You’ve sailed through date one. Congrats! You two either have great chemistry or you’ve both got a feeling deep-down that there’s something in the other person worth pursuing. Now’s the time to lock down a great encore performance that will lead to dates three, four, and potentially the rest of your life.
So what’ll it be? Don’t stress! We’ve gathered here all of the best post-debut date ideas that will guarantee you keep the good times rolling. And if you’ve just asked out someone you’ve only just met, we’ve got your covered, too. Here are the 40 Non-Cliché First Date Ideas.
Go on a Ferry or Boat Ride
There’s something undeniably romantic about being on the water. If you live somewhere you can take a ferry ride, rent a rowboat, or even hire a yacht for the day, go for it. Even better, try a dinner cruise. When you’re coasting on waves, distractions fall away and you can truly focus on your connection. If you remember any of the sexiest things to say on a first date, you can legally become Captain Romance.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
“This is great for a second date during the day,” says Michelle Ngome, a speaker, author, and connection enthusiast. “This activity really allows one’s personality to come out through patience, energy, and collaboration.” Prepare it yourself, or hire a service to do it for you.
Make a Meal Together
If you bonded over food on your first date, this can be a natural fit for a second encounter. Whether you opt to make something simple or complex, this is a great way to see how compatible you are while working together to create something delicious. Make sure you get those details during the text flirting stage: the Grown Man’s Guide to Flirting on Instagram will help you do it.
Do an Open Mic Night
It might sound crazy, but hear us out, especially if you know how to sing. (If you can’t you may want to scroll on.) “Find a local venue that holds an open mic night and sign up,” suggests suggests J. Hope Suis, a relationship expert and author. “You can each do a solo act, or join forces for a duo. So what if you have no real talent? The goal is to attempt something new. At the end of the night, if you had fun and a new memory, it will be an award winning performance.”
Hit The Slopes
If you live near a ski mountain and you both like skiing or snowboarding, spend an afternoon getting some exercise together. There’s plenty of time to chat while you take the lift up to the top, and the time spent skiing down the mountain takes some of the pressure off of the need for constant conversation.
Try Indoor Skydiving
“While this date can be a bit pricey, discount deal sites can be the way to go to make it more affordable,” says Stef Safran, a dating and matchmaking expert. “Why not try something out of the ordinary?” Experiences that scare you a little bit are amazing to bond over.
Go On a Double Date
Did a friend introduce you to each other? Grab dinner, make homemade cocktails, or have an afternoon picnic together. Seeing how your date interacts with others is crucial, and it can make conversation flow a little bit more easily. Don’t miss the subtle cues at the dinner table—check out our guide on reading body language cues.
Run a Race
Not a marathon, obviously, but something short and sweet. “If you know from your first date that you both are into fitness, find a themed run to do together,” suggests David Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship expert. “They provide a good chance to talk, get some activity in, and have fun.”
Head to a bar with a pool table or better yet, a pool hall, and challenge each other to a game—or a few. You’ll have the chance to get a little bit competitive and flirty, all while chatting in a low-pressure environment. If you live a in place with a lot of pool halls, you might live in one of the 50 Cities with the Best Singles Scenes in America.
Take a Paddleboarding Class
“To make up for the missing first-date adrenaline, I usually suggest something a bit more active for the second date—and it should be something that neither person has tried before,” explains Sunny Rodgers, a clinical sexologist and certified sex coach. “I often suggest a paddleboard class followed by paddleboarding together.”
Check Out a Hot Air Balloon Festival
Or rent out a hot air balloon for just the two of you. “You want more time to talk on a second date, but this is also a great time to see how your date deals with other people, which will tell you a lot about his or her values,” explains Patty Newbold, author of the award-winning blog Assume Love. That’s why a festival is ideal. “You might want to have in mind a place for lunch or dinner after, just in case it’s going really well.”
Make a Bonfire
Head to the beach or your backyard and build a bonfire together. Make s’mores, have a few drinks, and enjoy each other’s company. Remember: upping the romance factor is only one of the 80 Amazing Benefits of Wine.
If there’s a lake or river nearby, head out for a quick dip together. If a local public pool is open after dark, night swimming together can be super romantic and while feeling totally unexpected.
Attend a Talk
The nice thing about this idea is that the talk can be about absolutely anything. “You get to hear a speaker on a subject that may or may not be of interest to you, but it does create a focus for conversation afterwards that is about both of your observations and opinions that isn’t small talk,” says Janet Zinn, LCSW, a couples counselor.
Hit Up a Rock Climbing Gym
Whether you’re newbies or total pros, taking turns making your way up the wall will get your hearts pumping. For bonus points, take a class where you learn how to belay each other and test out your ability to work as a team.
