The first date: the excitement, the worry, and the implications of what that means are enough to rattle anyone. What to wear, where to go, lunch or dinner, coffee or drinks, and the list goes on and on.
If you’ve recently asked someone out and aren’t sure how to proceed, in order to leave them with a positive first impression, we’ve got some best first date ideas to share with you that are guaranteed to score points.
The trick is to have at least some base knowledge of whom it is you’re taking out. If you were paying attention while wooing her (or him) into saying yes on a joint outing together, you should already have an idea as to what they like.
If it’s a blind date, then whoever set the two of you up should be able to provide you with some background on them as far as interests go. They’re likely similar to yours, or why else would the matchmaker arrange the meeting?
We’ll sort through that as we go along, but first let’s get started on some safety measures to consider right now before you begin planning the where, when, and how of it all.
Burner App for Dating
If you’re trying to score a date with someone you just met and know relatively little about them, then you may want to think about using the Burner app for disguising your phone number. Designed to protect your privacy, it allows users to create fake temporary phone numbers to use with men or women they’re still on the fence about.
This way, if the date turns out to be a total disaster or you catch a whiff of instability, you don’t have to worry about them having your real contact information and blowing your phone up. It’s an excellent way to deal with drama queens and kings or potential stalkers.
If and when you do decide to move forward, you can give them the correct number. According to Burner, the app reroutes calls coming to your temporary phone number and sends them to your mobile phone, so your personal number remains private. Initially, the fake numbers are good for seven days and up to 40 text messages, but you can extend them indefinitely with a subscription to the service.
Burner also provides a secondary service for texting called Ghostbot. It’s a smart bot designed in conjunction with bot makers Voxable that offers users the option of sending automated replies to unwanted messages. Here’s the description of how it works on Burner’s website:
When Ghostbot sees incoming texts from a person who has been “ghosted,” it runs a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine to reply. After a variable delay, it replies to the message with one of many possible scripted responses: For example, “nope,” “I just have no time right now,” “sorry, I’m just completely overwhelmed with work,” or “sorry, just me and 🍕 tonight.” This continues until the conversation peters out, and the texter gets the hint.
First Date Exit Plans
Another advisable tactic is to either set the alarm on your phone for an hour into the date or arrange to have a friend call you at an appointed time so you can bail early if need be.
Strategy #1: Set an Alarm
If you don’t want to directly involve a friend or family member, you can set your alarm bell to the same ringtone as your phone, so your date will never know you’re not really taking an “emergency” call that would necessitate a hasty retreat. This is pretty standard in today’s dating world, and chances are your date will employ the same trick as well.
Strategy #2: Tell A Friend
It’s also suggested you leave your date’s name, your itinerary, and time estimations with someone who is conscientious and reliable in case something goes horribly wrong. We’re not trying to shave your dating buzz, but the reality is we live in a crazy world occupied by some kooky people.
Strategy #3: Snap A Pic
If no one has ever met them or knows what they look like, man or woman, snap a selfie with your date under the guise of “capturing the moment” and text it to someone you can trust to set the hounds loose should something happen. Providing a license plate number and car description are also good ideas if you’re being picked up and traveling with them.
Strategy #4: Keep It Light
Another consideration is whether to set the date for afternoon or evening and whether it should be coffee and a snack or dinner and drinks. You can ease out of a casual afternoon meet up a whole lot easier than you can with the standard dinner and a movie format, so bear it in mind.
Now let’s move on to those best first date ideas we have in store for you.
Athletic, Adventurous, or Outdoorsy Types
As we stated earlier, knowing a little bit about the person you’re going out with makes planning a date a whole lot easier. If you know they’re active and game for some physical fun, then there are countless activities that can be arranged for the two of you.
Here’s a list of fun things to do that he or she might enjoy:
- Morning or afternoon hike
- Game of tennis
- Trip to the batting cages
- Kayaking, canoeing, or rafting
- Driving range for practicing your swings
- Sailing or other boating activities
- Skiing (water or snow)
- Horseback riding
- Skating or roller blading
- Bicycle ride
- Rock climbing (indoors or out)
- Swimming or snorkeling
- The beach
- Water slide parks
- Kite flying
- Scavenger hunts
- Road rallies
- Mountain biking
- Jogging or other fitness endeavors
- Fencing or martial arts lesson
- Paintball or laser tag
- Build a snowman
- Go surfing or learn how
- Jet skiing
- Sand railing
- Rent Segways
Dating Academic or Refined Types
So, your date is the intellectual sort. While this doesn’t preclude them from having varied interests that include more exertive hobbies, you might want to try one of these best first date ideas for the more refined or brainiac types.
- Museums (of any kind)
- Art galleries
- Exhibits (touring or permanent)
- One-time painting or pottery classes with wine included
- Book or poetry readings
- Architectural tours
- Jazz clubs
- Meet at a bookstore that sells coffee rather than at a café
- Walking tours
- Play a game of chess or backgammon at a park or outdoor café
- Explore historic buildings open to the public
- Lectures and symposiums
- Opera, theatre, symphonies, or ballet performances
- Geocaching games
Casual Fun Dating Ideas
For some lighthearted interactive dating ideas, you could always try one or two of these suggestions:
- Trivia nights
- Dog or horse track for some racing fun
- An escape room
- Putt-putt golf
- Comedy clubs
- Music or street festivals
- Salsa, swing, or line dance lessons
- Play games at an arcade
- Go-kart racing
- Thrill parks with trampolines or indoor skydiving setups
- Visit a chocolate or ice cream factory
- Carnivals or fairs
- Try a mom and pop diner specializing in comfort food
- Live midnight performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
- A mystery theatre dinner show
- Visit a well-known haunted spot
- Go to a brewery
- Hit up a make-your-own pizza joint
- Sporting events
- Visit a psychic
- Drive-in movie (if they still have them in your area)
- Air shows
- A barbecue and a round of horse shoes
- Mini pub crawl
- Game of darts at a popular watering hole
- Spirit tastings
Romantic First Date Ideas
If you’re a born romantic or you know your date will love the gesture, there are a number of great first date ideas to choose from, and many of them are either free or inexpensive.
