
It’s a hive as patrons sit and laugh with bartenders shaking their cocktails from juice they’ve freshly squeezed from one of the several juicers sitting on top of the bar beside bowls of lemons, limes and oranges.
The high tops that ring the bar help spread out that energy till it reaches the tables lining the walls and those out on the beach-shack style patio enjoying a cool Bahama breeze.
Another drink option in North Hill is the popular rooftop bar at Level7. At the top of the AC Hotel you’ll find one of the top rooftop bars in Raleigh. Level7 is a sophisticated bar and cocktail lounge specializing in craft cocktails, small batch brews, wines, and small bites.
We had drinks here previously during our staycation in North Hills. With stunning views out over the North Hills neighborhood and a vibrant atmosphere, Level7 continues the European inspired experience of the hotel and feels more like something you’d find in Vegas, or NYC.
Of course, a glass of wine at Vita Vite Wine Bar is another excellent option. Keep reading for more about Vita Vite down below!
Art + Wine Date Experience
Artsource Fine Art & Framing
For those who appreciate art, head to Art Source Fine Art and take in the fantastic art on display.
Founded in 1990, ArtSource is one of the premiere fine art galleries in North Carolina and features the works of over 60 artists from the Southeast and beyond, is home to more than 2,000 works of fine art and has been voted “Best Place To Purchase Art” for eight years in a row by the readers of Metro Magazine.
We enjoyed taking in all the art work as a couple and our appreciation for quality art continues to grow. Check out their events page as they host between 3-4 major exhibitions per year, plus they host artist workshops and demonstrations, wine-tastings, exhibition receptions, corporate functions, private parties, and fund-raising events.
Drinks At Vita Vite Wine Bar
Their name comes from the Italian words for “life” and “vine” with the idea that life revolves around wine and food, and bringing people together in a common space.
Not only do they have an excellent choice of international wines, they also function as an art gallery with a super cozy interior including comfy couches and a fireplace in the colder month, plus a great second story deck overlooking Midtown Park – top spot to take in the Beach Music Series of a Thursday evening!
To pair with our glasses of wine, we enjoyed the Pimento Cheese and crackers dish + olives + charcuterie plate for nibbles.
If you love quality wines and the art gallery vibe, grab a seat on a plush armchair, at the bar, or outside on the balcony and choose from a seasonal variety of reds, whites, rosés and bubblies along with a rotating list of craft beers. Watch our video on Instagram.
Back in 2003 we lived in Bangkok for 6 months and traveled all over Southeast Asia for one year including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and are always looking for good Asian food in Raleigh and CO is one of our favorite spots!
Considering it was a Thursday night and we were attending the Beach Music series, we were shocked to walk straight into CO as the Mexican restaurant at Midtown Park had a 1.5-hour waitlist (hot tip).
Located at the bottom of the AC Hotel, CO is where you’ll find really good Asian food, and because of our travels we know good Asian food and feel the quality here is pretty authentic and takes us back to our memories in Southeast Asia.
- Fresh summer rolls
- Hanoi noodles with chicken
- Pho with shrimp
Both great entree dishes. The Hanoi noodles could have been a touch spicier but highly recommended, and the portions are big!
We love the decor and vibe here too. Reminds us of our days in Asia. Check out these other Asian restaurants we love.
Midtown Beach Music Series
To be honest, this was our first time experiencing the Midtown Beach Music Series and didn’t know what to expect, but it totally delivered on all fronts, and we had a fantastic night of singing and dancing with a few adult beverages.
Located in Midtown Park, the Beach Music Series runs from April 20 – June 22 and consists of live music, food trucks, drinks, and has a diverse crowd – we couldn’t believe how many “younger” folks were up the front of the stage grooving to the tunes – great to see!
- $5 cover charge
- Gates open 5pm
- Music 6pm-9pm
Coffee + Farmer’s Market + Cook Dinner + Game
Coffee Date At Jubala
Start your Saturday morning (or any morning) in North Hills with coffee at one of our favorite coffee shops in Raleigh, Jubala on Midtown Park.
This specialty coffee shop serves up quality lattes and their professionally trained baristas serve up the full coffee bar menu plus an assortment of teas.
They also serve tasty comfort food – I love their biscuits, fluffy and moist and they come with a choice of spreads and fillings – my pick is their bacon, egg, pimento cheese. And my kids love their banana Nutella waffles.
Everything’s made fresh to order including Avocado Tartine, Steel Cut Oatmeal, Granola Yogurt, plus sandwiches, a few salads and a small selection of baked goods.
We love relaxing here over a coffee and a conversation, then head across Six Forks Road to the Midtown Farmers Market for more local goodness.
Shop Midtown Farmers’ Market
Each Saturday morning from mid April to early November, the vibrant farmers market in the Commons area of North Hills (0.4 miles from Jubala) and continues to be a community favorite.
Here you’ll find local farmers, crafters, and creators from around the region selling a variety of locally grown produce and goods.
We decided a good idea for a date night would be to shop for local produce here to cook up in the comfort of our home. See next step below.
