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  • Jessica Carrillo

10 Food Free Date Ideas

It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Romantic dates or even time spent with friends is often focused around going out to eat, and sometimes that can be challenging for those of us with food allergies.

My boyfriend and I both have food allergies, but they are different, so our options for eating out are limited. I don’t know think we’ve ever intentionally planned dates that are food free, but we actually go on food free dates a lot, and they certainly work out well for us. Plus, these dates are super fun!

Whether you want to go on an allergy friendly date, go out for Galentine’s Day with the girls, or spend some quality time with your allergy kids, there’s something on this list for you.

Note that allergy friendly food (snacks, dinner, treats, etc) can easily be incorporated in these dates if you wish, but that’s optional.

#1. Candle Making

Candle making is one of my favorite food free dates! Doing a quick internet search can help you find a candle making store near you. In the Bay Area, I have frequented Glow Candle Lounge (not sponsored, just sharing) on dates with my boyfriend and with my friends.

There are two types of candle making that I have seen so far. One is where you cut wax into shapes and fill the candle mold with the cut up shapes. There are tons of color and molding shape options. You pick the scent, and the shop employees do the finishing touches for you. That is how the Glow Candle Lounge operates. It’s a fun way to learn a new craft and talk as you do. Perfect for catching up with friends or getting to know a date!

There’s also another form of candle making where the candle looks more traditional. You pour the wax into a more simple mold and are more active in the process of adding the melted wax and scent to your candle. As of writing this, I’ve yet to do this type, but I am planning to on it for Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend.

Just a word of caution, for those with soy allergies, sometimes these candles are made from soy so be sure to ask first if this is of concern for you.

#2. Pottery Painting

For those artistically inclined, this is another great date for getting creative. Like candle making, a quick search on the internet can help you see if there is a pottery painting establishment near you. I like going to Petroglyph (not sponsored) for this in my area. On dates like this, the pottery is actually already made and all you have to do is paint the pottery as you wish. It’s very kid friendly too, with lots of options for smaller kids.

It takes a few coats to get full glaze coverage so expect to spend a few hours when you go here. There is typically an initial facility fee and then additional fees based on which piece you chose to paint. I’ve taken my boyfriend and my friends here as well.

#3. Art Night In

Feeling crafty but don’t want to go out? My boyfriend and I like doing artsy things together but sometimes we just want to stay home. We’ve done things from painting night, to collage night, to diamond dotz together. You don’t have to do anything major, it’s just about using your imagination and spending quality time together. If you want to add allergy friendly snacks to the night this might be a good one for that.

#4. Bowling

My boyfriend and I actually went bowling for our very first date. If you’re a little competitive, this one might be the way to go for you. I’m terrible at bowling but always enjoy it anyways. If you want some quality time for this one, make sure to spend a little time in between pin reset talking or sitting near each other. It worked for me!

#5. Museum

Museum dates are some of my favorites. There are just SO many museums everywhere, so it’s pretty easy to find a subject matter of interest for various price points. There’s museums of art, auto, air and space, history, etc…I’ve seen a few of the smaller ones that are also absolutely free. In San Jose, I love History Park and the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Both are very informational and lower cost! I’ve also traveled a little further North to San Francisco for some of the higher end museums like the de Young Museum.

#6. Attend a Live Comedy Performance

Last year, my boyfriend’s dad gave us tickets to a live comedy competition. Neither of us had been to live comedy before so we didn’t quite know what to expect, but it was a blast! This is definitely less kid friendly and better for dates or friends. But who doesn’t love getting dressed up and having a laugh? Highly recommend, especially the smaller local shows. They are really intimate and fun.

#7. Beach/ Lake Day

For those who live near some water, having a beach or lake day is a great day outing. We are about an hour away from the beach, so it’s more of a day trip for us. I pack a little picnic of safe food and we lay out on the sand. Bringing a beach ball or something nice to read works too. We aren’t near a lake, but similar things can apply for a lake day for those closer to that.

#8. Go on a Hike

My boyfriend LOVES to hike. I am slightly less of a fan, but I enjoy going out in nature a lot. We have several trails near us, since we have a ton of hills around us. Depending on how far you plan to hike, an allergy friendly snack or meal to go may be a good idea for this one. Hiking is a great way to exercise and bond with a date or friends.

#9. Local Street Fairs/Festivals

I live in a smaller town and we have a ton of events downtown, especially in the Summer. There's the Friday Music series with live music and dancing, street festivals with local venders, car shows, quilt shows, you name it. Often times these types of events do have food there, but usually it’s localized to one part of the fair and I’ve managed to feel pretty safe. I just eat ahead and avoid the food sections. Many cities also have cultural events that can be a lot of fun if you avoid the food.

#10. Mini Golf

Mini golf is a great activity for all ages. I have gone with friends and my boyfriend and it’s always a good time. Like bowling, it’s a simple activity, but it’s open to fun conversations and flirty competition if you’re on a date. I’ve seen both indoor and outdoor venues for mini golf.

Hope this guide helped you plan something great for your next date or outing. If you end up doing one of these things, message me on Instagram and tell me about it! I would love to hear how it went.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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