5 Unique First Date Ideas

My recent 18 first dates were pretty normal. For the most part, we just went to get drinks. Nothing wrong with that. It’s low-key, a short time commitment, and you can always up the stakes and go to dinner or just call it a night without any awkwardness.

Perhaps even more enjoyable than those were my two root beer float dates. They were delicious. I also went on one date during which we intentionally talked about every topic you shouldn’t talk about on the first date.

There are a few ideas for first dates that I want to try. These don’t necessarily have to be first dates–in fact, some are probably a little too involved for first dates–but I think they’d be interesting nonetheless.

  1. Go to a movie at the Chase Park Plaza and get valet parking. I know, nothing special about going to a movie. The key is the valet parking, a suggestion of a friend of mine. It adds a touch of class to a date without adding much expense.
  2. Go to a bookstore. I like the idea of walking around for hours and talking about books and the memories they trigger. Instead of paying for the food or drink bill at the end of the book, you just buy a book for the girl.
  3. Go to a farmer’s market and then make lunch with the things you buy. A simple twist on the typical farmer’s market date.
  4. Go donate blood together and then go out for dessert to get some sugar in your system. Okay, I know this one is weird, but you get to share an altruistic experience right away–you’re in it together. You have time to talk while you’re giving blood, and then you get to continue chatting while you eat dessert.
  5. Cook dinner for someone, and in true Top Chef fashion, require that they bring a secret ingredient that you have to incorporate into the meal. I actually did this one. The girl made it easy by bringing fresh basil, but you could end up with some really interesting ingredients.

A friend of mine mentioned the idea that she’d like to start a date with the kiss. That way you know right away if you like kissing the person instead of waiting until after the date. I like the concept, but the downside is that you may not like the kiss…are you just going to send the person home after two minutes?

What are some of the best first date ideas you’ve heard of?

34 thoughts on “5 Unique First Date Ideas”

  1. Few years ago St. Louis had a nice snow on the ground and the guy suggested we go sledding on the Art Hill. I brought hot, slightly alcoholic beverages, he brought two sleds, and it was probably my most memorable first date. Two others come to mind; skiing in CB and hiking in Castlewood. All of them were in the winter and all were related to doing something outdoors. You can get the blood flowing and laugh at each other when you fall, slip, pass each other, fall over. Also, it seems that when you are doing something next to each other, as suppose to eating across from each other, people open up more.

    • Sledding with alcohol–that is a good first date!

      I’d agree that in general, doing an activity helps people open up more (and gives you something to talk about, allowing a common bond to form). Although I have to say, I like just talking and eating. Or talking and walking. I like dates built around conversation.

    • I think this does sound like fun, but the last time I mixed sledding and alcohol, someone ended up with a broken arm. I guess you could always bond with your date while waiting in the ER with them though! 🙂

  2. St. Louis is blessed with some great parks. I think taking a walk in the park can be a great first date. You’re moving a around, and you can talk, but you don’t have to. You can also spontaneously do something else (like acooperfan’s sledding idea, minus the actual sleds or renting paddleboats) if the mood strikes you.

    • I definitely like walk-in-the-park dates. And picnics in the park. Picnics don’t take any planning at all–you just pick up a few things from the grocery store and you’re good.

  3. I agree that some of the best dates, mix an element of doing something and talking.
    Like skiing— and then ride the chair lift together.
    Or hiking and talking.
    Bookstore browsing – doing and talking
    Like giving blood — talking and doing.
    However the first time I gave blood I almost passed out! I would not want my date to think I was squeamish or weak.
    But I think a deal sealer on a relationship is a very very long car ride together. Hours and hours of conversations– going from silly to serious to even periods of silence.

    • Yeah, it wouldn’t bode well for the blood donation date if someone passed out. 🙂

      I agree, the road trip is a great test for a relationship.

      • I guess I’m a sicko, I kind of like the idea of the blood donation date. The conversations while you’re giving blood would be fun, plus they couldn’t avoid the question or ditch you so they’d be your conversation slave for a little bit.

        • While I completely agree that the blood donation date would be excellent, I would suggest that its not the first time you/they do it. I was with my girlfriend at the time she tried to give for the first time, and she ended up in tears after the nurse had missed her vein multiple times causing a bruise to form over her are for the next few weeks.

          While this is probably a rare incidence, I don’t think it would make for the best “how did you meet?” story.

          • Kevin–A fair point about giving blood for the first time on the first date. If it’s something the two people have already done before and are comfortable with it, it could work quite well. I still haven’t tried it–I’ve gotten close, but not quite.

  4. I had a date once where we went to play Bingo. It wasn’t a first date for us, but I think it would still be a great first date idea. We were easily the youngest people there by about 40 years, but it was nice to just be silly and try to compete with each other to see who was doing the best. I don’t think either of us won anything, but we dated for about 4 years after that!

