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Date Ideas

Want some great date ideas? No matter if it’s your first date or the fiftieth, you always want to make it special. Dates are for making memories. To ignite and rekindle romance, you can do so many things. It doesn’t always have to include expensive restaurants, gifts, and candlelight dinners. 

Here is a list of beautiful things you can do on your first, second, or even anniversary date. 

My own experience on dates…

I hate to admit it… I’ve been on a lot of dates. But here’s the thing. I always wanted to show the person I’m with a special time. And I’m proud of that. I always wanted to be “the one that got away.” And I think that you should, too!

Here’s how to do that. If you want to be the one that got away, I have three tips for you.

First, pick a date night that compliments your date as well as shines who you are. Always pick something that has her/him in mind—although it says who you are. Go to one of your favorite places, too.

Second, know the place you’re going. Pick a day and time when you know the mood will be special. For example, avoid rush hour times.

And lastly, come to the date prepared. A small yet thoughtful gift is always a great thing. Flowers work, yes… Although a small gift that speaks to that person is even better. It can be under $5! It’s the thought that will matter.

Best date ideas

1. Go Dancing

Who doesn’t like dancing? There are some excellent reasons why you should take your partner dancing on a date. It’s a great mood lifter and a wonderful way to express yourself.

Choose what kind of dancing is preferred by both of you. And select your dance venue accordingly. If you are the kind who prefers to stay at home, play your favorite dance tunes and show each other your best moves!

2. Take a paintball challenge 

If you need to amp up the fun level of your date, a paintball challenge will never allow you to have boring moments. Get ready for some colorful enjoyment! Wear your suits and get your guns out!

3. Go on a picnic

Are you lovebirds an outdoorsy couple? If the weather permits, a romantic picnic is an excellent date idea. Pack food and beverages, take a blanket, and head to a picnic. Explore nature, click memorable photos (some Insta captures for sure!), sing your heart out, and have fun.

Related: Second date ideas

4. Play Mini-Golf

Mini-golf is a tried and true date idea. Choose from options like the classic outdoor courses or the new indoor courses found at arcades. In any case, navigating your way around the holes will be fun.

5. Build a campfire

Campfires are special! The flames will keep you warm and help ignite your passion. You can head to an isolated spot where a campfire is allowed or build one in your backyard. If that’s not a possibility, put the fireplace to good use. Light it up and make yourselves cozy.  

6. Play some instruments together

Are you both musically inclined? Your common interest could bring you closer. You can do so many music-related activities together. Pick your favorite musical instruments and play some tunes together. A guitar, harmonica, tuba, anything will do! Try to compose your own tunes, and you will have more fun than you can imagine.

7. Get a couples tattoo

Show your love for each other and seal the deal! A couples tattoo is a sure way to show your commitment to each other. This is also a way to declare your love to the world!

8. Plan a weekend away

Book a cozy log cabin, drive to a beach or pick a good spot for a quick getaway to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind. Relax, rejuvenate, and spend time with each other to recharge your romance.

Expert advice: Harvard researchers suggest asking basic questions like, “How are you?” Or, “What do you like to do?” won’t be sufficient in creating solid and long-lasting relationships. Instead, try the A.C.T method, which stands for authenticity, connection, and topic/taste. Find mutual ground between the two of you and move past surface-level questions.

Date ideas
Date ideas

First date ideas

1. Go out for dinner

First dates are always unique, and you need time to get to know each other. Choosing to go for wine and dinner could be a wonderful idea.

A sit-down dinner allows you to sit and talk and share your likes and dislikes. You can always dance later to spice up the first date!

2. Go for a stroll

First dates can have some awkward moments. Walking side by side, discussing things, and appreciating nature, could be the perfect ice-breaker you need. 

3. Go to the arcade

Play some video games, indulge in some flirting, and have a great time at the game arcade.

Conversations flow easily when you’re having fun in an arcade. And you won’t need to plan topics to talk about! A win-win!

4. Have a karaoke night 

The plus of having karaoke is you can do this outside at a bar or at home! Find each other’s favorite songs and take turns singing them. Duets are a lot of fun and bring in laughter and flirting.

5. Play board games

In board games, you always do not have to act as an opponent. You can always pull out cooperative board games like Hunt a Killer, Fog of Love, Off Topic, Codenames: duet, or The Couples Game.

