Especially at the beginning, a good date can make or break a relationship. But even later in the relationship, when things are on a more solid footing, it’s still important to keep the spark alive by trying new things.
Not all good date ideas involve spending exorbitant sums or doing something crazy (though some do). Mostly, a good date just means having fun with person you care about, with a diversion that entertains without distracting you from one another.
Need some help with ideas? No problem! Below you’ll find 12 good date night ideas to help you set the mood at your next hangout.
1. Go on a beach adventure.
When you think, “good date idea”, the beach probably tops the list.
It’s true that the beach is beautiful, which always helps set the scene for romance. It’s also true that if you live within driving distance of one, it’s a cheap and easy way to spend a day or an evening.
However, if you want your date to have the most effect, try putting a unique twist on it. Bring a metal detector for some geeky adventuring, or rent surfboards and an instructor for a few hours. Walking and staring at the waves is nice, but it’s not always that exciting.
2. Go to an arcade.
Arcades are really fun, and more and more of them serve food and drinks to age of-patrons. Pro tip: Choose an establishment that has at least one game you’re really good at. Nothing impresses a guy (or another girl, for that matter!) like kicking ass at Pacman.
3. Go on a hike.
Hiking is a common date idea, and a good one. It leaves lots of room to chat, for one thing. For another, the sweeping views associated with many treks put people in an awestruck frame of mind, which makes them more receptive to romantic feelings for one another.
4. Get your workout on at the gym.
This isn’t the ideal date idea for everyone, but believe it or not, the gym is a killer place to spend some quality time together.
If you’re buff and you’re not afraid to show your body off, suggest a hangout spotting one another at the weights, or pair up next to one another at the elliptical machines. Everyone can use company when they’re sweating it out, and afterwards you can get a juice together and walk it off.
Note that this is a more appropriate idea once you’ve been seeing each other for a bit, though.
5. Engage in a battle of table tennis.
Ping pong, on the other hand, is a great idea any old time. Who doesn’t love swatting a ball back and forth with paddles?
Whether you’re a pro or a total newbie, table tennis is a really fun way to up the laughs and goof around with your love interest. If you’re both truly hopeless, sign up for a class.
6. Go to a local sporting event.
If you guys are both into the same sports team, the choice is obvious: go see a game, a match, a tournament. Even if only one of you likes this team, it’s a fun way to share a common interest. Just be sure to get tickets in advance.
7. Meet at a local coffee shop.
While meeting at a coffee shop sounds like the quintessential trite date, it can actually be a great way to get to know someone new or deepen your relationship with someone you’re already into.
It’s also a great place to start building sexual tension with dirty talk using this advice.
Choose somewhere relatively busy so you don’t constantly have to worry that your friendly chatter or flirting will be overheard. That’s a serious romance killer.
8. Have fun at a party with mutual friends.
If you two have friends in common, a party can make for a safe and inviting atmosphere. Set expectations beforehand for what you will tell your friends and how you will act, even if those expectations are only in your own head.
It will help you from going too far or embarrassing yourself in front of your pals.
9. Go to pub trivia night.
Trivia is a great date idea if you have a natural flair for pop culture tidbits, sports facts and literary info.
The friendly competitive spirit and free-flowing libations can free you and your date up to get to know one another, but beware: This isn’t a good activity if one of you is terrible at trivia. Then it might just be embarrassing.
10. Battle your date in paintball or laser tag.
Okay, so it sounds a lot like Ten Things I Hate About You, but paintball is a super fun way to get your adventurous side on.
If you can’t handle the painful smack of the paintballs (bearable, but it hurts), try laser tag instead … just don’t let the 12-year-olds bother you.
11. Spend some time at your house.
Okay, it sounds a bit extreme, especially for a first date, but your house isn’t necessarily the worst place to hang out.
If you’ve got a neat hobby you don’t mind showing off — such as a rad book collection, say, or are a stellar hand at exotic cuisine — it’s fun to have your romantic interest over and show him what you can do.
12. Go on an exciting helicopter ride and take in the view.
Talk about a good date idea. Being a mile high, looking down on the sights of your city or some breathtaking natural splendor, pumps you full of adrenaline and dopamine, both of which make you and your partner more receptive to love. Take advantage.
Coming up with a good date idea might seem trivial, but it can prove you took time to think about the relationship and that you care about where it goes.
It can also put both of you in the right space to spark deeper romance, because having fun and doing new things helps people fall in love.