25 First Date Ideas That Can Lead You To True Love (Or To Simply Strengthen Your Current Relationship)

Photo: unsplash
How To Find Love With Good First Date Ideas & Tips

When you're following the right dating advice, first dates don't have to be boring, redundant, or feel like a chore. In fact, they shouldn't!

Do you want to know how to find love and be in the relationship you deserve? You can!

It all comes down to having good first date ideas. After all, when you're looking for love, you want to stand out, make an imprint, and be memorable.

RELATED: 5 Amazing First Date Ideas That Are Way Better Than Dinner And A Movie

While having a great conversation during drinks or dinner can definitely do that, you increase your chances of making a lasting impression if you allow your date location to contribute to the imprint that you make.

Whether you've been on several dates or are already in a serious committed relationship, it’s necessary to try something new!

Redundancy isn’t sexy. Individuals crave excitement and change. But, when you are in a committed and monogamous, long-term relationship, you’re limited to just one — the one.

So, you have to conjure change by getting creative when it comes to activities. Alternative dates are a great way to keep things exciting, spice things up, and satisfy your need for change.

A first date includes 3 essential must have's:

  • Conversation
  • Connection
  • Contact (eye contact and potential for physical contact)

You also want to literally set the stage for romance. Whether you love or hate the show The Bachelor, it’s a great example of how to have an effective first date.

Dates on The Bachelor are specific and strategic when it comes to manufacturing emotions through the use of red roses, candles, warm colors, soft and sensual textures, romantic music, and activities that allow for conversation.

There are also heart-racing shared experiences that help to build trust and opportunities for more expansive and simultaneously deeper connections.

Do that.

Set the stage for romance. Maybe not helicopters and yacht trips — but there are plenty of realistic date ideas that can achieve the same effect.

Immersive dates set daters up for an array of shared emotions through the experience. Those new experiences are the most effective and efficient way to create — even manufacture — a connection.

Better and quicker than sitting at a table and having a conversation where you are talking about and reporting on the life you have lived so far, doing an interesting activity allows you to actually feel and experience life together.

So, you are also creating memories, as well as conversations.

More than being magnetic, memorable, and making your date want more, dating can be frustratingly expensive for men. So expensive, in fact, that some people say that if you don’t have enough money, don’t bother dating until you do!

Take this important piece of dating advice to heart: if your focus in life right now is your business, as opposed to finding love, that might be something to think about.

But, if you're ready for love and dating is a priority for you, great! No need to spend all of your hard-earned cash on a first date that could go nowhere.

Instead, keep your change, get creative, and open yourself to the possibility of creating an even deeper connection.

Here are 21 ideas for a first date that can lead you to a deeper and more intimate love.

1. Take a train

Many cities and towns have easy train access. And unlike driving to your date destination where the "fun" part of the date begins on your arrival, when you take the train, the fun starts the minute you board — especially if there is a first-class car that serves snacks and adult beverages.

You don’t need to go far, even a 45 minute trip to the next town over can feel like an adventure.

Find a cute little local hotspot, museum, or activity as your final destination for a memorable date that allows you to stand out as someone who is thoughtful, creative, and fun!

2. Have a traveling multi-course dinner

Drinks, appetizers, dinner, and dessert are much more interesting when enjoyed in different places. It’s best to find a street known for awesome places to drink and eat, then make a plan to move the party from place to place for a multi-course, multi-restaurant meal.

The movement makes the date more exciting, allows for different environments, which contribute to the conversation and extend the amount of time that you get to spend together.

3. Do something to get their heart rate up

No, not sex.

Create a little friendly competition. It’s been shown that people who work out together feel more chemistry towards each other thanks to the release of sweat-induced endorphins.

Go play pool, ping pong, or challenge her to a game of shuffleboard. Once you work up a sweat, grab a drink and dinner and deepen the relationship with great conversation.

