10 Great Dates You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

10 great ideas

We live in an age of intricate technologies, 24/7 entertainment and sensory overload—so why is it so tough to think up creative dates? Of course, early in a relationship, you're so smitten that even dinner at Denny's seems exciting. But when you've done the ho-hum and the humdrum—dinner, a movie, bowling—you crave new ideas to keep things interesting. Here are ten ideas for great—and mostly cheap—dates that will not only entertain but allow you to get to know your mate in a whole new way.

Stargaze. Few activities are as romantic as gazing up at the stars together, and you can plan this date for most any night, no matter where you live. If you have access to an observatory (many college campuses have them, so check around), head over to check out the facilities. But even if you don't have a nearby observatory, you can still enjoy the stars. Grab a pair of binoculars (or just gaze sans equipment) and a map of the sky—and sit in the backyard with some light refreshments, pointing out the constellations. Are Your Astrology Signs Sexually Compatible?

Host a tasting. Develop sophisticated tasting palates by practicing at home with a variety of wines, beers or even vodkas. Buy a selection and pour 2-ounce samples of each (less for hard liquor, obviously), then examine them on a variety of levels: clarity, texture, flavor(s), etc. Rate them on a scale of 1 to 10, according to your enjoyment. (Helpful hint: When sampling, progress from lightest to heaviest—i.e., drink the white zin before the merlot, or the pilsner before the porter.) Not into alcohol? You can do it with coffee, chocolate or olive oils. 4 Alcohol-Free Date Ideas

Take a ride. Nothing gets the blood pumping and the endorphins flowing like an encounter with the unpredictable (and no, we're not talking his mother). Check in your area for the opportunity to ride—horses, a hot air balloon, four-wheelers, motorcycles, or the bumper cars at a carnival. You may even end up at the local car dealership to test drive a car you have no intention of buying! The point is to go on an adventure together and do something that might be a little dangerous, scary or silly, something you wouldn't dream of doing on your own. How To Have Sex In A Car

Whip something up. Okay, so maybe the closest you usually get to the kitchen is watching the Food Network. But when you team up with a partner, cooking can be fun (and if the meal is disastrous, both parties get equal blame). Take a cooking class together to learn how to prepare a few dishes, and set up a second date to try them yourselves at home. No classes nearby? Collect a couple of recipes online or from a cookbook at the library, and prepare them together (grocery shopping included). You'll learn teamwork and, hopefully, eat a fantastic meal in the end. Easy Recipes For Every Day of The Week

Gamble a day away. Visit a nearby racetrack to watch the ponies run. For a few dollars, you'll gain all-day admission to the races, and you can bet on each race for as little as a buck. If you're not the gambling type, instead watch the horses in the stables as they're prepped for a race, grab lunch at the racetrack's restaurant that overlooks the action, or make friendly wagers between yourselves without betting any money (i.e., If No. 2 wins, I get a full-body massage later—with those stakes, no one loses!). Fun And Free: Gambling For Favors

Pick your own. Most seasons of the year allow for pick-your-own opportunities at local farms and orchards: In summer, select juicy peaches; in fall, peruse a pumpkin patch or apple orchard; during winter, check out a Christmas tree farm. Find a place in your area where you can pick your own fruits or vegetables and head out in casual clothes for laid-back fun. Or try the "civilized" version: Visit a local farmers market to select locally grown fruits and veggies at the peak of ripeness. Make a dish with the ingredients that night, and you've fashioned a full day of entertainment.

Get crafty. Organize a craft night on the cheap: Collect old, about-to-be-thrown-away magazines or children's books at the library (you can often buy them for a dime or a quarter apiece); scissors and some glue; and large sheets of firm paper or cardboard, and use the materials to make collages. Or, if you're more artistically inclined, break out the paints and brushes, pastels or colored pencils. Feeling spicier? Make them R-rated. With some basic supplies (check your local dollar store for deals), you can be creative and have fun while getting a little messy together. Fun And Free: Art Projects

Go treasure hunting. Go on a "junk hunt": Set aside a Saturday or Sunday to scan local antique stores, flea markets, thrift stores and/or garage sales, looking for the "trash" that can turn into your treasure. Where else can you find a 1980s-era portable phone, a never-used Ginsu knife and a Nelson CD in one place? You'll probably score some great deals, laugh a lot at outdated appliances and fashions, and learn plenty about your partner's tastes. Feel like a challenge? Make a deal to buy each other the goofiest present you can find for $3 or less. After shopping, exchange gifts and brainstorm to find a way to put what you've bought to good use. 3 Things Men Don't Like (But Women Seem To Love)

Indulge in a spa day. Spas are excellent sources of renewal, relaxation and togetherness—and no one has to say a word! Book a couples massage at a local salon or spa, or (if your man hopped on the metrosexual bandwagon a few years back) try side-by-side manicure/pedicure treatments. If you lack the bucks for the professional touch, set up a spa day at home: Pick up a sexy-smelling lotion or oil and read up on basic massage techniques to give each other almost-expert full-body massages by candlelight. The Beginner's Guide to Massage

Act like teenagers. When all else fails, go back to the basics (we're talking way back): Think of your favorite Friday night activity as a teenager and recreate it (the truly daring can dress the part). Or: go roller skating or ice skating and hold hands during the cheesy love songs; hang out cruising the mall; visit an amusement park; sit on Santa's lap.  When you've tried the typical, the exotic and the downright inane, getting a hit of nostalgia will provide a welcome chance to relax, laugh, be yourselves and enjoy each other's company—and isn't that what dating is all about?

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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.