Oberlin Blogs

Rating Date Spots Around Oberlin: Part One

February 17, 2023

Natalie Frank ’26

Oberlin is one of those places where you can’t find the best dating spots on a Top Ten list. You need to do some research, some fieldwork, and some archival studies. Over the past few months, I’ve gone on dates with friends and people I consider dating. I’ve compiled five of them in this list. At the end of the blog, I list the spots I’ll rank for part two.

Rating System


Who doesn’t think about costs when going on a date? I’m all for the cheapest date possible, but I’ve gone on a variety of dates. Here are the levels of cost:

$$$ - expensive

$$ - reasonable

$ - free/cheap


I’ve done my best to eliminate all bias when rating the quality of the date location. If I rate it low, it does not reflect my date (unless I say it does).

★★★ - highly recommend

★★ - okay

★ - avoid


Allen Memorial Art Museum - $ - ★★★

Allen Memorial Art Museum, art on display

The AMAM is one of the best college art museums in the country. With stunning artworks from Picasso, Monet, Warhol, Dalí, and Renoir, Oberlin’s art museum has a comprehensive and beautiful collection. They have over 15,000 works of art and an exhibit at any given time. To me, this seemed like an obvious date spot.

There were a few things that made this date great. First off, the Allen Memorial Art Museum is free! Need I continue? What’s that? You want to hear about beautiful paintings and peaceful nature? If you’d rather spend a date talking less, this is a fantastic date spot. There’s something meditative about enjoying a piece of art together in perfect silence. 


Tappan Square - $ - ★★

Tappan Square in summer

Tappan Square is a 13-acre green space in the middle of Oberlin between the downtown and the College. Tappan has paved paths, and the park has the Memorial Arch, a bandstand, squirrels, fire pits, painted boulders, tree swings, and benches. It hosts concerts, comedy shows, Shabbat services, and a date for me. Late one night, my date and I walked around in every possible geometric shape we could with the Tappan paths. Tappan is quiet and gives the illusion of privacy, even if people are camping out on a picnic blanket a few feet away from you. I dock a star because there’s only so much you can do in Tappan. If you go, I’d recommend more than a walk. For extra fun, try the following:

  • Hammocking
  • Picnicking
  • Jamming music 
  • Chasing squirrels

The Slow Train Cafe - $$ - ★★★

Cafe register, cafe in the background

The Slow Train is one of Oberlin’s most loved spots on campus. I’ve never been there on a quiet day, and there’s a reason for that. You don’t have to look farther than 55 E College St for cozy couches, local music, baked goods, and the area’s best coffee. This is a fantastic place, especially to start a date. Because of its warm atmosphere and great food, it’s sometimes difficult to find a quiet table. My friends and I often start at Slow Train and migrate around campus. 


The Arboretum - $ - ★★★ 

A wooden bridge surrounded by a forest

Were you looking for a reservoir, beautiful walking paths, bridges, and creeks? Look no further than the Arboretum. This is perfect for a second date when you’re chasing quiet and serenity on a busy Saturday afternoon. I love not having to make eye contact with my date for hours, so walking for an hour or two is a dream. For a fun detour, stop at the lake to skip rocks! Plus, it’s free; just be prepared to muddy your shoes depending on the time of year.


Aladdin’s - $$ - ★★★ 

Various Lebanese cuisine dishes

I went on a shadow tour today and confidently told the visiting parents that one of the best local restaurants to visit at Oberlin was Aladdin’s… to which they reminded me that it is a chain. Nonetheless, this is my favorite restaurant at Oberlin, a Lebanese-American place perfect for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. I’ve taken my family and friends here. Fun activities include: taking pictures of the pita pitzas, loving the hummus, and praising the rolled pitas. I suppose my dates were fine too. (;

Recently, my friend asked me about great date spots around Oberlin. I’ve listed some of my favorites here. Next week, I’ll write about more of them, even if that means chasing my friends out of our dorms for once. For part two, anticipate reviews on Ginko Gallery & Studio, 1833 Restaurant at The Hotel at Oberlin, a dorm tea party, Rathskeller, and Kim’s Grocery & Carryout. Let me know what you think of any of my date spots, or recommend me some in the comments!

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