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Where to Go on a First Date: 85 Best First Date Ideas That Are Fun & Romantic

If you want to impress your date, then here are 85 really good and unique first date ideas to wow them— be it escape rooms, picnics, board games, and trivia nights. Then they will be begging you for a second and a third!

first date ideas - where to go on a date

Congratulations, you’ve secured a date with the person you like. Now here comes the challenge: coming up with a first date idea that is not lame, boring, or awkward.

When you’re thinking about first date ideas, you should get creative and put a lot of effort into them. You have to show the person you’re interested in that they’re worth your time, and that you’re willing to step out of the box to show them a good time.

Being out with someone for the first time is always a little nerve-racking. You want to make a great first impression but sometimes you end up ruining it with a boring, dull date.

If that’s how your first dates usually go, you definitely need to consider using some fun first date ideas to help you instead.

To remedy this, making sure you take someone on a really fun date can help balance out the nerves and ensure they have a good time. [Read: 15 things to do on a first date to make your date fall for you]

Why are first dates so important?

Your first date is so important for many reasons. First, it’s really your only shot to make an impression and get them to like you. 

Not only will you have this one date to show them who you are, but you also have to spend it getting to know them, too.

If you mess up the first date, you’re kind of screwed. And if you blow it, the other person won’t be willing to give you another chance. [Read: Ways to charm her on your first date]

And the first date is also really important because you two don’t know each other. By going on the first date, you’re able to gauge whether there’s chemistry or not. So, it’s an important step.

How to pick the right kind of places to go on a first date

Now, if you’re in charge of planning the date, you’re under some pressure. You want to impress this person and make them all goo-goo-eyed over you. [Read: The first date rules everyone should follow for a good first date]

But take it easy. If you’re reading this, you’re in good hands because we’re going to give you some great first date places to go to.

Remember, when choosing a place, try your best to keep this person in mind and decide whether it’s something they’d enjoy. 

For example, if they’ve managed to tell you they can’t swim, maybe going kayaking isn’t the best idea for a first date since they might drown. Right? [Read: 40 first date questions to have a great conversation]

Where to go on a first date with a stranger

If you are going on a first date with a coworker or friend, you don’t have to have the backups you will want when you are meeting someone online or on a blind date. 

When it is your first time meeting someone for a date, always do so in public. Never let them pick you up at your house or your job. If things go south, you don’t want them to have that much information about your whereabouts.

Choose a shorter date. Some people think short dates don’t offer enough time as a way to get to know someone. But usually, you don’t need more than an hour to know if someone isn’t right for you. [Read: How long should a first date last? A guide to perfect timings]

Go for coffee or drinks rather than dinner and a movie on a first date. Go somewhere you feel comfortable. This doesn’t have to be your neighborhood bar or favorite restaurant. It can be a chain restaurant you’re familiar with. The first date with a stranger brings up enough anxiety, so a location that calms you will help.

Where NOT to go on a first date

You came here for the best first date ideas. Before we recommend where to go on a first date, steer clear of a few places that are a recipe for disaster on a first date. [Read: Texting before the first date – a guide to doing it right]

1. Your house

Unless your date is a hook-up and nothing more, inviting your date to your house on night one is a major no-no. This gives the wrong idea on so many levels. It adds the assumption that something physical will happen.

As romantic as it might be to make them dinner and plan something romantic, it just always gives the wrong impression. When you’re just getting to know one another, having a date at either of your places is far from ideal. [Read: Signs you’re unintentionally ruining your first date]

2. A party

A party sounds fun and everything, but it’s not ideal for a first date. This may sound like an ideal fun date, but unless you share a group of friends, it will just be wildly uncomfortable for one of you.

Chances are you will know everyone, and they will know no one. If you just want to get to know one another, going to a party can make your date feel lonely and awkward! [Read: 18 things you HAVE to avoid doing on a first date]

Three first date tips to keep in mind

First dates are delicate, just like a first kiss.

