The best alternatives to Netflix and Chill at UIUC

From what I’ve encountered on Tinder, y’all need this

Because of technology, social media, and especially Tinder, dating has become quite the joke. To many, the word “dating” really just means “Netflix and Chill.” To avoid disappointment and awkward moments, here are some ways to steal the heart of your special someone.

*Disclaimer: I’ve only been on a few of these dates, so your results may vary*

Dinner and dessert

Starting with the date that requires the least amount of effort, dinner or going out for ice cream is a great way to get to know the person that you may have met by swiping right. Whatever you decide to do after dinner and ice cream is up to you, but going out to eat for a date pretty much forces you to talk to each other beforehand. UIUC’s campus has a variety of places to bring your date, from Italian food to sushi. Plus saying you and your date got the same toppings on your Froyo is a way better story to tell your grandkids than that you pretended to watch a movie in your dorm room.

fro yo


Picnics are always romantic, especially at UIUC where there’s grass literally everywhere. And hey, thanks to global warming, spring is now apparently three weeks early, so you can move your picnic plans up. There are a few parks in Urbana that are perfect locations, but the Quad also works. I suggest the more organized of the two plans what to bring so you can avoid the entire plan crumbling completely. Making a playlist ahead of time is also a nice touch. Pro tip: include your date’s favorite foods/snacks, even if you have to lurk their Facebook to figure out what that is.

Curtis Apple Orchard

While winter may not be the best time to go here, September through November or the spring would be the perfect time to check out Curtis Apple Orchard, which is right off campus. Picking apples with someone is a great way to show them how adorably clumsy you are. It’s one of the pricier options, but you’ll have apples for weeks, so that’s a plus. You walk through the gift shop first so don’t be surprised if you end up buying matching souvenirs with bae. Plus, cuddling and drinking hot apple cider in a cozy cafe is way better than sitting on the gross futon in your room.

Apple orchard

Ice Skating

Because we have a skating rink here, public skating is offered throughout the week. Even if you’re not the next Michelle Kwan, you’ll have your date there to catch you before you fall and perpetually embarrass yourself. Or if you do know how to skate, you can pretend that you don’t so your date can hold your hand. Whether it’s your first date your tenth, ice skating is the most romantic-comedy-esque idea you can try.

The Japan House

I just recently heard about the Japan House and upon researching it, I discovered it’s probably one of the most beautiful places on campus. Walking through and admiring the beautiful trees and flowers will probably make just about anyone fall in love with you. There’s multiple gardens to walk through and did I mention it’s free? Who said you can’t be romantic on a budge? The gardens are also still open in the winter, which means even if it snows yet again this is still a great option. Along with walkthroughs of the gardens, there are other equally adorable cultural activities available, such as a tea ceremony.

japan house


And last, but definitely not least, is finding a place on campus and admiring the cosmos out here in Central Illinois. If you find a city guy or gal, such as myself, they’ll be impressed more than the average person considering they’ve probably seen like two stars in their lifetime. I suggest going to the tall stairs by Krannert or the South Quad for the best view. If you really want to impress your date, buy Insomnia Cookies to eat while chillin’ under the stars, because who can say no to cookies? Planning this date on a night with an eclipse or new moon is recommended, but if you plan on taking pictures of the sky, don’t use your shitty iPhone camera.

lunar eclipse

University of Illinois