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.
Updated June 2022 by Dani Meyering
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. Most happy hours are on weekdays, but a few are offered daily.
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 for half off
- 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
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 4-6pm; $1 OFF Domestic Drafts, $3 Pink Whitney, $3 Fireball, $3 House Wine, plus Saturday: Bottomless Mimosas's 12pm to 3pm, Sunday: Happy Hour 7pm to 10pm (excludes food)
- 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
Happy hours elsewhere on I-Drive:
- 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 rotating specials
- Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant: Monday-Friday 2-5pm; $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 sparkling outdoor pool) and Hyatt Regency Orlando. Both are also convenient to the Orange County Convention Center.
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 is great for dining plus offers 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 Viva la Noche Saturdays with Live Remote on La Rumba 100.3 hosted by Gaby Calderon. 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 top notch 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. Orlando's International Drive is home to 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.
And Volcano Hot Pot & BBQ just opened on International Drive, one of the many great Korean BBQ restaurants in Orlando.
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 Orlando 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.
Don't go before you read our Orlando Beer Spa review and tips.
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. Flamenco Show
Tapa Toro's flamenco show is not to be missed. The nightly flamenco performance begin at 7pm and 9pm sharp and last about approximately 20 minutes. Priority seating is given to those booking a reservation ahead of time.
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. 2022 dates and info coming soon.
13. Visit a chocolate museum
Because one isn't enough, there are TWO chocolate museum experiences on Chocolate Kingdom and The Chocolate Museum. Both offer guided chocolate tours, but we love The Chocolate Museum's wine & chocolate pairing, which includes museum admission for $29.90.
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. Dress up nice and raise a glass to living where people vacation.
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
- 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 $29/person
17. Get your game on
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.
Plus, Orlando Brewing will be relocating to North International Drive soon!
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 awesome 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 America 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.
26. Break out of an Escape Room together
Escape rooms seem to be everywhere, 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 at one of the many escape rooms in Orlando.
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.
28. Attend special events
Comedy acts, big name and tribute concerts, conventions, theme park festivals, holiday happenings and more are all part of the event lineup in the I-Drive district. See what's on the events calendar.
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. Museum of Illusions is another oddball spot to explore with a childlike sense of wonder. And don't forget the world famous Madame Tussauds Orlando – where you can get up close and personal with the hottest celebs! 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 the perfect spot for your next date night!
WonderWorks “amusement park for the mind” offers three floors of hands-on attractions and exhibits to let your imagination run wild. Thrill-seekers will flip for the Astronaut Training Gyroscope, adrenaline junkies will be challenged on the three-story ropes course, and couples can compete against each other in a suspenseful game of laser tag. Make it the perfect night on the town with a stop at the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner – Orlando’s longest-running dinner show! Filled with food, funnies and feel-good times, guests can expect to be impressed by this interactive, entertaining, and hilariously funny show where magic meets comedy. Share a toast with your partner with unlimited beer and wine to a night you won't soon forget. Enjoy unlimited pizza and salad for dinner and a delicious dessert to wrap up the evening. Magician Tony Brent is sure to provide an experience filled with non-stop laughter, audience participation, and wonderment. Catch one of the summer shows, running every day at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.
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 Orlando, Islands of Adventure, 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 SeaWorld Orlando's new Ice Breaker coaster.
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. Walt Disney World can be seen in the distance too. 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 and get some Vitamin D while relaxing on the lawn at ICON Park. The Wheel is the perfect backdrop for a couple's selfie. Parking is free!
Feature image credit: Pointe Orlando