As we get back into the groove of school, homework starts back up, and prelims lurk around the corner, there is one thing everyone can look forward to: date nights. Ithaca is known for being a little bit funky in its venues, but the best time to get to truly know Ithaca–and its surrounding cities–are through date functions. Therefore, hit up your nearest social and let them know you have to check all of these off the list by the end of the year.
Otherwise known as “China Buff,” this literal Chinese buffet is for some reason the go-to spot for any organization’s date night. This classic brings romantic dimmed lighting, tasty cuisine, and cozy booths. However, we do suggest that you hold off on using the restroom, it’s not exactly the nicest. This is the ultimate and classic date night spot. The bright lights, the authentic and tasty cuisine, the cozy booths, it’s all anyone could ask for
As one of Collegetown’s greatest establishments, Four Seasons is definitely a go-to for your next date night. Don’t be thrown off when your date lets you know that you’re going to the “Four Seasons” that evening, I promise you it’s only a little bit different than the hotel chain. Beware that Four Seasons is on the smaller side and it may get a little difficult to socialize, but their pork-fried rice definitely makes up for it.
8Mini-golfing in Elmira
This one is definitely a hike away, so be ready to spend quite some time with your date on a school bus in the middle of nowhere. You’re going to hit some long dark roads on the way and regret ever agreeing to set out on this journey, but all those feelings disappear once you arrive. This indoor mini-golf course is fun-filled with neon and fluorescent lighting, twists and turns, and a bounce house at the end (but warning: it may be deflated). Be ready to get your Tiger Woods on because this venue may just be the next PGA course.
K as in Karaoke, duh. This may be in the Ithaca Mall-area, but it’s the furthest from being sketchy. K-House brings out the best in people. Make sure you sing some early 2000’s Britney, some “Party in the USA”, and last, but certainly not least a light-hearted Ed Sheeran duet with your date. And if you don’t take a Snapchat of people in weird props singing Christina Aguilera, did you even go?
6Turning Stone Casino
While the drive to this casino is again a bit longer than anticipated, it may just be worth it if you come back with five extra dollars in your pocket. It’s no Caesar’s Palace, but the crowd ranges from 18 to 80 year olds, so enjoy the change of scenery, keep your date close, and try to know at least some of the rules of Blackjack before you play. Even though it’s legal for those 18 and over to gamble, I would highly suggest you don’t go overboard. Find an ally at the blackjack table before you lose your entire allowance, and whatever you do, don’t try the drinks with the weird names.
Because everyone enjoys hibachi and catching food in their mouths. The fried rice and vegetables with chicken or steak is a go-to fave. Beg your chef to do the onion volcano thing, and make sure you get ALL of it on Snapchat–it never gets old.
Not only does Plum Tree make some of the best sushi in Ithaca, but it’s one of the best places for a casual date night. Sake-bombing is the key here (if you’re of age), because banging on the table with your fists is a sure-fire way to make any date night lit. You may have to pay extra if you’re trying to be ~fancy~ and get one of their signature rolls, but tell your date it’s a must-have–they won’t regret it.
3Mix Social Dining
As one of the newer places in Ithaca, it’s one of the best places for a date night because it’s literally referred to as “social dining”. They have some funky tapas worth trying, my favorite being the macaroni and cheese. If you’re not in the mood for food, the dance floor is continuously the go to spot to be *social* with the DJ throwing in some good throwbacks here and there.
Even though I’ve been to Moonies countless times, I still cannot figure out the vibe. There’s weird dark, but flourescent lighting, too many law students for comfort, and pong cups filled with blue liquid that could be water. However, Moonies is good vibes which is why it’s high up on the list. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy a cool, fun, and low maintenance time with your date. Don’t worry ladies, they have a great elevated surface!
You can always count on a vineyard–with its rolling hills, fresh air, and its classic “wine tour” Instagram backdrop–for an unforgettable time. Lucky for us, upstate New York is chock full of great ones–but chances are the only one you’ll go to is Catherine Valley. Make sure your date buys you a lot of cheese and a good tasting bottle of wine. If you can, make it over to Ithaca Beer Co. and hangout with the townies for a bit. They may be a tad confused on why 60 college kids have showed up to a winery for approximately the entire day, but just act like a real adult and you’ll be fine.