If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might remember that I go on some of the world’s worst first dates. Seriously. If who could go on the worst dates were a competition, I’d be on a box of Wheaties.
Sporting more gold medals around my neck than Michael Phelps.
As a result, I thought it would be nice to do the world a favor and come up with a few fun ideas for a first date. And maybe share a few of my horror stories, just for entertainment’s sake.
What I’m Wearing:
Top: Ann Taylor / Pants: similar / Bag: Senreve (included in the Shopbop sale!) / Boots: Aerosoles, c/o
Sunglasses: Ann Taylor / Earrings: Sugarfix by Baublebar, c/o / Nail Polish: Essie, c/o
After a few years of single-dom, one can get sick of the endless rotation of drinks dates and coffee shop dates. They get old fast and kind of end up all running together. Unless your date finds a way to differentiate himself… which isn’t always a good thing.
Now that I’m on Bumble (a dating app in which the ladies make the first move!), I’ve been forced to think up fun ideas for a first date multiple times. Sure, typically the guy still asks me out, but I often end up coming up with what we’ll be doing on said date. So basically, it’s ensured that I’ll at least have fun on the date… even if I don’t have fun with my date.
I legitimately once had a guy show up to pick me up on a skateboard. No joke. And then he tried to get me to skateboard to the date – which was drinks at a bar – while I was wearing heels. He could’ve turned the whole night around had he said “hey, I thought for our date it might be fun to teach you how to skateboard” (and given me an ounce of forewarning so I could’ve dressed appropriately!).
9 Fun Ideas for a First Date
1. Visit the zoo.
I’ve still never been on a zoo date and I really want to go on one soon. This is one of my most fun ideas for a first date because it’s pretty much foolproof. If your date is awesome, you’ll have an epic time goofing off together at the zoo. If, however, your date is duller than a sleeping sloth, it’s still bearable because zoos are fun.
2. BBQ + country dancing.
Or Texmex + salsa dancing! You can kind of adapt this one to whatever fits your fancy. If you don’t want to commit to a full meal for a first date (totally understandable), you can always do margaritas + salsa dancing (or something similar) instead. It’s a bit out of most people’s comfort zones, which likely means that lots of laughs will ensue!
3. Progressive dinner.
This one works wherever there’s a strip of a bunch of restaurants/bars in a row. In Dallas, I’d use Trinity Groves. In Austin, perhaps South Congress or Rainey Street. You could even use an area with a bunch of food trucks. At each restaurant (or bar), order 1 drink + 1-2 small plates to share. It’s a fun way to sample a bunch of different spots while still breaking the mold on the traditional dinner or drinks date!
4. Picnic in the park.
I did this a few times when I lived in NYC… and even once here in Dallas. This makes my list for my top fun ideas for a first date just because it’s different. It’s kinda like a normal drinks or dinner date… but it’s not and that’s what matters.
Check your local park’s events calendar and schedule the date for the next time there’s a movie showing, a concert, or something else out of the ordinary on the park’s calendar. In Dallas, Klyde Warren Park has simulcast screenings from the opera (a great date for me!), tons of concerts, dance classes, and more. Bring a picnic blanket + some nosh, sit back, and enjoy your company (or the entertainment). Just remember to have a backup plan in case it rains!
5. Late night at a museum.
Most of the museums in Dallas offer late night events in which the museum has extended hours (and even cocktails sometimes!). One of my bad dates was to a late night at the DMA… and I still managed to enjoy myself, despite the company. My date actually combined the late night event with a food truck night at Klyde Warren Park… so I have to give him points for creativity. Unfortunately, I later found out that he was high on our date and smokes every morning before work, so there was no real longevity in that relationship.
These types of evenings are especially fun at nature and science museums… like the Perot Museum in Dallas. I recommend the Perot Museum since it’s normally teeming with children… and their late night events are adult-only aka my only chance to play with all of the fun engineering and earth activities.
Yes, I’m apparently still 7 years old at heart.
6. Go to an arcade.
In Dallas, Bishop Cider Company calls their Design District location the “Cidercade” It’s so fun because you can go, taste flights of ciders, and play over 100 arcade games. Essentially, it’s as if an arcade and a cider bar had a lovechild. And it’s so fun… even if your company leaves something to be desired…
I once had a date at a local bar arcade called Barcadia and it was so fun. Though my date prompted me to feel literally 0 sparks or butterflies, we still had a great evening playing Pac-Man. If we had met at a normal bar, I probably would’ve left feeling underwhelmed… but instead, I now look back on that date really fondly.
7. Go bowling.
I know, I know: this is basically just a list of all of the popular date ideas from the 1950s. But seriously: bowling is one of the most fun ideas for a first date. Even if you have a habit of scoring a perfect 0 after 10 frames (which I do – cue the applause).
A few years ago, I [very] briefly dated a guy here in Dallas… and he took me bowling for our first date. I honestly don’t think I had ever had so much fun on a first date. Sure, he was a bit weirded out at the fact that I would even want to go bowling after my mad gutter ball skills became evident, but we had a really great time overall. It was just the subsequent dates that ruined the relationship.
8. Hit up a comedy club.
I desperately want to go to a comedy club for a date one of these days. One’s sense of humor can tell you so much about that person… and where better to discover said sense of humor than at a comedy club?
I feel like getting drinks and going to a comedy club is the new dinner and a movie. You’re still in a dimly-lit room, trying to decide whether or not you’re gonna let the guy kiss you on the first date… but, to me at least, it’s loads better. Watching a show at a comedy club is interactive – you can talk to your date in between acts and you can see their reactions to each comedian. Plus, comedy clubs do a pretty good job of keeping their patrons liquored up. Movies, on the other hand, require silence. I will legit write you off as a human being if you interrupt a movie I’m watching if you try to kiss me or – god forbid – talk to me during the movie.
Seriously. There’s a special place in the ninth circle of hell for people who talk during movies.
9. Get drinks at a bar… and partake in a trivia competition.
Last but not least of my fun ideas for a first date: a trivia night! Trivia competitions can be so fun… and a great way to see how your date reacts when the pressure. is. on.
Extra points are awarded for picking a themed trivia night in which your date will legit slay. Why your date and not you? If, for instance, a guy chose a sports trivia night for a date with me, I would have 0 input and generally feel like my presence was not required or desired for this activity. If, instead, he took me to a Harry Potter or Game of Thrones-themed trivia night, I would have the most fun. Would I get every question? Eh, probably not (possibly though!). But I would have a ton of fun participating in the trivia night and telling my date about my Harry Potter-themed bat mitzvah party or that time I forced my dad to get into Game of Thrones… as my Father’s Day present to him.
I’m an excellent gift-giver, I know.
Best of the Shopbop Sale
Speaking of gifts, my birthday’s next week and one of my favorite retailers is currently having a ginormous sale. Now through April 14th, Shopbop is offering 20% off of orders under $500 and 25% off of orders over $500! Remember to use code EVENT18 at checkout.
Below are a few of my picks from the sale. BTW each item I picked is under $200!