Go Horseback Riding
Hit the trail on horseback with your date. Seeing how they act around animals can be enlightening, and regardless of your riding level, you can spend some time chatting about something other than typical date fare like work and family.
Any style, any venue—it doesn’t matter. Even if you’re both terrible dancers, an evening out on the dance floor—whether it’s to salsa music or hip hop—is sure to spark romance if there’s any chemistry there.
Check out a Renaissance Fair
True, it might feel a little silly, but that’s kind of the point, right? Go all out with costumes to really get into the spirit. This is a great way to see how seriously your date takes themselves, and whether they’re willing to try out something new and different.
Play Mini Golf
This activity might bring you back to your high school days, but the probability of laughter and flirtiness is high.
Go to an Open House
Not because you’re already planning on purchasing a home together, but because it can be exciting to pretend you are. “It’s fun to see homes and talk about tastes and how you like to live and what you liked or didn’t like about those homes,” Zinn explains.
Have a Board Game Tournament
Head to one of the many bars out there that has board games and spend all afternoon trying to beat each other at your favorite childhood pastimes. Keep score, and whoever loses picks up the tab. It only seems fair, right?
Attend the Symphony or Philharmonic
Taking in some classical music feels sophisticated, and whether or not you love what you hear, you’ll have plenty to talk about afterwards.
Take a Glassblowing Class
Or anything artistic that interests both of you, Newbold says. If not glassblowing, try pottery, sculpture, or drawing.
Go to a Gallery Opening
Museums are fun, but gallery openings tend to feel more like parties, so you’ll get the chance to mingle with the crowd and have a few drinks while you take in some culture.
It’s important to have a destination in mind with this idea—maybe the beach, your hometown if it’s nearby, or an amazing restaurant that’s just a couple of hours away. Wherever you’re headed, make a great playlist, pack some road-friendly foods, and let the conversation flow.
Do a Zip-line Course
“An optimal second date should be an experience that helps create a bond,” says Rodgers. A zip-line course doesn’t require either person to be super athletic, but still provides an exciting adventure to share together.
Attend a Party
Whether it’s your friends or theirs, some would argue that it’s never too early to introduce someone to your crew. Seeing how they mesh with your circle (or how they fit into their own) and deal with social situations can make you even more attracted to your date—or give you a heads up that they’re not the one.
Check Out Holiday Lights
“With winter coming, the holiday season can be fun if you take advantage of the various activities out there,” Safran says. “So many people do up Christmas these days, and visiting various Christmas light shows can make someone’s night. It’s inexpensive and sure to put a smile on anyone’s face!”
DIY a Film Festival
Invite your date over for an at-home film festival. This works best if you agree on a theme or genre of movies ahead of time, and take turns picking what you’ll watch next. Needless to say, movie-watching treats are a must. If you want to really up A/V game, here’s how to turn your backyard into a makeshift movie theater.
Go Apple Picking
This seasonal activity makes for a perfect daytime date that can easily translate into nighttime if it’s going well. Pick your apples, enjoy some cider and donuts, and if you’re both feeling it, have a real meal afterwards.
Grab Rooftop Dinner
Dinner might feel too basic, but dinner with a view? That’s just right. Find a local restaurant that has a rooftop terrace and spend the evening in the open air.
Visit a Local Brewery
Craft breweries are popping up all over the place, and many of them offer tours and tastings for very reasonable prices. Instead of just drinking to drink, learn about how they make their beer and support a local business while you’re at it.
Be Fake Tourists
“Pretend you are visiting your city on vacation and plan accordingly,” Suis recommends. “What are the tourist attractions, hot spots and must-see venues that are listed on your favorite travel sites? Chances are there are some that you have never been to. Take a day, grab your camera and see your hometown in a whole new light.”
Navigate a Corn Maze
What better way to see how compatible you are than getting lost together?
See a Burlesque Show
Depending on your comfort level with bringing some sexiness into the equation, a burlesque show can be an excellent way to ignite passion and see how open your date is to new experiences.
Visit an Archery Range
Fair warning: Archery is not easy, so if you’ve never tried it, it’s best to spring for a lesson, but learning a new skill together is always a good idea.
Try Zombie Paintball
Or laser tag, or anything else that’s typically reserved for teenage boys. They’ll never see an out-of-the-box suggestion like this coming.
Take a Yoga Class
Getting your Zen on with someone can tell you a lot about them. Plus, if you’re both beginners, it can be highly entertaining to watch each other attempt new poses.
Check Out a Musical or Opera
If you’re both into music but don’t want to go to a concert, taking in some vocal stylings can be a great alternative. Plus, you can get all dressed up and have a fancy dinner afterwards.Also
Score points in the romance department by suggesting this one. Bring a cozy blanket, a star map, some great snacks, and beverages of your choice. Avoid putting your foot in your mouth by remembering the 20 Questions You Should Never Ask on a Date.