Back in the old days (aka 2019), a first date might have meant cozying up in a corner booth at a bar with cocktails, or walking (*gasp*) hand in hand around the city until you stumbled upon a cute spot for appetizers or some live music. Those types of meet-ups may simply not be possible anymore, but that doesn't mean that romance has to be ruled out completely. Rest assured, there are plenty of socially distant first date ideas that are super sweet, but more importantly, will keep you safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, keeping some space between you and your date is one of the best ways to avoid potentially spreading or contracting the virus. To be specific, practicing social distancing means staying 6 feet apart from other people. Since you probably don't want to whip out a measuring tape on your date, here's a handy reference point: about two arms' length is a safe distance. Since guidelines can vary depending on where you live (and many places are still in lockdown or under shelter-in-place orders), the CDC recommends checking local guidance from your city/state before making plans.
The bottom line is, you just have to get a little creative — and plan your dates to take place in the great outdoors since that's the safest place to get your flirt on RN. Stumped for ideas? Here are a handful of pandemic-approved plans that will allow you and your date to have some fun without putting your health at risk.
Step one: pack your own individual blanket, towel, or sheet and fill a basket with some lunch food and libations. Step two: head out to your nearest park or beach — whatever's open amid the pandemic — and spread out your goodies at least 6 feet apart from each other for a romantic little socially distant picnic.
If you and your date are feeling particularly bold, you can try cooking or baking the same recipe at home to bring with you, and then rate your own culinary skills when you meet up.
Just keep in mind that the CDC recommends avoiding crowded places, so if your local park is packed with people, you may want to venture elsewhere to a more secluded spot. (Think: forest, parking lot, rooftop.)
DIY Drive-In Movie
Even though you can't head to your local movie theater or snuggle up to a home screening, you can still enjoy a timeless movie date from the comfort of your own cars. After you and your date decide on which flick you want to check out, pack your laptop, some popcorn (or whatever your viewing snack of choice is), and meet up in a local parking lot to watch from your respective cars using your phone as a WiFi hotspot.
With the windows rolled down, you'll be able to hear each other's laughter and other reactions. The best part? You can discuss what's happening in the story without having to worry about dirty looks or exasperated sighs from another irritated theater-goers.
If you've never played Song Quiz, it just may be the most addictive trivia game around. After meeting up in an outdoor space, or parked in your individual cars with the windows down, challenge your date a round of name-that-tune to see who's music IQ is sharper.
Once you've chosen a playlist from your favorite decade (2010s, 2000s, '90s, etc.), you'll each hear a short clip of a song from that period and have to guess both the artist name and song title. Not only is this game a fun way to flaunt your knowledge, but a little healthy competition can do wonders for amping up the flirty vibes.
Pandemic Playlist Swap
Honestly, is there anything that screams old-school romance quite like crafting a playlist for your crush? Invite your date to put together either a list of either their current fave tunes or some songs they think you'd like — and then do the same for them. Then, meet up in your socially distant parked cars or an outdoor location to listen to each other's playlists and talk about the music.
The beauty of this date is that it will shed some light on both of your tastes, which will help you to get to know each other better while also potentially finding common ground.
Outdoor Sweat Sesh
Get those much-needed endorphins flowing with an outdoor workout class for two. Whether you and your date are big yoga buffs or down to try a HIIT bootcamp, there are plenty of free workouts to choose from via local gyms and YouTube. Or, if you're feeling brave, you can try a 305 Fitness dance class to scope out each other's moves. Whatever form of physical activity you choose, sweating together is a totally unique bonding experience that's bound to boost your mood.
Buy Each Other Lunch
What's better than sharing your favorite meal with someone? Instead of both grabbing takeout from the same establishment, you and your date can order a dish for each other from your go-to spots. The element of surprise will make it feel more exciting than a typical takeout lunch date, and getting to try each other's typical order may just bring you closer together.
Obviously, this date will work best if you hash out your dietary restrictions and preferences ahead of time, so make sure to go over that before you order anything.
Have A Painting Party
This date idea requires rounding up some art supplies, but I promise it'll be well worth it for the experience.
Grab some canvases and paints, sketch pads and pencils, or whatever tools are realistic for you both to acquire, and then choose a scenic location for your meet-up. Upon arrival, you can both sit 6 feet apart on a bench, blanket, or in your cars and summon your inner van Gogh or Monet as you create your own rendition of the landscape.
After sharing the final results, you can swap your masterpieces so you have a cute souvenir from the first time you met.
Take A Hike
A great way to shake off those first date jitters is to release that nervous energy on a brisk walk — and all it takes is a quick Google search to find which parks, nature reserves, and trails are currently open in your local area. Pick one to explore with your date, and remember to keep a safe distance throughout your stroll. As an added bonus, you probably won't have any trouble coming up with things to talk about, since your natural surroundings will be full of awe-inspiring conversation starters.
It's safe to say that given the stressful circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, you and your date could probably use some zen time in your life right about now. So, why not share a few moments of silence and introspection? Find a secluded outdoor area where you can have some peace and privacy, and scope out one of the many free guided meditations on InsightTimer or YouTube. Afterwards, you can compare your experiences over a relaxing stretch session.
Play Tour Guide
If both of you have access to a bicycle or a car, why not show each other around your home city, making stops at some of your favorite locations? This is an easy breezy way to get to know each other better, and it puts less pressure on you to find things to talk about because the destinations themselves will provide plenty of inspiration.
Each of you can pick two or three places that have a special place in your heart — and don't forget to snap a couple socially distanced pics to remember your romantic adventure by.