51 Second-Date Ideas

Congrats! He called back and you're moving on to date No. 2. Now what?

By Koryn Kennedy

July 21, 2011 2:26 PM
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couple at a movie
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Choose a Movie Theater and Just Show Up

See the next movie showing, regardless of what it is. If it turns out to be a masterpiece, great. If not, scientists have proven that people develop feelings for each other more quickly when they have a mutual dislike in common. It's a total win-win.
couple at an arcade
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Go to an Arcade

Do you have some serious skills when it comes to Miss Pacman? Tap into your 11-year-old self and impress your man with some old-school arcade moves.
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Go Apple Picking

Spend some quality time in the fields with your new man. Plus, this gives you the perfect excuse to wear that cute little plaid shirt tied high on the waist.
couple on train platform
Hitoshi Nishimura/Taxi Japan
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Take the Train

See how well the two of you do with public transportation. Choose a beach or a historical site just outside your city — nothing more than an hour away — and get to know each other on the ride.
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Bump Bumper Cars

See this childish endeavor as a slightly more sophisticated version of punching the guy you like on the arm on the playground.
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Watch a Reenactment

Whether you're a history buff or a jaded, ironic hipster, nothing beats watching middle-aged accountants hoist muskets and don armor in order to re-create a great historical battle. Not only are reenactments entertaining, they're also educational.
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Stage Your Own Film Festival

Each pick one of your more obscure favorite films, load up on snacks, choose the most comfortable couch, and hit the lights.
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Go to a Rodeo

A trip to the rodeo is a surefire ticket for a down and dirty good time. For all you city dwellers who can't find one, stop by a bar with a mechanical bull and watch all the drunk patrons as they struggle to stay on.
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See a Local Band Neither of You Know

This is great way to find out about his musical tastes. Plus, it's common knowledge that including anything rock 'n' roll on your date makes you look cooler — even if the band sucks.

Attend a Sporting Event

Get an adrenaline boost by attending a rowdy sports game. Rooting for different teams? A little innocent rivalry is a good way to get your blood pumping.
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Play Trivia Night at a Bar

Amaze your date with your stockpile of random and probably useless facts. Plus, if your team wins, drinks are usually on the house.
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Hit Up the Library

Show each other your favorite books from childhood. Read some of your all-time favorite passages or check out the Kama Sutra. Regardless, whispering can be extremely sexy.
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Visit Your Local Botanical Garden

Make out under a giant palm leaf or share childhood stories behind a knotty pine.
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Go Bowling

Who cares about gutter balls? Use your turn to showcase your backswing position (bending over). And don't worry — you don't have to wear the shoes.
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Brave a Burlesque Show

A little skin can be a good thing. Find a local burlesque group and catch a show. Keep in mind that this is one of the racier second-date options and not for those who blush easily.
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Check Out a Museum

They range from naughty (NYC's Museum of Sex) to nice (the Morgan Doll Museum in Oklahoma). Pick one that suits the mood you want to set.

Grab a Deck of Cards

Find a secluded park bench or just sit at the kitchen table and deal. Spit, Go Fish, gin rummy, poker, strip poker — the game and terms are up to you.
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Go to the Driving Range

Rent a couple of clubs and have him show you the correct way to align your hips for a perfect swing.
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Hit the Local Farmers' Market

Strawberries may not be in season but that doesn't mean your local farmers' market doesn't have a ton of cold-weather options. Pick up some quality organic ingredients and test out your teamwork potential by heading back to your place for a warm, tasty meal.

Go to a Gallery Opening

These are great events for dates because there’s no entry free and you can usually score a glass of wine.
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Create a Fire Escape Cookout

The fire escape picnic is a timelessly romantic urban tradition. Fire up the hibachi and grill up a feast while life continues stories below you.
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Check Out a Local Ghost Tour

Ghosts tours are great outside-the-box winter dates for a lot of reasons, they require both of you to tap into your imagination, suspended disbelief and sarcasm and will get adrenaline pumping in low temps. Plus everything is scarier when you can see your own breath.
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Go Boating

Rent a paddleboat in the park, set sail off your closest coast, or push off in a dinghy in a nearby lake. Find your sea legs and steal his heart with some quality time on the water.
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Make Ice Cream Together

Whether it's with an electric machine or a hand cranker, making ice cream will take you back to a more innocent time — and the results taste awesome.
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Go Snowboarding

