When did first dates become an endless whirlwind of uninspired drinks and dinner? While we love wining and dining as much as the next awkward couple, there have to be alternatives…right?
Remember, dating is intended to be enjoyable. It shouldn’t force you into uncomfortable or unhealthy situations. And above all, you shouldn’t be inevitably bored with the same old song and dance.
Get ready to say goodbye to the small talk (and bad first dates) and get out of your comfort zone with these alternative date ideas.
1) Take in an outdoor movie.
Remember the summer of ’55 back home in the Midwest when you took your high school sweetheart to the drive-in out in the cornfields and got your first kiss? Yeah, probably not. But you can still recreate the days of yore by taking your date to an outdoor movie—drive-in or otherwise.
Check your local media outlets for outdoor events. Even if you’re in the heart of a major metropolis, we’re sure there’s an outdoor summer film series somewhere. Grab some snacks and a bottle of wine, and maybe you’ll get that first kiss you always wanted.
2) Hop on two wheels.
Going au naturel can be a thrill—and we’re not talking about taking a walk in the nude (unless you’re feeling especially bold). Rather, consider taking your workout outside. Looking for a fresh take on the city you’ve lived in for years? Nothing provides an alternative perspective than the two wheels of a bicycle.
Meet at your favorite coffee shop for a quick pick-me-up of caffeine, strap on your helmets, and take a casual ride through a park. Because nothing is sexier than getting the endorphins pumping.
3) Get vertical.
Couples that belay together, stay together…or something like that. But seriously, getting outdoors to a rock wall (indoor climbing gyms count, too!) is an unparalleled experience that immediately requires you to place at least some semblance of trust in your date. Or the rock wall instructor if you’re not willing to make that jump.
4) Take them out to the ballgame—on the cheap.
Sure, the major leagues are great and all, but tickets can be steep. And while we can only assume that your city has a minor league team or some sorts, we are entirely confident that you’ll be saving a hell of a lot of money. Plus, minor league games are often filled with odd traditions and hilarious mascots—all the better for a first date.
Locate your local minor league team and enjoy the single digit price tags. Plus, the money you save can be used towards beer and hotdogs.
5) Live like a tourist.
No matter how long you’ve been in a city, we can bet there’s a museum or other oddity you haven’t seen (or, at least haven’t seen in years). Meet up at your favorite coffee shop to make a list of historic landmarks—and use your first date as a way to cross things off your bucket list. Visiting tourist traps may not be inherently sexy, but the activity can be entirely fun and hilarious, especially if you photobomb the throngs of tourists with selfie sticks.
Finish off your date with a famous bar or restaurant (no matter how cringe-worthy) for the true tourist experience.
6) Bring your A-game.
Embrace your inner-child and buy a round of tickets to your city’s best outdoor amusement offering. Whether it’s an old penny arcade, fair, or boardwalk, engaging in some friendly competition is a great way to bond with your date. The endorphins will all but kill the awkward conversation. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse to indulge in funnel cake.
To make things fun, present a best-of-five situation to your date. Winner is responsible for the oversized stuffed bear.
7) Go bowling.
Smoky rooms, greasy food, and cheap beer. While bowling may conjure up memories of your drunk uncle, there’s still something about bowling that still makes it a timeless activity. Rather than break the ice over fancy cocktails, put on a pair of clown shoes, order a pitcher of beer and a tray of nachos, and try your damndest to bowl a turkey.
Not a competitive bowler? Bumpers can help with that.
8) See the stars.
While stargazing outdoors is a certified lame first date classic, visiting a planetarium or observatory can be pretty fun, albeit a little geeky. And, depending on your date, viewing the moon through a telescope can actually be pretty romantic. Plus, with the help of professionals (and the luck of a clear night’s sky), you can rest assured that the view of the cosmos will be unobstructed.
9) Bar hop—in style.
Okay, so maybe you are more of a traditionalist and you’re sold on dinner and drinks. But who says you have to stay put in one place? Long, drawn-out dinner dates can feel so tedious and stuffy. So to avoid the monotony, have a three-course dinner…at different places.
Dying to impress your date with the hottest tapas place in town? Grab a sharable plate or two and some wine. Curious about the new Izakaya-style joint? Order two drinks and an entrée to share. To cap off the night, pick up a pint to go at your favorite ice cream parlor and enjoy al fresco.
10) Enjoy breakfast for dinner.
Whether you’re a pancakes and French toast fan, or have a proclivity for the simple joys of bacon and eggs, there’s something inherently comforting about ordering breakfast from a good, old-fashioned diner. And a trip to your favorite greasy spoon can make for a hell of a first date.
Modest, unassuming, with just the perfect helping of quirk, diners provide a relaxed tone that can inspire hours of conversation. Just make sure the coffee is a-flowin’.
11) Take a cooking class.
Even if you’re a master home chef, inviting a stranger to your house for a first date is a bit of an awkward proposition. Still in the mood to impress? Opt for a cooking class instead. We can almost guarantee that you’ll be surprised at the variety of classes your city has to offer. And sites like LivingSocial and Groupon constantly have deals for affordable packages—no matter you budget or taste bud.
Not only do you and your date get to enjoy a fancy meal, you get to prepare it yourself. And who knows? Maybe you’ll end the night with some dessert.