You know you can’t make a hasty move because you could end up ruining your chances in no time. And you can’t try too hard either, unless you know your date well already. Keep your level of intimacy in mind while planning a date because your date’s level of comfort around you matters a lot for the date to be successful. [Read: 15 things you really need to know before planning your first date]

1. Don’t take your date to an isolated place, especially if both of you don’t know each other well.

2. Play within your date’s comfort zone, and never push them into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable.

3. Don’t just hang out together on a date. Keep it exciting at all times.

Plan a first date carefully, keeping a few exciting backup plans and alternatives in mind all the time. After all, the best first dates are ones that seem perfect and memorable. [Read: Dating rules all classy men and women need to know]

Fun first date ideas to wow your date

One of the most important criteria of a perfect first date is to keep it exciting without bordering on discomfort. A first date should help both of you get to know each other on a romantic note.

In all probability, your new sweetheart will talk about the date with their friends. If you plan an exciting evening, your date’s friends will assume you’re an awesome catch and take your side even before meeting you. And that’s definitely something you want!

1. Coffee shop date

A coffee date is a comfort date at its best. It’s easy and can help your date judge you for who you are without being overpowered by the surrounding. Although you’ll now have to figure out if the jitters are from being nervous or the caffeine.

2. Restaurant with a view

If you have a choice, pick a restaurant with a view, be it a botanical garden, the horizon, or the sea. [Read: Easy tips to pick the perfect restaurant for a date]

3. Amusement park

Get on a few crazy rides together, and before you know it, the chemistry would be sizzling with adrenalin.

4. Park

Have a picnic at a park, especially if it’s a pleasant sunny day. There’s something about staring at nature’s beauty that makes us all feel wonderful inside.

5. A live concert

If your date is into music or their favorite band is in town, don’t think twice. Your date will be grateful and love you for planning a surprise date to the concert. [Read: How to get to know your date better and test your compatibility immediately]

6. Zoo

Walking through a zoo can help both of you feel really comfortable with each other. It’s hard to hold your excitement back when you’re staring at wild animals indulging in wild antics.

7. Boat ride

Pick what you intend to do, a romantic paddle boat or one with an oar. Or maybe you want to switch it up and pick a jet ski to make the date exciting.

8. Bowling

Bowling can be a lot of fun, even though it sounds like a total cliché. A bit of rivalry on a romantic date always spices things up. [Read: 18 signs your date really likes you on a first date]

9. Street fairs or carnivals

An explosion of colors is a wonderful thing to experience, and it can’t get better than a street fair or a carnival. You can spend hours together, act silly, and still have a perfect date.

10. Karaoke

Do you think you’re the best bathroom singer, or are you trying to impress your date with your showmanship? Nothing beats a karaoke bar. Perfect for breaking the ice when you run out of things to talk about but still want to still get closer to your date.

11. Clubbing

If you’re feeling a lot of chemistry already, wrap your arms around your date and grind your way to a great night! [Read: How to grind with a guy sexily and discreetly]

12. Watch a game

Does your date love a good game? Plan something together *only if you think your date’s favorite team is going to win!*

13. Movie 

Movie dates are classic date ideas, and they are perfect for cozying up and feeling the tingle of romantic excitement, especially when both of your elbows touch each other *accidentally, of course.*

Pro tip: Ask your date beforehand what movies they’d like to see as you don’t want to bore them and then not be interested in dating you again. Consider the fact that you won’t have time to talk while watching so plan ahead where you’re gonna go next. [Read: Movie date tips to make your date memorable and fun]

14. Arcade games

You may feel really awkward walking into a store full of kids. But it’ll only take a few games and minutes of awkwardness to bring out that inner child and have a wonderful date. [Read: How to use the power of touch to flirt with your date]

15. Standup comedy show

Standup comedy is always funny, and a perfect date idea if you can couple it with dinner, either after the show or during the show.

16. Attend one-hour classes together

There are so many one-hour classes that are perfect for day dates while you learn something new together, be it pottery, glass painting, or just about anything else.

It will also help alleviate anxiety as you are focused on the task at hand instead of the fact that you’re on a date. Just make sure you go somewhere where you can finish the class with a souvenir.

Pro tip: Since this date might be shorter than the other ones, make sure to make plans for a second date while you work on whichever class you decide to attend.

