101 First Date Ideas

    Not all first dates have to be awkward.

    Are you going on a first date? Need some quick ideas for places the two of you can go that transcend having drinks at a bar? Here’s a comprehensive list of first date ideas that’ll help make sure your time together isn’t dull or awkward. 

    1. Grab some coffee.

    It may not be all that romantic, but coffee is a low-risk option that doesn’t come with the sleaze that sometimes characterizes bar dates.

    2. Go bowling.

    Who doesn’t like bowling? Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to poke fun at each other’s bowling skills. 

    3. Go out for dinner.

    Though it’s a time commitment, a dinner date is the perfect amount of intimate for a first date and easy to pull off –– and the restaurant doesn’t have to be fancy!

    4. Head to an amusement or theme park. 

    If you go to a theme park, all you have to do is buy the tickets, enjoy the rides, and maybe stop to get a bite to eat in between. 

    5. Go to a museum or art gallery.

    This is the perfect date if you know some of your date’s interests –– if they’re into history, take them to a historical museum; if they’re artistically-inclined, they’d probably love to look at Picassos in an art museum.

    6. Take a cooking class.

    If your date’s a foodie, this is the perfect bonding experience –– and if you’re a terrible cook, at least you’ll get some practice!

    7. Attend a concert.

    Concerts do all the speaking, so you don’t have to. A concert’s a great option if you and your date share similar tastes in music. 

    8. Take a walk.

    If you feel like you and your date have a lot in common and will have tons to talk about, a walk is  a great idea––plus there’ll probably be some interesting things or places to point out along the way. 

    take a walk 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: Vladimir Kudinov / Unsplash

    9. Have a picnic.

    There’s no need to go to a five-star restaurant for the first date –– instead, you and your date can both bring different foods and drinks and go eat lunch in the park.

    10. Spend a day at the zoo.

    As long as your date isn’t an uncompromising animal rights activist, a trip to the zoo can be a great bonding experience; the cute and exotic animals will definitely spark conversation.

    11. Go to the movies.

    Looking for an option that doesn’t rely too heavily on conversation? Go see a movie: it can be the latest ridiculous comedy or an Oscar-nominated film that’s sure to spark intellectual discussion afterwards. 

    12. Go mini golfing.

    Mini golf is a lighthearted and fun way to spend the day. Watching each other golf, or attempt to, will definitely elicit some laughs. 

    13. Go hiking.

    Hiking is free, fun, and a way to explore all nature has to offer while getting to know your date. 

    14. Ice skate.

    Spending a few hours on the ice is a great bonding experience and sure to prompt some laughter. If you feel like the date isn’t working out, you can always say you’re too tired to keep skating or injured from falling so many times.

    15. Go on a group or double dinner date.

    This is the perfect option if you want to grab some dinner but don’t yet feel like going to a restaurant alone with your date.

    16. Go to a party.

    Why not head to a friend’s party? Parties always break the ice and will make you feel less pressured to entertain your date.  

    17. Have an ice cream social.

    Meet up at a self-serve ice cream or frozen yogurt place for a sweet treat.

    go out for ice cream 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: sussexcareers / Flickr (CC)

    18. Go restaurant hopping.

    If dinner at only one restaurant seems too limiting, then pick two or three. Have appetizers at your favorite Mexican place and then your main course at the Italian place across the street.

    19. Head to a food festival or street fair.

    There are food festivals for nearly every type of food so the two of you will get the chance to try some exotic cuisine.

    20. Do DIY drink tasting.

    Does wine tasting at a wine shop or fancy restaurant sound too stuffy to you? In that case, you and your date can both bring a couple of your favorite wines or other drinks to the park and enjoy.

    21. Pretend to be a tourist.

    Chances are there are places in your neighborhood or city that you’ve been too embarrassed to visit out of fear of looking like a tourist. So why not visit some of these places with your date and feel like tourists together?

    22. Have breakfast for dinner.

    Almost everyone likes breakfast food, so why not go eat some fluffy buttermilk pancakes or Belgian waffles at your favorite diner?

    23. Go to a skate park.

    Even if both of you haven’t the slightest clue how to skateboard or rollerblade, if you’re adventurous, heading to a skate park will at least make for a great laugh.