4. Go to a hockey game

Elevated emotions from thrilling endorphins can easily be mistaken as chemistry and attraction. And hockey games don’t hold out on that, thanks to fast-flying pucks that slam into the glass and get you out of your seat.

In addition to the excitement, you are sitting next to each other, snuggling up to stay warm, and with plenty of time to talk, you can tell stories and get to know each other.

5. Have a pizza-off (or any of your favorite dishes, really)

If you two have debated which spot serves the best thin crust pizza, makes the most authentic burritos, bakes the perfect cupcakes, or rolls addictive sushi, then put your favorites to the test by ordering from three different spots and having a blind taste test at your place.

It’s a fun and different way to eat while getting turned on by your playfully competitive spirits.

6. Go on a picnic

No, it’s not lame.

A well-thought-out picnic at a cool location that includes a comfortable blanket, bottle of wine, and finger snacks can end up being more intimate, romantic, and memorable than any expensive night on the town.

7. Take a local pub tour or go wine tasting

Many cities have local breweries or wineries where you can go in for a fun tasting on the cheap. Some spots also have palette-cleaning snacks so you can also get a free bite to eat.

Also make sure to ask about private tours, where you get to taste some of the more expensive reserve booze direct from the barrels.

8. Be a tourist in your town

Regardless of where you live, there are interesting activities to do that you likely reserve for when guests are in town, which is crazy!

Instead of keeping these treasured destinations hidden away for a special occasion — as you do with your china or nice lingerie — get out there and explore like you’re an out-of-towner!

Buy a guidebook and take your date for a tourist-worthy adventure.

9. Go to the zoo

Most local zoos allow entry for a nominal fee, but are loaded with different activities!

If your date mentions that she is an animal lover or has a tender heart for anything nostalgic, the zoo is the perfect place for an offbeat first date that will make you feel like you’re kids again.

10. Go to a regional park

It’s much cooler than it sounds! A regional park isn’t always "just" a park. In fact, they are often some of the best and biggest kept secrets!

For example, in Los Angeles, there is the Hollywood Bowl, an outdoor music venue where you usually pay as much as $1000 to share the space with 17,000 other people.

But, because it’s an L.A. County Regional Park, when no one is performing it’s actually a free public space where people go running the stairs — getting a workout by going up and down the 168 stairs, read, or have a picnic. The space is beautiful, relatively private, and such cool.

RELATED: 8 Of The Best First Date Ideas To Try This Weekend, According To Your Personality Type

11. Take a city food tour

From a tour of the best cupcake shops to the best chocolates, especially if you live in a big city there are often several of the same types of shops within walking distance.

Many cities, like New York, have companies that offer walking tours so you can experience the best tastes on a guided tour.

12. Write a Bucket List then try to accomplish one of them together

Maybe jumping out of a plane or flying to Fiji might not be a great or cheap first date, but what about writing a song, donating your time at a soup kitchen, or taking dogs for a walk at a rescue kennel?

Write up your list together then try to accomplish one each!

13. Make art or ceramics

Get your creative juices flowing together by going to a studio where you get to paint your own ceramics.

Not only is it fun but you have something to remember the date later.

14. Paint and sip

You know that scene in the movie "Ghost" with the pottery? Get into that spirit with a wine-paired art class.

But, instead of a pile of clay and wheel, you’ll be working with a canvas and painter’s palette while creating your masterpieces side by side with drinks in hand at a "Paint & Sip" class.

So, you won’t be sticking your fingers in clay and rubbing it all over each other’s skin. You can get dirty later. (Make sure to call ahead to check on the alcohol situation. It might be BYOB).

15. Go to an independent bookstore

Books can say a lot about a person.

Pick a cool, funky, independent bookstore and walk the aisles together, each picking out your favorite book and a book you have wanted to read, then telling each other about it.

16. Go to a Pick-Your-Own Farm

Depending on where you live, there are likely farms close by that allow you to pick your own apples, raspberries, and strawberries.

Have fun picking and tasting, then enjoy an on-site picnic in the field.

