50 First Date Ideas For An Instant Spark
It’s important to recognize that so much rides on in-person chemistry. No matter if you met online, have been chatting through Bumble, or have only zoom dated (if you met during quarantine), nothing stacks up to a real first date. No pressure or anything! Just your future with this person riding on the line! Just kidding. But there are mediocre first date ideas, and there are inspired first date ideas… and we’d rather you experience the latter.
Here are 50 date ideas, from a relationship expert’s perspective, that are guaranteed to ignite a spark:
1. Comedy night
If you and your date like to laugh and are okay sitting through some potentially awkward sets (which let’s be honest is bound to happen at any amateur show...) try heading to a local bar and sitting in on comedy night. Seeing comedy together is a great way to gauge a new date’s sense of humor.
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2. Participate in an open mic night
There’s nothing like totally putting yourself out there on a first date. Attend an open mic night and each promise to do some kind of performance whether it’s singing, slam poetry, or playing some kind of musical instrument. Being adventurous and putting yourself out there is a great way to bond on a first date.
3. Cooking class
Attending a cooking class together is a fun way to get creative and learn something new, plus dinner’s included! It’s a no-brainer.
4. Art class
If cooking isn’t your thing, but you are still looking to get creative on a first date, look into an art class at a local studio. Whether it’s a pottery class, or a painting class, doing an art class together will show you their artistic side and you’ll end up with fun pieces at the end.
5. Ghost tour
Believe it or not, most cities and towns have haunted folklore if you seek it out. Google “haunted house tour” or “ghost tour” in your area to find a spooky spot to visit. You’ll learn a lot about your date by how they react to fear.
6. Axe throwing
Axe throwing has emerged as a new form of sport that can test out your strength and aim. If you and your date are into sporty things, and a little friendly competition, this could be a great first date spot.
7. Go bowling
Some things are classic for a reason, and bowling on a first date is just one of those things. It introduces just the right amount of competition that can help you out of the conversation is dragging a little bit.
Arcades are making a comeback, and as it turns out, they’re a great date spot! Playing arcade games on a date is a lighthearted way to break the ice with some competition.
9. Rock climbing
Rock climbing is all the rage these days, and is a fun way to get your blood pumping and get to know a new person. Whether you are solo-ing or having your date belay you, you will get a good workout and bond over the rock course together.
10. Try horseback riding
This is a rather niche first date idea, but if your city, or a city in your area has horseback riding classes, and you are the adventurous type, horseback riding is a great way to explore new parts of your area while bringing out your rugged side.
11. Tarot reading
Whether or not you believe in the art of tarot reading, getting your cards read can be a super fun date option because it will teach you more about yourself and your new date.
12. Palm reading
Along the same lines as tarot card readings, seeking out a palm reader is another great first date idea. Palm readings can tell you about your future with this new person, your overall compatibility, and what your life paths will look like. Definitely things that would be good to know as you start out a relationship!
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13. Rooftop bar
Enjoying the view? Rooftop bars are always great vibes and would make an excellent first date spot.
14. Concert in the park
Who doesn’t love a good concert? A concert at the park is a great first date idea because it’s an opportunity to explore what kind of music you both like and check out their moves on the dance floor.
15. Music festival
If you and your date are both into music, consider buying a day pass to a music festival or even a weekend pass if you’re feeling up for it! You’ll get to see a ton of shows together, show each other new bands and make some awesome memories.
16. Mini golf
Mini golf is a fun and low stakes first date idea. Mini golf is such a nostalgic experience for most people, going on a first date will be sure to bring out the inner kid in you both.
17. Driving range
If mini golf sounds like child’s play to you, but you’re interested in trying out a sporty activity together, consider going to the driving range. Places like ‘Top Golf’ are popping up all around the country and offer a great date night spot with drinks, golf and a chance to correct your dates form (wink wink).
18. Food festival
If you love food and the idea of trying new things, consider going to a food festival together and sampling different dishes from around your town. You will probably discover a new awesome restaurant while supporting local businesses.
19. Go karts
Ever wanted an excuse to play real life Mario Kart? See if your date has the need - the need for speed, on this flirty, fun, and competitive first date.
If you and your date both like the outdoors, and the weather is right, take advantage of some local hiking trails. You might be surprised at what you come across, and there’s nothing more romantic than discovering a new scenic view together.
21. Bike ride
Going on a bike ride is another great way to explore where you live and get your endorphins pumping, which is sure to generate some extra chemistry.
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22. Go on a run
For those of you that love running, try going on a run for your first date. You can hit your favorite running trail, boost your endorphins and grab coffee afterwards as a fun and active first date idea.
23. Rent canoes or kayaks
Another great way to soak up the sun on a first date is to hit a local river or lake for some canoeing or kayaking. It’s surprisingly cheap to rent a boat these days, and if you go at sunset it will be a super romantic trip.
24. Karaoke bar
If you aren’t afraid of embarrassing yourself (or if you have an excellent singing voice) consider trying karaoke for your first date. Pick out your favorite song or decide on a duet to perform with your date.
25. Go thrifting
Thrifting together is a great way to get a sense of your date’s style. If you visit a thrift store together you can even take turns picking out outfits for one another in a kind of adult dress up.
