Tourists may come to mind when you think of International Drive. But reducing this vibrant district to solely a tourist mecca does it an extreme disservice. Local couples can take advantage of happy hour deals, diverse dining options, live music, lazy weekend brunches, playful experiences, unique entertainment venues and bars, and new additions like a one-of-a-kind beer spa. Dive in to the best International Drive has to offer locals for date night below!
Special thanks to our partners at the I-Drive District for helping us compile this epic list of date night ideas on International Drive. Check out their I-Drive Living site for the scoop on the district with a local spin.
1. Listen to live music
Head to local restaurants and bars for a full lineup of live music performances. Ole Red Orlando boasts live music nearly every night of the week. Tin Roof Orlando is also a lively spot for local tunes, and on weekends there are often several acts performing on the main stage throughout the day. Enjoy the sounds of live acoustic music at The Hampton Social Monday – Friday from 5-7pm and again during weekend brunch. Or, combine nightlife and live music with a night at Howl at the Moon, I-Drive's much-loved dueling piano bar.
2. Try an I-Drive happy hour
A surprising amount of I-Drive restaurants offer amazing happy hour deals for a budget-friendly date night.
Happy hours at The Pointe (Pointe Orlando):
- Taverna Opa: Daily happy hour 3–6 p.m. in the bar area; 2-for-1 drinks and light Greek meze appetizers
- Marlow’s Tavern: Daily happy hour 4-6:30pm; Beer $3, single pour well cocktails $4 and select wines $5
- The Hampton Social: Monday – Friday 3-6pm; Half off selected rosé and pizzas
- Maggiano's Little Italy: Monday – Friday 3-6pm; Premium drafts $3, classic cocktails $7, Canopy Hill wine $6 and flatbreads $4
- The Pub: Monday – Friday 3-6pm; $2 off all draught beer selections, well cocktails $5, Trinity Oaks House wines $5.50, Pub Favourite Cocktails $7, and sharables $6.50
- Blue Martini: Wednesday – Saturday 6-8pm; Discounts on specialty martinis, craft cocktails and tapas, plus half off Ladies Night drink specials all night on Wednesdays and live music on Thursdays starting at 7pm for Noches Azul
Happy hours at ICON Park:
- Tapa Toro: Daily happy hour 3-6pm; 2-for-1 drinks, half off house beer/wine/sangria, half price cocktail pitchers, and discounted appetizers
- Tin Roof Orlando: Monday – Friday 3-6pm; $3-$5 drink specials
- Yard House: Monday-Friday 3-6pm and Monday-Wednesday late night from 10pm-close; Half-priced pizzas and select appetizers, $2 off all draft beer/wine/spirits/cocktails, $3 off 9oz wine, $4 off half yards
- Cafe Tu Tu Tango: Monday-Friday 3-6pm in the bar, lounge and patio; Drink specials including cocktails and sangria, $3.22 food specials or get them all for $18.22
- ICEBAR Orlando: Sunday-Thursday 5-9pm and Friday-Saturday 5-7pm; $6 Jameson, Jack, Tito’s, $7 selection of appetizers, $2 off signature cocktails
- Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant: Monday-Friday 2-5pm; $6.50-$8.50 wine by the glass/wine specialty drinks/select cocktails, plus soup, appetizer and flatbread specials
3. Relax by a resort pool
We're huge fans of ResortPass, a website that allows you to purchase day passes to local hotel pools without spending the night. Several participating hotels are located on I-Drive, including Hilton Orlando (which has an amazing lazy river) and Hyatt Regency Orlando.
4. Attend a Vegas-inspired dinner show
Teatro Martini is an adults-only dinner and a show experience on International Drive featuring dancers, an aerialist, comedians, and more. There's also an option for just drinks and the show if you want to grab dinner somewhere else before or after. Showtimes are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm. After the show, explore the speakeasy bar, Jewel, which has dueling pianos and a fun atmosphere.
