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.

best first date ideas

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.

best first date ideas

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.

 Hopefully…

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.

outdoorsy first date ideas

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.

Adventurous first date ideas

Here’s a list of fun things to do that he or she might enjoy:

  1. Morning or afternoon hike
  2. Game of tennis
  3. Trip to the batting cages
  4. Kayaking, canoeing, or rafting
  5. Driving range for practicing your swings
  6. Sailing or other boating activities
  7. Skiing (water or snow)
  8. Horseback riding
  9. Skating or roller blading
  10. Mudding
  11. Fishing
  12. Bicycle ride
  13. Rock climbing (indoors or out)
  14. Swimming or snorkeling
  15. The beach
  16. Tubing
  17. Water slide parks
  18. Kite flying
  19. Scavenger hunts
  20. Road rallies
  21. Mountain biking
  22. Jogging or other fitness endeavors
  23. Fencing or martial arts lesson
  24. Paintball or laser tag
  25. Build a snowman
  26. Go surfing or learn how
  27. Jet skiing
  28. Sand railing
  29. Snowmobiling
  30. Snowboarding
  31. 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.

Academic first date ideas
  1. Museums (of any kind)
  2. Art galleries
  3. Exhibits (touring or permanent)
  4. One-time painting or pottery classes with wine included
  5. Book or poetry readings
  6. Architectural tours
  7. Jazz clubs
  8. Meet at a bookstore that sells coffee rather than at a café
  9. Walking tours
  10. Play a game of chess or backgammon at a park or outdoor café
  11. Explore historic buildings open to the public
  12. Lectures and symposiums
  13. Opera, theatre, symphonies, or ballet performances
  14. Geocaching games

Casual Fun Dating Ideas

For some lighthearted interactive dating ideas, you could always try one or two of these suggestions:

Casual first date ideas
  1. Karaoke
  2. Trivia nights
  3. Dog or horse track for some racing fun
  4. An escape room
  5. Bowling
  6. Putt-putt golf
  7. Comedy clubs
  8. Casinos
  9. Music or street festivals
  10. Concerts
  11. Salsa, swing, or line dance lessons
  12. Play games at an arcade
  13. Go-kart racing
  14. Thrill parks with trampolines or indoor skydiving setups
  15. Visit a chocolate or ice cream factory
  16. Carnivals or fairs
  17. Try a mom and pop diner specializing in comfort food
  18. Live midnight performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
  19. A mystery theatre dinner show
  20. Visit a well-known haunted spot
  21. Go to a brewery
  22. Hit up a make-your-own pizza joint
  23. Sporting events
  24. Visit a psychic
  25. Drive-in movie (if they still have them in your area)
  26. Air shows
  27. A barbecue and a round of horse shoes
  28. Mini pub crawl
  29. Game of darts at a popular watering hole
  30. 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.

Romantic first date ideas
  1. Watch a sunset
  2. 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.
  3. Book a romantic dinner cruise
  4. Plan a picnic
  5. A mountain lodge for lunch, dinner, drinks, or snacks and a view
  6. Sunday brunch
  7. Rowing on a pond—bring a basket of beverages and goodies
  8. Takeout by candlelight on a rooftop, patio, side garden, or balcony
  9. A leisurely stroll in a park or quaint shopping district
  10. An evening visit to a pier or boardwalk
  11. Take a drive to see fall colors
  12. Visit a vineyard
  13. Try star gazing in an area low in light pollution
  14. Make a trip to fabulous vista overlooks
  15. Fancy dress dinners, nightclubs, and cocktail parties or black-tie events
  16. Read to each other (poetry, sonnets, classics, etc.)
  17. A building or hotel with a rooftop eatery or bar providing dazzling skyline views (think Hyatt Compass Room or the Space Needle)
  18. Take a sleigh or carriage ride
  19. 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.
  20. Take a tandem bike ride
  21. Progressive dinners with apps, main courses, desserts, and nightcaps at three or four different locations

Expert Tip

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:

Steamy first date ideas
  • 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
  • Parasailing
  • 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:

Low Key first date ideas
  1. Petting zoos
  2. Aquariums
  3. Shuffleboard
  4. Bocce ball
  5. Badminton
  6. See a matinee
  7. Browse a record store
  8. Antiquing or junking
  9. Theme parks like SeaWorld or Busch Gardens
  10. Work on a puzzle together over coffee or smoothies at a local café
  11. Estate sales
  12. Ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt and a stroll (it could even be shaved ice or fresh-squeezed lemonade)
  13. Flea markets
  14. Take a day or evening drive along a shoreline
  15. Watch a parade or flotilla
  16. Go to a yoga class
  17. Play a game of checkers or scrabble someplace that also provides food and drink, preferably with a patio
  18. Create sidewalk art with colored chalk
  19. Build a sand castle
  20. Visit a playground with swing sets
  21. Do a craft together
  22. 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.

Nature lover first date ideas
  • 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.

Bottom Line

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.