Coming up with great first date ideas isn’t easy. You want something that will feel casual and fun, but you also want to make sure that the conversation can flow and that you can get a good sense of each other. That’s really what first dates are all about. “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,” New York-based relationship and etiquette expert of Relationship Advice Forum, April Masini, 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.”
So when coming up with your first date activities, it’s important to keep that in mind. A great first date will allow you to connect and feel each other out. It’s OK if you feel nervous or a little awkward — so many people feel that way on first dates — because it’s mostly about getting a sense of whether or not you’d want to see this person again. Think of it as a test run. And if you’re having trouble coming up with something fun and interesting to do together, don’t worry — here nine first date ideas to help you get to know each other, because going to the movies is overrated.
1. Head To A Comedy Show
A really fast way to get to know each other is to head to a stand-up gig. You’ll be able to see if you laugh at the same things, have the same tastes — and you can use the breaks to chat and learn more about what they thought of the show. If you have a great time, head for drinks afterward to keep the conversation going.
2. Check Out A Local Trivia Night
Trivia nights can be a lot of fun. Over in the UK, pub quizzes are a favorite pastime — and a trivia night ticks the same box, which is why clinical sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching, tells Bustle that you should look up your local trivia night for a first date. You can get a sense not only of how passionate you both are about different categories, but also how competitive or good-natured they are while you’re playing. It can be really telling.
3. Take A Class Together
Pottery, yoga, ballroom dance — whatever it is, trying to learn something new together can make a great date. “It’s good to think about activities to do together, whether that’s taking a cooking class or skiing,” Janna Koretz, Psy.D, founder and clinical psychologist at Azimuth Psychological, tells Bustle. “It allows a focus and joint effort while still allowing people to converse with one another.” It’s a real bonding experience.
4. Try An Escape Room
If you want to get a great sense of how your date performs under pressure, an escape room might be your answer. “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…” They even have different themes, so you can find one that sounds right up your street.
5. Walk Through Their Neighborhood
Sometimes, keeping it simple works best. “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.” You’ll get to know them in a relaxed setting and there’s plenty of opportunity for conversation.
6. Go To An Arcade
If you want to add some fun and nostalgia to your date, then a good old arcade date night can do the trick. Get some tokens, have some fun — and maybe even walk away with a prize. You’ll be able to see how well the two of you work together and if they’ve got a competitive edge.
7. Hit Up A Farmer’s Market
If you want a no-pressure date that can be short and sweet, suggest hitting up your local farmers’ market — you may learn more about them than you think. “Shopping together is a great way to get to know someone — how they choose food, how they eat, and how they deal with money,” Masini says. “This date lets you get to know each other on many levels — and to have fun, as well.”
8. Play A Board Game
Board games area silly way to get to know each other — and a lot of bars have some tucked into a corner. “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. Plus, they’re just really fun.
9. Go To A Museum Or Gallery
If competition isn’t your thing, try keeping it classy — a museum or art gallery is a perfect first date setting. “It’s a great way to do something interesting and you can get to know each other at the same time,” Masini says. “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.”
There’s no magic secret to getting a first date right — you just need to let it happen. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just make sure you’re getting a feel for them. That’s what a first date is all about.
Originally posted on Bustle