Sure, a nice meal and some drinks usually make for a great first date, but after a while that routine starts to get a little stale—and some creative date ideas are definitely in order.
From foodie date night ideas that involve eating each course at a different restaurant, to outdoorsy ideas for nature enthusiasts, we’ve come up with a list of 50 creative date ideas that cover all the bases. Dive right in, and plan something unexpected for your next date—we’re betting your partner will certainly appreciate the effort.
1. Plan a picnic
Whether you’re heading to a park or even just your backyard or fire escape, put down a blanket, get a spread of yummy snacks, a bottle of wine, and you’ve got yourself a lovely, low-cost date.
2. Go birdwatching
Sometimes the most romantic activities involve being outdoors together. Check if your favorite local park offers birdwatching tours, or just hang out in your backyard with binoculars.
3. Take a brewery tour
Learn something and get beer in the process? This is pretty much a foolproof date. To find a tours, start by calling a microbrewery near you and go from there.
4. Take a workout class
Take a spin class, a rowing class, or one of the myriad of trendy boutique workout classes that have popped up just about everywhere in recent years. Couples that sweat together, stay together.
5. Troll for photobooths
Spend an evening looking for photobooths, and taking fun photos together. The souvenirs from the evening are just a bonus.
6. Take a boxing class together
Not your typical date, get the endorphins flowing taking a boxing class together. If you’re on the hunt for a good boxing class, read how to find a good gym on ExpertBoxing.com.
7. Visit a museum and see something unexpected
Going to a museum is a great date idea. Go see a controversial show, and the conversation will flow easily from there.
8. Head on a (mini) road trip
Pick a destination about an hour from where you live—it could be anything from a flea market to a restaurant off the beaten path—and just drive.
9. Meet for drinks at a local landmark
From the Eiffel Tower, to the Empire State Building, to the Top of the Space Needle—head to a local landmark and admire the view, while creating your own movie worthy moment.
10. Make homemade pizzas with wild toppings
Instead of just any dinner, make homemade pizzas, and don’t be afraid to go wild with the toppings.
It’s a bit of a cliché, but completely romantic—who could resist a date that involves stargazing? To get started download The Night Sky app so you actually know what you are looking at.
12. Volunteer together
A great first date idea, head anywhere from a soup kitchen to a home for the elderly to volunteer, while getting to know your date.
13. Work on a DIY project
Look through Pinterest together for a project, and then execute it together!
14. Sing Karaoke
While you are on your karaoke date, don’t forget to do a duet. When in doubt, Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” can’t be beat.
15. Learn to dance
Find a dance studio that offer sessions for first timers and couples. Looking to do something really special? Consider booking a private lesson to start.
16. Go camping!
Borrow equipment from a friend if you don’t have your own, make s’mores over an open fire, and completely unplug from technology. You can even do this in your backyard.
17. Shop for each other
Head to a thrift store, set a budget, and pick out outfits for each other!
18. Kiss, kiss, kiss
Not for a first date, but if you’re a more seasoned pair, try mastering these 36 kisses: French Kiss, Sniff Kiss, Nip Kiss, Eskimo Kiss, Butterfly Kiss, Basic Kiss, Spiderman Kiss, Flavored Kiss, Vacuum Kiss, Fish Kiss, Tease Kiss, Candy Kiss, Ice Kiss, Firm Kiss, From Behind Kiss, Slow Motion Kiss, Opposite Kiss, Downward Kiss, Tickle Kiss, No Lips Kiss, Blow Kiss, Woodpecker Kiss, Lady and the Tramp Kiss, Shocking Kiss, High Low Kiss, Kiss on the Hand, Kiss on the Cheek, Kiss on the Neck, Kiss on the Fingers, Kiss on the Shoulder, Kiss on the Ear, Kiss on the Back, Kiss on the Navel, Kiss on the Nose, Kiss on the Eyes, Kiss on the Forehead. Not sure what they all mean? Just have fun with it.
19. Recreate the first date you ever had together
If you went to a movie, rent the same movie. If you went out for dinner, go back to the same restaurant or make the dish that you ate at home.
