Coming up with great date ideas in Nairobi is easy.
But just in case you need a little motivation, I’ve gone back through my dating history and picked out the most memorable spots for a romantic liaison in the city.
Use the list, and you’ll never wind up on a boring date again!
1. Picnic in Arboretum
The Arboretum is quite simply one of my favourite places in Nairobi. I often come here by myself to escape the noise and congestion of Nairobi for a few hours in the afternoon.
If you don’t know, the Arboretum is a public park and forest in the heart of Kilimani, one of Nairobi’s biggest neighborhoods. No matter how busy it gets, you’ll easily find a quiet spot for you and your date to lay out a blanket, play some music, enjoy a relaxing picnic, and maybe engage in some light flirting.
It’s impossible not to relax at the Arboretum – which has the benefit of being both intimate and very public at the same time -, which can be a great help overcoming first date jitters.
For more information, check out our guide to The Arboretum Forest.
2. Karura Forest
If you want an even better escape from Nairobi, head to Karura Forest.
You’ll have plenty of options for great date ideas: long, leisurely walks or bike rides through the forest many trails; relaxing picnics; exploring the waterfalls and Mau Mau caves; finishing the date with coffee or lunch at The River Cafe – one of Nairobi’s best restaurants.
Karura Forest is an excellent date whether it’s your first time meeting or you’ve been together for years.
For more information, check out our guide to Karura Forest.
3. Movie & Dinner at Unseen Bar
Unseen Bar is one of the nicest hang-out spots in Kilimani. Tucked away in the corner of a quiet rooftop in Kilimani, not only does it boast a cute little indie cinema, but also a deliciously creative food and drinks menu.
And once the sun goes down and the candles are lit, Unseen’s small tables are easily amongst the most romantic spots in the city.
Movies… candles… cocktails… romantic dinner… what more do you need?
4. Visit an Art Gallery
Nairobi’s art scene is booming, and if you or your date is creatively inclined, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to art galleries.
Art galleries are great date venues for numerous reasons, even if you don’t really understand what you’re looking at. At least you have plenty of opportunities for small talk and jokes to break any awkward silences.
Strolling around exhibitions is also a lot more fun and informal than sitting at a restaurant trying to come up with questions and one-liners.
For more information, check out our guide to the best art galleries in Nairobi.
5. Visit a Museum
For a city that’s barely 100 years old, Nairobi is packed full of fascinating history.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realise this, so the city’s museums are rarely crowded. This makes them a great setting for a date, as you’ll enjoy a quiet, leisurely atmosphere, in which to chat and joke about various displays.
Show off your intellectualism, or wow your date one-liners and history puns – it’s totally up to you!
To plan a truly historical date, check out our guide to the best museums in Nairobi.
6. Day Trip to Karen and Langata
If you feel like taking your date out of Nairobi altogether, but don’t want to spend half the day in traffic, Karen and Langata are the perfect romantic day trip.
You can feast on the neighbourhoods’ many exquisite restaurants, be a tourist for the day and visit the local wildlife attractions, and simply enjoy the cool breeze, nature, and total lack of traffic.
If you’re looking for some great date ideas in Karen and Langata, start here:
- Giraffe Centre
- Tin Roof Cafe Karen
- Oloolua Nature Trail
- David Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary
- Talisman restaurant
- Spa day or brunch at Hemingways
- Much more
And if things go well, you could just spend the whole weekend here – there are plenty of incredible, out-of-the-way Airbnbs to choose from, dotted through the area.
For more information, check out our guide to Karen and Langata.
7. Grab a Coffee
If you’re looking for something lowkey and simple, Nairobi’s coffee shops are the perfect setting for a relaxed, casual date.
You can relax in Pallet Cafe’s lush garden (and try out some sign language) or cozy up in front of Tin Roof Cafe’s open fireplace. Wherever you are in Nairobi, there’s a cafe close by to suit your romantic needs.
For more information, check out our guide to the best coffee shops in Nairobi.
8. Visit the KICC Rooftop
Nairobi CBD doesn’t exactly scream romance, but if you have a quiet weekend and you’re looking for something fun to do, head downtown to Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC)
At 32 stories, KICC towers over the CBD, Uhuru Park, and pretty much all of Nairobi. Visiting the helicopter pad on the top floor is a fun way to pastime the time, especially on a clear day, when you can pick out various Nairobi Landmarks all the way to the horizon.
