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20 First Date Ideas, Based On Iconic TV Shows

Romance inspired directly by your faves.
first date ideas
Image: HBO; NBC; Netflix; Getty. Design: Sasha Purdy / StyleCaster

There’s nothing quite like watching your favorite TV couple finally get together after seasons of wondering “will they, won’t they?”. From Ross and Rachel’s famous kiss in the coffee shop to Big and Carrie’s happily ever after in Paris, love on TV always feels a little more magical than it does in reality. Even TV’s more toxic couples usually get at least one swelling-of-the-violins moment. In the real world, though, dating is usually more of a slow grind—a series of half-hearted swipes, lackluster flings and, of course, a ghost or two. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream. 

If you’re craving something new from your dating life, why not take inspiration from your favorite show? Whether you want to recreate the magic of your favorite show’s power couple, or you simply want to relish in the show’s immaculate vibes, we’ve got you covered with 20 first date ideas inspired by our favorite TV shows. We can’t promise all of these dates will be good, but at least they’ll be memorable. 

1. Friends

A cozy coffee shop date

The cast of Friends
PHOTO: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Looking to find the Chandler to your Monica or the Ross to your Rachel? Invite your date to your favorite local coffee shop—preferably one with a laid-back vibe, extra large mugs and a comfy sofa you can sink into for a few hours. Oh, and maybe even a live folk singer for a little (slightly uncomfortable) ambience. 

2. Sex and the City

A boozy brunch

The cast of Sex and the City
PHOTO: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

The fabulous foursome were always on the go, visiting lively Manhattan restaurants, night club press launches, or spending weekends out in the Hamptons. Whether you’re a Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, or a Charlotte, the only first date choice for a Sex and the City fan is an indulgent weekend brunch—complete with a Cosmo or two, of course.

3. Gossip Girl

An outdoor weekday lunch on the go

Blake Lively and Leighton Meester on location for "Gossip Girl" PHOTO: James Devaney/WireImage

For the girls of Constance Billard, there was no power play more iconic than eating lunch on the steps of The Met. Invite your date to a quick weekday lunch date outside of an iconic location in your city. It will be the perfect opportunity to find out if your date can really keep up with your fast-paced life. Xoxo.

4. New Girl

A wholesome picnic

Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield
PHOTO: FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Channel your inner twee for this slightly dorky, but nonetheless super fun first date. Grab your picnic blanket, throw on a flouncy sundress and pack a lunch—including some homemade baked goods if you’re up to it. Spend the afternoon soaking up the sun, telling stories, playing games and maybe even strumming on your ukulele. 

5. Schitt’s Creek

Lunch at a small town diner followed by a shopping trip

Schitt's Creek
Annie Murphy, Daniel Levy. Photo: Steve Wilkie / ©CBC / courtesy Everett Collection

For a quaint Schitt’s Creek-inspired first date, make your way out of the city and into the sticks—the smaller and hokier the town, the better. Spend the day living like the locals. Eat lunch at the local diner, then potter around the local shops. Who knows? You might even come across a few hidden gems.

6. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Lunch at an old-school family deli

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
Image: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

Head to that old deli—you know, the one where the staff are a little rude, the metal tables and linoleum floors are a little dirty and the menus are a little stained. Then, order some kind of sandwich, fries and pickle combination. It may be simple and rough around the edges, but for someone as straight-talking and robust as you, it’s the perfect spot to really break the ice.

7. Seinfeld

Breakfast at a simple corner diner

PHOTO: Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

While Mrs. Maisel fans might head to the deli for lunch, Seinfeld fans should get to their local diner in time for breakfast. Nurse a simple filter coffee, enjoy a rather basic breakfast fry-up and crack a few jokes while you and your date get to know each other, flaws and all.

8. Younger

Cocktails at a hotel bar

Hilary Duff and Sutton Foster
PHOTO: Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Darren Starr’s Younger saw a 40-something mom rediscover a sense of youthful adventure when she posed as a 26-year-old publishing assistant. There’s no better way to emulate Liza’s glamorous life as an up-and-comer than at a hotel bar. Whether you’re team Josh or team Charles, remember, age is just a number. You’re never too young (or too old) for a chic martini.

