The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Best Places in Boston for a First Date

May 31, 2013 | Best Cities, Best Cities and Neighborhoods

One of the best things about being new in town is getting to know a whole new crowd of people. If you’re single, some of those fresh faces might entice you into a bit of romancing. Coming up with a reasonable first date idea can be challenging, though! Never fear. Rent.com won’t just find you a Boston apartment; we’re also prepared to suggest some of the best places in Boston for a first date.

The Institute of Contemporary Art

100 Northern Avenue, Boston

Before you turn your nose up at the idea of spending all day staring at paintings, consider the Institute of Contemporary Art (pictured above). This isn’t your grandma’s art museum. First off, the sleek glass building is a sight to behold, even if it was empty. Once inside, however, exhibits cover everything from sculpture to video art from emerging international artists.

When you’re worn out, sit on the wooden steps overlooking scenic Boston Harbor. You can talk about your favorite exhibits or reveal your own hidden artistic talents. For $15 admission ($10 with student ID), you’d be hard pressed to find a classier or more fascinating way to get to know your new companion.

Formaggio Kitchen Inc.

244 Huron Avenue, Cambridge

What could be better for a first date than a picnic? No stress, no fees, no schedule, no problem. First, head to Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge to fill your basket. This artisan institution has been dishing up cheese, meats, salads, wine, pastries and fruit for over 30 years. Grab a pair of pre-made meals to take away, or mix and match your own perfect plate.

When you’re all stocked up—don’t forget the wine—walk to the banks of the Charles River and watch the boats breeze by. Assuming you get good weather, you’ll be all set. All you need is a blanket, your sunglasses, and a willingness to let a romantic afternoon stretch on into the night.

Wine Gallery

3 Cypress Street, Brookline

Sure, you could suggest meeting at a bar, but how novel is that? Give your first date more flavor with a free wine tasting at Wine Gallery in Brookline. This well stocked liquor cabinet has a “wine jukebox”—that’s 48 different varieties of vino ready to pour via self-service machines! Any six samples per person are on the house.

If six sips doesn’t sound like enough for you, set your sights on a grand tasting, held weekly. These are also generally free and they include a much wider selection. You can even chat up distributors to get a bit of extra info on what you’re drinking. Buy a bottle or two and, if things are looking good, continue to dinner nearby.

New England Aquarium

1 Central Wharf, Boston

If you haven’t been to the New England Aquarium, you’re missing an incredible experience. Unlike at an art museum, here you’ll be marveling at the beauty of life. There’s a three-story Giant Ocean Tank surrounded by a spiral walkway. Inside you’ll see 200,000 gallons of Caribbean coral reef teeming with sharks, turtles, eels, and more.

Want something a bit more hands on? Try the Edge of the Sea tide pool exhibit. Elsewhere you’ll find penguins, harbor seals, and giant pacific octopus ready to illuminate, amuse, and awe. Don’t be afraid to get a little closer; in the dim lighting, it’s almost like taking a tropical vacation. Admission is a bit steep at $22.95, but you get a full days entertainment and a lot to talk about.

Museum of Bad Art / Somerville Theatre

55 Davis Square, Somerville

While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, that’s not really relevant at the Museum of Bad Art. The branch in the Somerville Theatre basement (one of three) is free to access as long as you’ve bought a ticket to one of the films screening upstairs. What better way to test out a first date’s sense of humor?

Come bask in some of the worst artistic endeavors the curators can bare to show. If the “Art Too Bad to Be Ignored” doesn’t make you look good in comparison—or at least make you laugh—there’s still hope. The selection of films upstairs is much better and you’re evening’s just getting started.

 

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