6 Fun and Practical First Date Ideas (That Aren't Boring)

First dates Should be a Fun way to get to know each other.

First dates. There are a million things you might think of when you hear those two sweet-and-sour words, some good and some, frankly, not so good. We get it. First dates can be exciting and full of possibilities but they also can be intimidating and weighed down with expectation. You may know the person you are going on a first date with well and wonder how it may change your relationship, or you may have just met the person and have your fingers crossed that he or she is not a complete let down.

Between the butterflies and the dread, first dates can either be the best or the worst. We’re here to try to make them the best. What you decide to do on a date can greatly influence how that date turns out, so we’ve come up with six ideas that are ideal for all the fast-flying emotions that accompany first dates.

(Read More… The 3 Most Important Things to Do on a First Date)

We’ve combed other most popular lists on the internet for the “best” first date ideas and one question comes to mind frequently—have any of these people been on a first date? Between the boring (looking at you, Starbucks) and the ridiculous (one site listed a helicopter ride or a visit to a sex museum . . . what!?) many first date ideas flying around out there don’t take into consideration the main point at hand—it’s a first date.

First dates are about getting to know each other, even if you knew each other in a different type of relationship before. What you decide to do on your first date should cater to that. That’s why getting a coffee at a café or a drink at a bar makes sense. But first dates also don’t have to be boring. The problem with the “coffee date” or the “happy hour date” is that it can feel more like an interview than an experience. Sure, question and answer is an important aspect of a first date, but it isn’t the only aspect. Building a relationship, which we sincerely hope is what you aim to do starting with this date, means having shared experiences.

That said, there are a lot of experiences out there that don’t lend well to free-wheeling discussion. A “movie date,” while easy and appealing, can mean that you don’t get to know the person you are with at all. A date at a loud concert is also difficult because it requires screaming in the other person’s ear to chat.

With all of that in mind, here is what we think you should be able to do on a first date:

  1. have fun together

  2. get to know each other

  3. feel safe

We touched on the first two above, but here’s a note about the last one. If you don’t know the person you are with very well, first dates should be in a safe pubic place. Either of you should be able to cut it short without it feeling awkward or difficult. If both you and your date feel safe, you will have a better time together.

1. Go Bowling

Bowling gives you the chance to talk while you play, making it an ideal first date.

When was the last time you went bowling? Matthew and I don’t go bowling very often, but when we do it is a real treat. Our hip local bowling alley, BOL, has a restaurant attached to it too so we can get food and drinks while we bowl. Bowling makes a great first date because it gives you the opportunity to talk while you play. You get to know each other AND have fun. Not to mention, there is plenty to joke around about—the shoes are goofy, the ball is heavy, the floor is slippery. You won’t run out of things to talk about.

2. Go Mini-Golfing

Mini Golf can be fun and goofy while also giving you the chance to get to know each other better.

Mini-golf has the same first date advantages as bowling. You can take your time, have easy conversation, and laugh as your ball dents the giant gorilla. Plus, there’s lots of opportunity to goof around. Matthew and I like to challenge each other to new rules, like swinging with your opposite hand or between your legs.

3. Go to a Bookstore & Café

Books offer lots of subjects to talk about on a first date.

Bookstores are great first date locations. Unlike libraries, you are allowed to freely talk in them. There are places to sit down. Many bookstores even have coffee shops in them now, so you can sip some joe while you browse. Matthew and I love The Tattered Cover in Denver, where there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and books on every subject. The books make easy conversation starters, like where you have travelled and what interests or hobbies you may have.

4. Walk through the Art District

Art districts are full of color and fun to explore on a First Date.

Most cities have an art district with galleries and shops you can visit for free. Sometimes they even offer free tours. Not only does this give you the chance to explore your city, but you also get to know your date. Matthew and I enjoy walking the art district off of Santa Fe in Denver. There are lots of galleries featuring local artists as well as antique shops, coffee shops, and a “curio” shop of bizarre wares.

5. Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Markets get you and your date outside, while also giving you plenty to talk about.

Farmer’s markets have become enormously popular in recent years and there’s a good reason why. Not only do you get to shop for what locals in your area are growing or crafting, you also get to spend a nice afternoon conversing with your date while you do. It is the perfect first date because you get outside, adventure together, and learn about one another. Most farmer’s markets also have a place to grab something to eat. Matthew and I frequently go to the farmer’s markets where we live just to browse and have a nice lunch.

6. Play Outside

There are a ton of fun activities you can do outside while getting to know each other.

This may seem simple, but at any time of year there are things you can do outside while you get to know each other. In the summer, kick a soccer ball around at your local park or hit the tennis ball at the courts. Set up croquet or play a round of disc golf. In the winter, build a snowman together. (That was what Matthew and I did on our first date!) Ask your date what kind of activities they are into to make it a perfect first date.

What is the best first date you have ever been on? Share it with us @makeadateofit.

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