I’ll be the first to admit it: first dates scare the living daylights out of me. It may be the first time you’re meeting this person and you’re anxious about everything going as smoothly as possible. Preparation is the hard part: What should you do? How long should it last? Is the date too generic? Have they been on one exactly like it before?

It’s Hard Coming Up With First Date Ideas On Your Own

But we’re here to help with that – lighten the load and whatnot. Rather than trying to pick out a program that you think your date might like, we’re going to offer some first date ideas that are sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone.

What Makes A First Date Good?

That’s tricky, isn’t it? But when I think of what makes a good first date, I take into account a few things:

  • How fun it is
  • How original it is
  • How easily it enables conversation

If even one of these aspects isn’t fulfilled, then the date as a whole is weaker for it. A date is no good if it isn’t fun. A date isn’t memorable if it’s generic. A date accomplishes nothing if you don’t talk to each other.

As a side note, we know you might not have the cash to burn for a glamorous night out on the town. While not as consequential to making a good first impression, for your sake we’re being considerate of your wallet as well.

Here Are 11 First Date Ideas

Just remember to be considerate of what your date likes and ask if they’d be interested in your choice first. Your date not being into the activity spoils the mood for both of you.

1. Trivia Night

group of people drinking

Asking someone out for a drink or two has a standard feel when it comes to first dates, and at this point may seem a little stale. A good drink is always nice, but as far as first date ideas go it’s not the most novel. You know what a lot of bars offer though?

Trivia nights. You’re getting the best of both worlds: a round of drinks and a memorable experience. Competition gets the blood boiling, heart racing, and introduces a cooperative game both of you can take part in – and may give you the chance to show off.

Trivia forces you to constantly keep conversation with your partner, discussing each topic and finding the answer whether you really know it or not. You might not be too good with trivial knowledge, but you’ve broken the ice and it should be a lot easier to talk to them now.

Most importantly, trivia nights are just plain, simple fun. You might find out you work great as a team together, or you might find you’re both just absolutely god awful at trivia. Either way, you’re bound for a memorable night of laughs, conversation, and drink.

2. Museums

looking at the portrait

There are over 35,000 museums in the United States. Unless you live in a cornfield in Utah, there’s going to be a museum for you.

Not only are museums an affordable, all-day activity to explore with someone, there’s no limit to the creativity they offer their guests. If a classic art museum doesn’t suit your tastes, maybe you happen to live near a Ripley’s Believe It or Not attraction. Somerville’s Museum of Bad Art may be up your alley, or perhaps exploring a history of espionage in D.C.’s International Spy Museum could interest you.

Though most of the most interesting museums are primarily going to be found in America’s larger cities, the proliferation of museums means there’s going to something worth exploring near you.

3. Tea or Coffee House

man and woman talking

Grabbing coffee or tea with that hopeful special someone is a staple for first date ideas, to the point where it seems somewhat overdone. There’s good reason for that: cafes are great, neutral areas for both of you in a calm, safe atmosphere. They give you time to get to know each other over a hot drink.

Here’s the thing though… it’s not that exciting of a date, is it? And there’s not much particularly novel about it. So what do you do? Simple.

Don’t make it the entire date!

Coffee is a great start to a date, it gives you both time to enjoy each other’s company and instill warm feelings toward each other, but don’t end it there! Come on. Follow it up with a walk by the river, grabbing a bite to eat, or doing any of the other things on this list. Coffee or tea sets the tone for the entire date and is easy to capitalize on to make the whole experience memorable.

4. Karaoke

woman singing

This one’s a little bit more outgoing on our list of first date ideas. Depending on you or your date’s personalities, you might find it hard to get up in front of a crowd. But, if your date isn’t up to the task, then it’d be well worth some embarrassment getting up onstage if it gets a good laugh out of them.

If you get the chance, convince them to sing a duet with you, even if you’re both terrible at it. That’s part of the fun! Put on a different pair of shoes and dance a little. Metaphorically. It gives you good stuff to laugh and talk about, while giving you both a chance for your personalities to shine.

5. Ice Skating

group of people skating

This first date idea is straight out of a rom-com. Strapping on a pair of skates and taking to the ice may be an entirely new experience for both of you. If so, that’s the perfect setting for the date. If you and your date aren’t too experienced in the rink, then it gives you ample opportunity to help each other learn.

If all goes well, you’ll be holding on to each other to keep steady. Sure, you’ll probably slip and fall a few times, but chances are that’ll be all the better.

This is all, assuming, neither your or your date is very good at ice skating. If you are, then you’ll just have to wow and impress them with sweet flips and spins before helping them out.

