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8 Great Date Night Ideas for Empty Nester Marriages

Salsa Dancing, Indian Cooking Classes & More

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8 Great Date Night Ideas for Empty Nester Marriages Photo by by Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Whether you're an empty nester or just headed that way (and hoping to not only survive but thrive in that empty nest), dating your spouse is a recipe for long-term marital happiness. Think back to your early days of romance - what did you find fun back then? Can't remember back that far? Here's a slew of new great date night ideas, eight of them below and five more here:

  • Go dancing: Take some dance classes - salsa, tango, country western, square dance or Irish country dancing. You'll find classes offered through not just local parks and rec and adult ed programs, but at restaurants, bars and clubs. Many bars that offer live music by Irish or Celtic bands precede the gig with a free half hour of dance instruction. Kick up your heels, down a little Guinness, and even if you end up hating the dancing, you'll have something fun to talk about for years.

  • Get cooking: Cooking classes have come a long way since the Betty Crocker days. Now you can take a class in samosas and curries, Thai spiced food or antipasti. Try canning that backyard bounty, or brewing your own beer together. One California couple got hooked on the State Fair competition - now they spend their weekends testing jam and cheesecake recipes, or whipping out 45 loaves of ciabatta bread, and their summers gearing up for the big judging.

  • Go to the museum: More and more museums are getting on the Thursday night bandwagon, wooing couples with a weeknight evening of stargazing, gallery parties, and live bands by the Matisse, manatee or telescope. It's fun, loud and different - and some of these are free.

  • Try alternative theater: Sure, catching a Broadway touring show or traditional evening of theater is fun. But take in an evening of alternative theater - a quirky one-man show, immersive theater, a little Noh or Kabuki, or other unusual or experimental art form - and you'll have something to spark seriously fun conversation for many nights to come.

  • Play pinball: Pinball and arcade games bring out the kid in you. And there's enough retro appeal in pinball to make an entertaining evening even for non-gamers.

  • Find a cool film palace: You can hit the cineplex, but it's much more fun to see a Bollywood flick at an Indian theater (samosas and mangos at the popcorn counter), or catch the latest indie at a film festival or one of those couches-and-coffee-table theaters, that also serve wine and beer.

  • Eat with your fingers: Don't just dine at your usual hang out, opt for something different - a Moroccan restaurant with bellydancers, a New Orleans-style cafe with cool jazz or a German biergarten with oom-pah band.

  • Take turns: Take turns planning date nights and you won't just share the responsibility of researching, planning and organizing the evening, you'll also find yourselves vying to plan ever more creative and fun outings.
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