Dinner and a Movie? Yawn. First Date Ideas That Are Different!

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So… um… we seem to be getting along pretty well on chat, so how about we go to dinner and a movie on Friday?


There are so many other things you can do for a first date other than dinner and a movie. Why ask her the same question that every other guy has asked when you could do something different that sets you apart from them?

Dinner is all fine and good, but let’s explore some of your other options, shall we?

In alphabetical order (because it’s fun!):

Arcade: Found a gamer girl? She won’t come to your apartment on the first date to challenge you to a game of DDR, but how about meeting at the local arcade? Bonus points if you can find a time to do it when the minors are still in school.


For me, bookstores are great for extending a good coffee shop date. You can learn a lot about a person by the areas of Barnes & Noble they gravitate towards. (For my geek boy, it’s straight to the RPG area – did you know that it’s really hard to find gaming stores in Detroit? Sad but true! You gotta buy your minis at Barnes & Noble or Borders!) Wander the aisles together, talk about books you’ve both read, recommend books to each other… offer to loan her your copy next time you see her…. hint, hint.

Coffee Shop

Coffee shops are great for a few reasons. For starters, it’s a short date. If you’re not sure about her or you feel she’s not sure about you, it’s a very small time commitment and gives you enough time to scope each other out and then bail with no guilt if it’s not going well. The other great reason? Even with the crazy prices at Starbucks, it’s still a cheap date.

Crash A Wedding

Seriously. This is a fun Springtime date, but has to happen mostly by accident. Scope out the outdoor areas in your city where couples get married. Pretty lakes, rose gardens, golf courses, the beach, wherever. Dress semi-fancy (think khakis and a button-down). On a first date, girls will usually dress nicer than jeans anyway. Take her out for a walk in the park, through the public gardens, or on the golf course, where you can happen upon a wedding and stop and watch. Secretly, even if we don’t admit it, we’re all keeping a mental wedding planning list.I don’t recommend actually CRASHING the wedding unless you both have the skills and the guts – and hey, if you do, you’re a great pair!

Dollar Store Challenge

This is a post date fun activity. You each have $5. Tell her to buy 5 things that describe who she is. You do the same. Meet up outside and share your treasures and learn about each other (and your senses of humor!).

Flea Market

These places are totally fun. My geek boy and I went to an indoor flea market and laughed at all the ugly clothes, greasy food, and (scary!) the abundance of tattoo establishments. Some of them cost a few bucks to get in, but the entertainment value is high!

Goodwill/Salvation Army Clothing Challenge

You have $10 each and have to find an outfit suitable for a night out. Pick your own clothes – trust me, you don’t want to start a first date with… “So… what are you? Size 14?


I love mini-golf (even tho I am awful at it). Sadly, as an adult with adult-like responsibilities and with no children in my life, I rarely get to go. So if someone said, “Hey, on Friday, let me take you out for a round of mini-golf. Whoever loses has to buy the ice cream!” I would be all over that!! Again, fun, short time commitment, cheap!

Open Mike

Find a coffee shop or other establishment that has an open mike night. As a Music and Creative Writing double major, these are exquisitely painful, but hilarious. My college bf and I used to go every Thursday. The best poem was one that a guy wrote for his wife… it began… “To my black, black, black, black QUEEN….

Quiz Night

Lots of restaurants and bars have quiz nights. Some have organized games, others just have the controller at your table and you can choose to play against other tables. This is a blast and requires you to work together to win. Teamwork activities are great for building a relationship. Besides, if you pick a weird team name and are winning, the other tables will be saying, “Hey, which table is d20dorks?!?!?

See Local Talent

 Music, theater, dance, art…. check your local artsy newspaper and find something that seems interesting to both of you. Or better yet, let her introduce you to her favorite bit of local flavor! (This will make her feel both secure and valued!)


There are great non-profits in every city that organize volunteer activities, many of which are one day commitments. Why not take your date to landscape the yard of a low-income elementary school? You can get dirty, help the community, and get to know each other. Oh, and did I mention it costs you NOTHING?


Nothing says “first date bonding opportunity” like watching monkeys get it on. Okay, maybe other things do. Maybe.

Happy dating, geek friends.

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