And once you’re done at KICC, there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes close by to get lunch or a romantic dinner for two.
For more things to do close to KICC, check out our Nairobi CBD guide.
9. Take a Salsa Workshop
Nairobi has a thriving Afro-Latin dance scene, with social events and workshops almost every night of the week.
Whether you’re just a beginner or a seasoned pro – or you’ve never ventured onto a dance floor, but you’re feeling brave – a night of salsa dancing is a fun, relaxed, potentially hilarious way to bond with and, a-hem, get close to your date.
The atmosphere at salsa nights is always friendly and welcoming, and nobody is watching. So, loosen up and get ready for a fun evening.
The best place to find salsa events in Nairobi is the Nairobi Salsa Facebook group.
10. Game Night at Bao Box
Bao Box is Nairobi’s premier board game restaurant. It’s a fun, casual spot with a great terrace looking out over Westlands.
So, if you want to spice up the typical dinner and drinks date, try adding some games to the mix. You can get a little competitive and show off your confident side, without ever getting too serious and losing a sense of playfulness.
Bao Box’s menu is also perfect for sharing, so if the board games don’t bring you closer together, the food will!
11. Have Spa Day
Few things feel more romantic than a day of total indulgence. So, treat your date (and yourself) to a day of pampered bliss in one of Nairobi’s many excellent spas.
While the Villa Rosa Kempinski is my personal favourite, there are plenty of other excellent options:
- Hemingways Hotel, Karen
- Entim Sidai Wellness Sanctuary, Karen
- Serentiy Spa, Gigiri and Kitisuru
- Kaya Spa At The Tribe Hotel, Gigiri
- Devarana Spa, Riverside
To go the extra mile, and book something truly special, check out Spa Dreaming for some great packages at Nairobi’s best spas that combine massages, lunch offers, and much more.
12. Try Some DIY or Arts n’ Crafts
The DIY Studio is a great little spot hidden away in Lavington that hosts regular DIY and craft workshops. Joining a DIY workshop and building something together is one of the most unique date ideas in Nairobi.
But if you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, you can book the studio for a private session. Just you, your date, and a mentor to help you build whatever you fancy.
If a DIY project doesn’t exactly spark your excitement, try something more creative. The DIY Studio also has a huge arts n’ crafts area where you can create beautiful masterpieces together.
Contact The DIY Studio to find out more.
13. Visit Ngong Hills
For those of you who enjoy an active date, head to Ngong Hills.
30 minutes drive from the city, Ngong Hills comprise of 7 peaks in a straight line. You can tackle all 7 or just do the first few and turn around.
The hills offer spectacular views of Nairobi on one side, and Kajiado on the other. Not to mention the bountiful fresh air and cool breeze.
If you’re looking for something less intense, there’s also plenty of space to plop down and have a picnic. Or visit the zipline for a quick rush of adrenaline with zero physical exertion.
14. Nairobi National Park
If you want to truly leave Nairobi behind and get immersed in Kenya’s incredible nature, Nairobi National Park is only a short drive away. But it feels like a completely different planet to downtown.
While you could drive to Nairobi National Park in your own car, I suggest taking a day trip. You can relax and get the full experience, include lunch and other activities, and bond with your date as you spot majestic lions, rhinos, giraffes, and much more.
However, Nairobi National Park is best visited early in the morning. So, check to make sure you’re both okay with waking up early.
For more information, check out our guide to Nairobi National Park.
15. Go for Brunch
Brunch is way less formal than a typical restaurant dinner date, and gives you the option to spend the entire day together (if things go well). No need to worry about rushing to finish up before the Covid curfew starts!
Just as well, brunch is a big deal in Nairobi. If your date is happening on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you’ll be spoiled for choice with many excellent restaurants across the city offering quiet, relaxing, and intimate settings.
For more information, check out our guide to the best brunch restaurants in Nairobi.
The Bottom Line
What’s your favourite date idea in Nairobi? If you think we missed anything special, let us know in the comments!