Leave it to a global pandemic to make you wistfully long for dates consisting of overpriced cocktails at a noisy bar before awkwardly making out on a street corner and getting ghosted. Sigh. While your go-to date activities from the Before Times probably don't fly anymore, there are plenty of pandemic-safe first date ideas that can actually make these bleak times more fun and — dare I say it? — romantic.
Elite Daily’s Dating Editors spoke to dozens of singles across the country about how they're meeting up with new people these days, and it was inspiring. Despite worries that the pandemic would make dating feel downright impossible, folks are finding creative ways for sparks to fly safely. From beach picnics to outdoor paint-and-sip dates to hiking trips, there's enough variety here that you might never want to go back to boring old bar dates.
Specific safety measures might vary depending on where you live, but wherever you are, wear a mask. Keep a safe distance — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coronavirus can be spread between people who are within close contact of each other (about 6 feet), including people who may not be showing symptoms. Follow the safety precautions mandated and recommended by your local and state governments. The last thing you'd want is your romantic outing concluding with you or your date getting sick.
Use these 30 ideas below as inspiration for the next time you take the leap from a FaceTime date to an IRL date.
9. “Designate one person to be responsible for packing sandwiches and snacks in a cooler, and the other can be responsible for drinks, cups, and napkins. Because it's summer and it's so hot, aim for a late-ish dinner (it would help to pick a time when you expect there to be fewer people outside) at a local beach or park (or really, any place where you can keep a safe social distance). You've got a beautiful setting for a low-stakes, but delicious, dinner and drinks." - Kylie
10. “I brought wine, my date brought pizza, and we sat at a picnic table and used disposable plates and cups. We had a view of the bay; it was spontaneous!” - Catalina
11. “I had a lovely sunset beach picnic with someone! It was one of the best dates ever.” - Dara
12. “We got takeout and ate on his boat staying 6 feet apart. It was nice to be outside and relax in the sun.” - Julia
13. “About a month into video-chatting with my Bumble match, he asked me to meet in person. We went to a restaurant that had an open and outdoor space, sat in front of each other with masks, and only took them off when the food arrived. It was weird to finally see his face in person, since it took 30 minutes from the time we said hi and when the food came — we definitely giggled a bit.” - Carolina
14. “Depending on what’s open in your state or city, an outdoor brewery is a great date idea. Many are taking great precautions in terms of distancing people, and sitting in the fresh air makes me feel safer.” - Courtney
15. “We went to an arcade. We wore masks, brought hand sanitizer, and avoided others.” - Katrina
16. “A winery is fun — it’s already set up to be socially distanced!” - Kate
17. “My now-boyfriend and I had our first date in June. We went for milkshakes and sat in camping chairs 6 feet apart, talking in the parking lot of an ice cream shop that was taking call-ahead orders for three hours! It felt old school and romantic.” - Allison
18. “Consider a movie drive-thru in separate cars. It’s a nostalgic ode to the ‘50s and ‘60s, and there’s something about a first date movie that’s just so classic and cute. You don’t have to be nervous about making conversation, and you can park next to each other or bring beach chairs and sit 6 feet apart.” - Camila
19. “As someone who likes to play sports, tennis is the perfect pandemic-safe date for me.”- Sandra-Anna
20. “My date and I went for a hike the first time we met. We walked down the trail, and then found a place to sit in the creek that ran next to the trail… it was extremely refreshing, since it was a 90-degree day. As the water rushed past my toes, we talked about our past lives before COVID, and about what we want for our futures. After we sat for a bit, mosquitos started attacking us, so we walked to my backyard and sat in these little hammock swings — still separate from each other. It was the nicest afternoon I’ve had in a while.” - Lane
21. “My date and I took their dog on a walk. We met in a park not too far from my apartment, walked the dog along the river, and then (once [the doggo] got tired) we stopped and sat along the water.” - Rachel
22. “Rollerblading is a really fun, socially distanced activity!” - Nicole
23. “We rented bikes and biked around the city! It was a fun way to get some exercise and get to know a new person in an active and fun way.” - Madeleine
24. “Have a paint-and-sip date, but paint the landscape outside, or paint each other!” — Af
25. “We went to the craft store and picked up some wooden decorations to paint in the park! [It was] super cheap; we just got some Crayola paints and the decor from the sale section.” - Maria
26. “Plan a backyard movie night with a projector and portable screen, complete with an inflatable couch for lounging and tiki lights to set the mood.” - Alexa
27. “Put together a backyard fire pit and roast some s’mores.” - Alexa
28. "A virtual wine tasting via Zoom!” - Rose
29. “You could prop up your phone outside and sit 6 feet apart while watching a virtual event, like a virtual concert or [an] author Q&A. (Bookstores usually host them on Facebook Live.)” - Hannah
30. “Look up a beginner’s yoga tutorial or workout routine on YouTube and do it together outside, 6 feet apart. You get a good workout in, and if you and your date are competitive, it can definitely lend itself to some witty banter.” - Veronica
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