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60 Unique First Date Ideas That Aren’t Just Dinner Or Coffee

For when your routine starts feeling stale.

Originally Published: 
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Maintaining an exciting and consistent dating life can be overwhelming. Swiping on Tinder, sending a flirty DM, or shooting your shot in person is incredibly nerve-wracking, but then you still have to plan the date. Coming up with a fun first date idea with someone you barely know might be the most anxiety-inducing part of the whole “getting to know someone” process. You want to make sure you’re picking an activity that’s easily enjoyed by all kinds of potential partners, but you don’t always want to be basic and schedule a dinner date at that one Chinese restaurant you order takeout from way too often.

Unique first date ideas can be hard to come by, especially in these times. Sometimes, figuring out something fun and fresh to do with your date seems impossible. (You can only go mini golfing so many times before it becomes boring and uneventful.) You should pick a date idea that will encourage conversation, make you both feel comfortable, and leave you feeling like you learned something. These 65 ideas from people with active dating lives will help you figure out where to go on a first date.

Add a Little Excitement to Your Sunset Drive
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“Penny driving date: one person is driving, one person is in charge of flipping the coin. Heads is right, tails is left. Every stop, flip the coin and turn. Whenever you can’t go anymore is where you stop to have the date.”

— Gloria, 22

Explore Your Local Thrift Store Together
“Goodwill challenge is where you go down the thrift store aisles with your date. One person walks with their arms out and the other person tells them to stop, and whatever they land on they have to wear to the date. It’s a good ice breaker.”

— Rachel, 22

Peruse The Shelves Of A Bookstore
“Text your date and tell them to meet you at a small business library or book store. Ask them a few basic questions; favorite genre, least favorite genre, favorite author, etc. Then peruse the shelves for one book for each other.”

— Olivia, 23

Get A New View Of The City
“HELICOPTER RIDE. They're quick, somewhat affordable and a totally cool view that you can't get anywhere else.”

@katrinaricke on Twitter

Tie-Dye Your Way Into Your Date’s Heart
“Run to Target with your partner. Grab a plain white t-shirt or two. Find a few dye colors. Go home. Turn on some 2000s pop classics and tie-dye away the awkwardness of a first date.”

— Anya, 22

Make Funny PowerPoints For Each Other
“On TikTok lately, friend groups have been making fake powerpoint presentations about themselves or a meme. I thought this would be a cute idea for new couples just getting to know each other. Grab a cute powerpoint template off of Google and fill it with fun facts.”

— Ariel, 19

Mimosas & All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
“Breakfast dates! I don't know why this isn't a thing but I am so down for breakfast dates. Maybe even throw in a low-energy hike or casual walk afterward. It's perfect because it's during the day or mid-morning, making any awkward talk about going back to their place less likely if you'd rather take things slow.”

— Sydnee, 26

Belt Out Your Favorite Song At A Karaoke Date
Karaoke is like happy hour, but better. Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez fell in love with karaoke, so go ahead and give it a try.”

— Elana, 24

Play Ghost, Except You're Both Alive
“Think of that scene in Ghost, except you’re both alive and it’s in public. Get creative by molding and painting pottery with your date! It’s a great opportunity to get close while still doing an actual activity that’ll leave you with a cute souvenir.”

— Veronica, 23

Get Competitive At An Arcade
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“Dave & Busters or some type of barcade. Shows how fun and competitive a person can be as well as comfort in acting like a kid. Also great convo starter for reminiscing on games and sh*t.”

— @amberalerttt_ on Twitter

Support The Causes You Care About
“A protest.”

@sbaumwriting on Twitter

Throwback To Your Childhood
“Before we were exclusive, my girlfriend took me on the coolest first date ever! She made an old school paper cootie catcher that had a bunch of inside jokes on it instead of colors and numbers and used it to determine the timeline of our date. She picked two brunch spots, two apple orchards, and two dinner spots that would be chosen with the cootie catcher for an all-day adventure date. Then, at the end of the night, we went to one of those walk-through haunted Halloween extravaganza type things.”

— Hannah C., 24

Netflix and Chill, But Make it Quirky
“Backyard movie with a projector. If you don’t have a backyard, grab your blow-up mattress, some comfy pillows and blankets, and set your projector up on the ceiling.”

— Molly, 21

Take Away The Stress of A First Date With Some Self Care
“Get makeovers together. Make appointments at a local salon and just tell the stylists to go to town. You two can bond while getting your hair washed.”

— Genevieve, 25

Hit Up The Renaissance Fair For A Medieval Good Time
“Renaissance fair. Dress up in old-timey costumes together and speak in old English accents. They may as well know your weird side from date one, amirite?”

— Elana, 24

Go Broke On A Shopping Spree
“Shopping date.”

@TheContourQueen on Twitter

Pet Dogs At A Dog Park
“[Try] a trip to the dog park if you and your date both have dogs. This is the kind of the thing you can probably guess from someone's dating app profile, so it's a good idea to pitch.”

