According to my monthly polls at TrueLoveDates.com, most of my readers agree that the best place to go on a first date is simply this: to go out for a cup of coffee.
Aaaaahhhh, the coffee date. I love the coffee date, and not just because I love coffee. It’s the best kind of first date because it’s simple, casual, and low pressure. It’s a great environment to get to know someone, but best of all, it’s totally flexible.
If the date is going well, a simple coffee date can last a few hours, or as long as the conversation will take you. But in the case that it’s NOT going so well, you can pretty much chug that cup of java and get yourself outta there.
But beyond the first few “get to know you” dates – what happens when you want to start taking your relationship to the next level? What are some great date ideas for couples who are looking to add creativity, adventure, and fun into the “four seasons” of their relationship (if you don’t know what I mean by the “four seasons”, you need to go read True Love Dates). So whether you’re dating, engaged, or married, here are some of my absolute favorite creative date ideas….
10. Pack a thoughtful picnic basket, and go for a nature walk/hike. Find a nice little spot to spread a blanket, and dig in! What a quiet way to enjoy nature, and get to know each other. You could even include a couple question cards in your basket with get-to-know-you questions for each of you to answer throughout the date.
9. Photo opp! Grab a camera and go for a walk/drive stopping at different spots along the way for photos of sites, people, and things that catch your eye. A great way to capture memories from the date as well!
8. A Restaurant Hop! Rather than just going to one place, choose 3 different places for appetizers, dinner, and then dessert. A great way to have some additional one-on-one car time and try out fun new places! You can even make it “global” by going to eateries from different ethnicity’s throughout the night!
7. Window Shopping. One of my favorite dates with my husband-to-be was window shopping! We would walk around different or unique stores and look at all their special items. It was fun to talk about what we liked and get to know each others tastes and interests through these kind of activities. And for the bold, antiques stores and thrift shops are always a great place to find cool treasures, too. Make sure to take home a souvenir!
6. Hands on…(but not on each other). Hands on dates are a great way to get to know someone in a new context like a cooking class, art class, dance lessons, pottery class, or the like. It’s an opportunity to work together and test compatibility. It’s also a great way to do something fun and new together, and to interact with one another in different environments.
5. Library/Bookstore Date. Okay, maybe this is only fun for a super-nerd like me, but I loooooved my library/bookstore dates with John. We would spend time walking around, looking at the books, and then taking our favorites back to a table to look through together and chat. It’s even more fun when you can sip on coffee while you peruse! And for the non-book lovers out there…there’s always all kinds of fun magazines!
4. Service Project. You might think this sounds crazy, but what better way to get to know someone’s heart than serving together? Take an afternoon and head to a soup kitchen, an after-school program, or join a weekend project with something like Habitat for Humanity. There’s nothing more significant than doing something significant with people you care about.
3. A little sportsmanship. Sometimes, it’s fun to get competitive (but don’t ever over-do it!!). An evening playing candlestick bowling, miniature golf, tennis, or heading to the batting cages could be a great way to interact and have something fun to do. Just make sure this is something that you and your date would both enjoy, or you may just end up striking out.
2. Game night. Who doesn’t love a good board game? Get some of your favorite games ready in advance, or go pick out a new game together. Hit up the store for some yummy snacks, and then find a place to get your game on. You could also take advantage of en evening like this by looking into the really fun games out there that will also help you get to know each other (like Apples to Apples, Scattegories, etc.) And…you can even make up your own. PS. Even when my husband and I were long-distance, we had a game night over the phone every now and again…you just have to get creative!
1. Hit the Water! There is something sooooo romantic about a date that’s lake-side, sea-side, ocean-side, bay-side…you get the point. No matter what you do, it’s going to be romantic! There are so many ways to hit up the water and enjoy God’s beautiful outdoor exhibit! Try sailing, paddle-boating, canoeing, a walk along the shore, skipping rocks, or just having dinner with the view of the water. A great way to walk and talk, spending some quality time together with the backdrop of gorgeous scenery.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
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