Cook at Home (with produce from farmer’s market)
You don’t have to eat out to have a nice dinner date-night, and from our supplies we purchased at Midtown Farmers’ Market we cooked a lovely dinner at home, and if you have you kids you don’t have to worry about organizing babysitters!
We enjoyed our meal of Wagyu beef from Wilders, asparagus from Rob’s Fresh Produce, mushrooms from Shrooms 2 Grow, and our dessert of Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Bundt from Irish Bakers. And this was finished off over a bottle of red wine, LVE Cabernet Sauvignon that we also purchased from North Hills at Total Wine (Lassiter District).
After Dinner Game (to get to know each other more)
We’ve been married for 20 years but we are still learning things about each other. And a fun after dinner game we played was “We’re Not Really Strangers” that we purchased in North Hills from Paper Source. How well do you know your partner?
Bowling At Kings Dining & Entertainment
We don’t bowl often (it’s not a big thing in Australia like it is in the US), but we always have a laugh when we do and it is a fun thing to do as a couple – as long as you don’t take it too seriously!
Which is no problem for us as we both aren’t very good at bowling, but if you are going to bowl Kings is a cool space with a fun atmosphere. There’s a decent selection of food with burgers, wings, fries, sandwiches, pizza, and tacos.
I recommend you reserve a lane in advance (18 lanes in total). But if you do have to wait for a lane, there’s also a gaming area with pool (billiards), ping pong tables, foosball, dart boards and full bar.
We know you love getting your brunch on in Raleigh and we are also big fans of a relaxing Sunday morning brunch date and North Hills has some fantastic options. Besides the above mentioned Las Ramblas, two of our other favorite restaurants in North Hills do a fantastic brunch.
If you can’t fly to Paris, step inside this true French Brasserie featuring a classic bistro design with tiled floors, dark wood, marble table tops and an impressive zinc bar.
With authentic French food, an all-French wine list, classic French cocktails and Belgian beers on draft, Coquette is a lovely date spot and one of our favorite Raleigh restaurants for any occasion.
Start with their popular French Onion Soup or a charcuterie board (enough for two), then I highly recommend their Seafood Crepe. Other dishes include classic eggs benedict, omelets, quiches, pancakes and of course French toast!
Don’t miss their Espresso Martini, it’s my favorite in Raleigh with its unique and creamy addition of Bailey’s and Frangelico.
With warm and attentive staff, you’ll feel like you’re in a Parisian cafe. Read our full review of Coquette Raleigh.
- Brunch served: Sunday, 10am – 3pm
- Address: 4351 The Cir At N Hills St, Raleigh
- Website: CoquetteRaleigh.com
Rosewater Kitchen & Bar
One of the best restaurants in North Hills is also one of the best brunch places in Raleigh, and a restaurant by the aforementioned Giorgios Bakatsias from Las Ramblas.
While it might feel like you’re in Europe, the focus here is on LOCAL with food sourced from local gardeners, farmers, fishermen, and foragers, plus unique cocktails and local NC craft beer.
Start with a Mimosa or Bloody Mary, then popular brunch dishes include the Steak & Eggs, Crab Cakes, and the Fine Herb Omelet.
Besides the garden room, they have a fabulous patio area for nice weather days – on our list for next time!
- Brunch served: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
- Address: 110 Park at N Hills St, Raleigh
- Website: RosewaterRaleigh.com
Another popular date spot in Raleigh is STIR with their section of premium oysters, signature craft cocktails, and dishes with a Southern twist consisting of seasonal ingredients (sourced locally whenever possible.)
Love their open-air concept and buzzing atmosphere with a diverse crowd. I recommend you start with one of their craft mimosas – they blend their own syrups and bitters for unique flavors such as strawberry basil and honey peach.
Brunch favorites include Oysters, Deviled Eggs, Filet Benedict, a Baja Omelet and Strawberry Nutella Waffles
- Brunch served: Saturday + Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
- Address: 4242 Six Forks Rd Ste 100, Raleigh
- Website: StirRaleigh.com
How about a Mexican style brunch date? Bartaco isn’t just about their bar and fresh Margaritas, well, they are perfect to kick off a Sunday with, but Bartaco also has some of the best tacos in the Triangle region!
Open from 11am daily, as soon as you enter, you’ll get swept up into the fun tempo of the restaurant. Hosts are upbeat, there’s a fresh vibrant spirit, and the music runs from rock to cafe zen and everything in between.
The relaxed bar atmosphere continues all the way out to the patio area (perfect spot to sit on nice weather days), and while I’ll get to the tacos in a second, bartaco is more than just a place to eat, but an experience to savor.
But of course tacos are their specialty here and they range from your traditional baja fish to the more innovative falafel, seared chorizo, or crispy oyster. The tacos combine flavors from a variety of cultures such as Asian, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Mexican.
There are 13 proteins present throughout the taco dishes in their menu – and in keeping with being a place for all – cauliflower, mushrooms, and chickpea will march on in for our vegans.
So, if you’re looking for unique and tasty tacos in Raleigh, look no further – and be sure to wash them down with a spicy Mezcal Margarita! Read our full review here.