17. Go to a Swap Meet

You might find that you share an offbeat hobby or interest that will connect you two as well as open up your conversation to real and interesting stories, memories, and laughter.

With over an array of vendors, you will have ample opportunity to stumble upon your secret obsessions, collections, and stories from your childhood, which are great ways to better get to know a date and decide if a shared love of Milli Vanilli is a make or a break.

18. Go to an art museum

History nerds, artistically inclined, and architectural addicts alike will love this totally intellectual date.

You can get geeky over the deco exterior design, be awed by the murals and interactive installations, and reveal your favorite artists and styles that have shaped your perspective.

19. Sing karaoke

Looking foolish, with someone else, instantly transforms the embarrassing act into a bonding one.

So, use this time of year as an opportunity to get close by letting your secret "The Voice" dreams out of the box.

20. Go ice skating

Even if one of you is an awesome skater and the other isn’t, skating is still a great date idea. More so actually, because the touch barrier is immediately broken for "safety" reasons.

No one wants to fall, right? So great excuse to hold on!

21. Volunteer

Volunteering can be a total turn-on.

Whether it’s at an animal shelter where you cuddle and walk dogs, a soup kitchen where you feed the less fortunate, or a retirement home where you talk to and dance with some lonely and elderly men and women, you are definitely going to make an imprint on your date.

Maybe it’s not so sexy in the act, but the act of doing, giving, compassion, and caring can be both attractive to illuminating when it comes to someone’s character.

22. Take a cooking class

You’ve gotten to know a little about each other one-on-one. It’s time to see a different side, by bringing in someone else: a chef!

Group cooking classes are one thing, but personalized classes in the chef’s home create an intimate dynamic that encourages new conversation and a different side of you to come out.

You’re also trying something new, creating something together, seeing how you handle teamwork, goal setting, multi-tasking, task-sharing, distractions, details, and experiencing life together.

Every date needs to be building block to the next, expanding and deepening your connection. Cooking together will do exactly that.

23. Wear a wig

This is mostly an idea for long-term couples.

No matter how much you love each other, regardless of how hot their body is, your attraction and chemistry can quickly lackluster.

Adopt a Halloween-attitude to initiate a little extra excitement. I am not talking about yelling "Boo!"

Dressing up and role-playing can instantly spice up a routine relationship. Let's face it: variety makes life interesting! When your partner dresses up as someone else, you get to feel like you’re being "bad", even though you’re really being so good and it will feel that way — so good!

A wig is the easiest way to change your appearance. But you’ve got to suggest it in a smart way.

Say something like, "I wonder what you would be like as a brunette. I bet your personality would be a little different too. You’d probably be tough on me, like a drill sergeant. You’d be sexy and edgy. I’d only be able to handle that you for a few hours, or at least for a quickie in the bathroom. It would be fun to see you in a wig like that."

24. Go on a surprise getaway

Also an idea for long-term couples, pack your partner's things and surprise them with an overnight local getaway.

You can even go a step further and lay out a new outfit for her with a note that says, "Put this on, and be ready to leave by 8 pm."

Or if you're going out to dinner or drinks at a hotel bar, in the middle of dinner pull out a key card to the room that you secretly secured earlier in the day. In the room are your overnight bags, pre-packed earlier that day too.

25. Surprise them with a mid-date sleepover

Also for long term couples, if you're going out to dinner or drinks at a hotel bar, in the middle of dinner, pull out a key card to the room that you secretly secured earlier in the day.

In the room are your overnight bags, pre-packed earlier that day too.

Even long-term healthy relationships need some excitement every now and then

RELATED: 19 Creative Date Ideas To Try, Whether It's Your First Date Or 100th

Laurel House is an international celebrity Dating and Relationship Coach, a dating coach on E!’s “Famously Single,” a Dating Coach for Three Day Rule Matchmaking, and a 5-time published Lifestyle Author. Go to Love Actually Academy to learn more.