8 Unexpected First Date Ideas So You Don't Have To Meet At A Bar Again

by Alison Segel

I don't know about you, but I am so sick of having first dates at bars. Sure, you want to meet at 9 p.m.? At that bar that's super convenient for you and right next to your house, but I'll have to drive in rush-hour traffic to get there? OK perfect! Sounds great! See you then!

I understand the allure of the bar date. You get a little drunk, it's easier to flirt, there is music playing, people watching, and the night will most likely end in a make-out sesh.

There have to be some other first date ideas other than bonding over beers, though. It's hard to actually get to know someone in an emotionally intimate way when there are people next to you playing darts and pool. Additionally, I personally don't drink alcohol. How many times can I go on first dates where a guy watches me drink a diet coke and asks me why I don't drink?

But it turns out, there are tons of more original, creative first date ideas. And really weird, fun ones, too. So if you're sick of having dates in bars, or if you actually don't drink and want to suggest some other options, here are some unexpected first date ideas, so you don't ever have to take shots and play darts again.

1. Go To A Psychic

A guy just sent me this on Tinder, and I am strongly considering it. So thank you, Tinder guy, for this idea and inspiring this article.

Want to know if you and your crush are compatible? Don't trust your own instincts! Those are horrible! Trust a psychic, who is definitely going to be right and not scamming you for your money at all! Listen, not everyone will go for this idea, but I can't think of a better meet-cute or story to tell the grandkids if your relationship actually ends up working out.

Why not leave your date up to fate? (Or just slip the psychic a few extra dollars and have her tell your crush you're soulmates.)

2. Go To A Botanical Garden

Nature is so much more romantic than a bar! Pick flowers, not drinks off a cocktail menu!

If you can't find a botanical garden near you, then a park or beach will do just fine. Last night, I had a first date at the dog park with a cute guy and his new puppy. We walked around, ate snacks we brought, played with the dog, watched the sunset, and then, we left when it got dark so we didn't get murdered.

Being out in nature does something to people and allows them to get more emotionally vulnerable and real than if they were, say, up in the club. So take your guy into the forest and force him to reveal his true self to you!

3. Head To An Arcade

Heading to an arcade will make you both feel like kids again, and that's what love should feel like — fun and playful. Plus, while some arcades are stand-alone, they can usually be found adjacent to bowling alleys and mini-golf, which, to me, spells out an amazing night.

Grab a cup of quarters and your golf club, and get ready for a little friendly competition with your Bumble match.

4. Get Your Aura Read

Ali Segel

Go somewhere to get your auras read, and then, see if your auras are compatible. Do I necessarily believe in aura photography?Absolutely not. But it's a fun activity to do, and you'll get a cute, Instagram-able photo out of it.

Plus, it's a personality test of sorts. You can analyze each others auras based off your photos, and then, you can gauge how your auras would work together.

Aura photography provides not only an activity, but a built-in conversation. And it only costs about $20, which is basically the price of a movie these days.

5. Make Pizzas

Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

The couple that cooks together commits to each other (is that a saying?), so making some pizzas on the first date is not only fun, but a solid test of your compatibility. I mean, what if your crush likes something awful like anchovy and pineapple pizza? Best to find out early on, instead of around month three, right?

Go to the nearest grocery store and buy a bunch of fun cooking supplies. Then, head to one of your apartments and cook up a feast. Doing an activity on the first date that requires participation and teamwork also requires a level of engagement that you won't find on other dates. Plus, you both have a common goal (pizza) and want to make sure it turns out great, which can be a metaphor for relationships.

The pizza is your relationship. Don't make a gross pizza!

6. Binge-Watch Netflix

One of my best first dates was binge-watching the series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp with a guy I met at a party. We'd bonded because we were both excited that the show was coming out and decided we might as well watch it all at once — together — that weekend.

We got dressed up, ordered in food, and watched eight episodes of TV together all in one sitting. It was a good litmus test to see how much time we could truly spend with one another, whether or not we had the same sense of humor, and if we liked the same kinds of foods.

Additionally, a Netflix session leaves room for cuddling and making out, should you need a break from watching TV.

7. Go To A Flea Market

Simone Becchetti/ Stocksy

Flea markets usually have food, outdoor music, tons of clothes and trinkets, and only cost about $5 to get in. If the weather permits, it can really be the perfect date spot.

Walk around, grab a bite to eat, talk about music while sifting through old records, and then, go listen to some bands play. Maybe get henna tattoos of each other's names? I don't know, maybe that's going too far.

But, you could always buy one another a cute, little present as a memento of your first date.

8. Find A Trivia Night

Guille Faingold/Stocksy

OK, so maybe trivia nights usually happen at bars. Whoops. But it's a little more out of the box than just getting a few drinks, and it involves intellect and team work — both of which help determine your compatibility, not only as trivia partners but as a couple.

Just make sure it's a trivia night where you both are either equally informed or equally uninformed, so that one of you doesn't end up being embarrassed.

So hey, when it comes to first dates, try to spring for something unusual. That's usually the best way to get to know someone. Plus, the thought of drinks at a bar with another Tinder date makes me cringe. It's time to think outside the box.

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