9 First Date Ideas That Don't Involve Food, Because TBH, There Are So Many Options
by Christy Piña

Let's face it: First dates are a lot. They're nerve-wracking, they're fun, they can be the most boring thing in the world, or the most exciting time you've had in ages. How fun they are (or aren't) usually depends on who you're with and what the two of you are doing. Plenty of first dates include dinner (which is great, don't get me wrong), but there are a slew of first date ideas that don't involve food that can easily make your next one your best one.

Now, dinner and a movie have stood the test of time when it comes to first dates. So, why change a good thing? Because you can. There's nothing wrong with sticking to your go-to first date, but switching it up could result in the best first date you've ever been on. Not to mention, by embracing the endless cool date ideas out there, you can also lessen the anxiety that often comes with a first date. Think about it: If you're out with someone for the first time, and you're doing something other than sitting across the table from each other being forced to talk, you can both throw yourself into whatever activity you agreed on. And voilà! So much less pressure. When your next first date comes around, consider doing one of these nine things.

A carnival

Consider taking your lovely first date to a carnival instead of to the movies. Bond over your childhood memories of your favorite rides when you were kids. See which one of you can last longer on all the spinning rides. (I would definitely lose that one.) Just enjoy the atmosphere together — the kids running around laughing, the smell of popcorn and elephant ears, the workers yelling for you to play the games at their booths. Ah, carnivals.

A workout class

If the two of you have already bonded over your love of exercising, spending your first date at a workout class is the way to go. Maybe it's your favorite class, or maybe it's theirs. Regardless, doing something you both love is a sure-fire way of making your first date one to remember. You may even enjoy the class so much that you keep going!

Visit a museum

Even if museums aren't your thing, there's a museum for everything. Don't like classic art? Check out a contemporary art museum! Don't like that either? Try a wax museum. Too creepily realistic? Understandable. Consider visiting your local maritime museum. And if none of those are your (or your date's) style, don't fret. I have three words for you: Museum of Sex.


In almost every city or town, you can probably find a bar or restaurant that hosts trivia nights. Usually places will change their trivia themes weekly, so keep an eye out for the topics you know a lot about, and consider those themes the next time you have a first date. Not to mention, if your nerves refuse to subside, you can always have a drink or two during trivia to calm yourself down a bit. And if you want to show your date who you really are right off the bat, let your competitive side flow.

Volunteer together

Volunteering is not for everyone, but if you know your date likes to spend their free time doing things for others, and you think you could also enjoy it, this could be a very sweet first date. Whether you're hitting up the local homeless shelter or spending your afternoon tutoring kids, your date is likely to appreciate the change of pace. And they'd probably be happy to have someone who wants to accompany them in doing what they love.

Visit a bookstore and pick three books for each other

Bookstores might not be as millennial as your Amazon Prime subscription, but they're amazing, OK?! And in case you forgot, they can be super fun, too. The next time you have a first date coming up and you really want to get creative, suggest going to a bookstore and play a little game. You get to choose three books you think your date would like, and they get to do the same for you. Enjoy it, my little brainiacs.

A paint class

Recently, paint-and-sip classes have become a pretty popular date venue. You and your date pick the painting you want to do, you pack your cooler with whatever drinks you want, and you spend a few hours painting and drinking. Even if you're not artistic at all (hi, me!), you'll leave your paint-and-sip venue feeling like the next Pablo Picasso, thanks to the artists on site who walk you through the painting step by step.


Whether you'd rather kick it on ice or on hardwood, skating is a another really fun way of spicing up your next first date. Show off your skills, or use your lack of skills to take advantage of your date's impeccable skating. Jam to the '90s music at a roller rink, or enjoy the coolness of an ice rink hand-in-hand with your date.

Batting cages

Even if your date's not big on sports, hitting up your local batting cages is a unique way to spend your first date getting to know someone. And, big perk: You can always get up close and personal for a little bat-holding lesson, if you know what I mean.

If you've ever considered switching up your first-date routine, now you have nine ways to do just that. First dates can be kind of a drag sometimes, but you can always make them more interesting by breaking out of your usual routine and getting out of your comfort zone. Try it out! If you hate it, you never have to veer from your go-to first date ever again. And if you love it? Even better.

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