Searcy, Ark. – For those couples seeking the perfect date night, you don’t have to travel far. Searcy is full of hidden gems that make staying in town a blast. So whether you’re looking for a delicious meal, an easy night, or a little adventure, enjoy each other’s company with the help of one — or more — of these local date night ideas.

Grab a Cup of Joe

If conversation and coffee is your idea of a perfect date, you’re sure to find the right cup and the right atmosphere at one of Searcy’s local java joints.

For those that enjoy a “college crowd,” grab a table at Midnight Oil. Their house-made drinks all start with RoZark Hills Coffee from Rosebud, Arkansas. If you’d like a bite while there they offer unique sandwich options, or split one of their incredible sweet treats. Once you have your drink, grab a table inside and share a great conversation while admiring the artistic works of local artists that adorn the walls. Or if the weather is nice, try their spacious outdoor patio. Midnight Oil even hosts favorite local artists on their outdoor stage throughout the year. Take a look at their Facebook page for performance dates and times.

Photo by Nicole Swann

If you’re looking for an even smaller, more intimate setting, try Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. Slader’s has expanded their coffee menu from just drip, to more adventurous espresso drinks, cold brews, teas, and more. Their new signature drinks are made from ingredients inspired by, or sourced straight from Alaska! If you like coffee with your dinner, try their signature dumplings in one of three flavors– chicken, beef and potato.

Midnight Oil – 801 E. Race Ave.
Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Co. – 301 E. Center Ave.

Stroll around Art Alley

If a casual stroll is more your style, then get your cup of coffee to-go and head downtown to one of Searcy’s newest attractions; Art Alley. The one-block walk on the West side of downtown is full of works from local artists. Admire and pose for pictures in front of Searcy’s best street art, you may even catch an artist working on their latest masterpiece. One trip won’t be enough as new paintings are going up all the time.

Photo by Ashel Photography

Art Alley is just one spot downtown where you can see the arts’ explosion that has overtaken Searcy. We have them all listed on our mural map.

Art Alley – 300 E Race Ave

Chow down on some Mexican Food

Is Mexican food on the agenda for your special evening? With so many options in Searcy, it can be hard to know which one to choose.

We suggest starting with one of the more authentic restaurantes; El Paraiso Acapulco.

Everything on the menu is delicious; from classic Mexican dishes like Chile Verde, Fajitas, or Enchiladas, to the best refried-beans you’ve ever had. There is no way you can go wrong. If you’re looking for an inexpensive mid-week date idea, stop by on Tuesdays or Thursdays for $1 tacos.

If you and your date are in the mood for more of an upscale dining experience, with some of the more unique Mexican dishes in town, then head over to El Almacen, or “The Warehouse.” Try the Mole Poblano or the Chile Rellenos dinner, two meals that will leave your taste buds dancing. The Warehouse is one of the only places in White County to enjoy a Margarita if you’re eligible.

El Paraiso Acapulco – 1404 E Race Ave
El Almacen The Warehouse – 1805 E Race Ave

Go Italian

Photo by Nicole Swann

If you’re in the mood for a taste of Italy, then you’ll want to head to Searcy’s locally owned restaurant Venezia’s Italian Grill for a romantic night. Enjoy classic baked manicotti or a chicken marsala, or share some exceptional spaghetti “Lady and the Tramp” style. From their warm service to the outstanding food, your night out will not disappoint.

Venezia’s Italian Grill – 2841 E Race Ave.

Catch a local show

If supporting local plays is your idea of a perfect date night, then head over to Center on the Square. Voted one of the top five for best live theater in Arkansas, Center on the Square features local actors and directors performing some of the most well-known plays and musicals, with names like “On GoldenPond,” “Mary Poppins,” “A Christmas Carol,” and “The Secret Garden.” Come hungry and enjoy the dinner theatre option. Be ready for a dramatic night at Center On the Square. 

Another great performing arts option in town is Harding University’s theatre program. Performances are held throughout the year and vary greatly; from the annual homecoming play in October — which has featured performances of “Matilda” and “Big Fish” — to the famous Spring Sing held every Easter weekend which features different clubs performing a short musical production. Check out showtimes from their box office for their smaller productions in the Ulrey Performing Arts Center and check out the full calendar for everything going on.

