kristy holland

I t's about this time of year, when tank tops start hitting the streets and campus co-eds get twinkly-eyed in anticipation of spring break.

But March in Boulder is when random snowy days punctuate occasional 70-degree ones, and on weekends , we'll all pull out our puffies again. It can feel like winter will never end.

So, how can you revive the rosy-cheeked anticipation for summer and turn your date-night prospects from dreary to delightful? Suggesting a date that's comfy and cozy, but also reminiscent of your favorite hot weather activities, can be a refreshing way to enjoy the finicky Colorado spring.

Here are a few of my favorite seasonally inappropriate date activities -- no snowsuit (or sunscreen) required.

While you could hit the beach at Boulder Reservoir, you'll have to bundle up if the wind is whipping along the top of the frozen surface. But you don't need an actual sandy shoreline to get a swimsuit-required reminder of the sunny days to come (the reservoir is actually closed to swimmers right now, anyway). Instead of lounging at the beach, hit the pool at the North Boulder Recreation Center ($7; open all-day Fri, Sat, Sun; 3170 Broadway; bouldercolorado.gov). The warm kiddie pool, complete with spraying water features, a slide, and basketball hoops, is the perfect place to spend a playful afternoon with your gal.

Nothing screams summer like a fresh, spicy meal washed down with a frosty cocktail. For a heat-inducing south-of-the-border-style menu, head to The Rio (1101 Walnut St.; riograndemexican.com), one of Boulder's famous Mexican restaurants. Heat things up with a meal of sizzling shrimp fajitas (turn the temperature up even more by ordering them in the super-spicy Diabla style) and a classic Rio margarita -- or three. Or, swing by for $4 half quesadillas and $4 cocktails during weekly Thursday college night (from 9 p.m. to midnight).

While it isn't outdoor patio season in Boulder just yet, there are a handful of outdoor socializing spaces that are open year-round. One with a built-in diversion your lady will love is the pool table-equipped and heated front porch at Harpo's Sports Bar & Grill (2860 Arapahoe Ave.; facebook.com/harpossportsgrill). While the sports-bar vibe isn't exactly romantic, this casual place is walking distance from just about anywhere near campus. It has one of the funniest and most well-attended quiz nights in town (Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.), and the heaters are enough to keep you toasty during a flirty outside game of billiards.

It may be a little chilly outside, but if you're strapped for cash (or time), opt for a quick and easy date to an ice cream shop like Glacier Home Made Ice Cream & Gelato (4760 Baseline Rd.; glaciericecream.com). Spring for a summery scoop like a lemon-raspberry gelato or a more wintery-inspired flavor like chai or coffee caramel crunch. Splurge by picking up your lady's tab (it'll be less than $10 for the both of you if you plan it right), and enjoy your treat at one of the shop's two-top tables. Or, if there's a break in the weather, slurp your scoops outside on a walk around the pond-size Thunderbird Lake at Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Park (at Mohawk Dr. and Pawnee Dr.) just a few minutes from the shop.

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.