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.
You’ll know right away if the relationship stands a chance once you find out who’s better in the kitchen. (Take it from those of us who consider meal-prepping a second job.)
Put on your workout clothes and head to the park for some fresh air and relaxation. Partner yoga positions are always the move, and you can get to know each other in more ways than one. *Wink*
Warning: Hand-holding may take place. For a fun (and flirty!) first date, find your local ice skating rink and show off your moves on the ice.
Dinner may be boring, but brunch never is—and breakfast food is always the way to the heart. Head to a new spot or a famous place you’ve been dying to try, and enjoy getting to know each other over french toast and eggs.
Get some fresh air and ride some bikes together. It’s the perfect intro to part two of your date: a picnic in the park (keep reading)—where you can sit down, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.
We take our sense of humor very seriously. If they laugh at the cringeworthy joke the rest of the room feels they *have* to laugh at, you’ll get a good glimpse into what their values are. (Okay, it’s not always that serious, but still.) Even if you’re not trying to find out their beliefs, it’s always fun to share a laugh with somebody new.
Get your hands dirty and make some art together—you can get to know each other while making a new addition for your home. So, even if the date is bad, you’ll at least feel like your time wasn't wasted.
“Grabbing coffee” doesn’t have to be a boring first date. There are plenty of cute spots with *amazing vibes* to kick back and learn more about each other. Plus, you’ll find out what their drink order is—and that practically says everything about them.
If you’re in NYC, Eataly is the perfect place to explore and eat some really great food. If not, try and find some local food trucks to get a taste (or two or three) of what they enjoy.
Good vibes only! You can joke with them and say you’re into horoscopes, but really you’re there to find out if you're wasting your time (nobody has to know). Some people may not be into this, but if you turn it into a fun hangout it’ll make the date way more memorable than dinner and a movie.
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.