    RELATED: 9 Bittersweet Books Like The Notebook

    go to skate park 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: Chris Brignola / Unsplash

    24. Go roller skating.

    Like ice skating, roller skating is fun and will probably distract you from your date nerves. You probably haven’t ever been on a roller skating date, which makes it all the more exciting and novel. 

    25. Go on a scavenger hunt.

    If you have a list of things in town that you’ve been eager to do or foods you’ve been dying to try, you two should try to check as many things off of that list as you can.

    26. Take a class in anything.

    There are classes in literally everything, both intellectual and fun, ranging from poetry writing to belly dancing to coding.

    27. Go to karaoke night.

    At karaoke, you can either show off your singing skills that are good enough to upstage Aretha and Whitney or laugh at your own tone deafness.

    28. Go see live music.

    You needn’t splurge on tickets for a huge concert –– there are lots of local shows at bars and small festivals that will make both you and your wallet happier.

    29. Go to a dance class.

    Try a beginner’s class in something like hip-hop or salsa, which will probably be new to both of you. You may even like it so much that you decide to go back.

    30.  Go to the aquarium. 

    If you don’t feel like spending a day outside or the weather is gloomy, the aquarium is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll inside.

    31. Go shopping. 

    Need to head to the mall to buy a new pair of shoes? Make a date out of it.

    32. Head to the dog park.

    If you and your date are both proud dog owners, no first date could be more perfect. Or, if you don’t have dogs and just want to admire the cute doggos at the park, that’s perfectly fine too.

    RELATED: Falling in Love Through Tinder Taught Me How to Date

    go to dog park 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: gerson_rodriguez / Pixabay (CC)

    33. Go rock climbing.

    A day at the climbing gym is super casual yet exhilarating. You can even make the climb a race between the two of you. 

    34. Take a trip to a bookstore.

    Bookstores never disappoint –– they have something for everyone. Plus, you can show each other your favorite books and get to know each other’s interests.

    35. Go to the flea market.

    You and your date can marvel about all the interesting things for sale, and you might even take home your own eclectic items.

    36. Walk through a botanical garden.

    A stroll through a botanical garden is romantic enough not to feel too creepy for a first date.

    37. Go to an arcade.

    Sure, this may be your third-grade brother’s idea of fun, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be yours, too. Embrace your inner nerdy child and make the arcade games a competition between you and your date.

    38. Browse through a record store.

    What’s a better way to get to know someone than finding out their favorite bands?

    39. Head to the farmer’s market.

    You’ll not only have good conversation on your walk together, but you’ll also try some amazing food samples and possibly make a lunch out of it.

    40. Go to a community play.

    Broadway has nothing on local theatre. Well… maybe it does, but seeing a local play won’t cost you as much as Broadway and will probably still be entertaining.

    RELATED: Free Romance Books That Will Make Your Heart Skip a Beat 

    go to play theatre broadway 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: HolgersFotografie / Pixabay (CC)

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    41. Watch a college or high school sports game.

    You can get into most high school games for free –– so bring your own food and make it feel like the real deal. College games come at a cost but still are way cheaper than seeing an NBA or NFL game.

    42. See a stand-up comedy show.

    Stand-up shows are great for getting to know your date’s sense of humor, and a lot of the time, the up-and-coming comedians are really incredible. 

    43. Watch a movie matinee.

    If you’re thinking of heading to the movies, most of the time matinee tickets are way cheaper than evening shows.

    44. Have a movie night in.

    Don’t want to drive all the way to the movies? Watch a movie or two at home that you’ve both been dying to see and pretend you’re at the theatre.

    45. Have a Netflix marathon.

    If you and your date are into some of the same TV shows, stay in and binge watch all the shows you possibly can.

    46. Go to a themed bar.

    Going beyond just drinks at a bar, themed bars are great places to unleash your inner nerd and sip on some history- or literature-themed gourmet cocktails.

    47. Bake cookies.

    If you’re already comfortable with your date, baking or decorating cookies is a great way to bond even further.