20. Take a ride on a Ferris wheel
Countless romantic comedies feature couples falling in love at the top of the Ferris wheel, and with good reason. Plus, there is something so nostalgic and wonderful about heading to a local fair or amusement park on a date.
21. Do something a little bad
Skinny dipping, light sidewalk graffiti, doing something you aren’t supposed to be doing can actually bring couples together. Plus, it’s great for a future story.
22. Rent your “dream car”
Take your partner and your dream car you’ve rented on a weekend adventure, even if it’s just driving and exploring.
23. Go to a fancy bar and dress up
Get dressed up, go to a fancy bar (hotel bars are an easy choice), and try something off the exotic cocktails list.
24. Head to the farm and go berry picking
Berry picking is a fun activity, and also one that allows for a lot of talking and getting to know each other time.
25. Rent a Vespa and go for a ride
Sightseeing on the back of a Vespa can be pretty romantic.
26. Go to a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Find a local showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, dress-up, and get into it.
27. Host your own walking tour
Take your date on a walking tour of the neighborhood where you grew up showing off your elementary school and local haunts along the way.
28. Go for a hot air balloon ride
A classic date that is hard for anyone to resist.
29. Eat a dessert only dinner
Skip to the good stuff, and by good stuff, we mean dessert, ordering a sampling of what’s on the menu.
30. Bake a cake
Or cupcakes, or brownies, or cookies! Any activity that also involves eating makes for a great date.
31. Have a game night
Get out your favorite old-time board game (Clue, Monopoly, you name it), and have an old-fashioned game night date.
32. Go to the zoo
Stroll through the local zoo admiring everything from the tigers to penguins while getting to know each other.
33. Take a hike
Be one with nature on your next date, taking a hike at your favorite nature preserve or hiking path. The more picturesque the spot you choose, the better.
34. Play tourist
Decide to play tourist for the day in your hometown—going everywhere from the museum, to the major landmark, to the most famous restaurant in town.
35. Wake up at 4 a.m. and watch the sunrise together
Not all great dates are at night. Get up early, curl up together, and watch the sunrise.
36. Have a friendly bowling competition
Dust off those bowling shoes, and have a friendly bowling competition slash date.
37. Host a decadent brunch
Go all out for brunch making everything from French toast with flambéd bananas to mimosas.
38. Binge watch a Netflix TV show together
Pick a show on Netflix that neither have you seen, and watch a few more episodes than you probably should.
39. Create your own wine tasting
You don’t have to go somewhere fancy to do a wine tasting as a date, you can do it at home. Ask for recommendations of some bottles to try at your favorite local wine store, and go from there.
40. Head to the drive-in
Take some inspiration from Grease and seek out a drive-in (it sure will beat that traditional movie date). Find locations by heading to driveinmovie.com. Get some popcorn, lean back in your car, and enjoy.
41. Head to Medieval Times
Not exactly fine dining, but an evening at Medieval Times will definitely be unexpected, and seriously fun.
42. Head to a free outdoor concert
A great way to spend a summer afternoon, seek out a free outdoor concert, everything from the symphony to an indie band, and enjoy.
43. Read aloud to each other from your favorite books
Each bring a copy of your favorite book, and read aloud from the first chapters.
44. Have a five course dinner at different places
Instead of going to one restaurant, pick a bunch of different restaurants to enjoy various courses of your dinner date at.
45. Play truth or dare
Not just for seventh grade parties, an evening of truth or dare makes for a great get-to-know-you date.
46. Find a rooftop pool and go swimming
Rooftop pools are popping up everywhere from hotels to sports clubs these days. Luckily, they make for a great date spot.
47. Go exploring with your cameras
Take a camera, and head to a neighborhood you don’t know well, and start exploring, snapping photos along the way.
48. Head ice skating
You don’t have to an Olympian to have fun on an ice skating date. Finish off the date with hot chocolate.
49. Go to the beach
Head to the beach for a day of laying out in the sun, relaxation, and getting to know someone.
50. Do something neither of you have done before
Sometimes the best dates involve doing something that neither of you have done before—taking a pottery class, riding in a helicopter, or even just trying a new restaurant.
Originally published April 2014. Updated April 2017.