You can pair up as a team in these games and have the best couples night ever! If you want to keep the healthy competition up, a couple can play no dearth of games.

Date ideas

Second date ideas

1. Have fun at the beach

It goes without saying that there’s nothing more relaxing and fun than the beach. Choose your favorite beach destination and get ready to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf.

Chat, giggle, play ball, sunbathe, and get to know each other better on your second date. 

2. Go antique hunting at the flea market

Scouting the flea market can feel like an adventure. You never know what you can find when you least expect it.

Bargain for your vintage finds, pick the right pieces for your home, be amazed to find gems, and discover who’s better at it.

3. Go bowling

Now that the anxiety-ridden first date is over, you can go to the bowling alley to have an exciting time together. Spending time with each other, missing some pins, and hitting some—the laughter and fun will help you establish a level of interpersonal comfort. 

Expert advice: A recent study showed that the best way to spark up a conversation with a woman on a first date is to ditch the cheesy pickup lines. Try conversation starter questions, instead.

4. Shop for groceries and cook food together

When the idea is to spend some quality time together and get comfortable with each other, what can be better than a cooking session at home?

You will have privacy and the entire evening (also night perhaps!) to spend alone. Before that, go for full-fledged grocery shopping.

Pick veggies, meat, and spices together while sharing your favorite food and recipes. Don’t forget to visit the wine counter!

Add a wow effect by lighting fragrant candles, placing flowers in the vase, and playing romantic music. Later wash the dishes together to share the load, connect better, and make your rendezvous feel more personal.

Related: Conversation starters

5. Visit the zoo or aquarium

Visit a zoo or an aquarium, whichever is convenient and preferred by both of you. Watch furry, fuzzy, finned creatures together, share your sensitive side, and show your love for nature.

Date ideas

Cheap date ideas

1. Enjoy street food in your city

Every city has food carts that serve amazing food! Find what’s the best in your location and plan your date. Walk around and try something new. A multi-cuisine street food indulgence can be interesting. 

2. Take a tour of the city

Discover the heritage of your city together. You will be surprised to see how much you don’t know about. Hold hands, and walk around heritage buildings, monuments, and parks.

Enjoy unfolding history together and find your connection with your partner. 

3. Brainstorm product ideas

This one is for fun! Race your imagination and think of new products that you could make. Get creative and go wild; think of anything! Who knows, someday you might put your awesome invention ideas to good use. This is a great way to discover your partner’s imagination and other skills. 

4. Read stories to each other

Grab some romantic novels or poetry books and read them out to each other to create the right mood. To spice up the moment, light candles, keep your favorite treats handy and create a cozy spot, and you are ready to go!

Some good novels to read are The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

5. Make smores

Reconnect with the children in you! Set up a bonfire and make smores with your significant other. Share spooky stories and childhood tales while eating warm, gooey marshmallows.

Bring some blankets and cuddle together under the stars as you bask in the heat of the fire. 

Date ideas

Romantic date ideas

1. Have a spa night

Does a mani-pedi sound good? Sure it does! Gather all the supplies, massage oils, and indulge in a DIY pampering session. It is an excellent way to bond and flirt with each other.

2. Yoga in the Park

Are you and your partner keep-fit buffs? Couple your health activity with some relaxation and flirting in the fresh air. Put on your yoga gear and head to the nearest park.

Try out some partner yoga positions and strengthen your relationship.

3. Go to a movie

Watching a romantic movie together is always a great date idea for a lovey-dovey couple. Agree on a movie that’s high on passion, grab some popcorn and beverage from the stand, and hold hands while you watch it.

Expert advice: A study from Purdue University has suggested that our “sweet taste buds” can have an effect on our short-term happiness, causing us to feel a stronger attraction to those around us. What does this mean for first dates? Don’t skip the sweets!

4. Take an outdoor cooking class 

Learning new things with your other half can be a very rewarding and fun experience. Enroll in a cooking class with them, and then share and eat what the two of you cooked!

It will be enjoyable, and together, you can laugh about each others’ mistakes along the way.

Plan ahead of time and book classes, so you have enough time to clear out your schedule!