    48. Rent kayaks or canoes.

    Nothing says romantic like a day out on the lake kayaking or canoeing side by side.

    49. Go swimming.

    Maybe you have your own pool or maybe your definition of swimming is just jumping in the ocean –– either way, going for a swim gives you and your date a chance to get wet ‘n’ wild.

    50. Attend the symphony.

    A date at the symphony will probably be music to your ears.

    go to symphony orchestra 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: YannaZazu / Pixabay (CC)

    51. Head to the opera.

    If you’re lucky enough to live near the opera, a night there will give you the chance to dress up and have a few drinks.

    52. Eat at a hibachi-style restaurant.

    At hibachi Japanese restaurants, the chef cooks your food right in front of you and the dining experience is really interactive, making it way more fun than dining at an ordinary restaurant.

    53. Spend a day at the beach.

    If you’re nervous about your date, a walk on the beach, taking in the ocean views, is naturally calming.

    54. Go for a bike ride.

    Ride to a lunch or dinner spot or another other local happening.

    55. Take a ride on the ferry.

    A day on a boat filled with sightseeing and plenty of conversation sounds like a good way to get to know your date.

    56. Make art together.

    If you or your date are artistically-inclined, paint or draw together and comment on each other’s talent.

    57. Watch cartoons.

    Let out your inner ‘90s kids and have a cartoon watching marathon together. 

    58. Go thrifting.

    Heading to a thrift store gives you a chance to see what your date’s tastes are: whether in clothing, cute little trinkets, or records they pick up.

    59. Go to brunch.

    A brunch date is a low-risk option: it’s not as intimidating as dinner and the food is way lighter.

    101 first date ideas brunch
    Photo Credit: JayMantri / Pixabay (CC)

    60. Go stargazing.

    Stargazing isn’t just for couples who’ve been together for a while –– it’s something you can do if you just want to wind down after having a nice dinner. 

    61. Take a boat ride.

    A trip out to sea can be just as romantic as it looks in the movies, or just as casual as fishing trip.

    62. Go to a sporting event.

    You should definitely take your date out to the ballgame, no matter if you two like the same or opposing teams.

    63. Volunteer together.

    When you volunteer, you don’t have to struggle to make awkward conversation. Chances are other people will be helping out with you and the volunteer work will speak for itself.

    64. Play at the casino.

    If you’re of age, a night out on the slots can be the perfect opportunity to show your date your blackjack prowess.

    65. Go wine tasting.

    Going wine tasting or on a tour of a brewery can be tons of fun as long as the venue isn’t too high-brow.

    66. Go for a run.

    If you’re both perfectly happy running long distances, a run is a great idea: you can converse while jogging and run up until the sun sets.

    67. Visit a psychic.

    This is definitely on the weirder side of dates, but hey –– a psychic can tell you if she sees a future for the two of you.

    68. Play video games.

    Video games aren’t necessarily just for high-schoolers –– play Xbox or even a popular iPhone game with your date and show your competitive side.

    69. Go gift shopping.

    Have to buy a gift for someone? You should make a date out of it.

    70. Attend a film or music festival.

    A festival is sure to spark conversation, and you’ll definitely find out more about your date through their taste in movies and music. 

    concert 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: Yvette de Wit / Unsplash

    71. Meet up for drinks.

    Sure, everyone does this as a first date, but you can make it more interesting –– before or after you have drinks, try to do one of the other one-hundred date ideas we’ve listed.

    72. Eat at a new restaurant.

    Is there a burger joint that just opened up yesterday that you’ve been dying to go eat at? Bring your date.

    73. Order takeout.

    Eating takeout back in your apartment may be a little much for a first date, but if it’s nice out, why not bring some takeout food to the park and have lunch there?

    74. Go on a ghost tour.

    If you love everything scary and haunted, nothing will bring you and your date together like knowing that ghosts inhabit your town.

    75. Head to a book or poetry reading.

    The authors will do all of the talking for you –– and whether it’s feminist poetry or a sci-fi novel, the reading will spark discussion between the two of you afterwards.

    76. Go sightseeing.

    There are always plenty of local sights to see, whether they be historical museums or the Eiffel Tower, so just make a day out of it.

