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35 Best First Date Ideas, So You’ll Never Suffer From A Case Of Daters’ Block Again

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for — the first date. But what’s the best first date? What should you two do? After all, anyone can meet for coffee, dinner, or a drink, right? “First dates are the beginning of something, and like with first impressions, these first dates are the door that opens your relationship with this person,” April Masini, aka “Ask April,” New York–based relationship expert and author, tells Bustle. “The best first dates are those in which you not only do something together, you learn about yourselves and each other, and create this great experience together.”

Janna Koretz, Psy.D, founder and clinical psychologist at Azimuth Psychological, agrees. “It’s good to think about activities to do together, whether that’s taking a cooking class or skiing. It allows a focus and joint effort while still allowing people to converse with one another.”

Of course, there are dating sites and dating apps catered to dating activities, too, so they help give you an “in” with creating an idea. But what about other ideas so you can have the first best date ever? Here are 35 of the best date ideas to get you started, though the first date possibilities truly are endless.

1. Go For A Walk

With all the leaves changing now, by taking a walk with your date, you get a colorful (and romantic) setting without it costing a penny. “I’m a big fan of a casual stroll through a fun neighborhood or street fair,” Jeffrey Sumber, MA, MTS, LCPC, psychotherapist and bestselling author of Renew Your Wows!, tells Bustle. “I think it helps a person witness how the prospect interacts with others and with general input from the external world.”

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2. Be A Tourist In Your Own City

When’s the last time you hopped on a tour bus in your city? Exactly. Well, now’s your chance. You’ll not only get to know your city better for when you’re the tour guide for out-of-town guests, but you’ll also get to know your date better in the process as you two talk between sightseeing and taking pictures (maybe even together).

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3. Go Apple (Or Fruit) Picking

Even if you don’t go apple picking, per se, every state has certain types of fruit they specialize in, like cherries in Michigan or blueberries in Maine. Not only is this date fun and gets you outdoors, but most apple orchards and farms have other fun on-site activities, like apple cider tastings and hayrides.

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4. Do Something Physical, Like Tough Mudder

Get out and do something physical, like a race or an obstacle course. (With many races these days, you can walk, so there’s no pressure to be a marathon runner in order to do them!) Tough Mudder recently conducted a survey of over 2,000 people and discovered that when it comes to dating, almost 40 percent of respondents said they’d rather go on an extreme fitness/outdoor recreation date versus dinner and a movie.

“Tough Mudder events tap into a core set of universal values and forge genuine connections between people, and that will never go away — you’re able to connect in a completely authentic and unique way,” Jerome Hiquet, Chief Marketing Officer of Tough Mudder, tells Bustle.

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5. Find An Arcade

Arcades are super fun places for dates, since you have to focus on the game you’re playing, and that’ll make you more relaxed in terms of the dating game. Plus, Beercades seem to be getting more and more popular, too, if drinking-while-playing is more your thing.

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6. Meet At The Farmers’ Market

With this idea, not only can you shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, but you can also eat along the way. (Plus, there’s flowers for sale — hint, hint.) “Shopping together is a great way to get to know someone — how they choose food, how they eat, and how they deal with money,” April Masini, aka “Ask April,” New York–based relationship expert and author, tells Bustle. “This date lets you get to know each other on many levels — and to have fun, as well.”

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7. Go On A Paint & Wine Date

You’ve probably seen friends of yours post pictures of paintings they created at a paint-and-sip place. Of course, this will take wine tasting to a whole new level, since you’ll be painting while you drink — and then have a souvenir to commemorate the date (assuming you want to remember it). Plus, a lot of these are BYOB, so you can bring your favorite bottle of wine along.

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8. Break Out A Board Game

Who doesn’t love a good board game? Plus, many cafes have them on hand if you don’t bring your own. “Board games show a lot about a person’s ability to strategize, communicate, and participate as a team player,” Allison Gerrits, Matchmaker, Three Day Rule, tells Bustle. Even celebs are known to play them. Recently, Jessica Biel posted a picture on Instagram, showing her and Justin Timberlake playing Scrabble. (She won, btw.)

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9. Explore The Zoo

Not only will seeing cute animals put you in a good mood,but you’ll also have plenty of topics for discussion. Plus, with all the holidays coming up, chances are that your local zoo with be decorated for each one.

