5 of the Best Places to Go on a First Date

date, couple, relationship

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To so many young people these days, the verb “dating” has almost completely been removed from the lexicon. It’s because we don’t date anymore: We hang out, hook up, and constantly question and seek to define what the status of our relationships are with assumed partners, which is just one of the many subtleties that differentiates the millennial generation from the previous generation. The New York Times has gone so far as to declare that the new form of dating  is “hanging out,” thus marking the end of courtship. “The word ‘date’ should almost be stricken from the dictionary,” said Shani Silver, a social media and blog manager in Philadelphia, in an interview with the The New York Times, after being disappointed by a guy who she had thought she was going on a date with, which turned out to be an inclusion of a hangout with him and his friends. “Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret,” she adds.

All is not lost, though, if you make the conscious choice to be a gentleman and ask someone out on a date, just the two of you. If you’re choosing to go the “old fashioned” route and actually ask someone out on a date and call to make plans, here are few things you should know so you don’t knock yourself out too much. It’s ill-advised to go all-out on a first date. Rather, strive for something creative and fun. A first date may appear casual and spontaneous, but it should be carefully planned even if your date doesn’t know it. Most importantly, a first date should allow both of you to chat and get to know each other. That means you should rule out any first date ideas like the movies, where talking is discouraged. The purpose of going on a first date is to see if you two are compatible in any way, and it’s going to involve some talking.

For those of us that do manage to date in some form or another, Complex reported on the most popular first-date spot in 2015, according to data from the on-demand dating app Clover, which happens to be (sadly) Starbucks. The coffee shop was the most popular spot overall to have a first date; however, the most popular restaurants were Chipotle (for 18- to 24-year-olds), Cheesecake Factory (for 25- to 34-year-olds), and Olive Garden (for those 35 and older) to a collective sigh. As it turns out, not only are we not really dating that much anymore, but those of us that are either lack creativity or just genuinely don’t prioritize impressing our dates.

Another important thing to note: If you take the risk and plan an awesome first date with someone, not only will you reap greater rewards, but you’ll be giving yourself the opportunity to create a greater bond with them. Stay slightly outside your comfort zone, but don’t stray too far from it when planning the date, which can ultimately lead to disaster — or not another date. Here are five of the best places to go on your first date if you’re looking to think outside the box.

1. Drinks at a fancy or underground bar

Depending on the city you live in and the creativity of its watering holes, take your date somewhere where it’s cozy and refined enough that you’ll not only get table service, but delicious cocktails and wine. In other words, go to a bar where it’s designed for you both to talk and get to know each other while sipping on crafted cocktails. It’s one of the best ideas for a casual date, even though it’s not overly creative. Neither of you are distracted by having to order food or having a waiter interrupt you too often. Bonus points if you’re knowledgeable about wine and spirits — impress your date with that knowledge. Which brings us to another idea: Go to a wine tasting, which is very impressive and exudes maturity and sexiness on your behalf, especially if you know about the tannins in wine and whether or not the wine is a good vintage.

 2. Bowling

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Source: iStock

Initially this idea sounds challenging and childish, but it’s not. It’s actually an incredibly sexy and adorable idea for a first date. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it also presents many opportunities for physical contact. This simple first date idea has the potential for a high payoff for you and the possibility of having an emerging relationship with your date. To plan this, all you have to do is simply find an alley (make sure you do a little bit of research), reserve a lane, rent some shoes, and let it flow.

3. Theme park or carnival

Besides going for coffee or brunch, this is yet another acceptable day date if you have enough balls to do it. It reminds one of every cutesy 1950s going-steady type of date scenario or movie (Grease). Going to a theme park or carnival, although fun and subtly romantic, comes with its obstacles to overcome, not to mention a lot of screaming if you both go on a roller coaster together. That is the perfect opportunity to comfort your date and also win them a stuffed animal, and yet another opportunity for excitement and laughter to get both of your hearts racing. Even if it doesn’t go over well, your date will never forget that you took them to a theme park on a first date.

4. Flea market or farmers market

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

This is yet another fantastic day date idea. Although this is also another date where you’ll be surrounded by crowds of people, it’s the kind of date that lets you get to know them without them having to say much. Rather, your talking and walking will be full of information about your date’s personality that you may not have otherwise been privy to until later on in the relationship. As you both walk through a flea market, you’ll notice the things that grab your date’s attention and the artwork or aesthetic they are into. If you choose to walk through a farmers market, you’ll easily be able to tell whether your date is into healthy eating and/or a healthy lifestyle. Either way, it’s an interesting date idea.

5. Museum or art gallery

In keeping with the theme of visual aesthetics, this kind of date can be hit or miss, which also makes it excitingly high-risk. First, it’s important to get a gist of whether your date is into art, history, and/or culture. If they are, you want to choose an exhibit or gallery that doesn’t feel too pretentious and that you know a little something about. By knowing a little about your date’s interests or what they studied in school, this could make for the perfect first date. You’ll come off as the extremely-cultured guy who is interested in your date’s brain and personality, with the rest being just the cherry on top of a packaged deal.

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