As the cold winter months begin to roll around, college students know what season it is. Yes, it's winter, but it's cuffing season. FYI--cuffing season is a time period from October to March when more people desire to be tied down in a serious relationship. Though the idea of getting into a relationship may be scary enough for some, where to take your potential mate may even be scarier. Below, I've listed some of the best first-date spots in and around downtown Schenectady for these coming months.

Happy Cappuccino

The easiest place for a first date is a coffee shop. Sure, it's cliche, but we're college students; it's cheap, easy, and let's be honest, we probably all need coffee. Happy Cappuccino, located on Jay Street, is the perfect spot for a date, whether the person you're going out with is brand new to you, or you've known throughout all of college. With excellent coffees, teas, lattes, and baked goods to choose from, Happy Cappuccino offers enough variety for any student balling on a budget, and offers an atmosphere that isn't too crazy, but also isn't too serious.

Located at 185 Jay St, Schenectady, NY 12305

Samantha Epstein

Schenectady Greenmarket

As opposed to the other options presented, you can only go  here once a week, as it only operates on Sunday. The Greenmarket is staple of many Union College students' weekend plans, open from 10AM to 2PM on Sundays. The Greenmarket operates out of two locations. In warmer months (May-October), the Greenmarket takes place on and around Jay Street; in colder months, (November-April), the Greenmarket can be found inside Proctor's. No matter the season, this spot is great location for a first date with a potential suitor (or just yourself if you're hungry). Vendors typically return from week to week, but amongst the many tables, you can find pre-prepared foods, dips, breads, spreads, fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, and more, as well as an array of foods from restaurants in the downtown area. If sitting down for date isn't your thing, the Greenmarket is a great solution, allowing you two to have one-on-one time, but also be in a public space. 

Located at 105 Jay St, Schenectady, NY 12305 or at 432 State St, Schenectady, NY 12305

Bowtie Cinemas

I know--it's basic. This classic date must not be forgotten in an era of Netflix and Hulu. It's plenty easy to stream a movie in your common room, but what's romantic about that? Luckily for Union College students, we have a movie theater within a ten-minute walk from our campus. What's even better? You can get five dollar movie tickets on our campus (hit up Student Activities)! If you're like me, and hate social interaction, a movie is a great choice for a first date; you don't have to talk! I know, that is not the point of a date, but for some of us more socially anxious people, sitting next to someone and sharing a popcorn puts us out of our comfort zone, and may allow your boundaries to break down a little. On the other hand, you should never forget the cliche of kissing in the back of a movie theater; that's always an option. So yes, this date may include the least interaction, but for some people, it could be the start of a great relationship.

Located at 400 State St, Schenectady, NY 12305

MORE Perreca's 

This list wouldn't be complete without a brunch spot. Though we have a plethora of brunch options around campus, the classiest for a first date would, of course, be Perreca's. Located in Little Italy, Perreca's offers a variety of different options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the first two is where they really shine. I wouldn't say you should judge your date based off what they order, but you might be able to tell a little bit about them based off if they ordered a basic omelette or Eggs in Purgatory (you also may not be able to tell). The only downside? Perreca's typically gets quite busy on weekends, though, so plan ahead for your date.

Located at 31 N Jay St, Schenectady, NY 12305

The Whistling Kettle

The newest option on this list, The Whistling Kettle is a cross between Happy Cappuccino and Perreca's. Offering lighter fare, like salads, sandwiches, and crepes, The Whistling Kettle is best known for their wide variety of teas. You could really go two different ways here for a date. For one, you could just do some tea and a light snack; on the other hand, you could have a full-on, London-esque High Tea experience (finger sandwiches and all). Of course, the latter is a more expensive option, but if you really want to blow your date away, this spot is perfect for you.

Located at 138 Jay St, Schenectady, NY 12305


Last but not least, the classic date spot of Schenectady: Johnny's. Located in the heart of downtown Schenectady, this list would not be complete without the perfect spot for Italian. Johnny's is the epitome of a stereotypical first date: great food, great atmosphere. And hey, if the date is going well, you can always order Spaghetti and Meatballs, and experience the classic Lady and the Tramp moment.

Located at 433 State St, Schenectady, NY 12305

Many of these options can be combined with each other, as well as with other spots not listed around the town (bowling, roller-skating). I will recommend, however, that you avoid spots on campus for your first date; as much as you might like to workout, the gym is not going to be the spot for you to make your best first impression.

So, go on, venture out into Schenectady, and if you wind up finding "the one," give me credit.