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10. Find A Dog Park or Cat Cafe

I think animals automatically put people in better moods. I once had a first date at a dog park and it worked — the guy and I dated for a few months. And if you don’t have a dog? Borrow a friend’s or go anyway.

Similarly, cat cafes are popping up more and more these days, like Crumbs & Whiskers in Los Angeles or Meow Parlour in New York. It’s like a regular cafe with coffee and food… and rescue cats — but instead of being in cages, they’re free, roaming around to be pet by you and your date. And you can even adopt one if you’d like, though that may be a big gesture for a first date!

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11. Sweat It Out Together At Yoga

People seem to love yoga, so why not go to a yoga class with your date? To be fair, you can choose one neither of you has been to before and, to switch things up, why not go to an outdoor one? Some cities even have yoga with cats, like Meow Parlour in NYC, so you can get creative in the type of class you choose!

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12. Check Out A Local Museum (Day Or Night!)

Museums constantly have new exhibits, so they’re an ideal date setting. “It’s a great way to do something interesting and you can get to know each other at the same time,” says Masini. “It’s very romantic to be surrounded by art — and conducive to eliciting any feelings of romance on your date! If things go well, have a glass of Champagne at the museum cafe — or a latte. If they don’t, call it a night or a day after the galleries.”

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13. Check Out A Flea Market Or Garage Sales

Flea markets are perfect for dates and provide a great setting to see what you have in common (like your love for vintage comic books — or not). In addition, many have food, so you can eat while you shop. Who knows? If things are going well, you can even get each other souvenirs to remember the occasion.

Natalia Lusinski

14. See A Band Or Live Music

Even if you live in the smallest town, chances are there’s live music going on someplace (and perhaps even for free). “I hear often from clients that at times they have an extra ticket to a play or concert and they take someone they have never met, and it is an immersive opportunity that either works out great — or the two just do their own thing and quickly realize they are not a good match,” says Sumber. “It definitely saves a lot of time in the vetting process!” Plus, someone’s music tastes tell you a lot about them, right?

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15. Go Whiskey, Beer, Or Wine Tasting

Of course, don’t do this if your date doesn't drink, but by exploring a distillery, brewery, or vineyard, you’ll have something fun to do and it’ll help with first-date conversation. And, some of the settings are quite romantic. In addition, some places let you bring a picnic and, tbh, who doesn’t love a good picnic? Only tip for this date idea: Don’t drink too much.

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16. Attend An “Escape Room” Event

“This is a group activity where you have to solve mind games in order to ‘escape,’ Kali Rogers, Founder of Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Bustle. “It’s a great way to work together as a team with others and get to know each other outside of the typical ‘interview’ first-date rhythm.” You can probably find an “escape room” event in your city, such as “Escape the Room” in New York City or Escape Artistry in Chicago.

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17. Find A Local Street Fair

Going to a street fair is like several dates in one. You get to walk, listen to music, check out the food stands, shop at the kiosks, etc. If you go in the afternoon and things are going well, you can stay into the evening, too.

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18. Take A Dance Class

“With dance lessons, you’ll get a great sense of your rhythm as a couple and your communication style,” says Gerrits. “It lightens up the pressure for physical contact, so you have an excuse to be close to one another.” Smart move, so to speak, right?

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19. Attend A Cooking Class

When you and your date take a cooking class together, “you can see if you’re open to learning, or stuck in your ways when it comes to knife skills, which translates pretty well to the rest of life,” says Gerrits.

Masini agrees. “Taking a cooking class together is the gateway to a future of nice meals and exploring cuisine and food together,” she says. “Dinner at a restaurant, while a staple and a fallback, isn’t quite as enlightening.”

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20. Take *Any* Class

Aside from painting, dancing, and cooking classes, there are countless others out there that you and your date can take. “Learning something new together is a great way to bond and learn about how the other one takes in new information and whether or not they’re a good sport,” says Rogers. “I once took an ‘intro to deejaying’ class with my current boyfriend and it was a blast! We were both terrible, but it was a lot of fun.”

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21. Go Hiking

No matter what the temperature is outside, there’s a hike you can take. Plus, it gives you a time limit, i.e., if you choose to do a two-mile hike, that’s your date deadline. Unless things are going well, of course, and then you can keep hiking or take a rest at a scenic overlook.

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22. Have A Picnic

Having a picnic is fun because you can both bring food and drinks along, as well as choose a great picnic setting, whether it’s a local park or the top of a ravine after you two hiked first. Yes, having a picnic can either be the main event or an addendum to another one. A win-win.

