Great Dates: Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
As a couples counselor serving families in Houston, I believe strongly in the healing powers of a great date. Regularly scheduling time to have a good day with your partner can deepen your connection: By prioritizing shared positive experiences, you show each other just how much you value your relationship. Dates provide prime time and space to talk about life's stresses, have fun together, and get to know each other better.
Throughout this Great Houston Dates blog series, I'll be doing the leg work for you by providing a suggested itinerary for a neighborhood-specific date with your partner or spouse. If you want to follow along or read other entries in this series, click on the Great Houston Dates tag at the end of this entry. I don't have financial ties to any of the places I mention in this series; I'm just a local couples counselor passionate about helping fellow Houstonians have great relationships.
The neighborhood affectionately known as GO/OF, short for Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, is known for being a laid back, family-friendly place just north of the loop. Don't let it's "outer loop" location fool you though--this neighborhood is growing and gaining more exciting restaurants, bars, and activities all the time. In GO/OF, you and your partner can enjoy a relaxed day together away from the hustle and bustle of the central core of the city.
Start your date by grabbing a spot at Slowpokes, a highly rated and easy-going coffee shop just off 34th. Like the name suggests, Slowpokes is a great spot to slow down and enjoy time together with the one you love. Use this time to really talk to one another about topics other than meal-planning, childcare, and coordinating your calendars. The Gottman Institute offers a free app with great conversation starters for couples to help you have deeper and more meaning conversations as your day begins.
After coffee and conversation, grab your tennis shoes for a playful afternoon outdoors. Nearby T.C. Jester Park offers all sorts of activities for a relaxing and fun date. The two of you can try something new at the park's 21-hole disc golf course. If you are looking for something more active, the two of you can bike or hike together on the many trails along the bayou. Hold hands and take a slow, conversation-filled stroll underneath the trees. Take your time; remember that today is about being together and trying new things, not marking items off a to-do list.
Once you start to get hungry, GO/OF has so many options for a relaxed but delicious meal together. Local faves include Vietnamese comfort-food staple Les Ba'Get. You can't go wrong with the vermicelli bowls or pho! For something more unique but still delicious, head over to Govinda's for some yummy vegetarian Indian food. Located on the grounds of the ISCKON Temple, you can eat a plant-based, healthy meal after a day outside together.
If you aren't ready for your night together to end, GO/OF boasts several excellent bars with patios for relaxing conversation. At either Cottonwood or Walking Stick Brewery, the two of you can grab a beer and an adirondack chair. You can watch a game, play cornhole, or just chill out together around a fire pit and reflect on your day together.
Keep dating! Dating is such a wonderful investment in your relationship and provides such great moments of fun and connection. Check back here in the weeks to come for more date ideas around additional Houston neighborhoods.