Within the last few decades, there have been many changes to society, including the invention of the internet, cell phones, and as a byproduct of these advancements, social media. Because of the ease with which we can now discover another person’s personality and likes, we have come to perceive dating as old-fashioned and outdated. However, dating can still be a valuable tool in meeting potential partners (not to mention it can also be very fun). The dating scene may be changing, but that does not mean that dating as an entire institution should be tossed out as old history and labeled as “taboo”. Here are a few simple and creative date ideas.
Hiking: Exploring the great outdoors and getting some physical activity is a great way to enjoy nature with a partner. Hiking provides solitary time with your date and allows each of you to appreciate the beauty of nature. This will create open space free of distractions, enabling each of you to get to know one another better. Also, when you exercise your body releases endorphins which are hormones that increase one’s mood. The endorphins and subsequent “good mood” helps you to bond to your partner by associating their presence with happiness. If you would like to search for trails in your area, click here (limited to the United States).
Volunteering: Volunteering is a great way for you and your date to connect with one another over an activity or cause that is meaningful to you both and good for the community. Feelings of positivity stem from helping out those less fortunate and for being in one another’s company. Volunteering your time at a local pet shelter is a great way to get to know someone and play with cute animals at the same time! Other places that are ideal for volunteering are, soup kitchens, schools, if you are religious, church, and community centers. Find a local shelter in your area here (limited to the United States).
A Mini Road Trip: A road trip is a great way to relax, enjoy some music and nice conversation, and discover new places, sometimes the drive itself can be more exciting than the actual place. Also, the car could be an ideal place for serious discussions. People tend to feel more comfortable when you are sitting side-by-side (rather than face-to-face), because they are less likely to feel intimidated by the direct eye contact of another person.
Stargazing: Spending the night outside and under the stars with your date can be extremely romantic. The best way to stargaze is to know what you are looking at, so you can download “The Night Sky” app for your smart phone. It will help you identify the various constellations. You could even start a friendly game of who can find the constellation the fastest. Or—like with cloud watching—each of you can try to create your own constellations. Stargazing can provide the perfect atmosphere for a first kiss or make-out session (but make sure that your partner is comfortable and happy).
Concerts: Attending a concert or play/musical can be a great way to learn each other's interests. The right music in the right venue can provide the perfect ratio of conversation to pleasant distraction. Big, loud stadium shows will provide less opportunity for conversation, but could still be very exciting. Smaller local, mellow acts could be nice if you want to dance or focus more on conversation.
The Zoo/Aquarium: Visiting a zoo or an aquarium can be a great way to get to know your partner. You can leisurely walk and talk with your partner as the two of you view your favorite animals or sea life. On land or underwater, creatures are colorful, slimy, toothy, and weird enough to keep the conversation interesting.
Amusement Parks: Visiting an amusement park or water park can be a fun way to escape traditional dating regimes. It could also work well as a double or group date. Research shows that adrenaline-spiked activities mimic the feeling of falling in love. When you are with your date, those butterflies in your stomach can be transferred from your feelings about the ride to your feelings about them.
Dinner: Spice up the classic dinner date by going somewhere you both have never been before or by trying a type of food you have never had. Sharing new experiences together is a great way to create lasting memories and build a connection with someone. Another fun idea is attempting to order for each other. The element of adventure will add some excitement to your date, and maybe the two of you will even find a new favorite dish. Ordering only appetizers to share, or starting with dessert first can create an exciting and goofy vibe and release the formality of a sit-down dinner.
Movie/Theatre: A great way to make a movie date more exciting is to go to a drive-in. Search for one in your area here (limited to the United States). If you are looking for something more budget-friendly, find a theatre that features movies that have already been released for some time. If you want to try something “classy” (where you get to dress up), check to see what is being performed at your local acting theatre. Plays usually have intermissions, which could give you more time than during a typical movie date to chat with your date.
Ice Cream: Looking up new frozen yogurt shops, ice cream parlors, or candy stores can be an enjoyable way to add sweetness to a simple date. Try experimenting with different flavors, toppings or types of candies; be silly and have fun with it. After purchasing your sweet snack, head outside if the weather is nice and sit on the grass or at a small table. If the weather is not permissible, consider staying inside; even if it is cold outside, the two of you will be warm in each other’s company.
Coffee/Tea: Getting coffee is an easy and cheap way to spend time with someone you are interested in getting to know further. Many coffee shops offer a sitting space with couches and magazines that make sitting and talking with someone comfortable and inviting. If coffee is not your “thing” try tea, smoothies, or go try out that new boba place. Do not limit yourself because you do not like a certain type of drink. Try new places and find something you both can enjoy.
Take a Walk: Whether it is on the beach or at a nearby park, taking a walk is a great way to casually get to know someone. You do not necessarily have to stare directly at the other person, so walking can be a more comfortable alternative to a sit-down dinner or coffee date. You can also hold hands or wait for the sun to set. If you are feeling up to it, bring a camera or snap pictures with your phone of yourselves or the sunset/views. Try to see your hometown from a tourist’s perspective. Take your date on a touristy excursion around your hometown and see the city from a different vantage.
Art Gallery: A trip to the local art gallery is a great first date for the artsy type. Viewing art can be a great way to facilitate meaningful discussion. It is not a bad idea to do a little research on the exhibit beforehand. Research will not only help you seem at least a little knowledgeable, but also it will also prevent you from accidentally taking your date to an exhibit that might make them uncomfortable, such as the horrors of meat-processing plants or the atrocities of war. Lighter subjects are most likely better for keeping the mood of the date high.
Bowling: Bowling can be a great group date and a fun, comfortable way to have your partner meet your friends in a casual setting. Engaging in friendly competition with your partner and friends is relaxing and still exciting. Even if you are a terrible bowler, it is important to be able to laugh at yourself and be goofy. Your date will appreciate that you can be yourself around them.
Mini Golf: Miniature golf is not particularly strenuous, so your date doesn’t need to be athletic to have a good time. Even if your partner is not very good, helping him/her with their putt is a great opportunity to get up close and personal. Many places also have an arcade, which allows you to get in touch with your inner kid. It is important to keep things light and remember to not take things too seriously, playful competition is always fun, but serious rivalry can ruin the mood of the date. Going to a place like this can be a great way to relieve the stress of work or school while developing a deeper connection with a partner.
Sporting Events: Going to events like baseball or football games can get expensive. But, if there is a minor league baseball or hockey teams in your area those tickets are usually less expensive. Even if you do not like sports, the environment of, cheering, good food, and action-packed excitement can be the best things and keep the energy of the date high. If you know you or your date might become too invested in the game of a certain sport and start yelling and getting angry, try a calmer event like figure skating or a neutral sport that neither of you feel too passionately about. That way the main focus of the night will still be on the date and the two of you together, not the referees making bad calls, or a losing game of a favorite team.
For more ideas about fun dates, check out these Sexpert-approved sites:
Meston, Cindy M., and Penny F. Frohlich. Love at First Fright: Partner Salience Moderates Roller-Coaster-Induced Excitation Transfer. Rep. N.p., 10 Feb. 2003. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. <http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Group/MestonLAB/Publications/rollercoaster.pdf>.
Last Updated 2 Mar 2014