I’ve been scheming up artist date ideas since spring is on the way, and I want to make the most of the creative energy that comes with warmer temperatures. Plus, it’s always great to get out of the house after a long winter.

10 Artist Date Ideas to Keep You Feeling Enchanted | Sometimes, burn out comes for you hard, and when that happens, these artist date ideas can help you feel refreshed.

Original photo by Kevin Bosc 

The concept of the artist date comes from Julia Cameron who wrote The Artist’s Way. (She’s the same person who brings us morning pages.) The basic idea is that you need to take yourself out once a week and do thing that make you feel artistic. Or make you feel creative. Or make you feel like you can keep creating.

Whatever feeling you get from your artist date is fine. The basic idea, though, is that you need to do it to feel the magic and enchantment that’s around you.

Whatever feeling you get from your artist date is fine. The basic idea, though, is that you need to do it to feel the magic and enchantment that's around you. Click To Tweet

But that can be a tall order. I have to say that over the winter, I didn’t have many artist date ideas because, well, the winter is a terrible time and I hate it. Also, I love to get outdoors. So, with that in mind, there’s a few outdoor and indoor artist date ideas to get you started.

Also, I have to confess: I will be doing most of these with Chris. (We’re back together if you’ve been following along since 2017.) But since I’m a writer and he’s a designer, it just makes sense for us to each go on artist dates, and we like to do them together.

(Note: All advice online and from Julia Cameron says that you shouldn’t go with anyone else. I’m not a rule follower, though.)

So, with that, here’s a list of artist date ideas for you to try. And I think they’d be great with an artist buddy too.

Artist Date Ideas

001: Explore a college campus.

I work on a college campus, and while the places I go every single day aren’t super magical, there are some cool places on campus that are great for exploring. We have an art museum, a multi-story library that has areas with glass floors, underground tunnels, and tons of sculptures. It’s a great place to just walk around and chat, but you can also bring a camera and snap some pictures if you want. And I’ve written briefly about my favorite bench to write on. If you’ve got a big university in your area, take advantage of it. You’ll have to pay to park, but the rest is free.

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002: Scour the art museum.

In February, I spoke at Launch Bloggers, a small conference that was held at the OKC Museum of Art. It was the perfect venue for our sessions, and it was so much fun to explore the museum after our sessions. I’m obsessed with the idea of taking a notebook to the museum and just writing in the middle of the Ansel Adams and the Photographers of the West exhibit. I’m also looking forward to sitting under the Persian Ceiling by Dale Chihuly. If you’re an artist who is looking for some inspiration or magic, check out what other artists have done. It’s always something that gets me.

003: Visit an antique store.

Some antique stores are really stuffy and don’t let you really explore. But if you can find a small town place that’s basically a big aluminum building with stalls upon stalls of stuff, that’s a great place to wander. You don’t have to buy anything, but it’s a great way to just see some old stuff and see what ideas it gives you. There’s an antique store on Grey Street in Norman, and they have a whole shelf of old magazine advertisements. That’s always my favorite place to look.

004: Complete a walking trail.

When the sun comes out, I throw on my Chaco sandals and get outside. And while I love walking around the university, I love hitting up a good walking trail. There’s one in south Norman that has a canopy of tree branches and tons of flowers and foliage. And let’s not forget the walking trail at St. Francis of the Woods — that’s a great place too. I’m quite positive that you can get a little closer to heaven if you get outside and take a walk. That’s why I’m putting this in my list of artist date ideas. Get outside and go for a walk. Bonus points if you can make it a full-on hike in nature.

005: Have a mini-retreat in your home.

I love going on writing retreats, and I always encourage others to do the same. (Check out these affordable retreat options for 2019!) But you can’t always get away for a few days. That’s when the in-home retreat comes in handy. Stock up your pantry like you’re gonna get snowed in, and cancel all plans. Clean up your space and get it ready for writing. I like to allow myself to wake up naturally and then I brew some coffee. Then, I curl up on the couch with a blanket and my laptop, and I write. I try to avoid social media, and I just take my day slow. I make writing the full focus. It’s the perfect way to spend this upcoming Saturday, by the way. You know, if you need something to do this weekend.

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006: Fill the well with a Netflix binge.

Okay. So. Normally I wouldn’t recommend that anyone binge watch Netflix. But I think an occasional binge that is intentional can be a good thing. The rules for this binge are that you aren’t allowed to watch something you’ve seen a million times. (So you can’t watch 30 Rock or Parks and Rec.) You have to watch something you haven’t seen, and you have to keep your phone in the other room, so you don’t scroll the whole time you’re watching. Then, I would recommend you take breaks for meals, that way when you’re watching, your full attention is on the TV. And you can even take notes on the show you’re watching if you want to. This guarantees that you aren’t just passively consuming the story, and you’re actually getting something out of it.

007: Visit supposedly haunted places.