Expert advice: Opt for compassion on first dates. Show her that you care and how you do it. This study shows the importance of the role of compassion in a relationship, saying, “Neff (2003b) defined self-compassion (SC) as consisting of three main components: self-kindness versus self-judgment, common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus over-identification.”

Quirky date ideas

1. Go sky-diving

Looking for something thrilling to do on your date? Skydiving is an experience that both of you will remember forever.

Be scared (if you are), scream, laugh, share all your experiences together while you jump, and have the magical experience thereafter. It is one of the coolest activities for a date. 

2. Try a biking date

If you are both adventurous, decide on a destination and ride your bikes. Remember, cycling buddies can share loads of good memories and also burn calories together! 

3. Go rock climbing together

No matter if you’re a pro or a novice, rock climbing can keep you busy the entire day. Make sure your date’s game for this high-energy activity. If you are not up for climbing artificial rocks, plan a trip to the nearby hills for hiking. 

4. Craft brewery tasting

Do you both enjoy sipping a beer? Head to your favorite bar that serves craft beers. Enjoy beer tasting together over some jokes, memory sharing, and hilarious experiences. 

date ideas

5. Arrange a scavenger hunt

This needs some planning! If you want to make your date partner’s experience special, put in a little effort to hide some romantic clues. Leave a prize that he/she will love at the end of the game. 

Free date ideas

1. Play hide ‘n seek

This one needs no introduction! OK, so what if you played this as kids? Go back in time and give it a try again. Playing this game as adults could be more fun than you think.  

2. Make a playlist

Joint effort can make a date more engaging and enjoyable. Share your favorite tunes with each other and create a playlist that you can tap your foot to.

Discuss your favorite bands and instruments, and do it with food and beverages you love.

Expert advice: While it may sound odd, studies have found that we are more attracted to people who have more mimicry in their behavior. Mirroring, which is the act of behaving and showing body language similar to the other person, is an effective technique to use on first dates.

date ideas

3. Catch a sunset

The sunset can be beautiful when you know where to spot it from. Find a good place on elevated ground, surrounded by trees, or choose a lake view to see the sun go down.

You can also do some stargazing when it’s dark, and the twinkling lights start to appear in the sky.

4. Pick flowers and berries

Go to a nearby garden or somewhere you get to pick flowers and berries. Hunt for different kinds, and exchange what you find!

To add to it, you can take them home and make preserves out of the produce you gathered. 

Related: Fun questions to ask a guy

Winter date ideas

1. Build a snowman

It may seem like a juvenile idea but making a snowman together is undeniably romantic. As a matter of fact, creating anything together makes lovely memories to cherish. Admire your finished work together, and you may even land having a snowball fight!

2. Go skiing or grab a sled

Hit the snowy slopes for skiing if you get a chance. Scream a little, have a competition, and keep each other company. If you are clumsy, get going and have a hearty laugh. The main focus should be the two of you enjoying your time together!

Grab a sled and hit the slopes to give your winter date a whimsical feel. The icy adventure will soon turn interesting and fun beyond your imagination.

date ideas

3. Sip and paint

Sit in the grass, pull out canvases and paints and make whatever comes to mind. You can even switch canvases every 10 minutes and see what the end product is! The paintings you will end up with can be taken home, and the day fondly remembered.

Do something that doesn’t require much thought, like finger painting or painting with things you found nearby, all while sipping a glass of wine with your significant other!

4. Host a craft workshop

Baby, it’s cold outside, so staying indoors sounds fun! Stock up on popular craft supplies from your nearby dollar store and pull them out on your next picnic.

See what weird things the two of you can come up with, and be as creative as possible. Don’t worry about getting your hands messy. It’s all part of the process!

You can then give your unique creation, made with love, to your partner. You can even watch craft videos and turn them into a competition of “who can make the weirder things!”

Expert advice: According to this study, younger men (college-age) are more likely to have sexual intentions on the first and second dates than women. If you’re a young woman, understand that this could be a goal of your dating partner. Have a plan ahead of time to protect yourself.

Anniversary date ideas

1. Recreate your first date

Are you a couple who’s been together for a while? How would you like to remember your first date? So, don’t wait; recreate it! It will also tell you who remembers the most things you did on your first date. Repeat your first walk together, the restaurant, the food you ordered, and even your first kiss. It will surely be a night to remember. 