— Sydnee, 26

Get Your Auras Read Together
“Getting your auras read is a fun way to get to know someone on a deeper level. Plus it’ll give you a sense as to whether they’re up for new things or close-minded. There’s always the added bonus of their aura being a red flag or not.”

- Maeve, 19

Work Up A Sweat
“Take advantage of those endorphins by working out on a first date. If exercise is something you both enjoy, taking a class together or going for yoga in the park is a great way to bond over a shared passion.”

— Veronica, 23

‘70s Romance Vibes Only
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“Roller skating! Perfect activity for those hot summer dates.”

— Kelly, 27

Throw Some Axes Together
“Axe or knife throwing in which no one dies; a pottery class while watching Ghost in which no one dies; play the horses, bet your life savings, and if you lose, someone dies?”

— @kcawlz on Twitter

Get Spooky At A Haunted House
“A haunted house. People don't usually do something spooky on a first date, but why not? You get to cuddle [or] hold onto each other while being chased by demons, and the adrenaline rush will make you feel happy and excited once you make it through.”

— Elana, 24

Let Your Feels Erupt With A Hike To A Volcano
“Trekking in an inactive volcano and then catch the sunset near the crater, take silhouette pictures of her.”

— @extraricea on Twitter

Let The Future Decide If There Will Be A Second Date
“Visit a psychic together. Find out right away if you're compatible, destined to die alone, if your date is new age-y or superstitious, etc.”

— Hannah O., 24

Take Your Date Out to the Ball Game
“This isn’t that wild but I went to a Pirates/Yankees game with my bf on our first date. They’re both our own favorite teams and because they’re in different leagues they rarely ever play each other. It was REALLY FUN and we ate snacks until we got sick.”

— @darthbab on Twitter

See How Your First Date Handles Conflict
“Escape the Room. There's a variation of this idea across the country, and it's super fun. You piece together clues to figure out how to escape a room under a certain amount of time. There's different themes you can choose from, as well. (Some are spooky.)”

— Elana, 24

Get In Touch With Your Inner Picasso On Your First Date
“Make fun (nicely!) of each other’s painting talents or lack thereof by enjoying a painting and wine class together. They offer these sessions almost everywhere, for a pretty reasonable price. Follow the instructor or do your own thing, but help each other out and see how your date takes criticism! It’s a great indicator of their personality.”

— Veronica, 23

Embrace Your Inner Chefs & Learn At The Same Time
“A bread-making class then afterwards stop somewhere to buy wine and cheese on the way to the beach for a sunset picnic (everything tastes better when you made it).”

@deannalynneh on Twitter

Become Your Own Bartenders
“I did a cocktail-making class once with a friend, and I thought it'd be a really fun date. It's not so much pressure to talk to them the whole time because you're busy making something, and it's basically a drinks date, but, like, 10% more creative.”

— Hannah O., 24

Try Some New Wines Together
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“Transport yourself and your date to Italy with some wine tasting!”

— Anna, 22

Work Together on a Scavenger Hunt
“A scavenger hunt! Did this on Friday. So fun.”

— Annie

Host An All-Strangers Dinner Party
“This one a) sounds mildly terrifying, and b) requires a few friends to get on board as well, but you should totally try it out. If you've got a few roommates or friends who are also single, plan a dinner party, and have everyone invite a stranger from a dating app (or wherever!) as their date. Maybe it'll be awesome, maybe it'll be awful, maybe you'll end the night with a performance from taxidermy mice? TBD.”

— Genevieve, 25

Introduce Your Date To Your Younger Self
“An amusement park is fun and casual. Along these lines, you can also try trampolining if you don't live close enough to an amusement park.”

— Sydnee, 26

Celebrate The Sports With Food
“Food crawl at a baseball game.”

— Tina, 25

Immerse Yourselves In Some Art
“Go to an art museum! I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they appreciate art. Do they stare intensely at each painting, scratch their chin, and contemplate the meaning of life? Do they breeze through the entire exhibition in .02 seconds? Do they get bored immediately, run away from you, and hide in a bathroom stall? If you and your date can spend four hours together staring at random sh*t on walls, then you can do anything.”

— Lisa, 26

Combine Physical Activity & Art Appreciation
“You could try an Art Run. I did one once with friends, so fun! It's very low-key and you don't have to be good at running. It's super tame, and you stop a lot to take pics.”

— Laura, 24

Cozy Up Together At The Top Of A Ferris Wheel
“I'd love to go to a carnival on a first date because there are a lot of games and activities to break the ice. You can go on rides, eat cotton candy, and act like a kid again! It'd be a really fun way to get to know your date. Plus, it'd probably be pretty romantic to make out on top of the Ferris wheel! Just sayin'.”

— Margaret, 23

Have A Behind-The-Scenes Look At A Place You Wouldn't Expect
“Go on a behind-the-scenes tour of an aquarium.”

— Austin, 28

Get Your Wheels Turning — Literally
“Bike ride in the park followed by ice cream and a movie afterwards if it’s going well. Getting outside and active calms the nerves, and then a sweet treat means you’ll get something out of it, whether or not the date actually goes well. And then the movie gives you a common experience to talk about.”

