Dating Advice

How to Choose Where To Go on a First Date


Ah, the nerve-wrecking, palm sweat inducing event that gives merit to seven wardrobe changes.

You’ve asked her out, and she said yes. Now comes the first date.

How do you choose where to go?

First, forgo the typical movies and dinner. Pa-leeez.


Well, there are obvious flaws in this traditional first date.

For the first two hours, you can’t talk.
For the next two hours, you have to talk.

The secret to choosing a great activity for a first date is following these guidelines:

1. Don’t choose an activity where you can’t easily talk because it’s taboo (movies) or too loud (hockey game, salsa club). The whole point is to get to know the person. Think more on the terms of an activity that involves you both “doing” instead of “watching and viewing.” (musicals, plays, concerts)

2. But choose an activity that distracts from talking (putt-putt) so that you don’t have the pressure of talking the entire time. Having dinner on a first date gives you the opportunity to talk without noise or being in a taboo environment, but dinner with weird silences makes things uncomfortable. Dinner puts too much pressure on talking, and it’s exacerbated by it’s formality. Compare that to talking, playing pool, and shooting darts at a bar. If nobody is talking, it’s not obvious because you’re both also concentrating on the act of playing a game. This frees you up to ask questions at random without pressure, and you’re able to talk on and off.

3. Don’t choose an activity where your date is forced to have physical contact with you. (Salsa dancing) You have to build up to the physical contact! You don’t want your date to feel like she has to be touching you sooner than when she’s ready. Save those kinds of dates for later.

4. Don’t choose an activity where you’re both going to be sweating profusely. (hiking, salsa dancing) This is up in the air, but I know most women want to look their best on a first date and not have to worry about sweating a lot and having to change later in the date, reapplying makeup, freshening up, etc. Let’s be nice to the ladies. They put in a great deal of effort to look and smell nice for you on a first date.

5. Forgo formal activities. Save the ballet, opera, museum and four star dinner for later on. The more formal the event is, the more uptight you both will feel. You’re already both a bundle of nerves, why make it more difficult by placing yourself in a formal environment? You both want to loosen up, relax and be comfortable. You don’t want to worry about a dress code and proper etiquette on a first date. The key to great first dates is laughter and flirting, and you want to do an activity or be in a place that doesn’t discourage that. I’d rather go to Bingo than an upscale restaurant on a first date! At least with Bingo you have the entertainment of watching old people who are deathly serious about a game. It’s hilarious! If you’re thinking, “But I want to impress her with these classy, expensive outings,” remember, you want someone that’s impressed with you, not what your money can buy.

6. Choose something that involves physical exertion. Again, we’re not talking about anything that involves sweating profusely, but something with some physical activity is good for both of you to exert nervous energy into.

7. Don’t choose an activity where you’re not going to be in the public eye. It’s too soon to be completely alone. For example, hiking in the wilderness would probably freak her out since she’d be out of the public eye. Regardless of how safe she feels around you or how attracted she is to you, she doesn’t know you well enough to be in that kind of position where she doesn’t have an out. Men and women are different and we have different concerns. Think about what would possibly concern her on the date.

Alright guys, with all that in mind, here are ideas of dates that follow most of these guidelines:

1. Putt-putt golf and then browsing through a local chocolatier shop.

2. Going to a carnival or state fair. You can win her a stuffed toy!

Playing pool and darts at a bar and eating burgers.

4. Going bowling and getting pizza

5. Playing frisbee at the park and having a bottle of wine on a blanket on the grass

6. Playing a two person board game or cards and eating wings at a public clubhouse

Cooking a meal together to give away at a nursing home or shelter. (if this works out, suggest using her place so she feels safer) (a girl loves a humanitarian man who knows how to cook!)

8. Grabbing a coffee and browsing through the humor section of a bookstore. Find a spot on the floor and read jokes together. (Another great date book is Would You Rather.)

Picking up some healthful snacks at a specialty health food store and going to a petting zoo and feeding the animals. Bring the snacks for the two of you. Don’t forget hand sanitizer!

10. Rollerblading through a park and getting ice cream.

11. Going to a shooting range and then grabbing some tacos on the way home.

12. Walking through your town’s downtown cobblestone paved mainstreet and checking out local shops.

13. Going on a bike tour of your city and grabbing some sandwiches after.

14. Any local festival that your city sponsors that is outdoors and has music, food and/or games- (Wine festival, Greek festival, Strawberry festival, Art festival, Fall Festival)

Go to an arcade, order some burgers, and be a kid again!

Thanks to my friend, Heather Mae, for her input on this topic!

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Article written by:

I love thinking about the intricacies of dating, love and life. I share my tiny lessons in the hope that it helps you as you navigate the dating world.

Join the discussion

  1. Jeffrey

    For the guy in the picture, well for the first thing loose the glasses, nothing says “I,m an inferior spacemen” like big coke bottles on your face. Second, a red tie with a white shirt? what the heck man! You know what, lose the tie altogether, it,s far to business casual this is a date not an office meeting I mean come on man. Last but not least, what the heck is with the choice of paint? is that pumpkin orange? lose it!! If this guy heeds my words he will do just fine.

  2. MidoriLei

    Jeffrey. LMAO. be nice!

