First dates can be nerve-wracking enough without the added pressure of having to decide where to go. Meeting for drinks, a casual coffee, or the classic dinner and a movie may be tried and tested first date ideas, but they're also a little, well, boring. The ideal first date should be fun, interactive, and — above all — give you a chance to really get to know someone. So, why not think outside the box this time?
Going for a walk is a perfect first date activity. If you're both particularly sporty types, you could turn this into a run or a hike, but even something as sedate as a gentle stroll through your favorite part of town can still give you those exercise endorphins without making you all flushed and sweaty. Try planning a route through a particularly scenic area, or one where you have lots of stories; pointing out the road where you once fell off your bike, or the bar where your best friend got so drunk they decided to walk home barefoot, can be the perfect conversation starter. Just make sure to plan your route — getting lost on a first date usually isn't a great experience. Also, try not to stray too far from home if there's a chance you won't want to be stuck with this person all day.
If the idea of walking around town appeals to you, how about taking it a step further? Even if you're going on a first date in your hometown, pretending to be tourists for a couple of hours can be unexpectedly fun. Go to the big tourist trap you usually avoid, take cheesy photos of a local landmark, and see if you can't experience the area from a brand new perspective. Who knows, you might even get the chance to tick something off your bucket list!
If you go on a lot of first dates, why not seize the opportunity and use that time to do something you really want to do? Enroll in a cooking class, learn to paint or throw pottery, or take advantage of the fact that you have a guaranteed partner to try that couples dance course you've had your eye on. Learning a new skill together can be a bonding experience, and even if you don't hit it off, at least you'll have gotten your money's worth!
Bowling could be the perfect first date activity. It's fun whether or not you're any good at it, sporty without requiring any real physical exertion, and there's usually drinks to be had. Plus, it's a great way to show off your, well, assets without even trying. If you've never bowled before, take your cue from cheesy romantic comedies and ask for some "pointers" from your date. If you're the one with more experience, make sure to take it easy on them. No one likes a show-off!
Rock climbing is another great option if you don't mind getting a little physical on a first date. After all, nothing says trust like literally putting your life in someone's hands as they lower you down a 30-foot wall. This activity is sure to get your blood pumping and your heart racing — just don't confuse adrenaline for true love!
What's not to love about a picnic? All you need is some space outdoors and a bit of food, and you're set. This is a great alternative to a hike if you're outdoorsy but don't want to get too active, and a much better way to share a meal than arguing over the check at a fancy restaurant. If you want to impress, you can pack a homemade lunch, but there's nothing wrong with keeping it low-key by grabbing a couple of takeout sandwiches and heading to a nearby park or beach.
If you're a lover of the arts, why not share your passion on a first date? Show off your creative side by heading to a museum, art gallery, or even a live show. This can also be a great way to support local artists, so you can feel like you've done some good even if the date is a flop. For the best results, though, try scoping out some of your partner's interests before setting up the date — there's a time and a place for introducing a heavy metal fiend to the ballet, or a stay-at-home type to an all-day rock concert, but a first date is probably not it.
If you're heading to a bar for your first date, there's no rule that says you have to sit down and drink the entire time. Bar games like pool, air hockey, and darts can be a great way to keep you and your date entertained while giving you something to do other than staring across a table at one another. Alternatively, why not look for a bar with a fun twist, like one dedicated to board games, or embrace nostalgia by heading to an old-school video game arcade?
If you love a tipple but find the idea of "going out for drinks" a bit dull, how about going straight to the source? A brewery tour or wine tasting combines a fun activity with drinks at the end, plus it might actually teach you something about your favorite beverage. Just don't forget to eat first — all those samples can really add up and you might not want your date to see your tipsy side just yet!
If you're keen to step outside your comfort zone, why not begin your potential relationship with a bang by trying something completely different? Look for unique experiences in your area that aren't necessarily marketed as dates. Some fun options include taking an improv class, going ax-throwing — yes, it's a real thing! — or testing your wits with an escape room. Just make sure you actually like your date before trying that last one, though — nobody wants to be trapped in a room with a terrible match.