Romantic Date Ideas

Skip the dinner and a movie and get close with these unique date ideas.

By Jennifer Jackson

January 21, 2010 2:22 PM
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couple on the beach
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Go to the Beach

Frolic on the sand at a local beach. Whether you live by an ocean or a lake, take a blanket and a picnic lunch for a guaranteed fun time. Play touch football near the water, and talk about your favorite summer vacation trips. If you're really getting along, let him reapply sunscreen to your back later in the day.
botanical garden
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Botanical Garden

Smell the roses at a botanical garden. Wind your way through manicured lawns and groves of blossoming trees, taking the time to sit near the fountains. Sip cups of tea at the outdoor café, and enjoy the romantic scenery.
corn maze
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Cornfield Maze

Get lost together in a corn maze. It might take hours for you to find your way through, but who cares! After you get out, warm him up with a cup of hot cider and some cuddling. Check the Corn Maze Directory at cornmazedir.com for one in your area.
glass of beer
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Beer Brewery

Suggest a brewery tour and he'll think you're the coolest girl in the world. Make the factory setting more romantic by playing footsie during the introductory video and holding hands during the bottling demos. By the time you're ready to taste-test, he'll already be drunk on love.
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Comedy Club

Laugh together at a comedy club improv show. Be prepared to play along if the actors pull you onstage at some point in the evening. Your date will think you're easygoing and fun, and he won't be able to stop talking about the girl with the wonderful sense of humor.
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Amusement Park

Spend the day running around an amusement park. Find time to chat as you wait in line for rides, and share a bag of cotton candy at the dolphin show. As a cheesy memento, offer to buy the photo of you both screaming as you plummet downhill on the big roller coaster.
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Aquarium

Filled with angel fish, tiger sharks, and ancient sea turtles, no place exudes romance more than an aquarium. Stroll through the hushed, darkened rooms, pointing out your favorite creatures, and he'll notice how beautiful you look, illuminated by the glow of fish tanks.
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Learn to Dance

Sign up for an hour of swing dancing lessons. Even if he's not light on his feet, he'll enjoy grabbing your waist and twirling you around. Stay for the all-couple dance session afterward to get more practice — or as an excuse to keep touching each other.
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Play Games at the Arcade

Challenge him to a Dance Dance Revolution duel at your local arcade. Buy a bucket of quarters and play each game at least once, keeping track of your wins. After you're out of tokens, count up your tickets and the one with the highest score gets to pick out a prize.
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Play Ball

Practice hitting curveballs at the batting cages. Keep increasing the speed after each round if you're feeling athletic, and tell him you think he would look great in a pair of tight baseball pants. Who knows? You could end up playing on the same coed softball team in the very near future.
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Practice Your Golf Swing

Book an hour or two at the driving range. If you really end up hitting it off, play a game of nine holes and grab a drink at the clubhouse for even more one-on-one time.
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Go Bungee Jumping

For the ultimate dating adrenaline rush, get your blood pumping by going bungee jumping. Ask for a double harness, and cling to each other as you soar through the air...just resist screaming in his ear. Once you survive the experience, plan your next extreme date: skydiving.
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Shop the Farmers' Market

Browse the stands together at your local farmers' market. Ask growers for their recommendations on fresh fruits, artisan cheeses, and homemade loaves of bread, and take your organic goods to a nearby park for a delicious feast. Remember to pack utensils, plates, and a blanket from home.
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Feed the Ducks

Gather up your stale bread and feed it to ducks at a pond. Share some crumbs with children hovering around, and laugh at their excitement. Bring along fresh sandwiches and drinks for a picnic lunch next to the water.
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Race Go-Karts

Race around a track in go-karts. Take turns behind the wheel to prove you don't "drive like a girl," and have fun trying to knock cocky teenage boys off course. If you're really feeling frisky, suggest driving your own cars for the ultimate Speed Racer showdown.
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Go Horseback Riding

Take the reins and plan a get-together on horseback. Find the nearest stables and rent two trail horses for the afternoon. If neither of you have much equestrian experience, take a couple of laps around the arena before trotting out into nature. Hopefully, you'll be galloping together in sync before you know it.
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Check Out a Jazz Club

Groove to sensual sounds at a jazz club. Sip martinis at a table for two, and tap your toes to trumpet solos and the thumping of a stand-up bass. You'll feel sophisticated and relaxed, and he'll be mesmerized at your beauty by the glow of candlelight.
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Fly a Kite

Take a kite to the beach or a local park for an afternoon spent with your heads in the clouds. First, work together to get the kite up, then brush hands as you pass the handle back and forth. If the wind won't cooperate, head to the swing sets and catch some air there.
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Hit Up a Karaoke Bar

Sing your hearts out at a karaoke bar. Down a couple of drinks for courage while you peruse the song list. Belt out a crowd-pleasing favorite together, and then judge everyone else's performances à la Simon Cowell.
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Go to the Spa

Your hot metrosexual will enjoy an hour of pampering at the spa just as much as you. Suggest a polish-free mani and pedi, then stroll down your town's main street, window shopping along the way. Stop at a sidewalk bistro for cappuccinos and biscotti.
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Play Mini Golf

Maneuver your way around windmills and closing doors at a mini golf course. Ask him about his putting technique, as you wait for the slow families in front of you. Add up your strokes for each hole, and loser buys the winner slushies at the concession stand.
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Visit the Museum

Marvel over dinosaur bones at the natural history museum. Trail behind a tour group to hear folklore from ancient Mesopotamia, and spend a couple of hours analyzing Egyptian artifacts. Once you've walked through all the rooms, grab a table at the café for sandwiches and intellectual-yet-flirty conversation.
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Plant Trees

If you're the eco-conscious types, check with local environmental groups for an afternoon of planting trees and flowers at a city park. Your date will appreciate your commitment to the Earth, and you will appreciate working together for a good cause. Afterward, hit up a nearby health food store for fruit smoothies.
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Stroll Through the Park

Keep it simple with a stroll through the park. Pick out your favorite frozen treat from an ice cream vendor, and get to know each other, while you people-watch from a park bench. Find a Little League team to root for, and share favorite memories from your childhood.
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Take a Wine-Tasting Tour

Wander through vineyards on a wine-tasting tour. Rent a van to shuttle you from place to place, so you don't have to worry about driving. Set up private tastings at several different wineries, then pretend to taste the oak in a glass of pinot noir.
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Go Rowing

Glide around a lake in a rowboat. Take turns mastering the oars, and try not to capsize your tiny craft. If you're feeling brave, recreate the "Kiss the Girl" scene in The Little Mermaid...minus the singing fish.
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Sail Away

Rent a sailboat and take to the water. Play first mate to his captain by shoving off and rigging the mast. Then let him steer you to a secluded alcove, where you can drop anchor and enjoy the ripple of the waves — and each other's company.
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Get Cooking

Channel Julia and Paul Child at a French cooking class. Master the art of separating egg whites, and taste each other's tartes straight out of the oven. If your soufflé falls flat, promise to make him your infamous pesto linguine another night.
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Play Tennis

Impress him with your killer serve on the tennis courts. Keep the competition friendly by volleying back and forth, then challenge him to a real match to show off your skills. For a low-impact option, take him to a recreation center for a lively game of Ping-Pong.
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Trivia Night

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. If you end up winning, put the prize money toward your next great date.
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