2. Change up the look of your home interior(s)

Bring out your inner interior designer and move some furniture around. You can change the arrangement of your living room for just one day, or if you like it, keep it for a few months!

You can both think about how to utilize your space better and what would look good where.

This will also help you see how similar your thought processes are, and building the space together will make it all the better to live in.

3. Frame your favorite photos

Pull out your favorite old photos and create a collage. It is a fun activity that any established couple would enjoy. It will take you down memory lane and make you realize how much you mean to each other. Frame your photo collage and display it in a spot where you can enjoy it the most. 

date ideas

4. Volunteer together

There are abundant projects where you can volunteer together. Work as a wildlife sanctuary supporter, support local initiatives like a soup kitchen, or do other things for your community. Signup for a cause and see how satisfying it could be to do volunteer work together.  

5. Have a cinema night at a drive-in theater

For movie buffs, a night at a drive-in theater with their better half is an unparalleled date. Carry blankets and theater foods and turn them into a proper cinema date! Lots of popcorn, candy, and cola can elevate the experience and be enjoyed from the comfort of your own car! Inexpensive, entertaining, and highly gratifying is what this date will be. 

Long-distance date ideas

1. Movie night

Who said you couldn’t watch movies together if you’re in different cities? With features like Netflix’s Watch Party, you and your sweetheart can watch movies together and chat while it plays. 

2. Dress up for a fancy dinner date

If you’re bored of regular video call sessions and wish to spice it up and do something special, the two of you can sit down one day for a dinner date!

Dress up in fancy clothes, and order each other’s favorite food to your houses. You can light some candles and put out fancy crockery and cutlery to add to the mood. It will be as if the two of you are getting to sit in front of each other, like in a restaurant! 

3. Do some dream house hunting

Looking for your dream house is always fun. It’s even more fun when you and your sweetheart looking for your dream house together.

Seeing which fancy and bougie houses the two of you like and which ones you judge for being too tacky can be a fun activity to do. So what if you don’t plan on buying a house? You can always window shop!

4. Check your compatibility

Even if you’re not big on astrology, looking up your sun signs and the attributes related to them can explain why your dynamic is the way it is.

It will also help you see how much your two signs match! If you disagree with what it says, you can even sit as a critic and discuss everything wrong with your charts.

5. Arrange a game night

With so many online multiplayer games like Battleship, scrabble, and chess, you can always have a game night with your bae. Bring out the competitive side in both of you, and set up silly dares to do if you lose to add to the fun.

You can even play games with made-up rules or add extra rules after a set time; the possibilities are endless! Make sure to enjoy playing with your partner, and maybe it can become a ritual too!

6. Start a joint bucket list

Make your date a precursor to many others by jotting down everything you wish to do together. No plan is too big or small! Write down everything regardless of how irrelevant it may feel, even if it is going to buy candy together. Then watch the bucket list get ticked off when the two of you finally meet!

Indoor date ideas

1. Try out a new recipe

Experiment in the kitchen with a new dish neither of you has tried your hands on. Pick something with multiple steps and effort so that it feels like an activity the two of you are doing together.

Split up the work and sip some wine while you prepare your dinner!

2. Go through old albums

Take a trip down memory lane and reminisce while sharing your favorite memories with your partner. Tell them about some core memories you might have and the awkward phases of adolescence you went through. You might get to know something about them you never knew before! 

3. Pick up a new hobby

Trying out new things with your better half is always cool. It doesn’t have to be something fancy requiring a setup like pottery or sewing.

It can be something small, which doesn’t take very long to learn, and something the two of you enjoy equally, like origami or knitting.

4. Put together a video

Think up a theme for the video; it can be made using footage you already have or something from scratch. You can act out a skit, make a silly music video or a dance routine, whatever your imagination suggests.

Put it together using some phone video editing app, and you’re done! The process will be hilarious and probably have the two of you laughing until you get stitches.

5. Binge-watch a show

Who doesn’t love a classic Netflix and chill session? Curl up under a warm blanket with hot cocoa and some popcorn, and put on the first season of any show of your choice!

For something different, you can switch out a show for a list of movies and discuss them along the way, the storyline, the controversial characters, and the dissatisfactory endings.

