22 First Date Ideas That Can Lead To True Love

Make your first date a memorable adventure.

Last updated on May 21, 2024

How To Find Love With Good First Date Ideas & Tips Lucky Business | Shutterstock

When you follow the right dating advice, first dates aren't boring, redundant, or a chore and they shouldn't be! 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 impression, and be memorable.

Here are 24 first date ideas that can lead you to true 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 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 destination for a memorable date that allows you to stand out as 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 plan to move the party from place to place for a multi-course, multi-restaurant meal. The movement makes the date more exciting and allows for different environments, which contribute to the conversation and extend the amount of time you get to spend together.


3. Do something to get their heart rate up

No, not physical intimacy. Create a little friendly competition. It’s been shown people who work out together feel more chemistry towards each other thanks to the release of sweat-induced endorphins. Play pool, ping pong, or challenge them to a game of shuffleboard. Once you work up a sweat, grab a drink and dinner and deepen the relationship with great conversation.

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4. Go to a hockey game

Elevated emotions from thrilling endorphins can easily be mistaken as chemistry and attraction. Hockey games don’t hold out thanks to fast-flying pucks that slam into the glass to 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.

@tayylor_the_creator pov: roomie is going on a 1st date to a hockey game #nhl #hockey #lakings ♬ original sound - tayylor_the_creator

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 hidden taste test. It’s a fun and playfully competitive way to eat.


6. Go on a picnic

No, it’s not boring. A well-thought-out picnic at a cool location that includes a comfortable blanket, bottle of wine, and snacks can build intimacy and romance while being more memorable than any expensive night on the town.

First date on a picnic could lead to true love Vadym_Hunko via Shuttterstock

7. Take a local pub tour or go wine-tasting

Many cities have local breweries or wineries where you can go for a fun tasting on the cheap. Some spots also have palette-cleaning snacks, so you get a free bite to eat. Also, be sure to ask about private tours, where you can taste some of the more expensive reserve booze directly from the barrels.


8. Be a tourist in your town

Regardless of where you live, there are interesting activities you likely reserve for when guests are in town. Instead of keeping these treasured destinations hidden for a special occasion 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 and are loaded with different activities! If your date mentions she is an animal lover or has a tender heart for anything nostalgic, the zoo is the perfect place for an offbeat first date to make you feel like you’re kids again.

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10. Go to a regional park

It’s much cooler than it sounds! A regional park isn’t always just a park. 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.


Because it’s an L.A. County Regional Park, when no one is performing, it’s a free public space where people go running to get a workout by going up and down the 168 stairs, reading, or having a picnic. The space is beautiful, relatively private, and so cool.

First date goes well could lead to true love MDV Edwards via Shutterstock

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11. Take a city food tour

From a tour of the best cupcake shops to the best chocolatiers, if you live in a big city, there are often several similar 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 accomplish one of them together

Maybe jumping out of a plane, or flying to Fiji might not be a great or cheap first date. What about writing a song, donating your time at a soup kitchen, or taking dogs for a walk at a rescue kennel? Write 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 ceramics. Not only is it fun but you have something to remember the date later.

14. Paint and sip

Do you know that scene in the movie Ghost with the pottery? Get into that spirit with an art class. Instead of a pile of clay and a wheel, you’ll work with a canvas and painter’s palette while creating your masterpieces at a Paint & Sip class. (Make sure to call ahead to check on the beverage 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 apples, raspberries, and strawberries. Have fun picking and tasting, then enjoy an on-site picnic in the field.

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17. Go to a swap meet

You might find you share an offbeat hobby or interest that will connect you. As well as open up your conversation to real and interesting stories, memories, and laughter. With 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 collector tins is a make or a break.

18. Go to a museum

History nerds, artistically inclined, and architectural addicts alike will love this intellectual date at the museum. 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 as an opportunity to get close by letting your secret lead singer 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 because the touch barrier is immediately broken for safety reasons. No one wants to fall, right? So this is a great excuse to hold on!


If a guy does this on the first date, he doesn’t respect you

♬ original sound - Hannah Chan

21. Volunteer

Volunteering can be a total turn-on. Whether 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 people, you will make an impression on your date. Maybe it’s not so alluring in the act, but giving compassionately and caring for others can be attractive and illuminate 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 to encourage 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 is a building block to the next while expanding and deepening your connection. Cooking together will do exactly that.

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It’s necessary to try something new to impress a date who may have seen it all already! Redundancy isn’t sexy. Individuals crave excitement and change. Alternative dates are a great way to make 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 set the stage for romance. Whether you love or hate the show The Bachelor is 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 for conversation. There are also heart-racing shared experiences 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 to achieve the same effect.

@invisawear Always do these 3 things before going on a first date #safety #dates #selfdefense #safetytips ♬ original sound - invisaWear

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 a connection. Doing a fun or adventurous activity can be better than sitting at a table and having a conversation reporting on your life. An immersive style date activity allows you to experience life together, create a memory, and have good conversations, and it doesn't have to be expensive.


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Laurel House is an international celebrity dating and relationship coach, a dating coach on E!’s “Famously Single,” and a writer who has appeared in Oprah, Vogue, The Washington Post, and 500 other media outlets.