50 Cool First Date Ideas You'll Wish You'd Thought Of Yourself

How many times have you chatted with a seemingly decent person on a dating app (finally), decided to meet up with them instead of watching your 18th consecutive episode of Law & Order: SVU, only to meet up for drinks at a crowded bar where you can't even hear each other because it's so loud? Probably too many times. Well, I say enough of that. While there's nothing wrong with meeting up over dinner, drinks, or coffee, having some actually cool first date ideas to break up your standard routine might genuinely make dating (*gasp*) more enjoyable. Hey, even if the person turns out to be a dud, at least you did something fun, right?

Let's be real, though: Different people like different things. My idea of actually cool first dates may seem like an actual freaking nightmare to most some people. That's why Elite Daily rounded up a whopping 50 dope first date ideas from real people. Seriously, if you can't find one date on here that you're at least somewhat excited about about, I can't help you.

The next time you're tasked with planning the "perfect" first date — or the next time your first date suggests a couple drinks at the same dive bar you've been to 80 times — browse this list to help you create a fun time you won't forget... and maybe even score a second date.

1. Impress Them With Your Karaoke Skills

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

2. 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

3. Get A New View Of The City

WAA/Stocksy
HELICOPTER RIDE. They're quick, somewhat affordable and a totally cool view that you can't get anywhere else.

@katrinaricke on Twitter

4. Experience A Japanese-Inspired Comedy Show

Batsu Live! They have a location in Chicago and NYC.

— Kara, 26

5. '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

6. Explore The History Of Your City

The Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts.

— Jacquelyn, 24

7. Support The Causes You Care About

A protest.

@sbaumwriting on Twitter

8. Get Competitive At An Arcade/Barcade

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

9. Infuse Some Childhood Innocence Into Your Date

Before we were ~ExCLuSiVe~ (lol), 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 in New York State (you know, with like, a haunted hayride, and a bunch of different haunted house type things.) It was the most incredibly thoughtful date I've ever been on in my whole life!

— Hannah C., 24

10. Pamper Yourselves

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

11. Who Needs A First Date When You Have A Book?

1) Take me to a book store
2) Buy me a book
3) I ghost you and spend the rest of my life with the love of my life, a book

@lizlong_prosper on Twitter

12. 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

13. Go Broke On Your First Date!

Lumina/Stocksy
Shopping date.

@TheContourQueen on Twitter

14. Go On A Sophisticated Treasure Hunt With Your GPS

Geocaching!

— Ashleigh, 24

15. Pet Exactly 7,845,309,234 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. I once had a guy on a dating app suggest this after I turned down his dinner date because I was afraid to meet up with someone from an app for the first time at night. He made a good argument for the dog park being a pretty poor location choice for kidnapping someone.

— Sydnee, 26

16. See How Well You Work Together To Complete A Quest

Boda Borg Boston! Unfortunately you need 3-5 people so maybe a first double date?!

@JennaDeutsch on Twitter

17. Work Up A Sweat (No, Not In The Bedroom... Unless You Want To)

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

18. Throw Some Axes Together And Hope For The Best

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

19. Go On A Very ~Sexy~ Adventure

The Museum of Sex in New York. Hear me out, this is creepy, but also... if you're gonna have sex anyway... why not? It's actually very educational! And kinda hot, too.

— Hannah O., 24

20. Fill Up At A Boozy Brunch

Aleksandra Jankovic/Stocksy
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

21. Pretend You're Both Spies

Safehousechicago.com. It’s interactive, there’s a magician, you get to pick your spy name and wear a name tag, and if you don’t have the password, you and your date have to complete a mission together to get in. Great icebreaker and way to shake any first date jitters!

— @KatieP212 on Twiter

22. 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/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

23. Let Your Feels Erupt With A Hike To A Volcano

Trekking in an inactive volcano and then catch the sunsire near the crater, take silhouette pictures of her.

— @extraricea on Twitter

24. 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

25. Put A Pause On Seamless & Make Something Yourselves

Cooking together ;)

@forkandspoonapp on Twitter

26. Go Cheer On The Sports Together!

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

27. Take On An Escape Room

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

28. Put Your Thinking Caps On At Some Museums

I wanna go museum-hopping [to the] Smithsonian after lunch, then go to Arlington Cemetery where we exchange facts about who [was] buried here, go up the Washington Monument to look at city lights, have dinner, then go to a place where we can stargaze.

@crrisatea on Twitter

29. Create A Masterpiece

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

30. Embrace Your Inner Chefs & Learn At The Same Time

A breadmaking 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

31. Become Your Own Bartenders

Treasure & Travels/Stocksy
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

32. Or Just Focus On Drinking The Drinks Instead Of Making Them

Whiskey tasting!

— @MissCJOverly on Twitter

33. 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

34. Put A Little Bounce In Your & Your Date's Steps

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

35. Celebrate The Sports With Food

FOOD CRAWL at a baseball game

— Tina, 25

36. See Whether Or Not Your Date Can Appreciate The Arts

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

37. Or Just Appreciate The Arts In A Different Way

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

38. 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

39. 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

40. 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 lol. And then the movie gives you a common experience to talk about.

— Caitlyn, 28

41. Brave The Water Together In A Kayak

RZ Creative/Stocksy
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

42. 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

43. Get A Strike On The Very First Date

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

44. 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

45. 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

46. Let The Open Road Take You Away

Get in the car together, just start driving, and see where you end up. My co-worker has always wanted to do this, and it seems like a fun way to get to talk, get to know each other, and take in the scenery of wherever you drive. Then, you can continue the date wherever you decide to stop.

— Laura, 24

47. 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

48. 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

49. 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

50. If All Else Fails, Animals Are Your Best Bet

Emoke Szabo/Stocksy
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

This post was originally published on April 17, 2018. It was updated on Aug. 26, 2019 by Elite Daily Staff.