Valentine’s date ideas

1. Visit a nearby rock climbing gym together

Whether you are a seasoned climber or just starting out, sharing the thrill and rush of climbing with your partner is always a great idea. You can get the adrenaline pumping and show off your skills to them! You can even challenge each other to see who can climb routes faster.

2. Attend a painting class

Taking any class with your sweetheart is an excellent opportunity to learn with them, and if they are good at it already, you get to see them shine! That being said, painting classes are double the fun because you can get messy and creative and get a keepsake for the day. 

3. Have a cook-off

Stay in for the day and go all out for meals! You can even give each other mystery boxes with ingredients the other person won’t know and set challenges to add to the fun.

Cooking up a storm in the kitchen and a bit of friendly competition will surely make sparks fly, perfect for Valentine’s! 

4. Book a couples’ massage

What can be better than getting a massage with your beloved? Other than helping you relax, it will really let you focus on your partner and feel each other’s presence.

You can make a whole spa day out of it and dip in the hot tub after returning.

Seems too pricey? You can even set up the mood at home with a few candles, essential oils, and a bathtub. 

5. Break out of an escape room

Test out your team working skills and see how well you work together under time limitations! Solving puzzles with your darling can be a very fulfilling and memorable experience and will let the two of you feel connected. Sharing the ‘Eureka!’ and ‘Hurray!’ moments side by side will be memories you look back on fondly.

6. Bond over playing video games

Connect over playing your favorite childhood video games and compete over who can get a higher score! You can even bring out the multiplayer games and set out to complete missions together, as teammates, like in real life. Even if you don’t have old-school consoles, you can always play games on your laptop or phone.

7. Take an early morning hike

Even though it sounds like a lot of effort, the result will be well worth the trouble. Taking a long hike while the sun rises and feeling the cool, fresh air around you while you stand beside your significant other will surely be a moment to remember!

8. Distribute supplies to the homeless

Bonding over helping others and seeing your partner in a new light, helping others selflessly, will remind you why you fell for them in the first place. Distributing supplies to the less fortunate will give you a feeling of fulfillment, and doing it together will be a snap to be saved in photo albums!

9. Make them breakfast in bed

It sounds really simple, yes. However, when they wake up, and you have their favorite breakfast all laid out in front of them, it is bound to be a gratifying feeling! You can then snuggle, cuddle and make a late morning out of it.  

Picnic date ideas

1. Go on a beach picnic

Lounge under the sun or build sandcastles together with a backdrop of the sun shimmering on the sea! With such an atmosphere, everything is bound to feel more romantic and memorable!

Remember to carry extra clothes in case you decide to splash around in the water. 

2. Have a photoshoot

Choose a picturesque spot in a garden or park, and make it a photoshoot day! Do silly faces and exaggerated poses, and have the most fun possible. You’ll get fun memories and photos of the day to hold on to! 

3. Go stargazing

Go out for an overnight picnic, have dinner under the open sky and stargaze with your partner. You can even bring out a telescope and look at things up-close. Learn and experience the stars together! 

4. Fly kites together

Go out to an open meadow with plenty of grass, space, and nice wind. It’s inexpensive, fun and you get to enjoy it together!

Bring snacks, plan ahead of time, and buy kites, and some suitable clothes. Enjoy the fresh air and run in the grass while you’re at it!

5. Arrange an indoor picnic

Who said you could only enjoy a picnic outside? Bring out the blankets and pillows on the living room floor, build a pillow fort and play board games while sipping some hot chocolate.

Buy some childhood snacks and play your favorite movies while binging on candy! It will surely be a highly memorable experience that both of you will recall for a long time.

6. Bust out the barbecue 

Make an event out of your date! Amp up the level and make it fancy. Bring out the barbecue and grill everything your heart desires while the two of you sip on wine out in the sun.

You can even set up lights on the lawn to set the mood! Remember to stock up on enough charcoal so you don’t run out midway.

7. Act like local guides

Go to nearby parks, lawns, and gardens. Walk around with made up-voices and personalities and act like critics for the places you visit. Talk about the ambiance and plants, and discuss the people you see.

Pretend you just met each other and discuss what you think about the places you’re at. You can even put reviews online to make it feel all the more real! This can let you see your partner from a new perspective and be a refreshing way of spending time together. 

Inside this article

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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