13 Romantic Estes Park date ideas

Estes Park is the perfect place for a romantic date or getaway, and I’ve got some lovely ideas to make your getaway here even more memorable.

It’s no wonder visitors travel from all over the world to see the scenery and wildlife here. The downtown area is filled with quaint looking specialty shops, the area is surrounded by National Park and National Forest areas for outdoor recreation. So if you’re looking for a romantic spot for you and your significant other, book some flights to Denver and come on up!

My husband and I have lived (and dated) here in Estes Park, Colorado for the last 8+ years. Over this time we’ve acquired so many favorite dates. My wish for you is that one of these ideas inspires your own romantic date in Estes Park. And once you’ve had said date, come back to share what a wonderful time you had.. Please?

Let’s get into it.

1. Watch a movie at the historic theater then take a romantic stroll downtown to window shop

The downtown area of Estes Park is so dang cute with their speciality shops. There’s old time photos, taffy shops, chocolate shops, and the oldest running movie theater in the U.S.! Park downtown (there’s free parking at the visitor center!), and enjoy a show at the oldest operating cinema in the country! Then walk the downtown area picking out deserts, or window shopping. My husband and I play the game where we pick one favorite item from each window.

Couple under the sparkling lights in downtown Estes Park on a date night

2. Schedule a star viewing at the Estes Park Observatory and follow it up with a dinner reservation at Seasoned

Reservations fill up far in advance for the Estes Park Observatory, but if you’re lucky enough to get in, you can have a free tour and do some stargazing from their dome! I found it to be an incredibly cool and educational experience and left feeling so small (in the best way). Afterward, make a dinner reservation at nearby Seasoned and enjoy being wined and dined in their intimate restaurant.

3. A Summer evening stroll around Lily Lake, followed by cocktails and dinner at Seven Keys Lodge

Sit on the deck of Seven Keys Lodge and enjoy a cocktail before heading inside for your dinner reservation. This is a great spot to meet locals, make friends, and be surrounded by amazing history and stories of the lodge itself. Don’t forget to say hello to the 3 highland cows that live there! If you’re lucky, you might even enjoy some live music there.

A favorite date idea in Estes Park is going to this old lodge on the top of the hill called Seven Keys

4. Request a private event of crafting, wine tasting, or cocktail making at the Bear & Bee

Bear & Bee is a relatively new shop with a great indoor maker space. Reserve a spot in one of their adult creative events, or request a private event! Follow that up with dinner (or a movie next door!).

5. Rent a beautiful space through VRBO and hire a private chef to prepare a special meal for you on the patio

Eating out is fun and all, but if you’re looking for a more private experience, hire a local chef to come to you! They can prepare a meal for you in your favorite space and cater the experience to your taste. I highly recommend Un’i Personal Chef or Sunrise Chefs. This would also be a great surprise for your significant other!

6. Reserve a suite at the Della Terra Mountain Chateau and pamper yourself in the spa

Looking for a luxurious mountain stay? Check out the Della Terra. It’s a beautiful wedding venue too, so if you’re in the market be sure to request a tour!

7. Drive up to Trail Ridge Road to stargaze

During the summer months, Trail Ridge Road makes for a great place to stargaze. We love driving up as high as we can, especially when there’s a meteor shower. Time it right with a new moon and prepare to be amazed.

This road closes during the “winter” months (usually mid-October through May), so check the status before you head up! Both Many Parks Curve Overlook and Rainbow Curve have large parking areas for you to pull off and enjoy the night sky.

Check the road status here: 970-586-1222

Silhouette of couple standing in front of the brilliant milky way on a romantic date in Estes Park

8. Grab pizza to go from Antonio’s and picnic at Lake Estes

It’s the best pizza in town… or maybe even all of Colorado?! Try it for yourself.

We love grabbing pizza and salads here to go and taking them down to the shore of Lake Estes (there are some great spots at the marina nearby!), spreading out a blanket, and enjoying food with a view. Bonus points if you pick up a board game ahead of time and surprise your partner with it.

9. Private horseback ride at Elkhorn Stables

Located at The Dao House, Elkhorn stables is our favorite horseback riding outfitter around. Request a private trail ride and enjoy sweeping views of Rocky Mountain National Park. Pssst! This would make for an amazing surprise proposal experience (don’t forget to hire a photographer).

See more photos from a ride with Elkhorn Stables here.

Horseback riding at Elkhorn Stables and The Dao House wedding venue in Estes Park

10. Coffee date and people watching at Inkwell & Brew

Inkwell & Brew is one of my very favorite coffee shops in town! They have a cozy lounge upstairs, and a lovely outdoor patio along the river walk. It’s a great spot for people watching or taking a stroll. While you’re there, be sure to check out their shop downstairs for journals, cards, and lots of gift items. If you’re looking to coffee shop hop, wander a little further from here to another favorite, Kind Coffee.

11. Request a window seat and dine at Twin Owls Steakhouse during sunset

Located inside Taharaa Mountain Lodge is a lovely restaurant called Twin Owls Steakhouse. The lodge and restaurant sit high on a hill overlooking much of Estes Valley with views of the Rocky Mountains. This would be a particularly romantic dining experience if you request a window seat over the hour of sunset. They also have live music here, as well as a fireplace in the dining room.

12. A scenic drive through Rocky Mountain National Park followed by a cozy dinner at The Rock Inn

Ok, we love “The Rock” too. The restaurant is located near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Here you’ll find both indoor and outdoor seating, and live music every evening. It’s the ultimate cozy restaurant here in Estes Park, with great food!

They do not take reservations, but you can call ahead and get your name on the waitlist (if there is one) when you’re on your way.

Elk looking majestic on top of Trail Ridge Road

13. Hire a photographer to take portraits of you on vacation

So many of these Estes Park romantic date ideas would also make for great photo opportunities. Whether inside your cozy cabin in the mountains, or out exploring nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. There are so many opportunities for a romantic portraits of you and your significant other. And hey, I can help you with this one! Read more about my couple portrait sessions here.

Couple snuggling with their dog during a portrait photography session

Looking to hire a photographer to capture your Estes Park experience?

I’d be so excited to document you having the time of your life. Let’s see if we’re a good fit!

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