Date numero uno is all about the conversation and bonding: sometimes it's a make-it-or-break-it evening. But if all the restaurant reservations and silence-filled movie hours of your typical date just ramp up your anxiety, get inspired to think outside the box with a host of other creative options that will set a more inviting mood.
The adrenaline rush of watching your favorite sports team with someone else who maybe, possibly shares your fanaticism can be a quick and easy way to get to know each other. Load up on snacks and enjoy the game.
When you're both book nerds, a day spent browsing your local bookstore is the ideal set-up to get you bonding over your favorite titles. It also allows you to give each other suggestions on what to read next. Just making sure you're not getting too lost among the shelves that you're not paying attention to your date.
Secure a spot on a bench or on the lawn on a busy street or in a crowded park and let the people around you serve as food for thought.
If one of you owns a pup, take them out to the nearest dog park to catch up and check out all other cute dogs. Note: It might be a mood killer if your dog's not super well-behaved, so just make sure you're prepared to handle any hijinx that might occur once you get there.
One great all-seasons date for booze lovers is a brewery tour. You can sip on the latest IPAs and ciders while getting to know each other—it's a win-win.
Who doesn't love seeing exotic animals and cuddly zoo creatures (at a comfortable distance)? This one's an easy date idea if you can sneak by at a time when the crowds aren't too heavy.
If you want to breeze through an hour or two on a date while getting some shopping in, invite your date to a flea market with enough activities so you'll never get bored. Large flea markets like Smorgasburg in L.A. and Brooklyn typically involve shopping, food, and drinks so you can catch up over an iced coffee or peruse the tents together.
For those with a short attention span and an adventurous spirit, get to know your date over an adrenaline-racing round of arcade games. Play up your competitive side or join forces as a team against another pair with a game of foosball.
There's no better place to explore on a date than the pretty manicured lawns and gardens of a botanical garden. Pro tip: plan to go later in the day or after the summer rush if you don't want to find yourself sweating in a greenhouse at mid-day.
The hushed atmosphere of a planetarium combined with the dark room make for an ideal ambiance for a first date. Spend an evening gazing at the stars and learning about the constellations, with lots of hand-holding potential.
Whether you're a true art buff or are just along for the ride, this one's a great quiet place for both of you to gauge each other's interests and conversational skills. Choose a fun, exciting gallery or photo exhibit that's not too obscure if you're anxious about not having enough to talk about.
Whether you're catching the breeze at a waterfront walkway or know an especially scenic park nearby, it's always helpful to set the scene for a date with a pretty backdrop.
If it works for co-worker bonding, it's worth a try for a fun stranger date. Even if you're not exactly Zooey Deschanel in the vocals department, it's more about enjoying the moment and showing a little more of your personality.
When the temperature creeps upwards of 70 degrees, the best way to beat the heat and get to know each other (without a long time commitment) is the ice cream parlor date. Enjoy the cool A/C and sample all the flavors together.
If you're definitely not into the traditional first date schtick, take a lighthearted sports bar approach to the date night with an outdoorsy game of badminton or beach volleyball. If it gets too hot out, retreat indoors for some board games or table tennis.
Not all roller skaters were born with balance, but taking a risk with a roller skating date can take the seriousness out of a first date that typically involves wining and dining. A few falls later and you'll both be a whole lot closer.
This one's a definite time commitment, so you might want to get to know each other over a drink or meal before heading over to a concert. But the perks of an outdoor show, especially if you both love the band, are the good vibes. If there's space on the lawn pack a blanket or get up close and personal in the pit.
No ambience is more romantic than the hush of a soft-lit aquarium. Stroll through the darkened rooms while you point out your favorite creatures behind the glass.
The length of a 30-minute ferry ride is the perfect bite-sized date option for people who don't want to have to drag things out over dinner or drinks. It's a good chance to get fresh air, take in some sights, and suss out whether the other person's up to snuff for a post-excursion drink or coffee.
Big holidays like Chinese New Year and annual food festivals are excellent opportunities to sample bites while you get to know someone. All the various food options and the mingling in a crowd will give you a good chance to survey how adventurous and adaptable the other person is, too.