5. Go Dancing
Cuba Libre at The Pointe recently reopened for dining plus Cuba Libre Nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Dance to a mix of salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia and more during Tropical Fridays beginning at 10:30pm. Or, dance the night away during Bailamos Saturdays with a live DJ and professional dancers. Both events are 21+ only. You're going to need some serious fuel for all that dancing, so grab dinner before! Cuba Libre offers a couple of fun menu items for couples, including a Cuban Dinner for Two (3 apps, entree and two desserts), and several entrees for two (including 2 sides).
Dancing is also back at Mango's Tropical Cafe, where you'll find themed fun in the nightclub area Thursday – Sunday. Other fun dancing spots include Blue Martini, ICEBAR, Señor Frogs and Tin Roof Orlando.
6. Feast on global cuisine
Take your tastebuds on a trip by trying a new-to-you cuisine. Sample authentic Ethiopian fare at Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, or try traditional Japanese sushi, ramen, hot pot and more at Hanamizuki Japanese Restaurant. Share Spanish tapas and enjoy live flamenco performances at Tapa Toro, or feast on Greek cuisine while belly dancers swirl around Taverna Opa. You could also plan an English-themed date night with a visit to The Pub or Gordon Ramsay's Fish & Chips restaurant (now open).
There are endless options for global dining on I-Drive.
7. Unwind at a beer spa
International Drive has a brand new, one of a kind (if a bit pricey) spa experience you've got to try at least once. At My Beer Spa, sink into a relaxing tub for a blissful beer soak while you treat yourself to self-serve craft beer on tap. Couples can choose a private room with one tub or two, and the experience lasts for one hour. Book here.
8. Take a Champagne flight on The Wheel
Taking flight on The Wheel at ICON Park, complete with two glasses of champagne, has date night written all over it. Just grab a drink of your choice before your ride at SkyBar, including wine and champagne. Line up your “flight” with sunset for extra romance.
9. Join a cooking class
Tapa Toro's En La Cocina cooking classes invite you to gather around the paella pit while learning to make a multi-course meal. Class also includes two chef's tasting tapas. These classes are typically held quarterly–check here for the current schedule and to reserve your seat.
10. Immerse yourself into a movie at a 4DX Theater
Want to feel like you're part of the latest blockbuster? The Pointe's movie theater, Regal Pointe Orlando 4DX & IMAX, happens to be a 4DX theater. Select films are screened in 2D or 3D and enhanced with motion activated seats and interactive sensory experiences. I remember seeing The Meg at this theater in 3D/4DX and it was such a fun movie experience.
11. Visit Bronze Kingdom
You'll love strolling through the extensive collection of amazing African statues and art at the relatively new Bronze Kingdom. Everything is made out of bronze and has been collected directly from African leaders. Join a guided tour or take your time on a self-paced walkthrough of the collection.
12. Savor Magical Dining Month menus
We look forward to the month of August each year, which always kicks off Visit Orlando's multi-week Magical Dining program. This annual celebration of Orlando eateries features dozens of restaurants offering date nighters a three-course, prix fixe menu for just $37/person. As an added bonus, $1 from each meal is donated to a worthy local cause each year. Here's the list of participating I-Drive restaurants for 2021.
A hot tip for 2021: The Capital Grille is participating this year and for a small time, there will be an overlap between Magical Dining Month (begins August 27, 2021) and The Generous Pour (ends September 6, 2021). Feast on the $37 Magical Dining menu while also sipping wines from seven distinctive labels for an extra $28.
13. Visit a chocolate museum
Because one isn't enough, there are TWO chocolate museum experiences on International Drive: The Chocolate Kingdom and The Chocolate Museum. Both offer guided chocolate tours, but we love The Chocolate Museum's wine & chocolate pairing, which also includes museum admission.
14. Laugh at Orlando Improv
This comedy club at The Pointe (Pointe Orlando) hosts big name acts alongside local talent. Here's the lineup.
15. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner
Dress in your date night best for an upscale night out at Del Frisco's, Oceanaire Seafood Room, A Land Remembered (located inside Rosen Shingle Creek) or The Capital Grille. The latter offers regular date-worthy promotions like The Generous Pour (seven wines from distinct labels for $28 with dinner) and Wagyu & Wine (a Wagyu burger and wine pairing under $30).
16. Dive into Weekend brunch
Spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday brunching at one of I-Drive's best brunch spots. Here are a few we love:
- The Hampton Social: Saturday – Sunday 10am-3pm; Featuring the Fried Chicken Stack and the Frosé Bellini plus live music 11:30am-1:30pm and 2-4pm
- Mia's Italian Kitchen: Saturday-Sunday 11am-3pm; Bottomless mimosa deals, plus bottomless brunch dining for $26/person
- Cafe Tu Tu Tango: Saturday – Sunday 10am-3pm; Bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary deals, plus bottomless brunch dining for $26/person
- Rodizio Grill: Saturday – Sunday noon-3pm; Full Rodizio with unlimited Brazilian sides, gourmet salads and rotisserie grilled meats
- The Pub: Saturday – Sunday 10:30am-3pm; Featuring Traditional British Breakfast, pub favourites and mimosas by the glass or carafe
- Bronze Kingdom: Sundays 12-5pm; Bottomless mimosas plus live DJs
- Tapa Toro: Sundays 11am-3pm; A la carte specials, all-you-can-eat paella + unlimited sangria and mimosas, DJ & flamenco dancing entertainment
17. Get your game on
In The Game is a new out of the ordinary arcade where you can partake in immersive gaming experiences. You can also get in touch with your inner child at Main Event Entertainment, which offers dining options, VR experiences, laser tag, bowling, games and more all under one roof. Both are great spots to spend a rainy afternoon!
18. Hang out at a local brewery and craft beer bar
Did you know the I-Drive district is home to a local brewpub? Half Barrel Beer Project offers their own brews on tap alongside those from other Florida craft breweries. The food menu comprised of pizzas, cheese & charcuterie is the perfect compliment to your libations. Not a fan of beer? A variety of seltzers plus wine from Quantum Leap Winery are also available. Find this spot near International Drive on Universal Blvd.
19. Snuggle up in fur coats at ICEBAR Orlando
Don your cozy winter jacket (provided with your ticket package), and sip an ice-cold concoction with your date when visiting ICEBAR Orlando on International Drive. It's the perfect antidote to steamy summer temperatures! Start off in the Fire Lounge with cocktails and light bites before heading into the frosty bar complete with aquatic themed ice sculptures. Florida residents can take advantage of the Florida Freeze package, which includes jacket and gloves rental, a premium drink and one appetizer of choice in the Fire Lounge.
20. Chill out at a sports bar
Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux is a relatively new addition to I-Drive perfect for sports fans. The restaurant chain was founded by Brandon Landry, a former walk-on basketball player at LSU. Immerse yourself in the game-day fun while noshing on Cajun cuisine and game-day favorites with a twist. Other spots to catch a game on I-Drive include Miller's Ale House and Cheers Sports Bar.
21. Pretend you're tourists at Fun Spot
Why not fully embrace date night in a tourist district? Dress in your best tourist-inspired outfits and then explore Fun Spot together. Sneak a kiss on the Ferris Wheel, zip around in go-karts, have a Midway games competition, and fill up on fair food. Lean ALL the way in!
22. Swim with dolphins
Escape to a tropical island during an all-inclusive day at Discovery Cove. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages (including beer and wine), masks and a take-home snorkel, sunscreen, day-use towels and wet suits are all part of your admission. You've also got full use of the lazy river, Grand Reef, aviary, dolphin encounters and so much more. Florida residents can enjoy 20% off tickets.
