by Jenni Barnett
on Friday, January 24th, 2020 at 12:12pm.
February is a mixed bag for most of us, right? Even when we’re madly in love and excited to head out on the town with our main squeeze, there can be a lot of pressure to find The Best Date Night Ideas of 2020. This year, though, you’re off the hook! Whether you’re new in town, or just visiting us here in Middle Tennessee for a Valentine’s Day vacay, we’ve got our top picks for date night destinations.
We’ve narrowed it down by category, so scroll down to find the perfect spot for you and your honey. Elevated, rustic, or even DIY—we've got you covered in Nashville and beyond.
Best Elegant Date Night
Schermerhorn Symphony Center Nashville, TN nashvillesymphony.org
Just a short three-minute walk away from the Country Music Hall of Fame, Schermerhorn Symphony Center is our pick for a truly sophisticated night out. While this venue’s impeccable acoustics were designed with the symphony in mind, they support artists from all genres with equal perfection, which is one of the reasons over 140 concerts are hosted here annually. There truly are no bad seats in the house; anywhere you choose—balcony to orchestra-adjacent—will give you a perfect view of the stage and let you experience the award-winning acoustics.
Despite a capacity of nearly 1900, this often-packed venue feels spacious and intimate despite the crowd. During the longer days of the year, sunlight streams onto the stage through 30 stunning clerestory windows. In February, the early sunsets lend a warm and cozy glow throughout the space, but one should still gaze upward to enjoy the intricate designs in the glass.
Equally appealing to music lovers, admirers of exquisite New Classical Architecture, and social butterflies in search of bustling local events, concerts held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center are often sold out well in advance. Be sure to visit their schedule of events to secure your tickets now!
Best Magical Date Night
House of Cards Nashville, TN hocnashville.com
Perfect for lovers of stage magic and arcane lore, this unique venue brings a touch of Vegas to Music City. Visitors may feel like they are stepping into the Red Room from Twin Peaks—in the best of ways. Located beneath the Johnny Cash museum, this Art Deco-inspired restaurant sprawls over nearly 10,000 square feet. Plan to devote some extra time to taking in original artwork and antiquities, including not-to-miss magical memorabilia (Harry Houdini’s own world-famous “Kingbreaker” handcuffs among the lot).
The restaurant serves mostly traditional North American cuisine, but many diners here will be enjoying cocktails with someone special while taking in the innovative illusions.
Reservations are required to gain access to the dining room, and purchase of an entrée is likewise necessary to enjoy the show. Please note the venue’s formal dress code is not negotiable. If you’re planning to take photos for your ‘gram, snap them before you enter, since photography is not permitted once inside the venue.
Best Unique-to-Nashville Date Night
General Jackson Showboat Nashville, TN generaljackson.com
The 300-foot General Jackson Showboat is a Nashville institution. Locals and visitors alike have seen this grand diesel-electric paddle boat, one of the last in operation today, traveling up and down the Cumberland River for the last 30 years. This unique date venue is equal parts 4-hour riverboat adventure, classic southern country-style restaurant, and rollicking concert venue, thanks to the showboat’s country band.
Patrons can book a lunch or dinner outing, but since these tours are very popular with visitors to Nashville (especially for special events like the popular Valentine’s Day Cruise with the Perry Donos Band), we do suggest snagging tickets well in advance. Once booked, tickets must be canceled 24 hours before departure to earn a refund, so plan for traffic and arrive well in advance of your boarding time.
The General Jackson Showboat is fully ADA accessible. Please note that individuals sensitive to diesel fumes may want to avoid this venue. The boat is fueled by diesel engines at all points of the journey, and patrons note that fumes will intermittently waft throughout the vessel.
Best Crafting Date Night
PaddyWax Candle Bar Nashville, TN thecandlebar.co
If you’ve visited a Whole Foods or upscale candle shop anytime in recent memory, you’re no doubt familiar with nationally-famous PaddyWax candles. Now, PaddyWax invites patrons to stop by and craft their own unique candles from scratch!
Choose every aspect of your candle’s final design, from your vessel and scent infusion to final wick placement, and your soy/paraffin blend candle will be ready to travel home with you as soon as it’s cool.
