35 Date Night Ideas For When You're Stuck In a Dinner-And-Movie Rut

Couple on a Date


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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
June 12, 2024 at 10:22PM UTC

So you want to impress your date with some totally unique and original date night ideas but your drawing blanks.

Don't sweat it. We've done the homework for you so all you have to worry about is whether or not this person warrants another date.

What is a good date idea?

If you're on the hunt for good date ideas, we've rounded up 35 for you here.

1. Go out for gelato.

Photo via nd3000/AdobeStock
Photo via nd3000/AdobeStock
The only thing better than ice cream is gelato. It's got a much higher proportion of milk and a much lower proportion of cream and eggs (or not eggs), and it's churned at a much slower rate... which all means that it's a lot denser and even more delicious than ice cream. After all, it's Italian. And the Italians know how to do dessert.
So pick your favorite gelato spot in town and go for a casual afternoon date that'll only cost you a couple of bucks.

2. Take a walk in the park.

If you don't have much money to spend, or it's simply really nice outside, go for a walk in the park. You can bring a blanket and some snacks on which to nibble if you find a shady spot to sit. Speakers can make a great touch, so long as you don't have a horribly offensive taste in tunes.

3. Go to a sports game.

Do you share the same love for a sports team or even game in general? Grab tickets for a game! Depending on the sport, the team and the seats you acquire, you don't have to spend too much. Though some games may cost upwards of hundreds, the nosebleeds at a baseball game, for example, might only cost you a few bucks.

4. Check out a concert.

Do you have the same taste in music or admire the same artist? Get yourself and your date some tickets for a concert. Again, depending on the artist and the seats you get, you don't have to spend too much. Lawn seats at a country concert, for example, can go for just about $20, while closer seats at a popular concert easily tap into hundreds.

5. Wander around a market.

Find out when and where the next farmer's or artist market is, and take your date to go wander around it. There's usually food, so you can find a grassy place to sit and enjoy a quick bite, too. You'll only spend on what you decide to buy, which doesn't have to be anything at all. Though you should at least get a coffee or dessert while you're there.

6. Go to dinner.

The dinner date is a classic. Find out what kind of food your date loves and bring them to a favorite or recommended restaurant that serves it. Depending on the type of restaurant you choose, prices will vary.

7. Have brunch.

If dinner feels too formal, consider taking your date to brunch. You'll likely spend a little less than dinner, anyway, considering that there are always brunch deals. And mimosas in the middle of the afternoon sound like a fun time.

8. Go for cocktails in a speakeasy.

If your date likes cocktails, bring them to a speakeasy they never knew existed. Sure, the cocktails will be great, but the best part about this date is getting to show them something new and totally unexpected. Depending on how many cocktails you have, you could easily spend under $100.

9. Experience an escape room.

Escape rooms are a super fun way to work together through a challenge, which brings people closer! Of course, don't bring a first date to an escape room — there's something creepy about locking someone you just met up in a room with you. But if you know each other well, this could be a fun way of getting to know each other more. Escape rooms usually cost about $20-$30/person for about an hour-long experience, though they're sometimes longer.

10. Go camping.

If you're in for an overnight and your date is the outdoorsy type, take them camping. Nothing is more romantic than smores over the fire, under a starry sky. You'll only have to cover the cost of the campsite (which will vary depending on your location) and the snacks you bring alone.

11. Go for a hike.

Hiking is a completely free date (unless you visit a national park that requires an entrance ticket!). For outdoorsy types, this can be a heart-pumping time together.

12. Take out a canoe or kayak.

If you're anywhere near a lake, river or bay, take a canoe or kayak out. You can rent one for the day, usually only for a few dollars. Bring a wet-dry bag for your valuables (or store them somewhere safely while you're out on the water). And bring some snacks and/or beers to enjoy when your arms get tired of paddling.

13. Hit the beach.

Spend the day at the beach with your date if the sun is out. You can do a myriad of activities at the beach, from surfing and beach volleyball to just relaxing beside a speaker playing some soft music.

14. Have a movie marathon.

If you know your date well, a movie marathon could be a fun date idea. (You don't want to spend an entire date with someone new not speaking.) Play some of the classics, or go back and forth introducing each other to your respective favorites.

15. Visit a museum.

Go check out some museums, which are often donation-based. Find out what kind of museum interests your date the most, and decide on anything from an art museum, a history museum, a science museum and more.