9. Gilmore Girls

A visit to a fall market

PHOTO: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

To embrace the cozy, perpetual autumnal vibes of Gilmore Girls, head to a nearby town’s fall market. Stroll among the stalls of vegetables and craftware with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. Stop to listen to the folk singer on the corner and finish the day with a large lunch (and at least one more coffee) at the local cafe. 

10. WandaVision

A home-cooked meal 

WandaVision Halloween Costume
Image: ©Disney+/Marvel Studios / Courtesy Everett Collection.

Keep things domestic with a quiet home-cooked dinner followed by a Netflix binge. Of course, don’t be afraid to ditch a few of the most outdated 1950s sitcom stereotypes, just like WandaVision.

11. The White Lotus

A patio lunch while on holiday 

Murray Bartlett, Jolene Purdy, Natasha Rothwell, Lukas Gage. Image: HBO Max/The White Lotus
Murray Bartlett, Jolene Purdy, Natasha Rothwell, Lukas Gage. Image: HBO Max/The White Lotus

Most of us probably can’t afford to jet off for an exotic resort holiday on a whim for a first date. Nevertheless, it’s easy to channel the opulence and mystique of The White Lotus. Grab your most dramatic sun hat, sunglasses and maxi dress, then head out to a local patio—ideally one with a view. Indulge in a bottle of wine and light snacks.

12. Succession

Lunch in the financial district of the city 

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin
Succession. Courtesy of HBO

Spend an afternoon having a working lunch amidst the suits and skyscrapers of the financial district. Pick an extravagant restaurant, but try not to take much notice of your surroundings. After all, you’ve got business to attend to. 

13. You

A simple walk 

Penn Badgley
PHOTO: Netflix

You is another show that doesn’t exactly scream romance. Still, if you want to add a dash of mystery to your first date, head out for a walk around your local neighborhood and don’t forget your baseball cap.

14. Euphoria

A night out clubbing

Image: HBO.

Dance the night away, and be sure to wear your most extravagant going-out look, facial glitter included.

15. Wednesday

A scary-meets-camp movie night

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

In Wednesday, Tyler set up the perfectly horrifying date night for Wednesday, complete with her least favorite movie. He may not have been the ideal guy, but the date was the perfect personal gesture. While we don’t recommend watching a movie you actually hate, try picking a suitably scary movie with a Wednesday-esque, camp flare to get you and your date in the spooky mood.

16. Bridgerton

A dignified promenade in the park

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton

Borrow inspiration from the Regency-era romance show by taking your date on a stately stroll around your local park—especially if the park has a stream or a well-tended garden. Keep the conversation light and polite, but don’t be too afraid to let things get romantic. After all, luckily, the days of chaperones are long gone.

17. Pretty Little Liars

A visit to a haunted house

cast of Pretty Little Liars
PHOTO: Jamie Trueblood/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Family via Getty Images

Pretty Little Liars was nothing if not creepy. In honor of the show’s iconic haunted house episode, take your date to a theme park haunted house. Not only will the spooky date be a little more thrilling than the usual dinner and a movie, it might even bring you closer together. 

18. Ted Lasso

A game day date

Ted Lasso
Image: Colin Hutton / Apple TV+ /Courtesy Everett Collection.

Bond over how much you both believe in your team by taking your date to a football, soccer, or basketball game. Get into the sporty spirit by dressing up and cheering on your team together. Remember, even if your team doesn’t win, keep up a Ted-inspired positive attitude.

19. Stranger Things

A shopping spree at the mall

Stranger Things
PHOTO: Netflix

Inspired by Eleven and Max, head to the local mall for a cute shopping spree. Remember, this isn’t a serious shopping spree, it’s all about fun. Try on funny outfits, indulge in your favorite fast food and play games at the arcade. This date will be the perfect throwback to both of your childhoods, so there’s no better way to break the ice.

20. Glee

Attend an a capella show or musical

Lea Michele in Glee
PHOTO: FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Get your Glee on with a cheesy a capella show. Sure, it might be a little lame to some, but for Glee fans, a corny pop concert or a good old-fashioned musical will be a great opportunity to see if your date is just as enthusiastic as you.

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