Planning first dates can be tricky business — there’s a lot to consider!
What does the other person expect? Do they prefer a lowkey hang or are they down for a spontaneous adventure? How long should a first date even last?
Setting the stage for a great first date sets the stage! After all, it could be a cornerstone moment in the grand scheme of a lasting relationship.
Don’t worry — we’ve compiled a great list of the best first date ideas for every type of person.
What makes a good first date?
If you are the brave soul who has asked someone out, the responsibility of planning the first date has fallen on your shoulders.
In brainstorming ideas for your outing, we recommend looking for an activity that leaves room for time to talk afterwards.
It’ll give both of you a chance to get to know eachother better and gauge how the other person is feeling.
In general, we advise that a first date should last somewhere between two and three hours.
We also suggest picking an off day — don't do Friday or the weekends. Just in case you need a quick out, you can always cut the date short with, “Thanks for coming out, but I should get going. I have an early day tomorrow.”
Now onto the best first date ideas!
Fun first date ideas
If you’re the kind of person that enjoys new experiences, or you want to show your date a good time, here’s a list of fun first date ideas that will keep you and your date excited and engaged.
- Outdoor or Drive-in Movie: Here’s a step-up from the timeless “dinner and a movie” date. You get the chance to enjoy your favorite big-screen classics in a totally new setting.
- Ghost tour: A bit unconventional, but definitely a fun experience for you and your date. Ghost tours can be a unique way to get close (literally).
- Aquarium: Spend a couple of hours getting lost in a sea of aquatic animals and learning.
- Carnival or amusement park: If your date is a real thrill-seeker, you can’t go wrong with a local carnival or amusement park.
- Arcade/Barcade: Doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a video game or have grown up on them, everyone can have a good time at the arcade.
Creative First Date Ideas
If you’re planning a first date that you want the person to remember, take a look at these creative first date ideas.
- Go on a scavenger hunt: There are scavenger hunts everywhere — in the city, gardens, and even libraries. You can usually find information online. You can also get creative and make your own!
- Take a cooking class: A cooking class is a creative way to share a pretty routine activity with someone special! You might be surprised at how much fun it can be.
- Go to a play: Whether you want to sing along to a musical or see a more serious play, theatre can be a great way to bond.
- Go for a bike ride: Ride around the city or neighborhood and stop at a cool restaurant or local shop.
Best First Date Ideas for Adults
If you’re 21+, try one of our adult-friendly date ideas!
- Sip and Paint: Sip and paints have become a super popular date activity. Enjoy bottomless drinks while you and date enjoy a group-painting session.
- Karaoke Bar: If you’re interested in a date night activity, try looking for a karaoke bar near you. It’s the perfect way to take the edge off and belt some of your favorite tunes!
- Comedy Show: Comedy shows are great for first dates — grab a drink and belly-laugh to some underground stand-up comedians.
- Concerts: If you and your date have similar music inspirations, why not check out a lowkey concert? Even if you may not know the artists, concerts are easy conversation-starters and can make for an unforgettable night.
Virtual First Date Ideas
Looking to have a virtual first date? Rather than settling for the boring video or phone conversation, try to plan a digital activity you can both participate in!
- Video Games/Board Game Night: There are a ton of free video and board games available on the internet that you and your date can play. Bring in some nostalgia by revisiting games that you two used to play as kids.
- Order dinner for each other: Stay connected to your date by ordering the same take-out meal.
- Watch a movie: Hop on Zoom, pick a movie, and share the screen.
- Buzzfeed Quizzes: Take some funny online quizzes together and compare the results.
Inexpensive First Date Ideas
Trying to impress your date on a budget? We’ve got you covered! Try one of these inexpensive first date ideas that will definitely woo your new beau.
- Take a walk: This is a super understated date idea but taking your date around one of your favorite spots can allow room for intimacy and easy conversation.
- Museums: Nowadays there are museums dedicated to just about anything! Depending on what your date is interested in, you can cater this date to something that they already enjoy. Many have free days/times or discounts for students or are donation-based.
- Plan a picnic - Pack a few snacks, a blanket, and go to the park for a wonderful day.
- Get ice cream - Everyone loves a little sweet treat.
Outdoor First Date Ideas
If you’re planning a first date for someone who enjoys the great outdoors, here are some must-do outdoor date ideas to consider.
- Botanical gardens: Spring is a great time to bring your date on a romantic walk through the gardens - enjoy the new foliage together!
- Catch the sunset/sunrise: There’s nothing more romantic than starting and/or ending the day with someone.
- Go fishing - While we hate catfishing, regular fishing can be an awesome outdoor adventure if your date is into this kind of thing.
- Go skiing/snowboarding - Are they an adrenaline seeker? Then this might be a great activity!
First Date Ideas in Summer
There are a ton of summer dates ideas to choose from which is why we have narrowed down some of our favorites for you!
- Thrifting: Spend the day exploring your local flea markets. Hunt down vintage clothes, jewelry, books, and even board games.
- Beach day: Summertime is perfect for a beach date — dip your toes in the ocean and enjoy the sun with your date.
- Ice cream crawl: We all know that ice cream tastes the best on a hot summer day. Grab your date and find the best ice cream spots in town.
- Visit the local farmer’s market: The farmer’s market is the perfect place to spend time with your date and get some grocery shopping in.
- Picnic: Here’s the chance to bust out your charcuterie board skills.
First Date Ideas in Winter
Planning a first date in the winter season can be tough, but we’ve got your back! Here are some trusted winter activities that you can enjoy with a new special someone.
- Ice skating: Rent a pair of skates and bundle up for the winter-time date. Follow it up with a cup of hot chocolate!
- Take a cookie decorating class: A classic Christmas-time activity that is one your date will love.
- Drive through holiday lights: Bring your date on a seasonal walk or drive around the neighborhood.
- Go to a movie - This classic first date idea comes in handy during the colder months.
Tips for the first date
Now that you have dozens of great first date ideas, here are some additional tips on how to have a happy and healthy first date.
- Put safety first - It's important to let someone in your life know that you're going on a first date. Also, it's important to realize that the other person you're meeting might not feel totally safe and comfortable at first —and you should respect that.
- Make the day special - The best first date ideas come from listening to your prospective partner. Think of how you can start the courtship off on the right foot by doing something they would like rather than only something you’d like.
- Be yourself – As cliché as it sounds, this is probably the best advice for a prospective first date. Dating in the digital age can feel like a competition but try to remember that you are unique and lovable in your own special way. You want to find someone that appreciates all of you and vice versa.
What should you not do on a first date?
- Arrive late – Showing up late to a first date automatically tells the other person that you don’t value their time. Be on time for your date and, if you can, arrive early!
- Constantly check your phone – Our advice is to put your phone on silent for the duration of the date. It’ll help you stay focused on the person in front of you, not on a screen. If you have a nervous habit of checking your phone, we suggest using it to complement the conversation that is already happening. For example, "I saw this image online and it made me laugh!" or "I was at the beach and I took this awesome photo, let me show you!"
- Dominate the conversation – It’s important to practice active listening on your first date. Try not to overshare or talk too much. Instead, ask questions and be thoughtful with your responses. Remember, the point of the date is to get to know each other better.
Final thoughts on first date ideas
When you’re on your date, remember to have fun! Don’t overcomplicate things. As long as you’re being respectful and genuine, you are setting the stage for a meaningful relationship.
We all know that dating today is complicated, so we've also put together a modern dating tips guide to help you not only have a great first date but keep the sparks flying throughout your relationships.