Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 22, 2024

Charm your date in Charm City

By LAURA WADSTEN | September 11, 2021



Editor-in-Chief Laura Wadsten and her boyfriend Alex offer suggestions for Baltimore-based date nights. 

It’s the second week of in-person classes, and I’m sure at least some of you are looking to finally have a love life that doesn’t consist solely of movie nights on Zoom and swiping right. Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or in a long-term relationship, spending quality time together is a pillar of a healthy relationship. This is where we come in...

My boyfriend, Alex, and I have been dating for almost three years, with most of our shared time spent in Baltimore, so we’ve had plenty of date nights out (and in). Here is a rundown of some of our favorite ways to enjoy each other’s company, ranging in cost from free to what one might call “popping off.” 

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it exclusive to romantic couples; you could definitely use these ideas for a girl date, birthday celebration with friends or even solo excursion. Be sure to go out and explore to find your own favorite date spots.

Frugal and fun 

  • Picnic
  • Trying a new cuisine (we like to look up something we’ve never made before and try it out)
  • Fancy meal + movie (cook together for bonus points)
    • Some of our fave recipes/menus:
      • DIY pizza night
      • Pasta (homemade sauce)
      • If it’s something lighter like a creamy pasta, salad or fish, I love Broadbent Vinho Verde. The best word to describe this white wine is “crisp”; it’s also mineral-y and refreshing with notes of citrus (at least to my untrained palette) and around $10.
      • If you’re doing a red sauce or darker meat like beef or pork, stick with a red wine. (Laura: TBH, this is not my forte; my only opinion is that steak goes with Malbec. Alex: This isn’t my strong suit either, but I love a good Merlot!)
  • Movie theaters: Towson and the Senator. 
    • Cinemark Towson is luxury; the Senator has charming, historic vibes and is closer. 
  • Charles Village Pub 
    • Affordable local haunt with a great breakfast and casual bar food. If you’re of age and own a horizontal ID, they have a great beer selection and affordable, yummy cocktails. This is great for brunch dates or late-night socializing.
  • Tamber’s (eat outside)
    • Can’t decide between breakfast and Indian food? Tamber’s has you covered for both. We really like the Butter Chicken and Tandoori entrees, and their breakfast food will comfort you as only warm fluffy pancakes and waffles can.
    • They do have some outdoor seating; we usually sit there when we bring my dog, Ghost.
  • Waverly Farmers Market
    • Hopkins students and locals frequent this robust market on Saturday mornings, including us! Grab your reusable bag and get some breakfast; one of our staples is Taco Loco Burritos and Ginger Cardamom Lemonade. There are plenty of great spots to sit at and countless food options, which is why this makes it an adorable breakfast date. You can even be extra sweet and buy them some fresh flowers or a cute succulent.
  • Baltimore Museum of Art
    • A great FREE activity for a thought-provoking afternoon. This is a really good way to get to know someone, as you chat about the meaning of art and how that contemporary painting makes you feel. If you want to get some fresh air, check out the outdoor sculpture garden (and the Gatehouse next door). Just be sure to make a reservation, as it is required to view the museum. 

A nice night out

  • Avenue Kitchen & Bar (happy hour?)
    • This spot is great for a first date or established couple, with a variety of yummy food. Check out the happy hour specials and the Flamin Hot Baked Mac and Cheese, which is a beautiful cheesy slice covered in hot Cheeto dust.
  • 13.5% Wine Bar
    • The interior vibe is very sultry, with a wall of wine, leather couches and dark finishes on natural wood. Maybe not the vibe for a first date, but it’s the perfect environment for intimate and exciting combinations. We each got wine flights, which were a fun way to try new things, and I tried an absinthe cocktail that Alex found quite repulsive; another sweet memory added to the books!
    • Their food is tapas style, with shareable small plates. These are far from basic; one we tried had caviar and was delicious.
  • Ottobar
    • If you want to dance, Ottobar is near campus and has the best variety of live music and themed nights. Within the Blue Jay Shuttle distance, you can spend some time downstairs at one of their famous Beyoncé vs. Rihanna dance parties or head upstairs to the loud alternative bar.

Oh, you boujee boujee

  • Petit Louis
    • We went here for Alex’s 21st, and it was truly an experience. Warm and inviting, this french bistro has a large wine selection and truly excellent service. We had three courses with drinks, and our server offered helpful recommendations and pairings along the way. Though a pricier choice, this is the perfect spot for a cozy celebration or if you really want to impress them.
  • Thames Street Oyster House
    • Okay, so we actually haven't gone on a date here together, but it’s one of my favorite spots in the city for seafood and a pleasant atmosphere. While you’re in Baltimore, please try their raw oysters! I really like the Oyster Shooter with Natty Boh and Old Bay here – three local staples. Literally everything here is good, so if you’re ready to pop off, you must go here. 

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