Let’s face it, first dates can get awkward. Even for social butterflies, they can feel like formal interviews: routine questions, formalities, the hope of a mutually beneficial relationship. (Not to mention, prior experience required.) While you’ll have a tough time finding an entirely awkwardness free first date, a fun and lively setting can help.
Here are my favorite date ideas for breaking the ice with a new person.
We’ve all got a sweet tooth. Use your palette to your advantage by taking your date to a pastry shop or bakery. From crepes to cheesecake with whip cream on top, that sugar high will help you get that first conversation moving.
If you’re counting calories, don’t worry: you can always share, and fork footsies will help break the ice. (And chocolate is a natural mood enhancer, so order extra.)
Shooting pool is an easy way to test chemistry. The game is laid-back and slow-paced. It allows for conversation to flow naturally and has a built in distraction for when it doesn’t. If you hit an uncomfortable silence, you can always discuss your shooting skills (or lack thereof).
A brewery tour
If you’re a beer connoisseur, take your date to a brewery. Dissecting the beer menu, deciding between signature classics or specialty in-house beers, or going by flights are all part of the experience. Breweries are very in right now and will help keep the date upbeat and interactive, which is key to keeping the vibe natural.
A garden conservatory
If you prefer the scenic route, take your date on a trip to the local garden conservatory. A little more old-fashioned and definitely more relaxed, this atmosphere offers a peaceful alternative to other high-energy dates. After all, plants do calm the senses.
Now you might be thinking, “Couldn’t we just go to the park? Or what about the harborfront? It’s free!” While you’re right, these places can feel too unfocused to guide the conversation, which can be less than ideal for two strangers getting to know each other. With the garden conservatory, you’re guaranteed stunning sights that will keep the conversation flowing.
Some date ideas never go out of style. Mini golf is one of those. It’s cute, sporty, and interactive. Since it involves physical skills, you can offer up tips (or teases) to break the ice.
Whether you’re an expert putter or total klutz, mini golf is a safe bet for a good time. These types of date ideas are essential for warming up to someone new.
Board game cafe
Some friendly competition is always good for heating up a first date. Try a board game cafe to keep the pace flowing. Plus, the playful tension is good for flirting.
Board game cafes are also great for the nostalgia factor of uncovering vintage games, like Connect 4 or Snakes & Ladders.
High tea cafe
High tea isn’t just for the aristocrats anymore. Anyone can indulge in Victorian-style tea time. The antique cups, frilly doilies, and bite-size treats will win you bonus points for creativity.
The tea selection process is an adventure in itself. The menus are expansive, offering flavors you’ve probably never heard of. Even if you’re more of a burger-and-fries type of person, the whole pinky-up experience will be an amusing change of scenery.
Trendy and upbeat, martini bars are a must. With funky music and a dimly lit atmosphere, you’ve got the perfect setting for cozy chit-chat. And obviously, a couple cosmos are guaranteed to ease the tension.
But watch your rounds and keep it classy—you don’t want to get too liquored-loose. Leave some ice to the imagination. Just like dating, it’s a slow-and-steady process.
To sum up, a great date depends on two factors: chemistry and a choice setting. Once you’ve chosen the right place, the setting does half the talking. All you need is a confident mindset and a flexible approach to conversation, and you’re set. With these awesome date ideas, you’ll ease those jitters in no time.