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The Best Date Nights For When You’re Completely Out of Ideas

July 26, 2021

Not sure what to do for date night? I have you covered.

For someone that doesn’t love dating, I love planning adventures – especially dates. I love getting to know people, spending quality time with both new friends and old, and just doing things. I love romanticizing moments and creating memories with people. 

If you struggle in the dating department like me, or just want some new ideas for your next date night (whether it’s a first or thousandth with a spouse), settle in for the next few minutes and get inspired with me.

FOR THE INTROVERT OR CONVERSATION AVERSE

Let’s start easy. Sometimes you have a long day and just don’t want to talk. Or you’re on the shy side and don’t want to open up to a stranger from the get-go. I get it. It’s exhausting and hard and feels like you’re word vomiting to someone who is silently judging you (trust me – they aren’t; they’re in their own head thinking about their facial expression and body language and how badly they need to pee or breathe normally). 

Thankfully you have a few great options. If you want to be in your date’s presence but not have to really put in any effort, going to the movies is a classic. Tune in for that flick you’ve been waiting for or mix it up and choose one at random. Yeah, it might feel like a waste of money if that movie is not up to your liking, but now you’ll have something to laugh about together for the next dates. If the movies feel like a tired concept, go to a bookstore, grab a coffee, and just read together. Better yet – pick each other’s books out. You get a look into their mind through whatever they choose for you. Or stick to the entertainment route and check out a live “something”. It doesn’t have to be an upbeat concert – find a slam poetry place, restaurant or bar with live music, a local production of a play, a quartet or chamber orchestra. 

FOR THE CHILL GUY AND GAL

This one really just gets to the basics. This is ideal for first dates or when you just don’t feel like thinking about planning. Get coffee or a drink. If you live in a big city like me, the options are limitless. Literally. It feels like there’s a new coffee shop or bar opening up every week. It’s inexpensive, it can go for as long as you like (stop at one drink or order another round to keep the conversation flowing), and there’s no expectations on what you need to do. Just sit there and talk about life. Ask questions of each other. 

If you want to take it up a level, you can go through the motions of my favorite first date plan (which guys just seem to always know I want to do without even knowing me – I love it). Take the date to the sidewalks or nearby park. Grab a coffee and bite to go and stroll around in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery or stopping in at stores along the street. It turns into a little adventure and lets you get to know each other a bit more.

Maybe you want to really get to know the person you’re with, no matter how long you’ve actually known each other. There’s two questionnaires I absolutely adore: the free route – look up the 36 questions that lead to love. It’s three sets of questions that really dig into who we are in our innermost being. You’ll feel vulnerable and hopefully as authentic as ever. The questions range from light-hearted to emotional, so get ready to open up. The second is a viral card game called “We’re Not Really Strangers”. Yes, I was Instagram-influenced into finally buying this. This one goes much deeper. I’ve only played it with my four closest friends and there were TEARS. But don’t doubt me – once I find a guy that matches my crazy, I’m 100% breaking it out on the first date. Or maybe the third.

FOR THE ADVENTURE BUFF

Now let’s get the party started. This category is gonna need your creative muscles, so get them warmed up. I’ll give you some ideas, but you’ll need to put in the leg work for your area. Let Google maps and Yelp be your friend. Find out if your hometown has a website dedicated to listing upcoming events (like this one in Houston, TX). Or even let your friends and Instagram followers weigh in. The options are quite literally limitless.

This theme is me at heart, so I have way too many ideas. Let me break them up into a few categories.

For the active/outdoorsy people: hop around the nearby parks – bonus points if you can scout out a local forest, State Park, National Park, etc. Bring water and snacks and hit the trails. Or grab/rent bikes and pedal through them. Drive to the beach for sunrise or sunset and enjoy some time in the waves. Head to the lake or bay and rent kayaks to paddle around. Look up the closest place for fruit picking – apples, blueberries, and strawberries have long seasons!

For the city dwellers: depending on the size of your hometown, your options will vary. Cheer on the hometown team (you don’t have to just do major leagues, c’mon – they need people cheering in the stands too). Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, you name it. Work your way through a few museums or art galleries. Hit up a trampoline park or skating rink for some cardio fun. Relive your childhood field trips at the zoo, aquarium, or botanical gardens. Find an arcade and challenge each other to every game possible. Do the same at the bowling alley or TopGolf. 

For more sit-down type adventures: look up the newest restaurant and become food critics for the evening. Tour a brewery or vineyard and taste as much as you’d like. Or even a coffee roastery. Choose a random show or performance to check out – open mics, slam poets, improv, musicians, bands, ballet, opera, orchestra, the list goes on. 

FOR THE ROMANTIC AT HEART

I don’t consider myself a romantic, but I have a soft spot for wooing someone and being absolutely wooed. If you want your life (or maybe just one afternoon) to feel like it’s right out of your favorite novel or rom-com, let’s dig in.

Option one: find a park that isn’t super packed with people. This will be your starting point. Pack a picnic, blanket, and deck of cards or some other form of entertainment. You don’t have to get crazy with this. You can pack up some tupperware dishes with finger foods and pass them back and forth, or just stop off and grab pre-made stuff at the grocery store or even fast food from a drive thru. Take it up a level with a bottle of something bubbly (whether sparkling water or something a little extra) and a charcuterie board. Enjoy your afternoon in the sunshine with some great food and drinks, a round or two of your card game of choice, some soft music, and watch the clouds float by and sunset together. 

Option two: time for a classic night out. Go to that expensive restaurant you’ve heard about and wanted to try for a while. It’s time for a little splurge, right? Get dressed up to the 9s and feel extra confident, dine in at that fancy place that only takes reservations, and maybe slow dance to live music if they have it. Bask in the elegant ambiance.

Option three: a classic night in. If you’re having some nice weather, get creative in the backyard/balcony/patio. Set up your outdoor furniture with flatware, wine glasses, candles, string lights, and fresh flowers. Make it look like something straight out of a Pinterest board. The cook of the relationship (or if you both love cooking), whip up a fantastic meal. Maybe try only new recipes for the night to switch things up. Or pick up something from the restaurant you both love and serve it out like you’re dining instead of eating out of the containers. Dine under the stars and slow dance to your favorite songs blasting from a bluetooth speaker. If you can, set up a fire pit afterwards and make s’mores or just sit there sipping wine and enjoying each other’s company. And if you’re married, well – the mood is set 😉 

If you have a date idea theme you want planned out, drop it in the comments! And maybe I’ll have some more dates in the future and can come back with more.

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