- Watch a sunset
- Take a hot air balloon ride—they often include a champagne toast and hors d’oeuvres at the completion and can be booked at various times of the day for sunrise or sunset flights.
- Book a romantic dinner cruise
- Plan a picnic
- A mountain lodge for lunch, dinner, drinks, or snacks and a view
- Sunday brunch
- Rowing on a pond—bring a basket of beverages and goodies
- Takeout by candlelight on a rooftop, patio, side garden, or balcony
- A leisurely stroll in a park or quaint shopping district
- An evening visit to a pier or boardwalk
- Take a drive to see fall colors
- Visit a vineyard
- Try star gazing in an area low in light pollution
- Make a trip to fabulous vista overlooks
- Fancy dress dinners, nightclubs, and cocktail parties or black-tie events
- Read to each other (poetry, sonnets, classics, etc.)
- A building or hotel with a rooftop eatery or bar providing dazzling skyline views (think Hyatt Compass Room or the Space Needle)
- Take a sleigh or carriage ride
- Shop together at a gourmet grocers that serves beer and wine in sipping cups and then head back to the hacienda to make a home-cooked meal.
- Take a tandem bike ride
- Progressive dinners with apps, main courses, desserts, and nightcaps at three or four different locations
If you’re on a budget and you have a culinary institute nearby, you can book a table and get a four-course dinner worthy of a 4-5 star rating prepared by up-and- coming chefs. They’re set in fine-dining atmospheres, so dress accordingly.
Taking it Up a Notch
No mere mortal activities will suffice for two such thrill seekers as your selves? Then take it up a notch with these exciting extreme-dating ideas that are sure to get your hearts thumping:
- Racecar driving course—lessons are expensive, but the exhilaration is so worth it to adrenaline junkies.
- Sky diving
- Bungee jumping
- Zip lining
- SCUBA diving
- Motorcycle ride to the country
- Off-roading in a Jeep or on dirt bikes
- Cliff diving
- Cave exploration or spelunking
- Extreme rides like roller coasters or pendulum swings
- Kick butt and take a Krav Maga tactical class like an Israeli commando
- Go to the X Games
- Take a helicopter or glider ride
- Attend top-fuel racing events
- Go white water rafting with Class III/IV rapids or higher
Best Low-Key Dating Ideas
Maybe danger isn’t your middle name. What of it? There are plenty of fun or interesting things to do for the laidback that don’t include white knuckles, elevated blood pressure, and an increased heart rate.
For additional best first date ideas that don’t involve dangling from a scaffold, try some of these super low-key activities, instead:
- Petting zoos
- Bocce ball
- See a matinee
- Browse a record store
- Antiquing or junking
- Theme parks like SeaWorld or Busch Gardens
- Work on a puzzle together over coffee or smoothies at a local café
- Estate sales
- Ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt and a stroll (it could even be shaved ice or fresh-squeezed lemonade)
- Flea markets
- Take a day or evening drive along a shoreline
- Watch a parade or flotilla
- Go to a yoga class
- Play a game of checkers or scrabble someplace that also provides food and drink, preferably with a patio
- Create sidewalk art with colored chalk
- Build a sand castle
- Visit a playground with swing sets
- Do a craft together
- Visit a pioneer village or historic fort
For Nature Lovers
If you both share a love of the outdoors, but you’re not looking for an action-packed adventure, these naturific best first date ideas may be just the place to start for a different type of walk on the wild side.
- Botanical gardens or garden tours
- Farmers’ market
- Zoos and wildlife parks
- Plant a tree together at a volunteer event
- Go fruit or berry picking
- Bird watching
- Visit a nursery
- Design a container or herb garden
- Create moss art on a northern exposure
- Visit a habitat or sanctuary
- Try Qigong or Tai Chi outdoors
- Collect sea shells, driftwood, or tumbled glass at the beach
- Go fossil hunting
- Check out a maze
Note: During fall months you can readily find corn mazes, but during the spring, summer, and early fall months consider visiting 19th and early 20th century estates that are open to the public with formal gardens and giant hedge mazes.
Best First Date Ideas Ever
The list literally does go on and on, so there’s no reason you should be at a loss for something to do, whether it’s a first date or date night for a long-established couple.
Use your imagination and improvise on some of these suggestions, if you don’t have the facilities in your area. Many of the ideas can be combined for a full morning, afternoon, or evening out.
#1: Explore the Great Outdoors
For instance, if you just take your date to a playground and park yourself on the swing set, they may wonder if this is the extent of your outing—which would be weak. Rather than that, bring your colored chalk along with a kite and a picnic basket with a blanket to sit on and make something more out of it.
#2: Try Something New
Another thought is to explore a previously unvisited neighborhood together, especially ones with a high ethnic population for wonderfully diverse foods, sights, and sounds. Nearly every large city has its own Little Italy, Chinatown, Polski spot or German sector, as just a few of the examples available. Or maybe there’s a new arts district somewhere to investigate.
#3: Learn History… and Make It Too
One more often overlooked dating idea is to make use of famous landmarks and popular tourist spots in your area. Just because you live in New York City doesn’t mean you’ve visited Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. The same can be said for people who live in Arizona but have never seen the Grand Canyon or the silver Arch in St. Louis for Missourians.
The point is, with a little thought and effort, you can come up with a tailor-made first date idea that will make a lasting impression. And if you do it right the first time, there’s bound to be a second just around the corner.