First Date Ideas

Women's Dating

12 First Date Ideas (Best, Cute, Cheap & Romantic Tips for Women)

Rachel Dack

Written by: Rachel Dack

Rachel Dack

Rachel Dack is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and relationship coach specializing in individual and couples psychotherapy. Rachel's areas of expertise include relationships, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and self-esteem. To connect with Rachel or to learn more about her psychotherapy and relationship coaching services, please follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Buy her book "Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life" on Amazon.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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First dates can be filled with pressure, so why not plan dates that are fun and bring out your unique personality? There are endless options for date ideas and locations. However, there’s no need to go overboard or sign up for something you’re going to dread. The key is to focus on showing up as your best self by picking dates that allow you to shine and better manage jitters.

Consider brainstorming for a first date together or at least contributing to the planning process by giving your date feedback and a sense of who you are, how you like to spend your time, and what you would feel comfortable doing during a first meeting. Think through factors, such as weather, personal interests, logistics and timing (Which day of the week are you getting together? What time of day are you meeting?) when planning a first date. Also consider the vibe you’d like to set and how much money you and/or your date feel is appropriate to spend on a first date.

After evaluating the above factors, you’ll have a better sense of what types of first date ideas resonate with you. Next, go through the 12 first date ideas in this article, take note of what sounds exciting and most comfortable, and let the planning begin!

Best | Cute | Cheap | Romantic

Best First Date Ideas (#1-3)

Let’s start this list off on the right foot with the top first date ideas, in general. Have fun!

1. Comedy Club or Improv Show

If you want to bring out your sense of humor, this is the perfect first date option for you. You can learn a lot about your date’s values and personality by understanding your date’s humor.

2. Wine Tasting or Brewery Tour

Spending time in a scenic vineyard or sipping beers post-brewery tour are fun, yet low-key, ways to get to know each other.

Photo of a couple clinking wine glasses

Drinking wine or beer can help calm the nerves, but be careful not to go overboard.

Word of caution: Getting drunk together can interfere with your ability to determine if you’re a good match and taint how you feel about a potential partner, so go slow with your drinking and be smart.

3. Ballroom Dancing

Sign up for a beginner dance lesson together and let the fun begin. Dancing is a valuable way to see if you have chemistry and can build teamwork without the pressure of keeping a conversation going. Mastering a new skill together will also serve as a confidence builder and an icebreaker.

“Cute” First Date Ideas (#4-6)

Cute dates are often dates where you two spend the day or evening laughing and flirting, and you’re basically just giddy about getting to know each other. You’ll see what I mean with the following ideas.

4. Zoo or Aquarium

Animal lovers are bound to connect over a zoo or aquarium date. You’ll have natural conversation starters for getting to know each other while engaging in a fun activity together.

5. Museum or Art Gallery

Showcase your history-loving, artistic, and intelligent qualities by visiting a museum or art gallery together.

Photo of a museum

Checking out an exhibit at your local museum will give you things to talk about.

Use the displays to initiate dialogue while exploring each other’s personality and connecting intellectually and emotionally.

6. Art, Pottery, or Painting Class

Learning a new skill while being creative is a fun start to a potential relationship. The key is not to judge your artistic abilities (or your date’s) and instead focus on being present and free to be creative in ways that feel right to you.

“Cheap” First Date Ideas (#7-9)

You don’t have to empty your bank account just to go on some really awesome dates. Below are three affordable ideas that don’t skimp on the entertainment.

7. Hiking or Walking

Enjoying nature plus engaging in physical activity can have a calming effect on dating jitters. Soak in some sunshine and vitamin D while taking in the scenery or turn a walk around a city, waterfront or park into a romantic stroll. Bonus: Bring your pup and see how your date gels with your beloved pet.

8. Ice Cream or Milkshake Date

Meeting up for ice cream or a milkshake is not only a cheap first date idea, but it’s also cute and relaxed.

Photo of a couple eating ice cream

Doing something quick and easy, like getting ice cream, is a low-level type of commitment, and you can always extend the date if it’s going well.

It’s more fun and not as overdone as a typical coffee date, yet it offers a low level of commitment and time, which can always be extended if you hit it off.

9. Ice Skating, Roller Skating, or Bowling

Focusing on skating (and not falling) will take the pressure off maintaining a conversation. Activity dates like these can be flirty and lead to some natural physical touching, which is valuable in detecting if you have chemistry. Bowling is another activity that can teach you a lot about your date in a casual and fun environment. For example, is your date super competitive? Does your date laugh off mistakes? How does your date handle winning or losing? Does he brag or show signs of a sore loser?

“Romantic” First Date Ideas (#10-12)

You can make any date romantic if you really think about it and put in a little bit of effort. Here are some of the classics that you’re both sure to love.

10. Picnic in a Park or Garden

Bring a blanket and picnic basket filled with goodies (snacks, fresh lemonade, wine and cheese, or a full meal) and get to know each other in a romantic, yet laid-back, atmosphere. Focus on building genuine interest and conversation while enjoying the outdoors. Bonus: Watch the sunset or gaze at the stars for an extra boost of romance.

11. Nice Dinner

While this may feel overdone or considered boring by some, you can’t go wrong with meeting for a nice dinner and getting to know each other over a delicious meal.

Photo of a couple having a romantic dinner

You really can’t go wrong with a candlelit dinner.

Dinner dates may create more pressure to maintain eye contact and keep a conversation going, but they also work well as an opportunity to see if you are compatible and attracted to each other. Hint: You can learn a lot about someone by how he or she treats the restaurant staff.

12. Cooking Class

It’s romantic to mix ingredients, help each other create a recipe from scratch and taste new delicious foods together. Cooking together can feel a bit like “playing house” (in an exciting way) while making a memorable meal and building skills as a potential couple.

The Most Important Thing is to Have Fun!

Other first date ideas that didn’t make the list include cheering on a sports team, attending an outdoor concert or jazz club, playing arcade games, volunteering together, and rock climbing. As you can see, there are endless first date ideas that are cute, fun, lighthearted, and budget-friendly. The key is to create an environment and energy in which you can get to know each other in enjoyable ways and show up as your most confident, relaxed selves.

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