16. Play tourist in your own city.

If you both live in the same city and never get a chance to actually go do the touristy things available (or you just take them for granted!), go do them together. Hop on a tourist bus, go on a local tour and check out all the major attractions. The cost of this kind of date will also vary depending on what kinds of tours you take and what kinds of attractions you visit.

17. Go for a scenic drive.

Live nearby somewhere scenic and have (or have access to) a car? Go for a drive. Take your date with you to ride along the backroads, playing some really great music. Bring some snacks to pull over somewhere, pop the trunk and enjoy the sunset.

18. Go for a bike ride.

If you have (or, again, have access to) bicycles, which you can usually rent by the hour or day in most major cities and beach towns, go for a ride. Go explore the neighborhood, head toward some secret hiking trail you know, ride to a market and back, or just ride around aimlessly.

19. Explore an unfamiliar, nearby small town.

There are small towns all over America. And, chances are, there's one near you that you don't know the first thing about. Take your date for a drive over to one of those towns, and wander around it. Have ice cream, lunch or a drink at the town watering hole. Wander around an old record store. Go window shopping at the local antique store. Whatever it is, just enjoy the simple day together.

20. Go stargazing.

There's little more romantic than stargazing. Just make sure you plan this for a night when the moon isn't too bright, and go somewhere more remote to avoid light pollution.

21. Visit nearby thermal baths (indoors or outdoors).

Are there thermal baths in your area? Either indoors or outdoors? This can be a great date for a couple looking to relax and unwind. Prices will vary depending on whether or not it's a spa or an outdoor spot.

22. Hit the bookstore.

Is your date a big reader? Take them for coffee and to wander around a bookstore. You'll undoubtedly learn a lot about each other as you browse the books on the shelves and talk about your favorite reads, authors, genres and more.

23. Go for coffee.

If the bookstore isn't quite up your alley, you can skip it and just do the coffee part, too. A coffee date over lunch hour or in the morning is a simple yet classic idea. You can't go wrong with it, and it's a no-frills way of getting to know the other person without any pressure.

24. Go wine tasting.

Go wine tasting at a nearby vineyard. You can both go for different wine options so you can share them all, and order a cheese platter or another bite to enjoy, too. The cost of the wine tasting will vary depending on the wine you go for.

25. Go see live music at a nearby watering hole.

Maybe there aren't any concerts coming up, but there is a great local band that always plays at the local watering hole on Thursday nights. Bring your date for a casual drink and some dancing.

26. Volunteer together.

If you know what your date is passionate about, ask them if they'd like to go volunteer with you. Take them to an animal shelter, a hospital, a nursing home, a farm, etc. This is a feel-good date that'll be sure to impress them.

27. Go ice skating.

If it's the right time of year, take your date out on the ice rink for some skating. If they don't know how to skate, you can teach them. If you don't know how to skate... keep reading.

28. Go on a food tour.

Food tours are a fun way to get to know a city and check out places you might never have found on your own. Bring your date to eat your way through the town, trying all sorts of famed foods and local favorites.

29. Go to an outdoor movie.

Don't just go to any movie theater; go to an outdoor cinema. This is a much more romantic date but, again, only go for a movie if you already know your date well. There's no sense in taking a first date out to a spot where you can't actually talk to them.

30. Go on a scavenger hunt in your city.

There are tons of city-wide scavenger hunt services and apps out there to explore your city. Call in some help from friends to download an app like GooseChase, for example, and even have them create you a totally unique scavenger hunt.

31. Take a cooking class.

If you love cooking but wish you'd be better in the kitchen, bring your date with you to a cooking class. After the class, you can enjoy the dinner you made together. Cooking classes vary in price, but it's not difficult to find one well under $60.

32. Cook dinner together at home.

If you already know how to cook well, invite your date over for a home-cooked meal. Supply some wine, cocktails or beer to be enjoyed over dinner, as well.

33. Go to a wine-and-paint shop.

There are tons of shops where you can go and paint together while sipping wine. There's a teacher and usually one concept the whole class paints together. It'll be a good laugh, even if you can't paint.

34. Go skiing/snowboarding.

If it's the right season and you're anywhere near a mountain, take your date for a day on the slopes. If they don't know how to ski or snowboard, this is your perfect opportunity to teach them.

35. Go rock climbing.

Try your hand at rock climbing if you haven't already. There are tons of indoor rock-climbing gyms if you don't know of a spot outdoors or if it's the wrong season, too. What better way to take your date higher?

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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