26. Go to a flea market
If you are both into shopping, or just up for an adventure, go to a local flea market on your first day to search for little treasures. You can turn this into a little scavenger hunt or pick out presents for one another.
27. Visit a local bookstore
If you or your date are book worms, hitting a local bookstore is a great first date spot! Go to a local spot and ask for a recommendation, look at the rare books in stock or try to pick out books for one another. You can learn a lot about a person based on the kind of things they like to read.
28. Pop into a record store
If you’re more into music than books, try hitting a record store together. Most places have listening stations so that you can jam a new found record together or listen to a classic.
29. Go to Ikea
If you’re a fan of the movie “500 days of Summer”, then you understand the appeal of an Ikea date idea. Explore the store, identify your style and shop around while trying the awesome samples that are available.
30. Go to the zoo
If you’re looking for an outdoor activity, it’s always fun to visit a zoo on a date. Take a peek at the animals, buy a silly souvenir and enjoy each other’s company.
31. Go to the aquarium
Aquariums are another super fun date idea, choose your favorite exhibits and spend time learning about fish and jellyfish together.
32. Visit a museum
Decide on a topic that both you and your date are interested in, whether it’s art, history or sports there’s bound to be a museum in the area that you can visit together to learn something new about a topic you’re both interested in.
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33. Hit the farmers market
In need of produce? Looking for an artisan candle? Or a local kombucha dealer? Hit the farmers market as a date activity and support local business while you get to know each other.
34. Do a wine tasting
Wine tastings are a fun and flirty way to get to know a new date while learning about wine. It’s always impressive to have a few fun facts about wine up your sleeve, so learn about legs and tannins while testing out your chemistry as a couple.
35. Visit a local brewery
If wine isn’t your thing, try visiting a local brewery. A lot of breweries offer flights of beer, which are little tasters of a bunch of different brews that showcase what the brewery has to offer. This is kind of a do-it yourself version of a beer tasting and it’s a super fun way to try new things, learn about what kind of beers you and your date like, and get to know each other in a low-key environment.
36. Volunteer together
If you have the privilege to take time out of your life to meet new people and do things for fun, consider paying this privilege forward together by volunteering for a cause that you are both passionate about.
37. Go to the movies
Netflix n’ chill is a classic choice, but there’s just nothing like the real deal. Support a local theatre, load up on snacks and candy, and take some of the pressure off of a first date. Plus, you’ll have plenty to talk about afterwards!
38. Try out a drive-in movie
Drive-ins are a fun and nostalgic alternative to the traditional movie theatre experience. Pack a picnic or at least some popcorn and curl up in your car as you enjoy a movie together.
39. Go to a play
Support your local thespians and buy tickets to see a local production of whatever is playing at the nearest theatre. Plays can be a fun way to bond with someone that you are meeting in person for the first time.
40. Have a picnic
Have a favorite park in town that you want to visit? Or a special spot you want to share with someone? Pack a picnic and take them to your special spot in town. A picnic is a romantic way to test out your chemistry as a couple.
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41. Compete in a trivia night
Whether you are on the MENSA scale or terrible at fun facts, trivia is a fun and competitive way to get to know a new person and their interests. Play on a team together, join another table or recruit some friends to make the date lower stakes.
42. Try an escape room
If you’re worried about having enough to talk about, or getting over the initial awkward stage of a date, try booking an escape room together. You’ll be thrown into a real-life puzzle and will have no choice but to chat and work together against the clock.
43. Do a puzzle
While some people can’t wait to get out in the world, others are happy to stay at home, with some added company. If you are looking for a low-key first date idea with minimal socializing, try completing a puzzle together. Even if you can’t finish the puzzle in one sitting, it will teach you a lot about problem solving and their patience.
44. Visit an animal shelter
Checking out a local animal shelter and playing with puppies is a snuggly way to get to know your date. (Plus you can find out if they’re an animal lover or… not so much!)
45. Go to a baseball game
Are you and your date both sports fans? Buy tickets to a local sporting event! It doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, soccer, football, gearing up and cheering for the same team will be a fun bonding experience on a first date.
46. Take a dance class
If you are open to learning something new on a first date, consider enrolling in a dance class. Dancing together will test your chemistry from the get go!
47. Create a mini food tour
Can’t decide on the perfect date spot? You don’t have to! Instead of deciding one just one restaurant, you and your date can each pick a few of your favorite places and create a mini food tour of your city. Bopping around from place to place sampling your favorites dishes will teach you a lot about where your date spends their time and you might even find a new favorite dinner spot in the process..
48. Take a day trip
Pick a nearby city and hop in the car to adventure together. If you can handle an entire day with this person right from the start, it’s a great sign moving forward.
49. Go on a scenic drive
If you like the idea of a day trip, but don’t have a destination in mind, try hopping in the car and just driving. You are bound to come across a cool cafe, an eclectic side-of-the-highway store or pretty spot on the side of the road.
50. Do a seasonal activity
Getting into the spirit of the season isn’t just a fun first date, it’s a great way to connect! Take advantage of the season’s offerings, whether it’s visiting a botanical garden, grabbing snow cones, visiting a pumpkin patch or going apple picking, this is a great and memorable first date to tell and retell time and time again.
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