First dates are tricky things – you cannot seem over-eager to a partner, not lacking in interest. If you turn up empty handed, you run the risk of being labeled a Scrooge but if you meet your date with a big bouquet of flowers, you are apparently trying to buy her affections. Planning a date is even more of a challenge - on one hand you want to keep it short and casual so that you can make an exit in case things don’t click. At the same time you need to ensure that it is special enough to make your partner want to meet you a second time. Here are 20 first date ideas that are sure to work both ways.
If you are lucky to have good weather in your city or town, an outdoor date can be a great way to get to know each other. Check out biking trails beforehand and choose one which would take you through the lovely countryside or places of historic interest. If you like, you can even pack a satchel with few granola bars and beverages so that once you come up upon a shady nook, you can stop and refresh yourselves.
Picnic in the park
On the other hand neither of you are the sporty type, simply put together a picnic basket with a few sandwiches, muffins and cartons of juice and then head for the nearest public park. If the date gets a tad boring, feed the ducks or throw about a soccer ball. A picnic will give a personal touch to the outing but the open venue will keep things casual.
A garden date
If you want to make the event a little more special and you have your own car, take your date to a nice garden which may require an entry fee but is more likely to have formal features like an arbor, hot house for tropical plants and water features like fountains and lakes. Strolling through these pretty surroundings would make for a lovely time while keeping the date casual and comfortable.
A music concert
This is a great first date idea for couples who share a common interest in music. Say you met your date at a music shop when browsing through the country music section – in this case, you could set up a date around an upcoming music concert featuring the singers you and your partner are fond of.
Sign up for a pottery class
A date based on a shared interest provides the easiest way to break the ice and get to know your partner better. So if you and your partner met at an arts hobby class or know that each of you is fond of crafts, how about signing up for a couples’ pottery class. Playing with paints is not only fun but you could use this time to know more about each other. And even if you don’t really warm up to the person at the end of the date, the evening will not have been entire waste of time and money either.
On the other hand if you both are avid golfers, make a date of your next golfing session. You could play miniature golf or if you are member of a club, you could head out to the links. Follow up the date with coffee and dessert at your favorite café over discussions about your golfing handicaps and by the end of it all, you are sure to have a fair idea of your date as a potential partner.
One of the best first date ideas include attending a performance together – unlike a dinner date they are not too private to be embarrassing but at the same time ensure an enjoyable time spent together. If you wish to stick to the popular movie option, ensure that you have made advance bookings, especially if it is a new release or a weekend show.
Catch a performance
If you wish to make things more special, you can take your date to the theater. Just be sure to find out her preferences beforehand so that you don’t tickets for a Greek tragedy when she would have much rather gone for a musical. In fact even a night at your local comedy club can make a great date idea where you can laugh and have fun with each other.
Date ideas which are structured around an activity have the advantage of keeping the focus on doing something together. It is thus less stressful and awkward, than say a dinner or a movie where you are suddenly thrown into an intimate space. If you are looking for inexpensive, activity-based dates, bowling is a highly popular choice while the same can be said of ice-skating during winters.
A yoga class
Attending a yoga or a dance class could be another way to spend a great evening provided you are sure your partner’s interests too run that way. By doing something together, you are certain to get a peek into the kind of person your partner without the need to come too close.
Trip to the zoo
If you have the day at your disposal, you could take your date to the zoo. Apart from viewing animals, you can also take part in lots of enjoyable and interesting activities that are usually lined up in zoos these days. What’s more there are even food courts and luncheon areas where visitors can grab a bite.
Visit to the amusement park
If you can afford the entry-fees, a visit to the amusement park can be a great first date idea. You can try out hair-raising rides, get cozy in haunted house sections and laugh your guts out before the funny mirrors. And when you feel tired, settle down with snacks and beverages. After all what better way to start a relationship than having fun together.
Take in the sights
If you both are history buffs, one of the best first date ideas would to explore a city or town together. Check out historic landmarks, monuments and buildings preserved for their antique value. If you don’t have many historic sites in your city, browse through a museum for a trip down the past. Once you are done, you can unwind and discuss all that you saw, thereby getting a peek at the person within.
Browse through galleries
Alternately you could visit the local science center or an art gallery if your interests run that way. However inquire beforehand about opening and closing times so that you don’t arrive the day when they are closed. Also if you are not arriving in a car, find out about cycling routes, parking bays and public buses so that you don’t get stuck somewhere without transport.
Look for music festivals or open air performances organized by town/city authorities in parks or any other such outdoor locations. Unlike a concert, most music festivals are easy on the pocket and feature an eclectic line-up which ensures that there is something to suit each person’s taste in music. If food is permitted from outside, take along a picnic basket with packed goodies or else make the most of cafes and food kiosks at the festival to fill up from within.
In keeping with the outdoor theme, a country fair can be a fun first date idea. You can treat her to candy floss sticks, gift her with a teddy bear after shooting balloons accurately or even have fun in hitting the hammer. Later into the evening you can even take your date to a café or a small diner for a light bite and some quiet romantic tète-a-tète.
A book reading
For book lovers, one of the best first date ideas would be to attend a book reading together. This keeps the focus of the date on the event and thus ensures things don’t get too intimate. At the same time you have enough scope for chatting and finding out about each other. To really impress your date, get an invite to a book launch that is a wine-and-cheese affair and get a copy personally signed by the author.
In a group
If you want to keep your first date casual, a good option is to go out with mutual friends or maybe another couple you get along with. For instance you all could go bowling together or tobogganing, if it has been snowing. The best part of such all group outings or a double date is that it not only keeps things from getting uncomfortable in case you don’t hit off with your partner but also enables you to share costs or make bulk bookings at discounted rates.
Doing volunteer work together is one of the best ways to get to know a person but make it a date idea only if you are sure if your partner enjoys it as much as you do. Yu can plant flowers with the parks dept., donate blood or help out at the local animal shelter – choose from your mutual interests and the time given to the community will be doubly satisfying.
This is a good first date idea since it allows couples to avoid the pressures of an intimate dinner date while still keeping the occasion special. If you want to make it a special event, by all means dress up and turn out in your very best for the Sunday brunch. If all goes well, you can even celebrate with a glass of champagne or indulge yourselves with a rich tasty dessert.