Dinner and a movie have long been the traditional first date activities, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best ones. You can’t really chat and get to know each other during the movie. And if you don’t have any chemistry with the woman, dinner can be a very long haul indeed. So where to take a woman on the first date?
When my male matchmaking clients ask me about an ideal first date, I typically suggest drinks and appetizers instead. It’s shorter than dinner and makes more of an impact than coffee. Besides, if the date is going sour, you can always claim you forgot you’re allergic to shellfish and duck out before the waiter brings over the shrimp cocktails.
Seriously, though, any of you guys who stress out over date ideas need to know you’re not alone. A lot of guys rack their brains wondering where to take the woman for most amazing first date she’s ever known. Here’s where I tend to share a few rules for planning an ideal first date:
1. A perfect first date is not a one-size-fits-all deal. You want to pick something you like to do and that you think she’ll like, too. That means if you hate museums, don’t pick an art museum. Go for something you’ll both enjoy.
2. An isolated location is usually not the best bet for a first date. Especially if you don’t know each other well. It can be awkward as well as creepy. Skip heading to each other’s house for a meal or movie if your date’s not crazy about your selected date activity.
3. Activity dates rock. These are dates where you’re doing something besides trying to keep a conversation going over dinner. Activity dates let you burn off nervous energy, talk and get to know each other, and share easy conversation based on the location or activity.
Get more first date tips Surprising Tips for A Great First Date
As an added bonus for guys who may still be scratching their heads, I’ve compiled a list of possible first date ideas I’ve amassed over my years as an Arizona Matchmaker and Dating Coach. Not all of these ideas are going to appeal to everyone, so keep the first rule in mind: pick something you know you’d enjoy that is likely to likewise interest your date.
First Date Ideas
Outdoor movies. Unlike indoor flicks, here you can talk, have a picnic or lie back and look at the stars if the movie really stinks.
Art walk. This can sate her desire for art without forcing you into the bowels of a stuffy museum. Hmm…can you really live with a woman who wants that on her wall?
Wine tasting. A bit of vino, a lot of ambiance and a ton of Phoenix-area wine tasting events from which to choose.
Art museum. Don’t think museums are stuffy? Then by all means, go gaze at (and discuss) some famous paintings!
Comedy club. Laughter reduces stress hormones, a prime way to alleviate those first-date jitters.
Amusement park, especially the rides. If you thought laughter alone reduced stress hormones, just wait until you see what happens when you mix laughter with swirling teacups or a swooshing pirate ship.
Double dog walk. This one only works, of course, if you both happen to have dogs. Your pooches will give you plenty to talk about, and you’ll get to check if your own dog approves of her.
Picnic. Picnics are always sweet, often bringing back fond memories of childhood. The relaxed atmosphere helps you both let your guard down.
Botanical garden. Flowers. Bushes. Bumblebees. Can’t ask for a better first date setting than that!
Apple picking. Like picnics, apple picking can bring out the kids in you. You’ll also get to go home with edible souvenirs.
Brewery tour. Say “cheers” to the incredible craft beer scene around Phoenix, with new ones popping up all the time.
Aquarium. Swift stingrays. Outrageous octopus. Stunning sharks. Bet you’ll both have plenty to say about the amazing creatures swishing around the Sea Life Arizona aquarium.
Street fair or festival. Loads of vendors and fanfare to fuel the conversation. You’ll also get to spot check if she’s open to eating food from a truck.
Sporting events. Baseball, football, basketball. If you and your date are sports fans, this one is a homerun.
Outdoor concert. Cool music. Energetic atmosphere. And plenty of people-watching to spark conversation.
No matter where you decide to go on your first date, just remember one thing. The most important aspect is not what you do, but who you’re with. And if you like each other and are enjoying each other’s company, the location or activity isn’t going to matter at all.