23 creative and unconventional first date ideas



couple on date
Skip the usual dinner and take your date to a cooking class or arcade instead.

  • Thinking of a first date idea besides dinner or drinks can be difficult.
  • Insider created a list of unique date ideas that will help you stand out as you try to find the one.
  • From brewery hopping to cooking classes, there's no shortage of fun you can have on a first date.
You can take a baking or cooking class together.

A couple cooking together.
A new relationship often means a few more date nights and special dinners.

Places like Sur la Table offer gourmet classes and "date nights" in person and online. 

Specialty bars will make grabbing a drink more fun.

conversation ice bar
Bars don't have to be boring.

Whether it's a themed bar, a bar that lets you create your own drink, or something undercover like a speakeasy, it'll take "grabbing drinks" to a whole new level.

You can volunteer together if you want a change of pace.

A woman and a man pick up trash from a beach.
Doing service work together might bring you closer together.

Doing a beach clean-up, working at a soup kitchen, or helping build a house will reveal how caring the person you're dating is, and it'll get your relationship started on the right foot. 

Brewery and winery tours offer hands-on fun.

Two women lean together at a brewery.
There are breweries almost everywhere.

If you aren't located near any wineries, there are breweries all over the country.

You could also head to a bar that offers flights of beers or wine for a similar experience.

You can stop by an animal shelter to play with — or adopt — a furry friend.

playing with dogs
Dogs make everything more fun.

If you're an animal lover and want your partner to be one too, find the ASPCA near you or a local animal shelter and spend the day among dogs and cats.

You can see how your date interacts with animals in a low-stakes environment, and even if they aren't the one for you, you could find the pet of your dreams.

You can get to know your date while you thrift.

A man and a woman look at a pair of pants at a thrift store.
Thrift shopping can be a fun date.

Whether you're a seasoned thrifter or novice, you'll have fun going through bins to find hidden treasures or trying on outrageous things people have given away. 

Head to a karaoke bar with your date.

A couple singing together in a bar.
Singing can break the ice.

Sure it can be cheesy and embarrassing, but you'll be able to tell if the person is down to get silly sometimes. 

Attending a ghost tour can help you break the ice.

haunted house
Haunted houses can be fun for dates.

Small towns and big cities alike are known to host cheesy, lantern-lit ghost tours at night.

If you're lucky, your date will jump into your arms.

You can attend a poetry or book reading together.

A couple looks at a book in a book store.
Readings are often free.

Search for local readings from both famous and aspiring artists. You might be surprised by how romantic it feels to take in art with your date.

You can hit up a local trivia night.

A woman and a man play trivia at a bar.
Trivia can teach you a lot about the world and your date.

Your favorite bar probably does a weekly or monthly trivia night, even if you don't know it.

They're often on weekdays, which makes it perfect for anyone who works weekends or wants to spice up their work week. 

You can flirt with your date at an arcade.

A man and a woman play at an arcade.
Arcades offer nostalgic fun.

If you head to an arcade bar, you can throw it back to the Pac-Man days with a side of beer. 

If you like the outdoors, you can hit the slopes or take a hike.

Two men press their noses together. One man carries a dog in a backpack.
Outdoor dates are a fun, affordable option.

If you find your closest natural wonder and get lost outside, you can get to know your date with some peace and quiet.

Rather than just heading to a theater, you can go to an interactive play.

A couple at a play.
Plays are always a good idea.

Check out your local arts section in the paper or online to find an interactive play like Sleep No More or something at Chicago Theater Works. 

You might be surprised by how much fun you have at a trampoline park.

trampoline park
It's an adventurous date idea.

Trampoline parks are like bouncy houses for adults.

You can test out your best tricks and show your date your playful side. 

A weird museum will give you and your date plenty to talk about.

A man and a woman look at a display in a museum.
Museums are a great place to talk.

There's the Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles, Cancún's Underwater Museum, and, if you're bold enough, there's the Museum of Sex in NYC. 

Enjoy your date by wandering around a flea market together.

Two women walk through a flea market.
Flea markets are perfect for day dates.

Spend the day looking through people's old junk and find your own treasures. Maybe you'll end up with a cute keepsake from your first date. 

If you're going on a date in the fall or winter, you can carve pumpkins or go look at lights.

couple pumpkin carving
Take advantage of the season.

The holiday season offers dates that are simple, cheap, and a good start to many memories together.

You can settle in for a puzzle night.

couple puzzle
Puzzles will give you space to talk.

See how well you two work together with a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle or the New York Times Sunday crossword. 

If you're a fan of the fates, you can get your palms read or see a psychic.

palm
Get the fates involved in your date.

There's nothing like having a psychic tell you whether or not you two are right for each other on the first date.

Even if you don't agree with their telling, you can bond over the experience. 

Sports fans can go to a driving range or batting cage.

Two women play mini golf.
Golf is fun regardless of your skill.

Topgolf has revolutionized this athletic activity, but you could even play it old school and find local ranges or cages to use.

For those who are near a farm, you can go pick your own fruit.

apple picking couple
This is another great seasonal date.

Turn the strawberries, apples, or blackberries that you pick into pies or jams afterward — if you want to spend more time together.

You can make art together.

A couple looks at each other as they paint.
It doesn't matter if the paining is good.

You can head to Painting with a Twist or take a pottery lesson together. 

Bowling is a tried and true date option.

A woman and a man both reach for bowling balls.
Bowling is a go-to for fun dates.

They even have bowling bars like Splitsville or bowling alley and concert venue combos these days. 

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