17. A short walk

Take a walk on a quaint street you know well. Every few minutes or so of walking, find a new place to walk into, be it for a coffee or to try something exotic. Just don’t walk down a dark and lonely street unless you’re looking for a few dark corners. [Read: 15 secrets to make your first kiss more memorable]

18. Wine tasting

Vineyard tours are very romantic and brewery tours are exciting and fun.

19. Live jazz

There’s something very sexy and sensual about jazz, especially if both of you are having a drink and sitting next to each other in a dimly lit room.

20. Beach

A day at the beach or an hour walking near the waves can make both of you feel really comfortable with each other. If you feel comfortable enough, don’t forget to hold hands. [Read: 20 ways to perfect your first date conversation]

21. Aquarium

Aquariums are perfect to bring both of you closer, especially while pointing at fishes in a cool, blue surrounding.

22. Museum

A museum may not be the typical date idea, but no matter which museum you go to, there’s a very good chance that you’ll find something interesting.

23. Farm trips

This might not be one of the classic date ideas, but it’s unique! Go berry picking or just take a walk down the endless rows of low-hanging fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. [Read: How to kiss a guy for the first time and turn him on]

24. Opera or a musical show

An opera or a musical show is perfect for a sophisticated date who loves a grand and colorful gesture.

25. Ice cream parlor

Take your date back to their childhood by ordering a humongous portion of ice cream with all the works for them. Just looking at it will brighten your date’s smile *you can help your date finish it*.

26. Themed restaurant

Themed restaurants are always fun, but for a first date, opt for something with a romantic touch, be it candlelight or a band of mariachis.

27. Fishing 

Drive down to a creek for a bit of lazy fishing or hire a boat to bag those bigger fishes, depending on what you want, romance or excitement. But if your date isn’t really into fishing, then this might not be one of the best first-date ideas.

If your date has an artist’s streak in them, make sure you take them to an art exhibition or a gallery. For someone who appreciates art, it’s always a beautiful experience.

29. Planetarium

For stargazing lovers, nothing beats the peaceful setting of a reclined seat in a planetarium. It’s dark, cozy, and a complete out-of-the-world experience! [Read: 20 sure signs of attraction on a first date]

30. Cook and eat / Cooking class

A typical cook-and-eat restaurant is a wonderful experience for anyone. It helps you bond and laugh while you goof up, and awe when you cook up a perfect little dish!

31. Horseback riding

Women love it because it’s such a sexy rush, and men love it because they feel manlier. Can you ask for a better combination on a first date?

32. Nature walks

If your date is an admirer of nature, go hiking on a short hiking trail before you stop in a beautiful setting to sit down together and spend a few moments of romantic time. [Read: Ways to perfect your first date conversation]

33. Game of pool

A game of snooker or pool can be a good casual date, especially if both of you have some time to kill before heading somewhere else. 

It’s a lot more fun if you’re helping your date learn the game or if they’re playing it for the first time.

34. Historical sites

A trip down history lane can be good for two reasons, it’s peaceful and calming which can make your date feel comfortable in your company, and they sell souvenirs. A souvenir would always make your date think of you fondly each time they see it.

35. Special events

Is there a special event in your city that comes around once a year? Special events and celebrations are unique experiences that can be memorable and fun too. [Read: How to get a girl to kiss you by arousing her]

36. Fortune teller

At some point on your date together, spend a while crystal gazing with your date. It’s a fun way to take a peek into your future and bond with your date.

And if you do find yourself an eccentric fortune teller, it’ll be something your date won’t forget in a hurry. This is definitely one of the more unique first date ideas.

37. Ice skating

What could be a more perfect way to help break the ice than ice skating?

Ice skating or roller skating in a rink for an hour is a good way to spend an afternoon together before you head off to extend the date and do something else. It’ll bring out your date’s inner child and it’ll be a laugh too. [Read: 30 subtle, obvious, and sexy flirting tips for girls]

38. A visit to a factory

If there are any happy factories around town, be it an ice cream factory, a cookie factory, a chocolate factory, or a confectionary factory, take your date out there. It’s not conventional and worthy of a unique experience.