— Caitlyn, 28

Brave The Water Together In A Kayak
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“Going kayaking on a first date would be a fun adventure and a great way to spend time together outdoors. It could also be a great trust-building exercise if you rent a two-person kayak!”

— Jose, 21

Walk It Off
“I really think a nice, scenic walk is a great first date. First off, walking is a healthier (and safer) way to get rid of your first date jitters than drinks. Second, you can easily leave whenever you want. Third, it gives you plenty of time to actually get to know the person without distractions, while still giving you something to bond over.”

— Candice, 25

Get A Strike In A Bowling Match
“Bowling is a super fun date idea. If you're someone who finds awkward silences difficult or who is a little more reserved, bowling is an activity you can focus on so you don't have to talk the entire time. Plus, this a good way to laugh at yourselves if you're both awful at bowling.”

— Joanne, 54

Give Back While You Get To Know Each Other
“Give back to your community by volunteering on a first date. You can head to a soup kitchen or an animal shelter for a couple hours, and then grab some food and drinks if you're both feeling each other.”

— Meredith, 24

Bond Over Spoken Word
“Open mic night or poetry slams are always fun. You can chat in between acts, and the performances will give you something to talk about after.”

— Yvonne, 33

Let The Open Road Take You Away
“Get in the car together, just start driving, and turn on your favorite albums. Take turns. Just make sure your friend back home has your location in case you need an escape plan.”

— Caitlin, 24

Team Up For Trivia
“Trivia night is the ultimate test of teamwork, and you'll be able to learn a ton about each other based on the topics you both know a lot about, trivia-wise.”

— Monica, 22

Venture Out To A Wrestling Match
“I have no idea what wrestling matches are like, but I'm pretty sure you can snag tickets to one in most major cities. And I'm also pretty sure this would be a really weird, potentially awesome first date.”

— Genevieve, 25

Stage A Mini Photo Shoot
“Grab your phones (or fancy cameras, if you have them) and go explore a photogenic part of whatever city you live in. Take silly photos of each other while you're at it. It'll help you see whether or not your date has a sense of humor.”

— Danielle, 19

Head To A Secret Music Gig
Sofar Sounds is a cool first date idea because it's essentially a surprise concert. You basically apply for tickets to a small, secret venue (Sofar lets you know the location a little before the event), and then you don't find out who's playing until you get there.”

— Lauren, 29

If All Else Fails, Animals Are Your Best Bet
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“Even the worst first date is worlds better if it's at the zoo. No, seriously, there's nothing cute animals can't fix.”

— Theresa, 24

An Aesthetically-Pleasing Picnic Date
“A picnic in the park.”

— Arieliz, 21

A Coffee Shop Provides An Easy Out
“Coffee shop! Not super intimate, allows you to talk, and able to get an out if you hate the date.”

— Courtney, 22

Add a Little Healthy Competition With Board Games
“Order some DoorDash and get settled in for a long night of Scrabble, UNO, LIFE, and HeadsUp.”

— Allison, 23

Encourage Your Date To Support Your Local Drag Queens
“Go to a local drag bar and introduce your date to some exciting queer culture. Get your dollar tips ready for some iconic drag queens!”

— Maddie, 25

Drive-In Movies Are The Perfect Meet-Cute
“During quarantine with my boyfriend, we went to this sports stadium that was holding a drive-in movie. We filled his parent’s car with pillows and blankets, and of course snacks. Then we ordered pizza to our car and because we had already seen the movie, we both ended up just talking, flirting and ... some other exciting activities. “

— Giselle, 20

Eat Dinner “Together” Over FaceTime
“Call each other while going through each person’s favorite drive-through and order the same meal. So romantic, and an easy way to get past the often-times boring “get to know you” conversations.”

— Felicity, 29

Couple’s Meditation Could Be Good For Nerves
“If you’re anxious about your first date, think about attending a couple’s meditation session together. Not only will it encourage you to be mindful and intentional during the date, but it also might set you up for a more peaceful future together.”

— Eloise, 22

Compare Music Tastes With Your Date
“Spotify has a feature where you can combine you and your partner’s music tastes into one playlist. Get together, close your eyes, press shuffle on the playlist and the first person to guess the name of the song wins. I’ll let you decide what the winner’s prize is ;)”

— Caroline, 28

Summer Festivals Give You Tons of Date Options
“Explore tons of music and food experiences at your local summer fairs or festivals. There’s something for everyone!”

— Michelle, 22

Get Your Hands Dirty With Gem Mining
“Order a bag of rocks, gems, crystals, and minerals on Amazon, fill it with water, and break down the sand to find some beautiful gemstones. It’s a fun active experience, plus if the date goes well, you’ll have a memento to remember the night. “

— Ashley, 21

Planning original first dates can be intimidating. You are meeting a brand new person, and you have no idea what they like and dislike. These unique first date ideas can be your how-to guide to help you create memories together, even if that date doesn’t lead to a second meetup.

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