No matter how well you know them before things turn romantic, the first date is always the most nerve-racking. The first big question is whether to stick to the good ol’ dinner and a movie, or shake things up a bit. Should you ask your date what they want to do, or come up with something yourself?
There is no one answer to either of these questions; it all depends on your date, their interests, and their expectations. But if you’re looking to do more than dinner and a movie – and more than Netflix and Chill – then check out these 10 great first date ideas that are sure to leave a lasting impression.
1. Beach Day
If there’s a beach or lake nearby, then there’s plenty one can do for a date. Pack a picnic basket and relax on the sand, or take to the water. Whether your date likes to swim, people-watch, paddle board, kayak, take pictures, or play catch with the dog, the chances of boredom are slim. It’s also a great time to catch a peek at the bodies hidden beneath dresses and jeans.
2. Live Music
Music is a common factor friends and couples bond over in the beginning. If this is the case with you and your date, then consider seeing one of your mutual favourites live.
The spring and summer is a great time to attend music festivals, even if you don’t know the bands on stage. It’s also pretty easy to find bars that put on shows a few times each week.
3. Dog Park
If you’re both dog lovers, then taking Sparky and Fido on a play date can make for a great bonding experience. It affirms that you have something in common, and Fido is there to offer distraction when the conversation hits a slump. Pets can also tell you a lot about their owners, if you pay attention and know what to look for.
Hiking offers way more than just the chance to walk aimlessly through the woods with your date. This is a great choice if your partner enjoys staying fit, exploring nature, or dabbles in photography.
Kick the romance up a notch by packing food, drinks, and a blanket. Be sure to check that the trail has open spaces for a picnic, as many are just narrow pathways carved through the woods.
5. Sweating at the Gym
If fitness and your gym routine is really important to you, then having a partner that can keep up, should be a priority. A date at the gym is a great way to test for this, and to work on your physical attractiveness together. It’s also an interesting icebreaker, as it goes beyond the superficial convenience of button-up shirts, gelled hair, concealer, and perfume.
Art exhibits, renaissance fairs, charity events, ethnic celebrations, and food festivals often make their way through big cities and small towns from spring through summer and into the early autumn season.
You can enjoy great food, good beer, and the opportunity to see or try something new. For ladies with safety as a priority, this is about as safe as it gets: a daytime activity in a crowded, open, public area.
7. Low-Key Bars
In college, a married friend once advised, “Never meet a man in a bar.” Of course, one cannot help but meet people at bars, if you’re at one. When people occupy the same space, they’re bound to talk and share a few laughs or drinks. But her actual point was: don’t take him home.
Even so, if the night scene is more your thing, a low key bar can be a great way to spend time together. There’s a lot less pressure to be sexy, or go wild. The music is not as loud. The crowd is not as crazy. And themed bars usually have additional activities to keep you busy: like great food, arcade games, and pool tables.
8. Wine or Beer Tasting
To enjoy the alcohol but ditch the larger crowd, try wine or beer tasting. At the least, you’ll find out if your partner can handle their liquor, and what they’re likely to do, when drunk. If the tasting is at a vineyard or brewery, then you may even learn a bit of history along the way.
Remember to drink responsibly, especially if you plan to drive home afterwards. Alcohol is also sure to make you hungry after a few, so have a restaurant in mind to eat at later.
9. Game Arcade
If you’re a gamer hoping to find a partner who understands why playing Call of Duty until 4AM is important to you, a game arcade is your best bet. This is a great way to not only find out if they can tolerate your gaming habits, but if they might make great video game buddies.
In addition to this, a lot of video games at arcades are two-player, giving the perfect opportunity to start building those teamwork skills as a couple. And if the game asks for competition, then now you know if they’re a sore loser or not – if you win, anyway.
10. Giving Back
There are a lot of selfless millennials out there trying to make a difference, one project at a time. And even when they’re not world class philanthropists, everyone has a cause or a group that’s dear to their heart.
Find out what that is for your partner, and find an organization that can help them make a difference; whether it’s teaching kids to play music, taking care of strays at a shelter, feeding the homeless, or participating in a 5K run to support breast cancer research.
Dating is not what it used to be, and in some ways, that’s a good thing. Because who wants dinner and a movie for the rest of their lives anyway..?
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.