  5. P.S.– I like the bookstore idea a lot, but I don’t know if I would feel comfortable having someone over to my house to make lunch or dinner on a first date, nor would I feel comfortable going to their house. Maybe if we’d known each other for a while before we started dating, but not someone that I’d been matched with on a dating website and had never met before. Too many weirdos out there!

  6. There is a bar called Guthries in Chicago that was a great first date spot – they had every board game you could imagine! Low key, there was an activity but if you got the right game it sparked interesting conversations!!

    My best first date: The Madonna Confessions Tour concert. LOVED IT! Unfortunately that was the only date – HA! We have remained friends and he still asks if anyone has topped it and is very pleased with himself that no one has!

    Along the cooking lines going to a cooking class would be fun! This time of year an outdoor ice skating rink would be as well. Although I am a horrible ice skater!! 🙂

    Margot – totally agree on the car ride….

    • I really like the idea of board game dates. Chess and Stratego would be my picks.

      What made the concert such a special date?

      • Seeing Madge in concert!!! 🙂 And the fact that he thought enough of me (even though we didn’t date) to spend $200 per ticket! I would never expect someone to EVER do that – especially on a first date. And it wasn’t the $$ factor, (I was actually slightly embarrassed to accept knowing how much they were!!) it was the intention behind it –

        The night we met (a group of us went out) the girls and I were talking about it. He remembered. He knew I was dying to go and surprised me with them. (One of the few surprises I have liked – I generally HATE surprises!!)

    • I like the cooking class idea! That could be a lot of fun with the right person, but at the very least it would force a lot of interaction and coversation. I went to a couples cooking class once, but took my mom (it was her birthday gift that year). I don’t think anyone there was on a first date, but they all had a great time.

  7. The best first date I ever had was going to Oberweis, getting ice cream, and playing a couple games of chess at the designated table. There was conversation, a game I could focus on when the conversation sucked, and a delicious banana shake to keep me smiling. Just don’t deliberately let your date win at chess, play your hardest.

  8. This wouldn’t be for a first date, but it’s a great idea if you’ve been dating for awhile: The Great River Road. My boyfriend and I recently took a daytrip to the Great River Road and it was so much fun, because not only did we get to see the leaves changing color, the beauty of the river, and have great conversation during the ride – but we also took the opportunity to explore a little bit off the beaten path. One of the best parts of the day was going to this cute little family-owned orchard, where we had a picnic lunch at their picnic tables, and picked fall veggies and a pumpkin that we later carved. The orchard was nestled right in the countryside, and you wouldn’t believe how lovely it was just to sit, relax, talk, and enjoy the autumn day – PBJ’s, lemonade and all. 🙂 I think simple moments like this make the most amazing, memorable dates.

    • Great to know about Great River Road — just Googled it to learn that the idea is endless. Jamey – let’s plan a little road trip on our next visit.

      • It’s great for a family roadtrip or a date! We were on the stretch of the Great River Road that’s an hour away from St. Louis. We went from Alton, IL north up to Grafton, IL … so our date was just a daytrip. But, I believe that the whole River Road goes for quite a ways up and down the Mississippi River, so you could make it as long or as short as you want! Anyway, if you end up going, autumn is the best time of year to go, if you want to see the leaves changing color. But anytime would be fun. There are a few stops that you should try and make along the way!

        1) Great Piasa Bird: This is a well-known painting of a Native American bird on the bluffs.

        2) Fin Inn: This is a small seafood restaurant in Grafton. I still have memories of going there as a child.

        3) Eckert’s Orchard: There are a few Eckert’s around the area, but we went to the one north of Grafton. You can go on a hayride and pick your own fruit and pumpkins, depending on what’s available throughout the year.

        Also, Grafton is known for eagle-watching from December through February. (I never did it before.) There is also a ferry somewhere that takes you across the Mississippi River between Missouri and Illinois, and I heard that the view is lovely around there, too.


  9. I went mini-golfing on a date once, and it was a lot of fun! It wasn’t a first date though. I generally like first dates to be very low key. It takes some of the pressure off.

    Have you even seen Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo? Essentially millionaires are matched up with ordinary men and women, and they go on super extravagant first dates. Like helicopter rides or dinner at the top of a volcano.

    • I’m with you on low-key, low-pressure dates.

      I haven’t seen that show, but those dates sound pretty crazy and unique. I’m sure they make for good TV…I wonder if they’d actually make for good dates.

      One element of those dates is that you have cameras follow you around. That would be annoying but also interesting because you have all this footage after the date. How about a date where you hire a photographer to take photos of the two of you during the date? Then after the date you have all these amazing visuals. It would work best for walks through the park and other outside dates.

  10. My best first date was nothing special, but I still remember it. (It wasn’t with a stranger, though, so not sure it counts.) We had Chinese food, then went to a live music show. We ended up leaving at intermission, grabbing a couple bottles of wine, and parking down by the lake (It’s not what you think!!). We laid on the hood of the truck, drank wine, and he pointed out constellations and we talked about the stories behind them, mythology, etc.

    I later realized, of course, that he probably only learned those things so he could woo women on first dates, but at the time…total swoon.


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