21 Virtual Date Ideas For Long Distance Or Quarantine Couples

When you think “date,” visions of bumping shoulders on a walk to the park, reaching

When you think “date,” visions of bumping shoulders on a walk to the park, reaching over candlelight to nab a forkful of their cacio e pepe, and typing in the Zoom passcode probably dance in your head. OK, so maybe the latter doesn’t drum up the same kind of butterflies, but these virtual date ideas will.

Sure, not much—not even a body pillow—can replicate your partner’s loving embrace, but it’s totally possible to feel all warm and fuzzy during quality virtual time. You have to work with what you got, especially if you’re in a long-distance relationship.

“These dates aren’t normal, but there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be fun,” says Myra Castañeda-Selva, LMFT, co-founder of Amity Chicago. “Everything feels really charged right now, so a lot of the time we see these virtual dates as an opportunity for normalcy.”

What about the pressure to make these virtual dates *perfect*? It’s a trap. “These dates aren’t interviews, even though sometimes there’s a semblance of that since we spend so much time on Zoom for work,” Castañeda-Selva says. And if your nerves threaten to get the best of you while the video connects? Just name the feeling, she says. It’ll ease tension and give your partner space to share their discomforts, too.

When you’re settling down for a virtual date, make sure you’ve got your set up straightened out and any distractions (ahem, your phone) out of sight, out of mind so you can be fully present. Castañeda-Selva also recommends to start each virtual date with a vibe check. “Ask what they’re coming into the date with and how they’re feeling,” she says. “How much of yourself can you give to me in this situation?”

From trying something new to taking a favorite couples activity to the screen, here are 21 of the best virtual date ideas to try out.

1. Go on a walk.

Turning into a total couch potato? Switch up the scenery. Lace up your shoes, call your partner on FaceTime, and set out on your fave hiking trail (that gets cell service) or city block with the dreamiest brownstones. As you explore each other’s stomping grounds, you’ll feel closer with each step.

2. Cook the same meal.

There are two routes to take here, depending on your adventurous spirit-slash-culinary prowess. One: Take turns choosing a drool-worthy recipe to cook alongside one another via video. Two: Live out your reality-cooking-show dreams and whip up a dish from the same selection of ingredients. Sure, there’s no panel of celeb chefs to impress, but laughing your way around the kitchen is the best part anyway.

3. Watch a movie.

      Thanks to apps like Teleparty, you can synchronize your next movie night. Choose a flick from Netflix, HBO, Hulu, or Disney+ and use the app’s chat feature to share your reactions. Don’t forget to give a snack haul to show off your go-to movie goodies (ahem, Sour Patch Watermelon) before you press play.

      4. Have a double date.

          The more the merrier, right? If a long-distance relationship feels like it exists in a bubble, bringing friends into the mix can help pop it. A night catching up with the squad brings some semblance of normalcy to the situation. It’s especially nice if they can relate to the whole distance thing, too.

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          5. Take the Enneagram test.

              Use these virtual dates to go deeper and have intimate conversations together, Castañeda-Selva says. One way to do this? Take the Enneagram, a personality test that explores what motivates you and how you see the world. This kind of self-reflection will help you understand yourself and your partner on a deeper level, no matter how long you’ve been dating.

              6. Go on a virtual museum tour.

                  One pro of virtual dates? You can basically travel all around the world. From hearing an Art Institute of Chicago curator’s take on George Seurat’s iconic A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (yeah, the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off one) to wandering the halls of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, you’ll get your culture fix without needing to peer over anyone’s shoulder.

                  7. Work out together.

                      The secret ingredient of a good virtual date? Endorphins. Get ‘em with your S.O.-turned-workout buddy and a heart-pumping online fitness class. Take on a 30-day push-up challenge or step up your burpee game with WH guide. Local gyms and fitness studios often offer livestream classes you can sign up for, too.

                      8. Have an art night.

                          “When we stick to what’s comfortable, that can sometimes take the fun out of dates,” Castañeda-Selva says. And unless you’re both literal artists, getting crafty can bust you out of that comfort zone. Order an adorable felt succulent kit or find an art tutorial on YouTube for a makeshift sip and paint night.

                          9. Drink your morning coffee.

                              Start your day off on the right foot with a video chat with one of your favorite people and an a.m. bevvie in hand. Castañeda-Selva recommends asking how your partner is feeling about the day ahead. This morning pick-me-up is a chance to caffeinate and check in.

