5 Booze-Free Date Ideas That Are More Fun Than Getting Wasted

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With fun dates likes these, who needs liquid courage?

Where should you go on your first date with someone new? That's the dreaded decisions daters across the world face. Daters want to pick a place that sets the right mood, plays to your’s or your date’s interests, and creates fun memories. You want to show your date that you're thoughtful and personal. But choosing the perfect first date spot should be fun, not stressful.

When thinking of a first date, the scene is familiar: a fun local bar to grab a drink. But for those who don’t drink, what 's left to do?

Trust me, there are a lot of great first date ideas to connect with someone that don't involve alcohol. Drinking doesn’t “guarantee comfort or confidence by any means,” says Los Angeles based therapist Dr. Nancy Irwin. For the non-drinkers out there or people who want to try dating without liquor, here are some fun opportunities:

1. Take classes, like cooking and painting.

Try finding a local cooking class. It's a great way to learn a new skill and enjoy learning it with someone new. It doesn’t matter if you are a complete novice in the kitchen or if you consider yourself a master chef. Cooking together is “one of the greatest bonding experiences you can have, as it is a great way to see how you work together,” says Mary Mattern, better known as the brains behind Nom Yourself. Who knows, you may end up cooking with foods that are said to be aphrodisiacs, like chocolate or oysters. And if the date goes well, it can lead to setting up another date where you make dishes together!

Or ... maybe try a painting class. Studios like PAINT:LAB offer uninstructed and instructed sessions daily where daters can paint together and enjoy a fun and creative activity together. A painting class can be very sexy as it is a way to express yourself without words. Most importantly, it's going to give you “the free flow of thought that’s unleashed when you're doing something with the right side of your brain,” says April Masini relationship expert and author behind AskApril.com.

2. Go on an outdoor adventure.

Noah Van Hochman, author of Dude! What Were You Thinking; A Common Sense Guide To Dating, says there's been a trend in the dating scene moving from “traditional dates such as movies, bistro's and other typical first date venues to more adventurous first dates.” Adventurous activities could be outdoor activities like hiking, bike riding or rock climbing. Outdoor activities on the first date give you an opportunity to get to know your date while staying active instead of being bound to a dinner table or something similar. Another benefit of adventurous dates is that “If the date turns bad the activities can also be a great buffer until you can bid a hasty retreat,” according to Van Hochman.

If you like the outdoors but prefer something more low-key, going for a walk in a nice park is a great alternative as well. A walk in the park is a fun, cheap date. Check out Lori Cheek who is the founder of the dating service Cheek’d. She offers tips for cheap park dates in NYC — but make sure to “find a place with a beautiful view and pack a picnic along as well,” advises Sherri Murphy, CEO of Elite Connections.

3. Go bowling, ice skating, mini-golfing and more.

Many first daters are afraid of the talking portion of the date. Embedded in activity dates like bowling and ice skating are fun environments which “take the potential stress of wondering what to talk about out of the equation,” says Louie Felix, CEO of Matchmaking VIP.

Bowling is a true classic and for good reason. “This activity will break the ice and allow you two to become playful with one another. A little competitive banter can be extremely fun and flirty,” says Kate MacLean, resident relationship expert and public relations coordinator at PlentyOfFish.

Another throwback and great first date idea is miniature golfing. Playing a game with your date “brings out your inner child” says Adam Samuel of The Big Fling. But don’t get too competitive! Remember, it's the first date, so focus on having a fun time versus beating your best score.

Relationship expert extraordinaire and life coach Siggy Flicker, who recently released her book Write Your Own Fairy Tale, arranged a first date for a nervous client at an ice skating rink to “minimize the talking aspect of the date." "I gave her one rule. Every time she wanted to say something when they were sitting down and drinking hot chocolate, she would need to take a sip before she spoke.”

Other fun ideas include the zoo, sporting events or concerts.

4. Head to a museum.

Whether it's a blind date or someone you asked out yourself, a museum offers a cultural and educational environment to connect and learn about your date. It's a great way to pick your date's brain without feeling like you're on an interview. “There are so many ways to start a conversation and learn where your date's family is from, what your date values and how they view the world,” says Jessie Kay, CEO and Founder of The Real Matchmaker.

5. Go for frozen yogurt.

When you're looking for a fun date idea to get to know someone without the loud club music or the haziness of alcohol, take your date to get some frozen yogurt. At the end of your walk (see date idea above) stop off at a trendy FroYo shop like Menchie’s, the world's largest self-serve FroYo franchise. Use toppings to show your personality. Are you a fruit fiend? Chocolate connoisseur? Flaunt your flavor, and give your date a peak inside what you enjoy to eat.

Whether you're taking a class, going on an outdoor adventure, sharing the experience of a fun activity or heading to a museum, “be yourself and have fun," says It’s Just Lunch Houston matchmaker and relationship expert Sarah Patt. "A first date is the time to see if you like each other enough to have a second date.” 

If drinking's not a big part of your life, it's important to find someone who “fits your lifestyle at the beginning stages of your relationship,” says Jessica Janik, bridal consultant and founder of The Invisible Bridesmaid. You want a clear picture of who your potential partner is and how you two may fit together in the near to distant future.

Remember, alcohol doesn’t set the stage for a great first date. It's the “effort you put into planning the date and the connection the two of you have,” concludes Patt.

These date ideas are a great way to get to know your new special someone — no alcohol needed.

You can read more from Jarone on his website or on Twitter.



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