Located about 20 miles south of Downtown Orlando, Lake Nona offers plenty of date night options for couples of all interests. Lake Nona first made a name for itself as home to some of Orlando’s top medical facilities and several University of Central Florida programs. With creative dining, recreational fun, a focus on fitness, and outdoor art installations, there are plenty of things to do in Lake NOna.
Here are four date ideas in Lake Nona:
1. For the foodie couple…
Brunch at Canvas Restaurant & Market
Situated in the Laureate Park Village Center of Lake Nona, the funky interior of Canvas includes floor-to-ceiling windows framing beautiful waterfront views. However, the outside patio seating is most satisfying! With a menu blending Southern and Latin flavors, you’ll relish the fresh fare at both lunch and dinner time, but this spot also dominates as a brunch date destination.
The menu includes Tiramisu French Toast topped with coffee sauce, chocolate crumble and mascarpone cream; Chilaquiles served with pork belly, roasted poblano peppers, corn tortillas, salsa roja, Cotija cheese and avocado; and the Canvas Benedict complete with housemade Canadian bacon, oven-dried tomato, a poached egg, a warm einkorn biscuit and jalapeño hollandaise. Opt for a classic mimosa or bellini, or mix it up with a Frose (rosé wine, Absolut Vodka, frosé mix) or a Strawberry Rhubarb Mule (mint, housemade strawberry-rhubarb jam, fever-tree ginger beer and Reyka Vodka).
With your bellies full, head back inside to shop the Canvas Market, a boutique space filled with local goods.
Lunch at Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen
With ambiance as delicious as the menu and the creative choices whipped up by Executive Chef Jason Bergeron, Chroma takes the cake for date night. Choose between small plates – aka date night sharables – or complete entrees while seated at a table or cozy booth. Try the Guava and Goat Cheese Flatbread topped with speck ham, marcona almonds and red sorrel; Florida Coastal Shrimp made with cilantro and chipotle-buttermilk sauce; or the Roasted Bone Marrow served with rustic bread and mustard vinaigrette.
Compliment your meal with wines-on-tap, local draft beers or housemade cocktails, or non-alcoholic hand-crafted sodas, infused lemonades and teas. Ask the bartender to mix you a Blackberry and Bubbles (lemon, Giffard Orgeat almond syrup, blackberry, Reyka Vodka, served carbonated in a bottle) or the Garden Rita (mini bell pepper, cilantro, cucumber, lemon, Cointreau Liqueur and Roca Patrón Silver Tequila).
Dinner at BACÁN at Lake Nona Wave Hotel
This Michelin recommended dining experience is undoubtedly elevated. BACÁN is the signature restaurant at the modern, artistic Lake Nona Wave Hotel.
Start off the evening with the Lobster and Burrata Tostadas. A perfect plate for sharing. Two blue corn tostada are stacked with lobster meat chunks, pickled tomato, burrata, herbs crema, and toasted pepita. Pair it with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
Or, for something stronger, order the Don Juan cocktail made with Four Roses Small Batch, Tippler’s Orange, 18.21 Havana & Hide. It is smoked tableside.
For the main course, the Crispy Whole Florida Snapper is made for sharing and is perfect for adventurous foodies.The Branzino A La Plancha with pea and mint, wild rice, preserved lemon, and crispy purple kale or the Duck Breast.
After dinner stroll the gorgeous sculpture garden before heading to Haven Lounge on the second floor for incredible craft cocktails and perhaps some dessert.
READ MORE: A Culinary Map of Lake Nona Restaurants
2. For the sporty couple…
Now home to the United States Tennis Association, Lake Nona is earning ranks as a sports performance area. However, the best facility for a sporty date night is Drive Shack. There is so much fun to be had in this hotspot, even if golf is not your preferred pastime. Drive Shack has 90 hitting bays with a 220-yard range and a Free Play Game Lounge with classic games like shuffleboard, skee-ball and Pac-Man.
Recharge at the full-service restaurant and bar, or take a seat in the outdoor lounge. In honor of Orlando’s dearly departed Arnold Palmer, sip on the Peachy Palmer made with Jameson Whiskey, lemonade, iced tea and a peach-flavored sweetener. Keep the golf theme going as you snack on a Bucket of Balls (meatballs) or your choice of American cuisines like sandwiches, burgers, wings and flatbreads. Drive Shack also serves brunch.
Yoga Nona at Crescent Park
Wanna stretch beyond your standard date limits? Headed to Crescent Park in Laureate Park to practice outdoor yoga on the lawn. This weekly yoga class, held on Saturdays at 9am, is community-oriented, free and open to all skill levels. Just bring water, yoga mats, towels and your mindful intentions.
Suit up for adventure with an open-water inflatable water park, wakeboard and water skiing course, outdoor climbing tower, bistro and more. You can spend a whole day at Nona Adventure Park, or select one or two experiences that appeal to you the most. This outdoor activity does require some advance planning, so check out our Lake Nona Adventure Park guide.
Whether you consider yourself to be a budding tennis star or you haven't picked up a tennis racket in many years, consider heading to the USTA National Campus. It is quite an honor that the USTA National Campus is located in Lake Nona. It would be a shame to miss out on visiting the campus.
And one of the best ways to experience the campus is with a private lesson. Even if you're not all that serious about tennis, it is a fun, unique experience.
3. For the cultured couple…
Art After Dark
Art After Dark is set up between Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen and Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine every Friday night from 6-9pm at the Lake Nona Town Center. It’s all about music, special exhibitions, art displays and adult beverages.
Lake Nona Sculpture Garden
Adjacent to Lake Nona Wave Hotel, the Sculpture Garden is a 50,000 square-foot outdoor space. This distinguished selection of sculptures is open to everyone, for free. Browse works of art from one of the world’s largest private art collections, The Lewis Collection.
Verdant palms and fragrant flowers surround meandering walking paths through the garden. Sculptures from acclaimed artists such as Fernando Botero, Philip Jackson, Henry Moore, and Enzo Plazzotta are found throughout the garden.
4. For a casual date…
Cars & Coffee
Maybe you’re all amped up from binge-watching the Fast and the Furious franchise… well, you’re in luck. Cars & Coffee is held on first Saturday of every month from 8-11am and features exotics, euros, domestics, imports and classic cars. Even better – add this to your “do good date night” efforts because donations benefit Nemours Children’s Hospital.
This casual destination is massively popular thanks to the variety it offers. This venue is one of the best spots for outdoor dining in Orlando. This shipping container food truck park and entertainment venue hosts fun events on a regular basis. It's even fun just to pop in for some soft serve ice cream for a few bucks. Hang out and enjoy the music or watch the beach volleyball players.
It's also one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in Orlando thanks to a shaded playground in the back. Boxi Park is the perfect encapsulation of what makes Lake Nona such a fun destination in Orlando.
Feature image credit: Art After Dark Lake Nona