You’ve matched with someone who seems really interesting and you already have great texting chemistry. You’re excited for that first date, but the planning? Not so much. It’s tempting to settle for drinks or dinner, but if you really want to kick start the relationship you might want to give the first date a little more thought.
Try choosing dates that will show off a little more creativity but still keep things low pressure. If you need a inspiration, here are my 13 favorite first date ideas:
Try brunch instead of dinner.
“Dinner is more formal and tends to put a lot of stress on both parties. Brunch is more relaxed, earlier in the day, and if it goes well, you might just end up hanging out for the rest of the day,” says relationship writer at Paris in NYC, Ismenia Mejia. As if you need another excuse to brunch like a sport.
Visit a tourist attraction in your town or city.
Many people live the majority of their lives in a single place without actually exploring it. “This is a great time to do that together. It gives you an opportunity to learn something new about where you live as well as each other,” says Mejia. It’s also a surefire way to make a memory with someone you like.
Do something nostalgic.
Anything that brings back childhood memories is a fun way to kick off a new relationship. Arcades, carnivals, and boardwalks all tap into that nostalgia factor and bring the childlike fun that can bring out an extra something special in a date.
Go for a walk.
Mejia says, “Don’t underestimate the power of a casual walk. Pick a location that’s vibrant and high energy and let the conversation flow.” Town centers and parks on a sunny day are best.
Go to an Escape Room.
“The new thing is doing an escape room. Why not do something that forces you to focus on a common goal,” says Stef Safran, Chicago’s Introductionista and founder of Stef and the City. That teamwork also will help you build trust and understand each other’s communication style.
Check out Groupon for some fun, new things to try.
“There are so many activities that people tend to forget about until they want to be creative. Look through Groupon to find things that are good to try on a date,” suggests Safran. Relax in a salt cave, learn how to bull ride… the list goes on. There are tons of novel (and discounted) things you can get access to by simply checking online now and then.
Volunteer for a local public service organization.
“If your date is inclined to social responsibility then you can go online and find any number of places to volunteer together,” says relationship coach, Grace Getzen. “It is a well-known fact that when people give of their time, energy, and compassion to help others, it increases emotional intelligence, kindness, and gratitude within themselves.”
Find an event.
Most towns and cities have social goings-on every week. Check your local news site or event aggregator and you’ll find all sorts of fun activities. “It can be a festival, paint night, or even a yoga class. Doing an activity together will strengthen the bond between you and your date,” says Mejia.
Whether you’re a culinary star or can’t crack an egg, cooking a meal together is a great way to bond. Not only is it a fun activity to do together, but you get to eat your creation afterwards. If you’re not quite ready to invite them over, check out a cooking class at the local rec center.
Do a fitness first date.
“If you’re both into fitness, go rock climbing. A lot of people enjoy working out and trying new things. If it sounds like your date is game, go for it,” says Safran. There are many ways to go about it. It can be easy as using an extra gym pass and challenging them to a race on the treadmill or stationary bike.
Walk your dog in the park.
Everybody loves dogs. If one (or both) of you have dogs, going on a dog walk or to a dog park is a good way to break the ice with the added help of your cute cuddly friend to break any tension. Not to mention, if you’re looking for an animal coparent, this is a good way to get that checkbox out of the way.
Go on a food tour.
Everybody loves to eat and most cities and large towns offer food tours for you to do just that in the form of small samples of local fare. This is a great first date option as it’s not a serious dinner, and you’ll at least be with a tour guide if not more tourists.
Sometimes when you really like someone, you’ll need that little extra umph on the first date. Don’t rely on the dinner and drinks. If it feels right, do something special. It could make the difference.