Center on the Square – 219 W Arch.
Harding University – 915 E Market Ave.

Catch a Movie

Photo by Al Fowler

Nothing says “classic American date night” more than dinner and a movie. With two theatres in town, you can find the right post-meal screening for you.

We suggest heading over to the historic Rialto theatre where you can catch a recent release at a reduced price, in a venue with a LOT of history. The Rialto is located downtown which makes for a pleasant post-movie stroll. Time it right and go at night to snap the perfect selfie in front of the theatre’s bright lights. Check out the Rialto website to see the latest showtimes and coming attractions.

If you want to catch one of the newest releases, head over to Searcy Cinema. The recent addition of recliner seats will make your cinematic experience feel more like a home movie night. Their well-stocked snack bar will keep you fed, and quenched, throughout the film.

Rialto Theatre – 100 W Race Ave.
Searcy Cinema  – 2933 E Race Ave #4805

Park It

Get outside on a nice day and enjoy all the Searcy’s parks. If you want to stay in town then take a walk around Spring Park. It offers a great walking trail, playsets for the kids, and gorgeous flowers that blossom in the spring. Plus, it’s a short trek downtown for lunch or dinner before or after!

Searcy’s other in-town park is Berryhill, which is great for active couples. Grab your tennis racquet and hit the courts! Strap on your tennis shoes and take a jog on the walking trails or pedal the scenic bike trail that runs right next to Gin Creek.

A stroll around Harding University’s campus makes for an easy date night. You might even catch yourself following the Harding tradition of three-swings and a ring by catching your breath on one of the many white wooden swings around the front lawn. Check out their famous Christmas lights display in December with more than one million Christmas lights lit to turn the front lawn into a winter wonderland.

If you want to get more into nature, then head about 5 minutes outside of downtown to Riverside Park. Explore the various nature trails that look out onto the Little Red River. Pack a picnic and make it a full day of taking in the scenery of our Natural State.

Spring Park – 113 East Pleasure Ave.
BerryHill Park – 501 Davis Dr.
Harding University – 915 E Market Ave.
Riverside Park – 160 Riverside Park Rd

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

Skip dinner and go straight to dessert with a sweet scoop from a local ice creamery.

We suggest starting with Soda Jerk; an old-timey ice cream and soda shop! They offer a variety of creative flavors as well as different ice cream creations made with the local, flavorful Little Rock brand, Loblolly. Try their cold brew ice cream floats with coffee from Midnight Oil cold brew, or try a scoop on their made-in-house waffle cones. They also make their own sodas if ice cream is not your first pick. Soda Jerk is seasonal, so follow their social media to check out their hours and their flash opening in the winter for a spontaneous date.

Photo by Mat Faulkner

Another great “sweet” stop in town is Cream and Sugar. They’ve got something for everyone, from shaved ice, Fro-Yo, coffee drinks, and sundaes, to macaroons and baked goods. This one-stop-shop for all things sweet is ideal for any sweet-tooth themed night out with your sweetie.

Soda Jerk – 129 E Center Ave
Cream and Sugar  – 3530 E. Race Ave.

Solve the Puzzle 

Up for a challenge and want to really get to know your date, then head over to Hourglass Escape Room! See what it takes to escape one of their three interactive escape rooms, like Alcatraz, Asculumn, and Wonderland. You’ve got just 60 minutes to complete the challenge. The Hourglass Escape room is sure to bring you closer together, whether you escape in time or not!

Escape Room – 1308 East Race Ave.

Get Creative

Photo courtesy AJ’s Art Studio

Get in touch with your creative side and head over to one of Searcy’s many creative classes in Downtown’s Art District.

Whispering Wood Studios is perfect for the ideal one-night class. You take part in one of the many different DIY wood workshop classes and create beautiful decorative pieces. They provide the wood and supplies, all you need is your date!

If painting is more your thing, try out AJ’s Art Studio. With different classes featuring watercolors, acrylics, pastels, pencils, recycled material, and more, you’re sure to find the perfect medium for you and your significant other. Check out their website for more information on classes.

There are so many creative workshop places here in Searcy, so check them all out and decide for yourself your favorite.

Whispering Woods Studio-117 N Spring St.
AJ Art Studio- 213 W Arch Ave.