  3. Judith

    Oh, Jeffrey, you’re so wrong. It impresses me to no end when a man acts likes a grownup and shows enough respect for me that he wears a tie. And, quite frankly, I think glasses are adorable.

  4. Linda

    Very interesting topic. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with everybody.

  5. Marie M

    As a woman, I can verify that these are great tips. You put a lot of thought into WHY certain dates aren’t a good idea at the early stage of the game. I’ve also come across some great ideas for first dates and future ones under Dating Tips on Check them out.

  6. Unknown

    There is this girl i like….and she likes me too…actually she said she loves me…and this is my first gf and i didnt know how to ask her out so i came to the good old internet…

  7. MidoriLei

    How do you ask a girl out? Well, if she already told you she loves you, it should be pretty easy. Are you old enough to drive? Take some of the above suggestions and say something casual and confident like, “So there’s this concert/party/event/etc… on Friday night I want to take you to. Are you free?”

    after she agrees, make sure you confirm that she knows it’s a “romantic” outing by saying, “So it’s a date?” And smile confidently:)

  8. Unknown

    kk thank you

  9. Anonymous

    Theres this girl in my 1st hour who i like and i think she likes me. We make eye contact almost everyday for the past couple months. I would have gone up to her to start a conversation but im kinda shy and dont like it. Im a sophomore and shes a junior, we have similar classes so it would be easy to be with her since we’d be in the same hallway. I would just want to know a good way to confront her. Should i just do what my friends say, suck it up and ask her or should i try another approach? Advice Wanted

  10. MidoriLei

    Anonymous, go for it! The best line is, “Hey, my name is______. What’s you’re name?” Smile and give her the eye. Be confident she will be responsive. Women dig confidence. Then say “So (insert name here) what do you like to do for fun? Can I take you out to _____ sometime?” She might seem hesitant. If she is smiling but acting like she’s not interested, she’s just playing hard to get. Keep going. don’t let that stop you. if she is not smiling and looks annoyed, that’s a way to tell she really isn’t interested. But if she is smiling, say, “come on. come on. I’m different. You’re not going to regret it. Just one date. come one.” and smile like you are confident she will say yes!

    Good luck!

  11. Glad

    Don’t listen to jeffrey…Its better to have the glasses and look like a nerd than for you to walk into a light pole on your way out of your house. Plus the best thing is to be you…that might sound cliche but it is true…be confident in who you are…if she can’t like you for that, she is most probably not going to be the best girl for you…

  12. anaynamous

    Interesting suggestions and good-quality answers. I will try to apply these strategies to any new relationionships.

  13. prince6688

    the most popular place for a first date is a coffee shop. For one thing, no alcohol is served here, which eliminates the potential of drinking too much to bolster your courage and sociality (and then making a complete ass out of yourself.) It’s also easier to walk away from this kind of date after a brief exchange.

    On the other hand, if you don’t like this person enough to commit to a 2-3 hour date, maybe you aren’t really ready to meet them, and you should just go back to happy hours. Since this can be such an awkward situation, the first date should include some activity.

    This gives you something to do and think about besides trying to impress your date; if you don’t really like your date, at least you can enjoy the activity (something you might not ordinarily do by yourself); you don’t feel the need or pressure of selling yourself in a short space of time it shouldn’t feel like a job interview! just visit making good friends and get more tips about dating.

  14. Scott K.

    Do my eyes decieve me? A shooting range!!!! I don’t like this idea at all!! I mean, really? Handing a loaded firearm to a virtual stranger, YIKES!! I’ll go with the petting zoo!!

  15. MidoriLei

    Scott K.!!! LMAO!

    noted. you make a good point.

  16. Chad

    Midori, I have a bone to pick.

    3. SAY the word “date” or “dinner.” Avoid the childish play; avoid the vague, cowardly ” lets hang out.” FRIENDS hang out. Buddies hang out. LOVERS do not “hang out.” Those words, “hang out” are the keys to the FRIEND ZONE. Also, don’t ask her out to lunch or to coffee. Show her you’re the gentleman, willing to fork up the bill for dinner, not trying to hurry love with a coffee date. Give her the time and the effort. They don’t make the expression “caffeinated and pastried.” Gentlemen, it’s “wined and dined.” Do it right.

    I’m confused. Coffee, no coffee. Arcades, no arcades. Burgers, no burgers. Wine and dine. Which is it? 😛

    • MidoriLei


      so sorry for the confusion! It’s all good, coffee, arcades, burgers wine and dine as long as you call it a “DATE”… but the preference is wine and dine. It shows that you’re a true gentleman.

  17. Pingback: Questions To Ask A Potential Love Interest - | Relationship, Marriage and Sex Tips

  18. SteveB

    What about getting a massage together for a first date? We’ve talked on the phone a few times and have exchanged several texts. She’s been pretty stressed and overworked. It would be very relaxing for the both of us. What are your thoughts on this?

    • MidoriLei


      I think that would be fine but I would go to one of those Asian places where you can sit/lay next to each other and not get naked. Getting naked together on the first date just doesn’t seem appropriate to me, even if it is just an innocent massage. They call it “couple’s massage” for a reason. I’d wait until you’re an actual couple to do that.

      Also, I would make sure there is something else planned in conjunction with the massage as you both are not going to be interacting during the massage. There won’t be any conversation, which is the whole point in doing the date. Good luck!

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