23. Make fluid or resin art at Abstract Orlando
Create your own fluid art or resin art masterpieces side by side at Abstract Orlando. This artsy studio will guide you in creating your own abstract creation and features fun options like canvases, cheeseboards, coasters and cake stands. Beer and wine are available for purchase if you need a little help channeling the muse. FYI: You will need to return to the studio at a later date to pick up your finished piece.
Feeling adventurous, but not quite ready to jump out of an airplane? Indoor skydiving is the perfect date for you. iFLY Orlando offers this unique 2-hour experience on International Drive.
25. Plan an Overnight staycation
Extend your I-Drive date with an overnight stay. A few of our top picks on I-Drive include Hilton Orlando (unwind in the lazy river and with a spa treatment), Rosen Shingle Creek, Avanti Resorts, Hyatt Regency Orlando, and CoCo Key Hotel & Water Resort. Hilton Orlando is currently offering a fun overnight escape room experience in which the entire resort has been transformed into an escape room. Here's the experience description: “From moment of check-in, you are thrusted into the inner workings of a global spy operation, and we have it on good authority that the Head Spy has set up her lair at Hilton Orlando.”
26. Break out of an Escape Room together
Speaking of escape rooms…there are several notable ones along I-Drive including Escapology, America's Escape Game, and The Escape Game Orlando. Put your problem solving skills to the test and enhance your bond.
27. Savor something sweet
Try a dessert-only date night for a fun twist on your usual routine. Over the top desserts on I-Drive include the chocolate piñata at Uncle Julio's and pretty much everything on the menu at Sugar Factory. Find more ideas here.
28. Attend special events
29. Take advantage of Florida resident deals
Locals in the know can take advantage of Florida resident deals at I-Drive hotels, attractions and restaurants. A few of our favorites are discounted dining at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, the Florida Freeze package at ICEBAR, and 20% off at Discovery Cove.
30. Play Mini Golf
When we asked our readers about their favorite first date, several recalled a memorable first date outing at Pirate's Cove mini golf on I-Drive. It's one of my favorite mini golf courses in Orlando, with a fun theme and challenging holes. In fact, you'll find most of Orlando's best mini golf courses along I-Drive, including a glow in the dark course.
31. Go indoor go karting
Several indoor go-kart racing options are available to Orlando locals including K1 Speed and Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, which has an arcade bar, ropes/zipline course, laser tag, bowling and more in addition to karting.
32. Have your own bowling tournament
Enjoy a little friendly competition with your own bowling tournament. You can reserve a lane at King's Dining and Entertainment or Main Event Entertainment, which both have bowling alleys. This would also be a fun idea for a double date night.
33. Sip craft brews at a sci-fi themed bar
Vault 5421 is a small themed bar located within the local comic book store Gods & Monsters. This in-house lounge has a nice drink menu and a delightfully nerdy atmosphere.
34. Practice your swing at Topgolf
Golf lovers will want to check out Topgolf, a sprawling, multi-level 65,000 square foot golf entertainment complex located near I-Drive. The Orlando location features Toptracer technology, creating an instant playback of your golf ball hit. Each hitting bay is climate-controlled, so no need to wait for cooler temperatures. Go on a Tuesday for half-priced game play.
35. Hitch a ride on the I-Drive Trolley
Did you know there's a trolley that runs along I-Drive, stopping at all of the best attractions? The I-RIDE Trolley makes 30+ stops and a day pass is just $5/person. Park the car at a free garage and then hop on the trolley to explore the full district at your leisure.
36. Stroll through a quirky museum
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is known as the weirdest place in Orlando, highlighting unusual relics and rare treasures throughout 16 galleries. And you can't miss I-Drive's iconic upside down building–aka WonderWorks–where you can immerse yourself in mind-bending experiences. It's like an amusement park for your brain. Museum of Illusions is another oddball spot to explore with a childlike sense of wonder.