Forget dinner and a movie. Use the season to your advantage; kick off a new romance with a little adventure by inviting him to go snowboarding with you. Whether you're a pro or a beginner, this type of activity will show off your adventurous side, playfulness and athleticism or willingness to fearlessly try something new — a trifecta of sporty sexy.
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Go Fishing

This is one activity that will give you plenty of time to talk and get to know each other. You might even catch something.
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Go to the Zoo

Baby koalas and a hot guy — how can you go wrong?
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Go Horseback Riding

Take a lesson together or — if you've got experience — ride out unchaperoned. Bonus romance points if you can do it on a beach...ride horses, that is.
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Enjoy a Korean BBQ

These ethnic spots are steeped in custom — traditional Korean BBQs require you to remove your shoes at the door, sit at a floor-level "table," and grill your own entrées. A little exoticism is good for a new romance.
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Get Lost in a Maze

Forget the lawn creatures in The Shining. Navigating a corn maze together can create a sense of excitement. Plus, there's no harm in getting lost — it can actually add a thrilling spike of adrenaline.

Booze It Up at a Biergarten

A staple of German culture, Biergarten literally means "beer garden." Stretch your cultural muscles and test your tolerance with this age-old Teutonic festivity.
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Attend a Music Festival

Channel the Summer of Love by taking him to an outdoor music festival.
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Watch an Outdoor Movie

The summer is prime time for outdoor movies — so grab a blanket and a cooler and find one near you. They're just as entertaining as going to a theater, but with more opportunity to make out. (Better yet, if there's still a drive-in in your vicinity, hit it up before it closes down.)
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Have Your Palms Read

Whether you believe in the occult or not, it's fun and is sure to provoke a conversation. Just don't ask any questions about your love line.
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Take a Picnic to the Park

Grab a blanket, make some sandwiches, and hit the green. After you're done eating, lie back in the sun, people-watch, or play Twenty Questions to dig up some dirt about what makes him tick. (Just don't ask anything too personal.)
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Play a Sport

Go head to head in a heated Frisbee match and join forces for some Sunday softball. Teamwork and working up a mild sweat — avoid anything that will get you drenched — are guaranteed to pull you closer.
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Make Fireplace S'Mores

A good rule of thumb for first dates is, if it was fun in elementary school, it's doubly fun now. So, take advantage of the cooler weather and get the fireplace going, rip open a bag of marshmallows, and make some s'mores.
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Play Some Pool

Grab some cues and make a friendly wager — a couple of bucks or 15 minutes in your apartment at the end of the night.
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Attend a Poetry Reading

You'll either be swept away by a tide of emotions or get an opportunity to test out the rhythm of your snarky, witty banter.
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Find an Outdoor Public Pool That's Open Late

Take your date swimming at sunset. Most all the little kids will be gone, and there's something exciting about being in a pool after dark.
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Take a Lesson at a Pottery Studio

Hey, it worked for Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost.
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Rent Bikes

Whether you're in a city or the countryside, renting bikes is a great way to explore where you live. Give him an extra-nice view by wearing a cute little summer dress and staying a few paces ahead of him.
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Ride a Roller Coaster

Think he's the one? Get him on a roller coaster ASAP. Studies show that participating in any kind of intense or thrilling activity produces a mutual feeling of vulnerability, boosting arousal and forming emotional bonds.
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Go Roller-Skating

Sure, your grandparents did it when they were dating — but there's a reason this activity has withstood the test of time. It's fun! And you get to hold hands.
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Have a Scrabble Smackdown

Yeah, he's hot, and the first-date conversation was fun, but can the guy spell? Find out before things get serious.
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Make Pizza Together

Throwing dough is no small feat. Test your skills by whipping up a couple of pies at home. Make sure to have the number of a delivery place ready if it turns out neither of you has the pizza-spinning gene.
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Visit a Fair

Let him win you a stuffed animal, eat too much cotton candy, and take a trip on both the Ferris wheel and the carousel. They are both adorably romantic.
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See a Stand-Up Comedy Show

Laughing releases endorphins, which sets a great tone for the night. But be sure to sit in the back — a good comedian will pick up on even the smallest hint of awkwardness and exploit it.
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Volunteer to Walk a Dog

Take your date to the local animal shelter and offer to walk a pair of lovable pups. Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers, and you'll be able to gauge his patience with animals.
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Go to a Water Park

Grab your cutest bikini and forgo hair products and nonwaterproof mascara. Just try to go during off-peak times to avoid the onslaught of rambunctious children.
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Go Wine Tasting

A classy way to grab a drink. You may learn a thing or two about grapes, vintages, bouquets, and after a glass or two, him.
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