The 5 Best First Date Activities

I've had a lot of great first dates, but I know exactly which one I'd call the best. I was a 21-year-old college student, and one of my favorite bands, The Finches, was playing at an arts space/vegan restaurant in downtown Providence, RI (yes, I hear myself speaking and know this story screams "hipster," but just bear with me). I'd just met a guy on OkCupid who had recently graduated college with a degree in physics and theater and worked at a resource center for the developmentally disabled. I thought he'd be a great date for the concert.

Over tofu curry, we finished each other's sentences ("Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Providence," I mused — "They're occupying the world!" we both exclaimed; this was 2012). We wandered over to the gallery/concert venue, where we talked about our pets and our legs brushed against each other. Colorful illustrations of oddly emotive penises hung on the walls above us. The Finch's lead singer Carolyn Pennypacker made eye contact with me as I mouthed the lyrics to "House Under the Hill," and after the show, I met her and we talked about astrology. She assured us that I, a Virgo, and my date, a Scorpio, were "meant to be." On the ride home, we played a 20-questions-like game called Botticelli; I stumped him with the word "Bohemian." We made out passionately in his car before he dropped me off and asked me to hang out over the weekend, though I couldn't make it.

But weeks later, after procrastinating on planning our next date, he did a 180 and fired off a litany of reasons why he didn't want to see me again, including "I don't like the rhythm of your speech" and "astrology is dumb." Turns out first impressions really can be fleeting.

This is all to say that sometimes, the activity is what makes the date, not the person. Here are some other activities that made five people's best first dates the best of their lives — because even if your date turns out to be a total jerk, you'll still have the memory.

1. Stargazing

"I've always treated first dates as the 'phone screen' of dating. I usually pick something simple like coffee where a quick, polite exit is readily available. With things like dinner, you're stuck for awhile even if its going poorly. A second date means you've at least qualified this candidate. Anyway, one of my favorites was star gazing at an observatory."-Pseudo Nym*, 31

2. A Walk Around The Market And/Or Dinner And/Or Ice Skating

"My first date date with my boyfriend was in Bath, UK. We met up at the train station and walked around the Christmas Market, where he bought me mulled wine and mince pies. Then, we headed off to dinner and ice skating in the Royal Victoria Park before heading to his place. It was the best first date because I had oddly connected with a guy completely unexpectedly AND I was in England (I'm from Boston, MA). We have now been dating for close to 2 years."-Vané, 23

3. Chinese Food (But Actually, Great Conversation)

"My now-husband and I had dinner at a local Chinese place, and then closed down the bar talking. It was seriously an eight-hour date, and we both laughed hysterically through most of it. It was pretty obvious that he was best friend material."-Bridey, 27

4. Japanese Food (Or Anything With Chopsticks)

"We ate at a Japanese restaurant and ordered sushi. I sat there watching my date fail miserably at trying to eat with chopsticks. His sushi kept falling all over the table! I knew right then and there that I wanted to be with him because he wasn't embarrassed or afraid to be himself in front of me. We're still dating to this day!"-Carlee, 22

5. "Playing Sexy Word Games On A Boat."

This one came from Krii, 46. I don't know how anyone could top that.

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