6. Pottery Class

making something by clay

We can’t all be Patrick Swayze, but at least it’s pretty easy to reenact his most iconic scene from Ghost. It might feel cliché, but how often do you actually see people sculpting pottery together? Not often, we’d wager.

Ignoring Unchained Melody playing in the background, a pottery class is a great scene as a first date idea. Getting the opportunity to create something together establishes a memorable occasion. Once you’re finished, you can trade each other your pieces as keepsakes. It’s cute and is sure to appeal to your date enough to guarantee a second outing.

Why not continue the pottery theme into the next date? Once the sculpture is nice and dried, get together to paint them. It gives you a great excuse to see them again, as well as treading familiar ground to keep the good energies flowing.

7. Attend a Minor League Ball Game

stadium

Going to a professional baseball game might be a little more out-of-pocket than you’re willing to spend for a first date. Can’t blame you. The best alternative is attending a minor league game instead. Same sport, but much more affordable and a little more novel watching teams you’ve likely never heard of before play.

If the stadium supports it, you may also want to consider forgoing the traditional seating arrangements and instead camp out on a hillside beyond the outfield fence. Bring a blanket, some snacks, and grab some local tender from the stalls and enjoy the experience.

Baseball is a steady enough sport so you both won’t be wrapped up in it at every moment. This gives you plenty of time to talk about the game or any other topic you might want to delve into.

8. Zoo or Aquarium

big aquarium with a big fish

Zoos and aquariums are the same concept split between land and sea animals. If you have trouble deciding between which one you’d prefer, then the weather can decide for you. If it’s nice outside and you’d like to enjoy a good walk with your date, the zoo is your best choice. If you’d prefer not walking around in the intense heat, cold, or other poor weather conditions, the aquarium provides good sanctuary.

Whatever you choose, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the attractions throughout the date. The animal kingdom is fascinating, meaning you’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn about various species or just be satisfied with watching them roam. Plot out your trip, either meticulously or ever-changing as you wander, and enjoy your day together.

9. The Local Arcade

woman playing at the toy crane

Take the opportunity to inspire a little competitive spirit between you and your date. Heading to the arcade as a first date idea may seem like it comes out of the 90’s, but dipping into older playbooks creates great opportunities for a refreshed experience.

You aren’t necessarily restrained to arcade games either. Most recreational centers also provide mini-golf, laser tag, and go-kart racing, meaning you’ll be able to find something for both of you.

While you’re there, consider spicing up the competition with a little playful betting. Wager on high scores, most games won, or who gets first place on the golf course. Winner buys the first round of drinks.

So long as you don’t go too overboard, the arcade is an affordable attraction that provides plenty of opportunity for conversation and memories.

10. Cook Together

man and woman cooking together

Sometimes, the best date is one where you don’t even have to leave the house. However, if your date isn’t comfortable coming over to your place just yet, then there are plenty of cooking classes available to try out.

This first date idea lets you create something together, and then you get to critique your own work. If you aren’t very good at cooking, that’s fine! Pop open a cookbook, stumble through the instructions, and grimace at your creation. If it turns out edible and – dare I say -good, then awesome! You and your date get to enjoy a tasty meal you made together.

If not, well… there’s always delivery.

Whether or not what you make is any good doesn’t really matter in the long run. You two made something together, and that creates a moment of intimacy that’s bound to be memorable and fun.

11. Go Stargazing

man and woman stargazing

You might want to save this one for a nightcap to a date. If you’ve finished a nice meal and it’s starting to get dark, it’s about time for the part you’ve been planning for since the night began.

Stargazing is all about the tranquility of the moment. Going to an observatory to ponder the night sky is a great first date idea, but maybe you don’t have one of those around. If not, then the next best thing – maybe even better – is going out to a field with a blanket, laying down in the grass, and looking up.

Simple. Serene. Beautiful.

Staying out in the dark, gazing up into infinity, puts a lot of things into perspective for the both of you and is assured to leave an astounding impression on your date. You don’t need anything to bring, even the blanket is optional. Just you, your date, and the stars.

Be the Gentleman

If you do so choose to take any of these suggestions in mind, then here are some other bonus tips for you on your first date.

  • Make sure you clean yourself up, put on some cologne, and be presentable.
  • Pay for everything, you’ll be able to split the bills if your relationship goes further.
  • Be considerate, amenable, and jovial.
  • Always pay your date the utmost attention.
  • Turn off your phone.

It’s the basics, really. Most importantly of all:

Have a good time. You’re there to enjoy each other’s company. Make the most of it.