    77. Play pool.

    Cue the game: head to your local pool hall or bar and challenge your date to a friendly game of billiards.

    78. Go on a bar crawl.

    Who said that you’re limited to one bar when you go out for drinks? Grab different cocktails at each of your favorite bars.

    79. Go apple picking.

    Apple picking may be one of the family outings you used to go on as a kid, but it lets you and your date have some good laughs, meaningful conversation, and great apples.

    go apple picking 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: briannad26 / Pixabay (CC)

    80. Go to a jazz club.

    Jazz clubs are old-school, but what’s wrong with that? And plus, there’s no pressure for you to hold a conversation and you and your date can have some great cocktails.

    81. Head to a candy store or bar.

    They don’t say “like a kid in a candy store” for nothing. Have some sweet treats and sweet conversation.

    82. Go to the planetarium.

    No one is too cool for planetariums –– and maybe you’ll see if a future for the two of you is written in the stars.

    83. Go to trivia night.

    Most bars have trivia nights, so just kill two birds with one stone: show off your knowledge of random trivia and grab some beers.

    84. Sit in the park.

    Bring a blanket to sit on, some snacks, and just hang out at your local park for a while.

    85. Eat at a sushi bar.

    Who doesn’t like sushi? You can chill out at the sushi bar, share a decadent sushi platter, and just talk.

    86. Visit an animal shelter.

    If you’re both animal lovers, why not head to the animal shelter and play with all the cute puppies and kittens you possibly can?

    87. Go to a trampoline park.

    You’ll definitely laugh at each other, and the venue will probably be pretty loud, so you don’t have to worry about things being awkward.

    88. Watch an outdoor movie.

    If your town or city has free outdoor movies during the summer, catching one of the films will help you figure out if what you and your date have is reel (pun intended).

    89. Explore a new part of the neighborhood.

    There are definitely parts of your town that you’ve never dared to venture to –– not because they’re unsafe, but because you just haven’t had the time. Why not make a date out visiting some of them?

    explore neighborhood 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: sasint / Pixabay (CC)

    90. Play darts.

    Chances are your local bar has darts. So why not get your competitive sides on while getting some drinks?

    91. Go to the minor leagues.

    MInor league games are always way cheaper than the major leagues and usually pretty empty. So get all the peanuts and crackerjacks your hearts desire and make a date out of it.

    92. Take a pottery-making class or paint your own.

    A pottery class, or just painting your own pottery at one of those pick-and-paint places, gives you a chance to admire each other’s artistic talents, or lack thereof.

    93. Sit by the lake or river.

    You’re probably thinking this is too romantic for a first date, but if you bring some snacks and speakers to blast music, it can actually be pretty fun and casual.

    94. Do a food truck sampling.

    You can totally make a lunch out of this and actually get to know a lot about your date through the foods she loves and hates.

    95. Hit the dance club.

    Have some disco nights with your date –– well, you don’t have to go to a disco club (if those even exist anymore), but dancing at any club is a fun night out.

    96. Unwind at a hookah bar.

    Get your smoke on with some flavored tobacco and maybe even grab some lunch at the same time –– most hookah bars are also restaurants.

    97. Do a paint and drink class.

    This is perfect if you’re worried about being able to keep conversation flowing, since the painting teacher will be talking the whole time –– plus the classes are BYOB and all you have to do is attempt to create an artistic masterpiece.

    painting and drinking class 101 first date ideas
    Photo Credit: Lia Leslie / Unsplash

    98. Head to an escape room.

    Escape rooms are like real-life riddles. Basically, you’re locked in a themed room for an hour and it’s up to you to have the puzzle-solving skills to get yourselves out. 

    99. Go paintballing.

    Some of you may think this is too out there for a first date, but if you’re adventurous and don’t mind being shot in the leg with a paintball, this is a great way to get your competitive side on.

    100. Have a jam session.

    If you’re both musicians, what could be more fulfilling than jamming together? But for the love of all that is good in the world, don’t choose a key like G flat minor.

    101. Go see a local band.

    Last but not definitely not least, a day or night spent at a local concert will both save you tons of cash and give the two of you the chance to discover a new band together.

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