This is an ideal activity for a romantic crafting evening, since with every use the candle will recall memories of this shared, intimate experience. The blend of waxes is chosen specifically to carry your chosen scent throughout your space when you light the long-lasting wick.
If you love PaddyWax candles—and we all do!—then don’t miss this chance to create your own.
Best Film-Lover's Date Night
The Franklin Theater Franklin, TN franklintheater.com
The lovingly-restored historic Franklin Theater is beloved by locals, which means you should snag tickets early. Attendees can choose from classic films or new offerings as well as live musical and comedy acts, so you’re sure to find an event that’s perfect for your tastes.
Now central to the event community in Franklin, this theater, first opened in 1937, was nearly lost in 2007, but thanks to the efforts of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, this historic landmark has been gloriously restored and is more beautiful than ever before. If you are in search of a unique photo op, look no further! The Main Street Marquis is blazing bright and ready to provide the perfect backdrop.
Best Tennessee Whiskey-Lover's Date Night
George Dickel Distillery Tullahoma, TN georgedickel.com
Located in the picturesque Cascade Hollow valley between Nashville and Chattanooga, this Tennessee “Whisky” (your guide will explain this significant spelling quirk!) tour is the ideal date night for the die-hard whiskey lover. Just as it has been for over a hundred years, this famous whiskey is handmade by a small team of craftspeople, which is why the flavor remains the same—past to present and beyond.
Visit this famous distillery anytime from 9 to 3:30 Monday through Saturday for a tour or make it by 4:00 just to stop by the storefront and have a tasting of their award-winning Tennessee Whiskeys. The staff, ambiance, and delicious regional whiskeys are sure to create the ideal first stop on any relaxed date night.
Best Historic Date Night Venues
Historic Rock Castle Concerts Hendersonville, TN historicrockcastle.com
If you’re headed north out of Nashville, there’s one more historical musical venue that deserves your attention, and we think it’s possibly the most unique of them all! Rock Castle visitors will gain access to the oldest home in Middle Tennessee, making this acoustic gem equal parts glimpse into the past and cutting-edge musical experience.
Tickets for the concerts (always on Saturday from 5 – 8) are offered at affordable prices, and delicious heavy hors d’oeuvres are included. Enjoying craft beers and white wines in this gorgeous 21+ historic venue is just one more perk that makes this one of the best date nights in Hendersonville!
Once caught in the middle of the wildly raging Civil War, Oaklands mansion became home to both the Confederate and Union forces over the years, though no occupant was more famous—or infamous—than Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who made it his temporary home during the winter of 1862.
Restored during the middle of the last century, Oaklands Mansion is now a museum. Open to the public continuously for the past 70 years, this gorgeous historic home is an incredible look back into Tennessee’s antebellum past. Visit for a tour of both the mansion and the battlefields and take plenty of (flash-disabled) photographs.
Because this is a preserved historic home, the second floor of Oakland’s Mansion is regrettably not ADA accessible.
Natchez Hills is an old-world style vineyard that transports visitors to Tuscany straight from the hills of Middle Tennessee. This family-owned boutique winery is renowned for hand-crafting small-batch wines using historically traditional methods, ensuring that their dry and sweet wines are packed with bursts of unique flavors.
Visitors can taste a variety of handmade wines, then take a bottle out on the patio to enjoy. Bring a picnic basket to create a delightful winery lunch date!
Located half an hour south of Nashville, nestled into the lush Arrington hills, Arrington Vineyards offers a beautiful setting for enjoying a home-packed picnic with an evening wine tasting. Ample seating and picturesque views overlooking the hills make this stunning winery a favorite with locals and tourists alike.
We suggest arriving an hour or so before you’d like to begin your wine tasting, or earlier if you’ll be visiting on a weekend. The number of patrons arriving hourly has skyrocketed over the past several years, especially since their famous live music and food truck events have gained such a loyal following.
If you visit before Food Truck Fridays begin in May, you may be able to enjoy a quiet evening at Arrington; if you do, linger and take in a beautiful sunset.
Wherever you decide to take your sweetheart in February, we hope you have an extraordinarily unforgettable time in our neck of the woods. And locals, please chime in—did your favorite spot make an appearance on our list? Let us know in the comments below if you have a suggestion for a memorable date night in middle Tennessee.