With summer right around the corner, you may be in the thick of making summer plans with friends and family, from barbecues to vacations. Plus, summer means one big thing: With nicer weather, there’s a lot more to do when you add on all the outdoor activities. It’s also a great time to take yourself out. Whether you are in a relationship or not, allocating enough “me time” for yourself is an important part of the learning-and-growing process. Besides, dating yourself is fun.
“Spending time alone can be the best way to clear your mind, nourish your body, and tap into your inner creativity,” Antonia Hall, psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life, tells Bustle. “Spending quality time with friends and family is a healthy, life-enriching thing to do, but making time just for yourself is just as important.”
Ever since I started taking myself out on dates every week, I started to learn a lot of valuable life lessons, from gaining self-confidence to stepping out of my comfort zone more often. From hiking and stand-up paddleboarding to cooking classes and botanical gardens, here are several dates you can take yourself out on this summer.
1. Take A Hike
During the winter and spring, you probably thought about all the hikes you’d like to take once the weather gets better, and summer is your chance. Hiking alone is not only healthy — physically and mentally — but also a great opportunity for self-reflection.
“Spending time in nature makes for a great date with yourself,” Hall says. “Whether you’re sitting and enjoying the views or hiking the trails, time in nature is far more nourishing when you do it solo. Really allow yourself to take in all of the sights, sounds, smells, and appreciate the trees, flowers, animals, and thoughts that show up.”
2. Go To A Local Farmers’ Market
In some cities, you can find farmers’ markets on every corner. Any why not, right? They’re perfect places to spend the weekend, and are also the perfect place to take yourself on a date. Not only can you taste an endless number of food samples and/or go to one for breakfast or lunch, but you can also get your food shopping done for the week.
3. Take Yourself On A Picnic
With warmer weather, there are more picnic venues available, from parks to playgrounds. So why not gather up your favorite foods — or the ones you picked up from the farmers’ market? — and have a solo date somewhere peaceful, like the forest or on the beach? Or you can first go for a hike, then reward yourself with your picnic once you reach a scenic outlook. In any case, picnics make for ideal solo summer dates.
4. Find An Art-Related Event
If you’re looking for a fun date for yourself, try anything art-related, from art openings to museums (especially if the latter has a free day each week). Not only is this a good way to see places you’ve been meaning to explore, but it’s also a good way to talk to artists and meet people who share your art-oriented interests.
5. Go Kayaking Or Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Even if you go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding with others, you’re often in your own kayak or on your own board. But when you take yourself on a date doing these things, it’s best not to know anybody else. Not only will it be a unique way to meet new people, but you’ll also get to do a lot of self-introspection when you’re out on the water, listening to nothing but the waves.
6. Try A Cooking Class
If you’re anything like me, chances are, there are some food dishes you’d love to learn how to make. Yes, you can watch online tutorials or YouTube videos, but learning hands-on is a whole other story. So, take yourself on a date, and one that will feed you, too. “Places like Sur La Table offer fun cooking classes, which can make for a great date night with yourself,” Kat Haselkorn, a matchmaker who runs the dating blog Unemployed Kat, tells Bustle.
7. Go Biking
Biking is such an ideal summer date activity, especially alone — you can bike at your own pace, go wherever you’d like, and make as many stops along the way as you’d like. And with bikes for rent nearly *everywhere*, there’s no excuse not to try it. If you’re worried about all that pedaling, you can also rent an electric bike. With the summer breeze in the air, bike riding is a perfect solo date.
8. Go To An Outdoor Concert
‘Tis the season of outdoor concerts, whether you go to formal ones that require tickets or ones at local parks with free admission. An outdoor concert is a great date to take yourself on, especially if you’re new to the whole dating-yourself concept and feel self-conscious — with so many other people around, you’ll blend right in.
9. Take Yourself To An Outdoor Movie
As popular as outdoor concerts are in the summer, so, too, are outdoor movies. Many places show classic movies, and in all kinds of places, from parks to cemeteries (if you’re in L.A., try the movie night at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery). Not only will you get to see a movie you like, but you’ll also get to be in nature at the same time. No matter what, it’s a win-win.
10. Go On A City Tour
If you’re looking for a fun date to take yourself on, look no further than a city tour. You can either do a Hop On, Hop Off tour, or a more specific one, like an architecture, street art, or pizza tour. In any case, not only will the tour be educational, but you’ll also meet a lot of tourists who are excited to be in your city, which will enhance your own love for the city, too.
“Tours are so entertaining in the cheesiest way, you can’t help but have fun on them,” Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, tells Bustle.
11. Go To A Botanical Garden
Not only is walking soothing for the soul, but when you combine walking with the scent of thousands of flowers, you’ll have sensory overload — but the good kind. Taking yourself to the botanical garden is a great, and beautiful, date.
12. Watch A Sporting Event
Whether you go see a kitesurfing competition or sand volleyball one, attending sporting events in the summer results in an amazing day for everyone — including you on your solo date. You can either find an event randomly, or by looking in a local paper or online to see what’s happening.
“Sporting events are great to attend solo,” Edwards says. “You get to see the game you want, when you want, and among fellow fans. What could be better?”
13. Walk And Play With Dogs
You probably know someone with a dog who could use a break, so why not offer to walk their dog? Or, you can advertise dog-walking services and even do it pro bono to pay it forward. It’ll likely be just as beneficial for you as it’ll be for the animal. Plus, it’s a great solo (human) date: you’ll hang out with a cool dog, get some fresh air, walk around new neighborhoods, explore some dog parks, meet fellow dog lovers, you name it. You can also go to a local shelter to help out with their dogs. In any case, it’ll be an instant mood booster.
“Spending the day offering a helping hand is guaranteed to leave you with warm and fuzzy feelings,” Carmelia Ray, celebrity matchmaker and Chief Dating Advisor of the WooYouapp, tells Bustle. “Surrounding yourself with your favorite animals and allowing yourself to get your share of cuddles is an experience you’ll value in your heart, and so will they."
As you can see, there’s no shortage of summer date ideas to do by yourself. This doesn’t mean you can’t do two-person dates, too, but getting into the habit of taking yourself on dates is more beneficial than you may realize, single or not. Plus, the more you date yourself, the easier it becomes, and the more date ideas you’ll come up with.