First of all, nothing will impress your date if you don't. So, make sure you are prepared for the date before actually planning the date. And when you do get started, don't overdo it. Good first date ideas don't need to be complicated.
"Way too often people make the mistake of going way too elaborate on a first date in an effort to impress the other person," says psychotherapist and author Jonathan Alpert. "The danger in this approach is it can backfire. If there isn't chemistry, then it leads to an awkward hour or more together and also can come with quite an expense."
Just try to create an environment in which you can comfortably meet and connect with the other person. (Hint: This does not include going to a movie.) A first date doesn't need to be anything more complicated than that. But if you're still at a loss for first-date activities, here are some fun, unique things you can do. If you're worried about expense, try out some of these ideas too.
Play to Your Passions
Share a hobby. What is your favorite thing to do? Hiking? Bowling? Slam poetry? Take your date along with you. Sharing your passion is a great way to connect with other people. Your date will get to see you at your best, and since you're the expert, you will get a chance to show him or her the ropes.
Volunteer. Maybe your favorite way to spend your time is to give it to others. Are you a regular volunteer at the local animal shelter, soup kitchen or food pantry? Most places welcome walk-in volunteers and are happy to have an extra hand. As long as your date is comfortable with it, volunteering together is a great way to start any relationship.
Browse a book or record store. If your favorite pastimes tend to be more sedentary—reading, listening to music, painting—browsing a used book or record store is a perfect first date. Even if you aren't a collector, books and music are great conversation starters. You can share your favorite modern albums or reflect on the songs of your childhood.
Go to the park. Play Frisbee. Have some fun on your first date. Do something that you don't get a chance to do very often. Toss the Frisbee around and stroll in the park. Walk your dog. Do something interactive but easy, like lawn games. Play bags, croquet, bocce ball and the like. But do not play lawn darts: If you spike your partner in the foot, you will not get a second date.
Geocache. If you're looking for a more unique way to get moving, try geocaching. It's an outdoor, real-world treasure hunt that uses GPS on smartphones. If all goes well, you'll find hidden treasure. If you don't find your cache, well, you know what to do for date number two! Find out more.
Start a Little Friendly Competition
Play cards or a board game. There's nothing like a little friendly competition to get sparks flying. We recommend going to a coffee shop, one that has board games to borrow, or bring your own from home. Then you can play when conversation is slow, or if things are going well, abandon the game entirely. No pressure. Avoid Monopoly, unless you want the date to last four hours and end with one person going bankrupt.
Go to an arcade. Nostalgic activities like playing arcade games are so much fun on dates. You can compete to see who gets the high score or just play for fun; however, for the ultimate bonding experience, hit the two-player games.
Go with the Flow
Flip the town. Sometimes the best plan is no plan at all. Start in one corner of a downtown area. Flip a coin to decide to go right or left. Then when you find a possible date venue, flip a coin to decide to go in or keep moving. Let the coin decide your choice for you!
Check the local listings. Find out what is happening in your area. Whether it's a concert, a farmer's market, a festival, a conference, or a magic show, give it a shot. It may be terrible or it may be wonderful, but either way it will give you and your date lots to talk about when you go out for drinks afterward.
Keep It Simple
Stick to coffee. "It's really about the conversation and nurturing a connection more than the restaurant or setting," Alpert says. "A cup of coffee is ideal because there's an easy exit if things aren't working out, and if they are, that coffee can last hours."