39. Flower show

If your date loves flowers, don’t miss any opportunities to head to a flower show around your area code. It’s always romantic, especially if you gift your date a flower pot or two as a souvenir.

40. Hot air balloon

Looking for an unforgettable first date idea? Well, a hot air balloon with a glass of champagne will definitely be something to talk about, don’t you think? [Read: Romantic dinner date ideas for two]

41. Old-fashioned eateries

There’s always a heritage eating joint as you stroll around the city. It could be an old ice cream parlor or a bakery serving the best cupcakes or waffles.

42. Spooky date

If your date’s adventurous, go to a haunted house. Not the real kind, but the fun kind where all the ghosts and skeletons are jack-in-the-boxes and there’s creepy music in the air.

Each time you see a skeleton pop up, it’ll either be a laugh or a hair-raising experience. Either way, it brings both of you closer! The experience will also be a fun conversation starter on your next date.

43. Bookstore

If you both are book lovers, then this is one of the best first date ideas. If so, nothing beats a street lined with bookstores selling second-hand books. 

It doesn’t matter how many books they’ve read, no book lover can hold a smile back when they’re in the midst of thousands of quaint books. [Read: Dating a bookworm like you’re in a romance novel]

44. Rifle range

This is adrenaline-pumping action at its best. If you want to get your date all worked up before a meal, head to a rifle range and fire a few rounds. It’ll definitely work up more than just the appetite.

45. Indoor sports

Paintball and laser tag are good fun for groups of people. But sometimes, even a twosome can make for great fun that’s worth talking about on the second date. [Read: How to make out with a girl on a date without making a bold move]

46. By the water

Another one of the best first date ideas is to find some water to go to. Do you have a calm lake or a pond around your place?

If you’re looking for a romantic time with no distractions, pack a picnic basket with sandwiches and drinks and spend a good few hours in each other’s company.

47. Old-fashioned pub

Old Irish pubs or any quaint pubs that your date hasn’t been to would be a nice way to spend a while getting to know each other better. And if there’s a happy live band with a fiddle, well, you’re going to have a happy time for sure!

48. Rent a chopper

Looking for a really grand gesture to impress your date and woo them on the very first date? [Read: 18 signs your date likes you on your very first date]

Hire a chopper for a ride and soar through the night sky. It’s posh, expensive, and something your date will love talking about during the date and after the date!

49. Volunteer

Volunteering your time to a good cause is a great way to connect on a first date. You can go to a soup kitchen, animal shelter, or even pick up trash at the park or beach.

It also lets you both show your selfless and kind side to one another. Now, how’s that for a first date? You get to help others and get to know one another as well! [Read: The stages of love for men and how they really fall for a girl]

50. Explore

Going for a walk is a lot more than it sounds. You can explore a new neighborhood or another area of yours. You can do some window shopping, people watching, or chow down on some handheld foods.

Especially if you’re in the mood for something new, why not go exploring with your date? Just be sure that they’re into walking for a bit before you drag them into exploring the neighborhood!

51. The mall

There is a reason middle school dates have a warm place in our hearts. Heading to the mall with $20 to buy a soft pretzel and a fancy Starbucks drink while you walk around without buying anything is actually really fun.

It’s a primary location to have a first date where you can get to know one another better. You can even go window shopping together and you never know, you might have the same interests!

52. An arcade

If you are not one for rides but want some old-fashioned fun with someone new, head to an arcade. Play some games, win some prizes, and see who the master of skeeball is.

This is one of the best first date locations you can give your date. You both get to have fun and get to know one another in the process. You can even go for coffee afterward! [Read: The 15 signs that will tell you your first date went well]

53. An exercise class

Gym dates are so underrated nowadays, which is all the more reason why you should do it. If you are both into fitness, heading to the gym or a cycling class could be perfect for you.

Releasing endorphins will put you in a better mood and headspace for the rest of the date. And if Zumba or spin classes aren’t your things, yoga is a much more low-key way to get your sweat on with a new partner. [Read: 25 inspirational tips to get motivated and work out]

54. Rock climbing

If you can’t decide where to go on a first date, rock climbing is a unique yet fun way to spend your first date!