37. Enjoy a spa day together
Here are a few International Drive spas with special treatment options just for couples:
- eforea spa at Hilton Orlando
- Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
- The Spa at Shingle Creek
- The Spa at Rosen Centre
38. Play glow in the dark mini golf
Putting Edge has a fun glow in the dark mini golf course. While it may be a bit cheesy, the course is surprisingly challenging and a fun way to pass an hour. It's also a unique activity for a rainy day, or for escaping steamy summer temperatures.
39. Wander through SEA Life Aquarium
Located in the same complex as The Wheel, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium is surprisingly enjoyable and larger in size than it appears from the outside. Walk through an ocean tunnel, spot sharks and sea turtles, and more.
40. Spend the day at a theme park
Universal Studios Orlando, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, Aquatica Orlando all call the I-Drive district home. Splurge on tickets to experience the magic of one (or several) of the area theme parks. Pro tip: If you're visiting CityWalk, you can utilize the free water taxi to visit some of the theme park hotels, too.
41. Snap silly selfies at Museum of Illusions
Wander through this mind-bending museum for an assortment of quirky photo-ops. Interact with optical illusions, explore playful exhibits, and expand your perception. This is a great spot to bring along the kids, too!
42. Have a diner date
Fill up on diner food for a nostalgic date. A few of our favorite options on I-Drive include B-Line Diner at Hyatt Regency Orlando and @ The Diner, the latter of which has some seriously decadent breakfast options like Nutella and strawberry stuffed French toast.
43. Splash around a water park
Where to go when you need to beat the summer heat? Head to one of I-Drive's numerous water parks. Splash your way around CoCo Key, Aquatica Orlando, and Volcano Bay.
44. Explore Dezerland Park
We still mourn the loss of Artegon Marketplace. But the space has transformed into Dezerland Park, a huge indoor space with go-karting, bowling, arcade games, axe throwing, and glow-in-the-dark putt putt at Putting Edge.
45. Check out dinner + a show
Sure, they can get a little cheesy at times, but dinner shows are such a fun date night idea! Check out Teatro Martini, a dinner show that's adults-only. Or, test your detective skills as you laugh your way through the murderous dinner show at Sleuths. There's also a special cocktail party + dinner gala at the Titanic Artifact Museum, Velvet Sessions (complete with cocktails and light bites) at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando, and comedy shows at Improv Orlando.
46. Experience new attractions
Head to Universal to check out the brand new Jurassic World VelociCoaster, or save the date for the debut of SeaWorld Orlando's new Ice Breaker coaster which is scheduled to open later in 2021. At ICON Park, 2021 welcomes to arrival of two new attractions: the 430-foot tall ICON Park Drop Tower and the 450-foot tall ICON Park Slingshot.
47. Step into the Titanic
Visit the Promenade Deck, walk down the Grand Staircase and more at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. This I-Drive attraction features 300+ artifacts, room recreations, guided tours and more. For an extra immersive experience, get tickets to the dinner gala on Friday and Saturday nights including a multi-course meal, cocktail party and historical reenactments.
48. Take a helicopter tour
While not located directly on I-Drive, MaxFlight offers helicopter tours which will take you on a flight over area theme parks and I-Drive attractions, including The Wheel. Schedule a sunset, nighttime, or theme park fireworks tour for a more romantic experience.
49. Shop 'til you drop at the outlet malls
Shop for some spiffy new date night digs at Orlando International Premium Outlets and Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, both located on International Drive. The I-Ride Trolley also makes stops at both destinations if you don't want to deal with trying to score a good parking spot at the outlets.
50. Relax on the lawn at ICON Park
Looking for a budget-friendly idea? Bring along your favorite book, grab an ice cream (from nearby Shack Shake or Ben & Jerry's) and get some Vitamin D while relaxing on the lawn at ICON Park. The Wheel is the perfect backdrop for a couples selfie.
Feature image credit: Pointe Orlando