I’m not sure if ghosts are real, but I really hope they are. I love going on ghost tours wherever they’re available. As a writer who likes to write stories about creepy stuff, I love hearing all the gruesome urban legends surrounding supposed ghosts. In Oklahoma, I recommend the Ghosts of Fort Reno tour. And if you ever head to Downtown Oklahoma City, hit up the Skirvin Hotel. They have a book behind the desk where they record all the stories people have reported of the ghost who haunts the tenth floor.

008: Schedule a mini road trip.

Usually I hate driving. But I do like to drive to a fun new place. I recently did a few restaurant reviews for Oklahoma Today Magazine, and I got to head to some small towns in the middle of nowhere and enjoy some delicious food. That really reminded me how much I enjoy a good road trip. I’ve got some plans to hit the highway with Rosie in the backseat and Chris riding shotgun. We can go see some landmarks and find the perfect burger at a small town drive-in. And I can bring my camera and document the whole thing.

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009: Go tech free.

As soon as I put this on the list, I got some intense anxiety. I hate going tech free. I hate admitting that. But man. If I don’t put it on Instagram stories, did it even happen? And I realize that this is exactly why I need to go tech free. So pick a night when you don’t need to be connected, and turn off your phone, laptop, and TV. And then, find things to do that don’t require technology. You can read or draw or write by hand. Or whatever strikes your fancy, really. Just get away from social media or digital entertainment, and see how it treats you. I feel like this is probably going to be the most refreshing option.

010: Play like a kid.

Back in the days of Myspace, like 80% of my photos on that platform were me playing on playground equipment. I was 21-years-old, and probably old enough to, you know, act like a grown up. But that wasn’t my thing. In fact, I used to go the playground a lot, and I would use that energy I got from a good swinging session and I would write a ton of poems. (I was a creative writing major with a poetry focus, back in the day.) But there’s something to be said for behaving like a kid. It does something to your brain and makes it easier for you get into that artistic mindset.

Where do you go when it's time to take yourself on an artist date? Click To Tweet

What Are Your Favorite Artist Date Ideas?

Where do you go when it’s time to take yourself on an artist date? What’s your cheapest artist date idea? Anything that you’d recommend specifically for writers? Is there a specific thing I should bring to a coffee shop for my next coffee artist date?

10 Responses

  1. We’re hoping to do a day trip to Riverside, California in the near future to check out a photography exhibit. It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from home so as long as we leave early we can get there around 10-11 am, check out the exhibit, have lunch afterward, explore a bit, then head home.

    Also, you and Chris are back together?! Awesome! I’ve been a little out of the loop lately so I’m happy to read this and happy for you. Wishing you both all the best!

    1. Thanks, Kim! I’ve been kind of keeping it on the down low for now, just because it’s easier than making a big, formal announcement.

      And that Riverside trip sounds amazing. Take tons of pictures…not that I need to tell you that!

  2. I’m so amazed at how prolific you are — especially when you still have a “day job”! Your site and blog offer so much information to folks who struggle with many of the same things you do. I know it’s easy to fall into feeling unappreciated, so I wanted to simply say “thanks” for all that you do!

    1. Thank you, Martha! It means a lot to me. And I’ll let you in on a little secret…my apartment is filthy. Seriously. I do dishes once a week and I can’t tell you the last time I vacuumed. It’s gross, but it makes time for what I really want to do.

  3. Hi! I just started on this Artist Way journey. I’m on day 6 and really loving it. I haven’t done the artist day yet because I wasn’t sure what to do in isolation during COVID-19 so I’m really glad I found this to give me some inspiration and ideas! Thanks so much.


    1. That’s awesome that you’ve just started! And I’ll admit, I think my artist dates have gotten a little boring since I’ve bene on lockdown. But I have found that taking walks and sitting in my backyard have been great little artist dates. And if you have a car, going for a long drive while you listen to a record you like is a great way to get that inspired feeling.

  4. This is such a cool thing to see because I just started Artist’s Way. I just happened to end up with the books because my art teacher was gave them to me without really knowing what they were. They’ve sat on my bookshelf for almost two years and I only just now opening them because of quarantine. So glad to know that these practices are still going on!

    1. That’s awesome, Emma! And what a cool way to make it through quarantine. I know a lot of people who work through The Artist’s Way at least once a year. (I’m not quite that dedicated, though.)

  5. Marisa, your post was written several years back, I hope you still see the comments! I love to create but am just now starting the trip into Art Journals and I happened upon your post! I have journeyed most of my life and loved to create things, but only now merging the two. I love all your Artist Dates. Many years ago my favorite activity was for all of my friends to pile into the car for a day trip (maybe to a local destination or sometimes a day trip). Reading your suggestions made me realize how much I missed these little indulgences! As artists, we sometimes forget these aren’t indulgences but are necessary. Creativity is such a wonderful thing and can always use a spark!

    1. Well-said, Betty! Creativity definitely needs a spark to “jump start” every once in a while. And day trips are great ways to get some fresh perspective and get out of your own head.

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