You get some exercise, try something new, and may even help each other face some fears along the way. That is a surefire way to create a strong bond and one of the more physical first date ideas.

55. Baking class

When you decide where to go on a first date, there’s no reason you shouldn’t go for a baking class. It’s fun, unique, and lets you get creative! You don’t need to be great at it to choose this as a first date option.

If you’re both passionate about baking or your date is pretty adventurous about learning new skills, you should definitely give this a go! [Read: Ideas to make cooking with your partner more fun]

56. Visit an animal shelter

Everyone loves animals, and we’re pretty sure your date would find this kind of interesting. So if you’re looking for where to go on a first date, an animal shelter is one of the pretty great date ideas! 

You’d both enjoy this date, and you’d also share your fondness for animals together. You can even grab coffee afterward and converse deeper!

57. Brewery or winery

Have you ever wondered how wine or beer is made? Your date doesn’t have to be a bartender to appreciate this kind of date. [Read: Romance in a glass – types of wine to choose on a date]

This is a recommendable date, especially if you’re both fond of how alcoholic drinks are made, such as beer or wine. The best part? You can taste wine or beer for free! Now, isn’t that something?

58. Attend a poetry night

If you’re going for a little romantic vibe, poetry night dates are the best kind of dates. If you’re wondering where to go on a first date, attending a poetry night will impress your date and keep the essence of romance in the air.

Also, it’s a bonus if you’re both fond of the art of words being turned into extraordinary masterpieces. [Read: 30 most romantic love quotes from books and literature]

59. Walk your dog together

Or their dog. Basically, someone’s dog. They need to be walked, and it’s a great, simple, and inexpensive first date idea. Plus, dogs have great intuition, so if your dog doesn’t like your date, you won’t need a second one.

60. Grab your bike

Who would have thought biking riding would be a great date idea? You can pack a small picnic or stop for lunch. It’s something different but won’t put a dent in your wallet.

61. Trivia night

Not every city will have this, but if your city does, then why not take your date to trivia night at a bar or pub? [Read: How long should a first date last? Your guide to timing it right]

A drink or two will calm the nerves, and you’ll have a good time laughing and yelling out answers together. Not all dates need to have sunsets and candle-lit dinners.

62. Be a tourist in your city

Are there tourist sights you haven’t been to? Why not explore them with your date? Most people don’t see the tourist attractions in their own city, and they’re missing out. 

Why not share this moment with someone you like? Grab a tourist guide, and go explore the city together. [Read: 18 things you HAVE to avoid doing on a first date]

63. Go to a flea market

You can spend a couple of hours walking through a flea market, checking out second-hand and antique items. 

It’s a fun date idea, and who knows, maybe they’ll find something they like. Grab some drinks and fast food and walk through the flea market together.

64. Watch a movie outside

We’re not saying watching a movie is a bad idea for a first date, but don’t watch it in a theatre. If you can put a projector on your roof, watch it there. [Read: Texting before the first date – How to make plans without being too pushy or awkward]

Or if there’s a movie playing outdoors, go there. It’s much more romantic and atmospheric if you watch an outdoor movie.

65. Go-karting

Who doesn’t love sitting in a tiny vehicle and driving super fast down a track? A lot of people love it, and it’s one of the ideal first date ideas to get your adrenaline rushing!

It’s also been proven that if you do something involving adrenaline and competition on the first date, they will subconsciously associate those exciting things with you, making it the best date ever. [Read: What to do to have the perfect first date]

66. Jump on trampolines

This is one of the most fun things to do on a first date. And trampolines aren’t just for little kids, you know. There are plenty of us adults who love it and think it’s super fun!

Just make sure they know that you’re planning some physical exercise as part of the date so they can dress appropriately. But getting them out and having fun like this on a first date will have them smiling the whole time.

67. A picnic with a view

Don’t just take your date on any ordinary picnic in the park. Instead, take them on a date somewhere they’ll never forget. [Read: Best and worst venues for romantic picnics]

Go to a rooftop, hike up to the mountains with a view, or just go to the beach so they can take in the ocean. This is fun and intimate, and they’ll love it.