                              10. Watch a concert.

                                  Have a band you’ve dreamt about seeing live? You’re in luck…kind of. Bandsintown streams live concerts (think Phoebe Bridgers), NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts are free to binge on YouTube, and heck, even Shawn Mendes has a Live in Concert to stream on Netflix. Sing your hearts out, lovebirds.

                                  11. Play games.

                                      We’re talking the fun kinds of games—not the relationship games, of course. Even when you’re not physically together, you can still heat up the competition virtually. Jackbox Games has two-player options like Gibbage and Trivia Murder Party, and PlayingCards has synchronized games like Go Fish and chess. Remember Sporcle? Betcha can’t name all the presidents…

                                      12. Have a cocktail (or mocktail) night.

                                          Whether you’re a sucker for an elaborate cocktail or are sober curious ATM, play bartender for the evening. Watch your partner mix up a concoction and get creative with your garnishes. Cheers!

                                          13. Order from similar restaurants.

                                              Without the luxury of deciding to go out for dinner on a whim one day after work, you’re probably missing the experience of trying a buzzy restaurant with your +1. Thankfully, Castañeda-Selva has a hack. You’ll each order from a similar restaurant—say you’ve never tried Vietnamese food—and can try the same dishes screen-to-screen. This way, you’re trying something new and enjoying a meal together.

                                              14. Play Truth or Dare.

                                                  Feeling brave? Since some juicy dares will be off the table thanks to long-distance, you’ll have to be extra creative with your prompts. You might start off with the sweet and sentimental questions, but don’t be surprised if the game takes a cheeky turn. You dare me to talk in my hottest accent? Oops, I think the connection is breaking up…(JK!)

                                                  15. Dress up.

                                                      If there’s one thing we’ve learned recently, it’s that you don’t need an excuse to dress up anymore. Why not schedule a fancy pants night? Don a new ‘fit, try out that brightly-colored eyeliner trick you saw online, and deliver a bottle of wine to each other’s homes. Voilà.

                                                      Short on ideas? Watch this video for a few dress up suggestions.

                                                      16. Have a presentation party.

                                                          Granted, the last thing you want to do after a long day at work is give a heavily researched presentation. But! Forcing your partner to listen to you gush about your niche interests (like, who you’d be in an alliance with on The Challenge) has its perks. Oh, and there will be a pop quiz after.

                                                          17. Dance it out.

                                                              When Natasha Bedingfield sang about releasing your inhibitions, I’d like to imagine she was talking about dancing wildly alone in your room and on video with your S.O. Attempt to learn the latest TikTok dance or queue up a pop punk playlist on Spotify to dance the night away.

                                                              18. Send a care package—but make a game out of it.

                                                                  There’s a cah-ute couples shopping challenge where each person buys items from the same list—think favorite snack, favorite color, or an item that reminds you of them. Set a budget, make your list, go shopping, and then exchange on Zoom, revealing one item at a time. After, pack up the goodies and send them out to your partner.

                                                                  19. Play question games.

                                                                      “Typically in-person, you can feel out the room and your partner, and you’re able to ask deeper questions from there,” Castañeda-Selva says. Just because the virtual dynamic is different doesn’t mean you can’t go deeper with your date. “Don’t use the camera or distance as an excuse to keep the conversation surface level,” she says.

                                                                      It can help to have questions ready to go if you’re worried you won’t be able to think of any convo starters beyond like, “What’s your favorite color?”. Try the 200 Not-Borning Questions to get vulnerable and intimate.

                                                                      20. Read to each other.

                                                                          It’s cheesy, but sometimes you just want to hear your partner’s voice. One way to do so? Have a mini book club between the two of you. When you video chat about the book, read your favorite parts or a chapter to each other.

                                                                          21. Invite them to bed.

                                                                              There’s a scene in Normal People where Connell falls asleep while Marianne stays on video chatting him from another country. And TBH, it was super intimate. Adventurous, active virtual dates are fun, but quiet companionship can bring you closer together, too. It’s often in these ordinary moments when you share the more mundane details of your day. Like trying the sandwich shop next door, for example.

                                                                              “When you’re long-distance dating, you feel pressure to check in on the big things when you’re on the call,” says Castañeda-Selva. “Make sure to notice the little wins you go through day-to-day, as well.”

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