If you've ever imagined your Ultimate Dream Makeout, chances are you've pictured it someplace like this. What could be sweeter than breathtaking scenery, plenty of stars, soft music drifting in waves from boats cruising the river below and the rhythmic flashing of radio tower lights? Ok, the last one doesn't sound romantic, but we promise it is. Add refreshments and a blanket and you've got a foolproof (free!) date.
A date worth splurging on, Blue Starlite gives you everything you need to create a just-the-two-of-us getaway in the middle of the city. Drive in (tip: borrow a ride with a bench seat) and choose the old-school vintage speakerbox audio, because what's more romantic than nostalgia? Grab one of their s'mores kits, complete with a tiny fire for safe marshmallow roasting, and don't forget to BYOB.
With so many tree-lined paths, tranquil ponds and secluded benches, the Zilker Botanical Garden is a great place to watch a few hours fly by. Take your date on a guided tour or set out on your own, but be sure to end up at the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden's Togetsu-kyo Bridge (literally, "Bridge to Walk Over the Moon") for some, er, sightseeing.
Justine's knows how to set the scene for romance; soft lights, incredible French food and wine and always the perfect soundtrack, housed in a beautifully renovated historic home on the far East Side. Challenge your date to a bocce match -- winner gets to pick the dessert. After such a great date, it'll be hard to resist that end-of-the-night kiss.
When the sun sets, this 13-acre island in the middle of Lady Bird Lake transforms from a dog park to a secluded spot with a fantastic view of the city skyline. Bonus points if you manage to incorporate a romantic canoe ride into your evening, though there is a car-accessible entrance off Lake Austin Boulevard.
Romance isn't always expensive dinners and million-dollar views. Rio Rita's shadowy interior, lit by vintage lamps casting dim, red-hued light onto satiny sofas, makes it the perfect place to unwind at the end of the night. Try a cocktail with one of their signature infused vodkas -- we recommend The Sal, a mix of strawberry-vanilla vodka, lime juice and ginger ale.
Sure, most bars could serve well enough as a makeout point, but Mugshots offers you and your partner the best opportunities to get some much needed privacy compared to other downtown bars. It lacks the overwhelming crowds of Sixth Street bars and is nice and dark in many of its corners. To get some mementos of a special night, there is also the photo booth sitting there just begging for you and your date to make some unforgettable photos.
South Congress itself has countless prime locations to get to know someone really well. The plethora of outdoor patios and food trailers can provide the perfect opportunity as a buildup to that perfect moment. The best possible place to go for the gold? Try taking a walk across the SoCo bridge over the river and the beautiful romance of Lake Austin and downtown at night are sure ways to help end a lovely evening on a high note.