For some, nothing beats the traditional date night of dinner and a movie. No doubt, Houston offers plenty of options for both. But what if you want to do something different? Are you out of ideas for an offbeat, unconventional date in Houston? Here are some activities you may not have thought of before.

Houston Roller Derby

Started in 2005, the Houston Roller Derby now has over 100 skaters on four teams. On the third Saturday of every month, they hold a two-game match at the Bayou Music Center. The girls crash, skate and score to uproarious crowds. Don't know about derby? No problem! The fans are notoriously informative and welcoming to new attendees and the energy at the bouts is contagious as skaters with names such as Brand Aid and Freight Train encourage the audience to become a part of the experience. Grab VIP seating tickets for a comfy spot to watch the game with your date, or if you're daring, take a seat in the CRASH ZONE and have skaters fly right past you. Besides being exciting, Derby is affordable. General admission seats sell for the cost of a movie and VIP for just a bit more. Insider tip: GA ticket holders should bring lawn chairs.

Buffalo Bayou Park

Whether you choose to hike it, bike it, or grab a canoe or kayak, Buffalo Bayou Park makes a great spot for a date. Considered Houston's equivalent of Central Park, Buffalo Bayou offers 160 acres of green space along 2.3 miles of water. Pack a meal and get active or enjoy being a spectator and take in your surroundings. The park includes a skate park, dog park and bat bridge where thousands of bats swarm into the sky at dusk. There's even safety lunar cycle lighting installed along the paths for nighttime visits. Bring along a picnic lunch or dinner and design the perfect day for you and your special someone. Bike, canoe and kayak rentals are all available.

Outsider Art Tour

If you're planning to make a day of your date, Houston has some of the most famous outsider art in the country. The city is known for its ever-expanding Art Car Parade each May, but many don't know about the small, well-curated Art Car Museum, which is open year-round. The museum itself is a splendor with its jutting metal composition and design. Inside, you'll find several full-size vehicles parked among rotating displays of more traditional visual art as well as books and films about the subject. It is like no other museum in the city, open Wednesday through Sunday and always free.

Next on your tour, The Beer Can House is the last remaining "regular-sized" home in a neighborhood of newly developed lofts. John Milkovish, the house's owner, transformed it marbles, concrete, metal and thousands of beer cans. The house is featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not, which estimates over 50,000 cans make up the roof, walls and decorations on, in and around the home. Tours are available Saturdays and Sundays, and it's unforgettable.

Finish your tour with another one-of-a-kind - The Orange Show Monument. The handmade environment was created by Jefferson Davis McKissack to spread awareness of the wonders of his favorite fruit, the orange. The space is a bit of a maze with a wishing well, pond, stage, museum and gift shop. It's available to tour Wednesday through Sunday.

This wide array of art should give you and your date plenty to discuss after you finish touring.

Flea and farmers markets on Airline Drive


Sunny's Flea Market can be your main destination for a different kind of shopping date. This 35-acre extravaganza has something old and something new and all sorts of oddities in between. With snack shops, live music, a farmers market, beauty supplies and more, one can easily fill a day with new experiences. Continue on Airline Road to find similar markets selling everything from blankets and DVDs to pots and plants.

Next time you're planning a date, wander off the beaten path to explore parts of Houston many have never experienced. Memories and adventures are waiting, and any of these suggestions will surely give you and your plus one something to talk about, whether it's a first a date or you've been together for years.

By Jenn Haight