If both of you like to bike, plan a trail date in a park or scenic area where both of you can chat while cycling at a *leisurely* pace to avoid any Tour de France-worthy pile-ups.
If you're more into herbal blends than java, visit the soothing atmosphere of a tea room for your first rendezvous. The tea room owner will typically lead you in a tea ceremony at an ASMR volume while both of you sip on calming teas and feel zen.
Channel the inner artiste by partaking in an art class of your choice (amping it up with a figure drawing class? Up to you). You can bond over your lack of painting skills and help each other work on your technique. A pottery class will also help you get your hands dirty, Ghost-style.
Whether you live by an ocean or a lake, a day out on the sand is always a calming date spot if the weather's playing along. Soak in some sunshine near the water and as the day draws to a close, take a romantic stroll with the setting sun as an Instagram-worthy backdrop.
Come autumn, the age-old cornfield maze is still a classic for your not-so-average cool weather date. It might take hours for you both to find your way through, but the wandering will allow for some necessary time to get to know each other. And when you finally emerge at the end of the path, you'll still have time to snack on cider and apple donuts.
Appeal to your inner child by buying tickets for a carnival. Yes, we know, we know, so cliché. But embrace the cheesiness—share cotton candy, let him try to win you a prize, and ride the Ferris wheel if you've got the stomach for it. It's a great way to get to know each other while having fun at the same time.
If you've both got an appetite for adventure and you want to undergo the ultimate "survival test to bring you closer together" dating experience, there's nothing quite like being suspended from great heights on a harness while you're clinging for dear life to do it.
Sign up for an hour of dancing lessons where both of you are beginners. Even if your partner has two left feet, the act of learning a skill will draw you closer together. Stay for the all-couple dance session afterward once you're starting to get the hang of it, or retire somewhere else for a bite to eat.
Whether you're a strike machine or a ten-pin novice, there's so much fun to be had at a bowling alley, from the beer and cheap pizza to the rush of the game itself. Set up the bumper guards if you want to avoid utter embarrassment or go no-holds-barred for a competitive one-on-one match.
Up the "awww" factor with this classic daytime date at the park. Gather up your stale bread and feed it to ducks at a pond, then bring along fresh sandwiches and drinks for a park bench lunch next to the water.
Get your adrenaline racing by challenging your date to a race at the go-kart circuit. Show off how well you've mastered those hairpin turns and laugh over the moments where one of you ends up crashing straight into a wall.
To emulate some fairy tale romance, spend a day at the stables riding trail horses for the afternoon. If neither of you have much equestrian experience, take a couple of laps around the paddock before trotting out into nature.
For a less noisy take on your standard live music experience, slip into a jazz lounge to take in the sounds of a lively jazz band. Bonus points if you're at a speakeasy that specializes in unique cocktails and bites.
Even though you're way past the age for miniature golf, the low-stakes game allows for some lighthearted fun without feeling like you need to be competitive. Plus, the yawn-worthy pace of golf means you can chat and play without any interruption.
Keep it simple with a stroll through the park followed by a picnic lunch on the green. Pick out your favorite frozen treats from an ice cream vendor, and chat while you people-watch from the grass.
If you're both vino fans, grab lunch and wander through some scenic vineyards on a wine tasting tour. Both of you can learn to sniff, swirl, and sip like the pros while spending a boozy afternoon together.
There's nothing more satisfying than preparing a meal together in the comfort of your own home if one or both of you is an avid cook. If you're more of a boxed mac-and-cheese type of gal, take the backseat as a sous-chef and help with the chopping and peeling.
Combine powers to form a dream team at trivia night. You'll laugh as you wrack your brains for the capital of Zimbabwe and bond over your shared knowledge of obscure horror films. Plus, drinks are usually on the house if you both you end up winning.
Take a food tour of an unexplored neighborhood or go with certain scenic sights in mind. The act of embarking on a trip will make for a unique shared experience and the ride there will provide plenty of opportunities to learn more about each other.
More adventurous types can embark on a low-level hike, but any nature lover should try a scenic walk or a bike ride in nature with plenty of sights as inspiration for conversation. And hey, it beats sitting inside on a day with perfect weather.
Pin this to your favorite board!