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23. Wander Around The Botanical Gardens Or An Arboretum

There’s nothing like being outside and getting fresh air and exercise, and botanical gardens arboretums are ideal settings for a date. After all, with various holidays coming up, there will probably various themes, decorations, and events, too, providing built-in date activities for you two.

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24. Bike Around The City (Or Off-The-Beaten-Path)

With all the bike rental kiosks out there these days, bike dates make perfect and convenient dates. For instance, with Divvy in Chicago, you can rent bikes and will need to find a kiosk to check them in every 30 minutes. This is dating magic. If things are going well, you can keep riding all day; if they’re not, you can always pedal away (in theory) and say time’s up and you have to get going.

As far as where to go, you can have a destination in mind, or just meet at a certain street corner and go from there. But it’s good to have a few destination ideas in your head, just in case.)

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25. Go On A One-Day Road Trip

There’s nothing like traveling with someone to get to know them better, right, whether it’s a friend or a romantic interest? “Instead of going out to dinner and a movie, take a day trip somewhere outside of town,” says Rogers. “Driving there will provide time to get to know each other, and you two can experience something new together.”

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26. Stargaze (Either Outside Or At The Planetarium)

With and without all the meteor showers happening lately, the sky makes for natural (and free!) entertainment. If the former, just grab some blankets and/or chairs and find a remote area to see the most stars and constellations possible.

You can also bring food and drinks, like a thermos of hot chocolate, for a late-night picnic. (Note: If it’s truly a blind date and you haven’t met before IRL, you may want to opt for the more public planetarium.)

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27. Explore A Used Bookstore

Just like with music, you can tell a lot about someone by the books they read. You can either go to one used bookstore or a few. And if you and your date are really a match, you can each buy each other a book as a souvenir.

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28. Try Rock Climbing

Unless you and your date are both rock climbing experts, I’d opt for a rock climbing gym and take a class. Many gyms even give a free pass to newcomers. Not only will this experience test your physical endurance, but also the emotional endurance of the date. If it’s a success, you can have a part two off the climbing wall and back on solid ground, like at a local coffee shop.

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29. Test Out A New Neighborhood

Similar to going on a tour of your own city, with this idea, you can take your own tour — only, pick a part of town neither of you has explored before. Then, walk-and-talk as you get to know the town — and each other.

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30. Miniature Golfing

Mini golf is fun because it gets you to focus on the game, so there’s not as much pressure put on what to say or how to act. You want to win, right, so you need to concentrate. Plus, some miniature golf places have carnival and arcade games to play, too, so the date can continue…

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31. Hit Up A Driving Range Or Actual Golf Course

This is a step up from mini golf since driving ranges and golf courses have a whole other feel than mini golf (where did that cute castle go?!). Once again, you can see how your date handles friendly competition, and you’ll still have plenty of time to talk.

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32. Go Bowling

This old school event can make for a great date — even if you’re not a great bowler. You can talk between frames, as well as have a friendly competition (and maybe the winner will buy drinks afterward). Plus, you can see how your date handles losing — or not.

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33. Go To A Trivia Night

A lot of bars and pubs have trivia nights, so why not go to one with your date?It’ll provide a lively atmosphere, plus be educational and competitive. You can also see how in-the-know they are on certain topics, and vice-versa. When all is said and scored, you can always continue the date at another venue.

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34. Go Sing Your Heart Out At Karaoke

Not everyone’s into karaoke, of course, so finding that out would be Step #1 before doing this for a date. But just like seeing live music together, karaoke will give you plenty of fodder for conversation, in addition to seeing what kind of music your date is into, how he/she reacts toward the other singers — does he/she chide them in a playful way or a hurtful one — and so on. And who knows? You may end up singing a song together and syncing up.

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35. Find A Season-Centric Activity

With a string of holidays coming up, there’s bound to season-specific activities at your disposal, from ice skating to checking out holiday window displays and going to Christmas tree-lighting ceremonies. There’s an endless number of things to do as long as you look.

Above all, remember this about first dates: “Of course, the big thing about a first date is answering two important questions," Thomas Edwards, Founder of The Professional Wingman, tells Bustle. "The first is, ‘Am I having fun with this person?’ If the answer is ‘Yes,’ then your next question is, ‘Do I want to see this person again?’ They seem like simple questions — and they are. Great first dates make those questions even simpler to answer.”

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