By showing them something new and catering to their interests, your date will appreciate that and you’ll earn major bonus points. Plus, it’s also a great way to see a majestic view that you don’t get to see every day.

68. Go on a little road trip to a small, amazing restaurant

This is more exciting than just having dinner. This is taking a little road trip, stopping at fun places along the way, and getting to know your date better. [Read: First date questions to have a great conversation]

69. Take a dance class

It doesn’t matter how terrible both of you are at dancing, go take a class! You can bond over your mutual suckage or you can learn something really fun together and that will strengthen your bond.

70. Go berry picking and make a pie

Berry picking is a great first date because it gives both of you the opportunity to get to know each other AND you can go home and bake a pie together for more first date fun.

71. Go to a medieval festival

Obviously, this would depend on whether or not there’s one in town. But if there is, you’re in luck! [Read: Harsh dating tips to make dating work for you]

Going to a medieval festival – or any festival in general – allows you both the opportunity to walk around and get to know each other, and you’ll also have something else to keep you entertained.

72. Go to three different restaurants for appetizers, dinner, and dessert

This is seriously SUCH a fun date because it is a twist on your typical dinner date.

You can go to three different places – one for appetizers, another for dinner, and the last one for dessert. You’ll be able to discuss the food in each place along with getting to know each other. [Read: Easy dating advice for introverts]

73. Rollerblading

This may also be a classic date, but it’s not used nearly enough for how fun it is. Depending on if either of you can actually rollerblade, this is a really fun first date. You’ll be able to talk, laugh, and help each other stay balanced. It’s great for getting to know each other.

74. Laser tag

If you tend to be really nervous on dates, then choose this because it’s one of the first date ideas that are actually fun. It’ll give you time to separate yourself and breathe, but it’ll also allow you to work off all the nerves that can harm your chances with them.

75. Shop for goofy outfits to wear for the night

Before you even take them on the date, bring them to a thrift store and put together the craziest outfits for each other.

The deal is that you both have to wear what the other picks out for the rest of the date. [Read: 20 fun and unconventional date ideas that’ll impress your date]

76. Search local live music joints

Live music is all over the place and it’s really fun to sit and listen to. Hit up your local spots where you know there will be some and enjoy the tunes together.

77. Head to a busy park and people watch

People-watching can be more fun than you think. You can even make up the conversations others are having and laugh together.

78. Get crafty together

If you know they’re the crafty type, set up a bracelet-making station and create something beautiful together. You can then gift it to them when you’re done. [Read: 20 things girls find attractive on the first date]

79. Have a board game night

Who says board games are for kids? They’re really fun and can bring back all of those joyous childhood memories.

80. Take a long walk without knowing where you’re going

If you don’t live near places where you can have an exciting and fun bonding experience, just walk anywhere. If all goes well, you’ll spend the night chatting and sightseeing.

81. Rent a tandem bike and go for a ride

There’s really not much more fun than taking a tandem bike ride. You’ll have the chance to talk to them, but you’ll also be having fun at the same time. [Read: Cozy date ideas when going outdoors is not an option]

82. Rent kayaks or canoes and have some fun on the water 

Being outdoors and being active has a way of making someone feel good. Going kayaking or canoeing will definitely help your chances for a second date.

83. Have a bonfire and roast marshmallows

If you’re looking for a more romantic fun date idea, this is it. Find a good date spot, get a fire roaring, grab a bottle of wine, make some s’mores, and get the conversation flowing.

84. Set up a scavenger hunt separately and find things

Each of you creates a scavenger hunt and sends the other to complete it. Whoever takes the longest to complete it has to buy dinner.

85. Try an escape room

Why have a traditional first date when you can try an escape room instead? There’ll surely be no awkward silences or awkward lulls on this first date activity as you work as a team to solve puzzles and escape before the time runs out. This is also a great way to get a sense of your date’s sense of teamwork.

[Read: Second date tips build the perfect romance]

The first date is the most important point in any budding relationship. It’ll either seal the deal for your relationship, or it could be the breaking point. If you try one of these first date ideas, you’re virtually guaranteed a second.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...