9 Summer First Date Ideas To Actually Get To Know Someone
There's something undeniably sexy about dating during the summertime: thanks to the sunshine, you don't have to hole up in your apartment, order takeout, and watch TV — instead, it seems like the whole world is your oyster. Having more daylight hours to burn means that coming up with first date ideas for summer is a lot easier, plus the warm, sunny weather creates the perfect atmosphere to really get to know your date in a pressure-free way, no matter what you're doing.
"Candlelit dinners or cocktail lounge mood lighting can impose unnecessary pressure on first daters, leading to false expectations or disappointment," Wendy L. Patrick, JD, Ph.D., behavioral expert and author, tells Bustle. "Daytime dating lightens the mood — which often heightens the romance... Summer weather also broadens venue selections, affording first daters the chance to enjoy daytime activities, from sports, to culture, to music, all shared activities that allows daters to become friends first. Sometimes when the anxiety is off, the attraction is on."
During the dark, cold winter months, you might feel more pressure to find a partner and settle down for cuffing season — but during summertime, dating can feel simultaneously more adventurous and more relaxed. Here are nine summer first date ideas to try if you want to keep things fun, carefree, and light while still making a lasting connection with your date.
1. Go To An Amusement Park
If you and your date are thrill-seekers, spending the day at a nearby amusement park (even if it's a small one) is a great way to get to know each other — you'll have plenty of time to talk as you walk around and wait in line for rides.
"Going to an amusement park is always on the top of my list for fun summertime dates," dating coach Julie Spira tells Bustle. "The price could be anywhere from free (to people-watch), to $20 if you want to ride the Ferris Wheel and grab a lemonade. While you’re there, ramp it up and go on a roller coaster, or scarier ride together."
2. Rent A Tandem Bike
For the more active daters, renting a tandem bike — or even two separate bikes if that's more your style — is a fun and flirty way to spend a breezy summer day with your date.
"It’s uber-romantic to be on a bicycle built for two and puts you in 'couple mode,'" Spira says. Plus, if you're not too out of breath from all the pedaling, you have plenty of opportunity to chat and people-watch as you ride around town together.
3. Have A Picnic At An Outdoor Movie
If dinner and a movie is your go-to date during the colder months, give that traditional date a summer makeover by planning a picnic — complete with blankets and lots of snacks — at an outdoor movie screening instead.
"[Go] to a free outdoor movie, where arriving early with a picnic dinner will give you time to talk and get to know each other," Spira suggests.
4. Check Out A Free Concert
A loud concert may not seem like the best place to get to know a date, but you don't have to stand front row, next to the speakers — instead, cozy up on a blanket near the back of the crowd and enjoy the atmosphere while you get to chat.
"If you’re a music fan, there are plenty of free concerts in the summer at parks and museums, so find a band or musical genre that you both like and start creating musical memories together," Spira says.
5. Volunteer For A Cause You Both Care About
If you and your date consider yourself charitable folks, spending your first date volunteering for a cause you both care about can really help you form a connection. And even if things don't work out for the two of you, the date won't have been a total waste, since you helped others!
"Doing something together for other people (or animals!) can bring you guys closer together than many other activities which focus on you — it is an eye opener," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle.
6. Browse A Used Book Or Record Store
When the summer sun is just too hot and you need an air-conditioned break, head into a used book or record store: it's a great way to get a glimpse into your date's taste, and you can even pick out your favorites, swap them, and call it "homework" to read or listen to each other's picks.
"Music or books — chances are your date enjoys one of them," Backe says. "Get over to a shop near you and rummage around. If it is a thrifty kind of place, you can find some great things for cheap prices. Flea market also works, if you’re into knicknacks."
7. Play Games At An Arcade
Another fun way to keep cool on a first date in the summer? Let the nostalgia flow by going to an arcade and playing video games together.
"One of my favorite first date ideas is to grab a couple rolls of quarters and go to an old-school arcade," Dr. Lanae St. John, board certified sexologist and professor of human sexuality, tells Bustle. "I feel like this activity gives you insight into the other person — can they relax and have fun, how competitive do they get, and do they play fair (important!)."
8. Sample Local Food At A Farmer's Market
Is there anything better than a date that's centered around snacking? Spend an afternoon walking around a farmer's market with your date, trying different foods, smelling the fresh flowers, and getting to know each other.
"In addition to being a great excuse to get out in the sun, you can learn a lot about a person's tastes and attitudes through their relationship to food," Dave Bowden, confidence coach and author, tells Bustle. "Do they prefer meat, or veggies? Are they picky eaters or open to try new things? Do they support local or buy mass-produced stuff? Plus, if things are going well and you're hitting it off, you can always keep the date going by picking up a few fresh ingredients, then heading back home to, ahem, cook things up."
9. Be Tourists In Your Own City
You might not be ready to take a real vacation with someone you just met, but acting like tourists in your own city can be a surprisingly fun way to get to know someone.
"Exploring the city together provides plenty of time to talk and get to know each other, and the experience gives you a glimpse at the type of insight that you would normally learn while traveling with someone," Bowden says. "Are they good with directions? What kind of activities, restaurants and sites do they gravitate towards? What's at the top of their (local) bucket list?"
No matter what your ideal first date is, you can take advantage of the fun, carefree vibes while you date during the summer. Instead of curling up in bed with wine and TV again, get out there and enjoy the sunshine while (hopefully) making a love connection!