You’re going out with somebody special and you need some date ideas to try? You’ve come to the right place! When I first started dating, my idea of a date was the stereotypical cheap-dinner-and-a-movie. Don’t hate on me, I didn’t know any better! By the time I finished high school I was pretty comfortable in my own skin and got pretty good at coming up with ideas for dates. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites as well as some suggested by friends. Enjoy!
I’ve decided to split the list of first date ideas into outdoor, indoor, and “safe.” The last section is especially for those of you going on blind dates who have no idea what you’re getting into! (Been there, done that!)
Outdoor First Date Ideas
- Go for a walk - This is such a simple first date idea but most shy away from it because they feel like they must do something complex in order for their date to be impressed. Wrong! The only ideas you need to impress your date with are the ones that you articulate as your conversation progresses. If you are an interesting person and have found a fun person to spend time with, rest assured that a walk about town will be just fine. Remember, the idea is to leave your date wanting more. As a warning, you may be tempted to start talking about previous relationships. Don’t. That’s not how to get over an ex. Rather, enjoying the company of a fun new person without dwelling on the past will serve you best!
- Watch an outdoor movie – Going to a movie is pretty worn out in the world of first date ideas. You can resurrect it in a fun way by going to see a movie outdoors or, even better, at a drive-in movie theater if you still happen to have one near where you live.
- Create your own picnic – Pick a nice spot near where you’re meeting up and swing by a grocery store or take-out restaurant for some quick eats before setting up camp for food and conversation with your new favorite person. There’s no need to spend a lot of money. Picnics are supposed to be simple and you want it to be about getting to know your date, not truffles wrapped in gold foil!
- Go boating – The idea of sailing on a first date seems like a recipe for disaster but something milder, like canoeing, row boating, or taking a paddle boat out on a sunny afternoon would work well. Admittedly, the last time I took a girl on a paddle boat for a date we both ended up soaking wet with marsh moss in our hair. It was amazing though!
- Go for a run together – If running is your idea of a good time, an easy run with a new friend can make for a great date!
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen – One of the best first dates I’ve ever been on involved meeting up with a woman at 5:30am to serve breakfast at the local soup kitchen. Not only did we get to know each other better but we got to do something worthwhile that helped our community. It’s hard to come up with a reason why giving back to your community could be considered a bad idea for a first date! If you don’t have a soup kitchen or other short-order volunteer opportunity, be creative and come up with your own. There is always somebody nearby who could use some help if we are willing to give it.
- Get up insanely early and be the first customers at your favorite breakfast joint – You’ll get a chance to chat before the restaurant gets busy and have time to do some people-watching when the regulars start pouring in. Note: If you find somebody who is cool with rolling out of bed early to join you for a breakfast date, it’d be a bad idea to let them get away!
Indoor First Date Ideas
- Take an intro yoga or other fitness class – If you’re really out of shape, this might not be a great idea for a first date. Otherwise, pick a class that will fit both of your fitness levels and have some fun! You should know that getting hot and sweaty
- Visit a psychic – Everybody likes to know the future, well, at least a prediction of it!
- Visit a shut-in – This might not seem like it belongs on a list of first date ideas but if you step away from your preconceptions, I think you might consider it and even try it out. Visiting people who are unable to get out and enjoy regular social interactions isn’t just a worthwhile use of your time. It gives you a chance to learn a bit about the character of your date. Is he or she willing to spend time with people who are in need? If your date is unkind it will only be a matter of time before that unkindness is pointed at you. Seek the good hearts!
- Play video games – PS2, Nintendo, Xbox, it doesn’t matter. If your date is into video games and you’ve got strong thumbs, it might be time for a bit of virtual smackdown! Just be careful not to beat your date too badly at whatever video game you decide to play. You don’t want your first date ideas to turn into video-game-inspired revenge ideas. =)
- Take a music lesson together – Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or some other instrument? Inviting a date along for a partner lesson at a local music school might be a fun way to start your lesson and get the much-dreaded first date out of the way.
- Go to a used bookstore – It can be a new bookstore if you insist. It doesn’t matter! If you and your date enjoy reading and perusing books, hitting up a bookstore on a first date may just end up being one of the ideas that sets you on a quick course to true love.
- Go gift shopping – Not for each other, but for somebody else. Perhaps you need to pick up a gift for your sister or some other relative and you need some insight into the process? Ask your date to give you some in-motion advice and perhaps even pick up something small for each other. Trinkets only. Save the cars and fur coats for later dates!
“Safe” First Date Ideas
- Take a cooking class together – Check your local community college or continuing education program for listings of cooking classes you can take if there isn’t a culinary school to be found.
- Visit a tourist hot spot in your town that neither of you has been to before – Even if you’ve been living in the same place for years, there’s a great chance that you’ll have missed at least a few interesting places in your community. If it turns out that your chosen spot is a dud, get creative and come up with a few quick ideas to finish off your date. Most will give you a lot of slack if little things go wrong. Just keep the conversation interesting and the venue won’t be such a killer.
- Attend a local film or music festival – It’s a rare individual who won’t enjoy a local festival at least a bit. This is a pretty safe bet for anybody but the most boring of people.
- Meet up for a drink – This is one of the safest, and therefore one of the most-used first date ideas. You can make things a bit more adventurous by visiting a jazz club or finding a bar that will teach you to make new drinks. Of course, you could always go and grab some bottled water. =)
- Visit a new restaurant – There’s a bit of risk in eating at a new restaurant because you can’t be sure of the quality but this first date idea still makes the “safe” list because it’s not hugely risky.
- Eat in – Do you already have great cooking skills? If so, break ‘em out for an early dinner! You might want to check for possible food allergies before you start sharing your iron chef skills though.
- Phone it in – Oh yeah, the date that consists entirely of talking into a small electronic device. This one is for all you cyber dating pros out there looking for first date ideas like you planned on doing something other than talking on your phone. =) All jokes aside, there are some benefits to phoning in. Sure, you don’t get to see your date’s face while you’re talking, but that also means that you don’t have to get dressed up or worry about what your face looks like. See? Might not be a bad idea.
Need more date ideas? Here's a related article 50 Date Ideas for Couples
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