Man and woman have an outdoor date and watch a movie as an example of date ideas

Mix It Up: 15 Date Ideas That Aren’t Dinner and a Movie

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by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

When you think of date ideas, there are a few things that come to mind immediately – drinks, dinner, a movie, maybe a hike if you’re the outdoorsy kind. While those are all classics for a reason, it can be fun to think outside the box sometimes, whether you’re looking to make a good impression on a new flame or want to add some spice to a long-standing relationship.

In this article, you’ll find a bunch of different date ideas – casual, spontaneous, and memorable. Regardless of what point you’re at in your relationship, you’ll find cool and interesting date ideas to wow your partner with.

Casual Date Ideas

Looking for low-stress, low-key date ideas that don’t require much setup or commitment? We’ve got you covered. These casual, fun date ideas are great when you’re just starting to get to know someone, or when you don’t have much time or money. They’re also easy to cut short, if the vibe just isn’t there, and it’s not a big deal if your date can’t make it for whatever reason.

Go out for breakfast rather than dinner

Who said you can only have date night? Flip the tables and head out for breakfast instead. Not only is it a great weekday option – no sacrificing sleep or worrying about hangovers – it’s rare to find a person who doesn’t love breakfast food. Plus, you can keep it as light or heavy as you like – maybe you’re a coffee and pastry on the go type of person, maybe you’d rather feast on a hearty diner breakfast. Whatever your choice, starting the day with someone you like is never a bad idea.

Double date ideas are a great option for casual dates

And why not make the breakfast date a double date? Learn how to set you and your significant other up for double date success, plus we offer you twenty double date ideas to inspire you.

Go on a photo scavenger hunt

Remember being sent on scavenger hunts at parties when you were a kid? All you need for this adult version are your smartphones and a list of things to find. You can pick and choose according to your interests, whether it’s the natural world, the zany things you might find at a flea market or antique mall, or even local landmarks. You can even create a personalized scavenger hunt of relationship milestones you have with your partner!

Go to a bookstore and pick out a book together

Yes, online bookstores are convenient… but there’s nothing like browsing the stacks. Head to a local bookstore together and take turns recommending things you think your partner will like. Or if it’s a first date, you can have fun discovering each others’ tastes. You could even take things a step further and pick out a book to read together.

Cute couple having a coffee date gazing into each other's eyes

Looking for first date ideas?

Looking for first date ideas? Try some of these unique first date ideas that are guaranteed to make both the day and you stand out. Check out our list of cute, active and fun date ideas.

Spend the day being a tourist in your town

Regardless of whether you live in a big city or a small town, there’s likely a local attraction as a great date idea you haven’t visited. Look it up online or even drop by the local tourist center for more information, then have fun exploring. You could also do a self-guided walking tour of your city or pick a specific neighborhood to wander around together.

Go out for something other than coffee or beer

Going out for drinks – whether it’s coffee or beers – is a classic for a reason… so why not try it with a twist? Bubble tea, milkshakes, or even fancy juices are all fun date ideas when you’re not in the mood for caffeine or booze. You could also put a snack-y spin on things and go out for waffles or cupcakes instead. If the weather is good, get tea or milkshakes to go and find a park to wander around in instead.

What you need to know about coffee dates

Thinking about whether a coffee date is the right choice? Explore the pros and cons of a coffee date, talk about how to behave on one, and even offer you a couple of ideas on the perfect coffee date outfit.

Spontaneous Date Ideas

One step above casual dates, spontaneous date ideas don’t require much preparation but are a great way to pass a few hours. They tend to be activity-based, which means that it’s important to make sure you and your partner can spare the time. While spontaneous dates are great for shaking up your routine if you’re in a long-term relationship, spending time together doing something is a great way to get to know somebody. Some romantic date ideas for when you’re feeling spontaneous.

Cook dinner together

Cooking a meal together is an ideal date night for when things start to get a little more serious – you get to see how well you both work together, which will be especially important as your relationship progresses. Picking a recipe, heading to the grocery store, and actually cooking the meal are a great way to spend a few hours – and a bonus, at the end of it you (hopefully) have a delicious meal for the two of you.

Hit a karaoke bar

This is a great date night idea if you can sing… or even if you can’t. Not only does performing release endorphins, but karaoke is a great way to get to know your date’s taste in music. If you’re already in a relationship, singing duets (or cheering your partner on as they channel their inner Whitney Houston) is a great way to bond. Plus, music is the food of love… and who are we to argue with the Bard himself?

Volunteer together

Spend time together and make the world a better place – it’s a win-win situation. Signing up to help at a soup kitchen, planting trees on a sidewalk or at a park, socializing pets at the animal shelter, donating blood, building homes for people in need with Habitat for Humanity… no matter what your interests are, there are ways to help. Plus, research has shown that volunteering is good for your physical and mental health, which makes this an even better date idea. 

25 day date ideas to deepen your connection

Dating during the day is a great option for people who may have work or family commitments that make staying late hard, or even people who want to shake things up a little. Explore 25 fun ways to spend time with your special one.

Attend an improv class together

Improv, or improvisation, is a form of theater where there are no scripts – everything happens on the spot, with performers building on what happened before. Taking an improv class with your significant other is a great way to introduce spontaneity and fun into your relationship – you never know where something might lead! 

Create something together

Painting, pottery, glass objects… more and more companies are offering events where you and a partner can spend an evening making something together, no art skills required. Making something together is a good way to bond… and as a bonus, you get a souvenir!

Memorable Date Ideas

These are the Big Deal date ideas, the kind that take time and effort to plan, and sometimes come with a pretty decent price tag, too. They’re perfect for celebrating a relationship milestone or when you want to do something special for your partner. They’re also the worst kind of date to get stuck on, though, so be sure to take your partner’s personality and wishes into account while planning them.

See your partner’s favorite musical artist in concert

Make your partner’s day (or week, or month, or even year) by arranging for tickets to a concert by one of their favorite artists. You could even, assuming finances allow, splurge for the VIP experience and surprise your partner with the good news once you’re at the venue. Surprising them with merchandise (or the opportunity to purchase some) is another way of making this date extra special.

Get away for the weekend

Sometimes, you just need to get away from it all. It doesn’t even have to be far – you could even reserve a two-day stay at a rented house or book a hotel in your own city. What’s important is the break from your regular routine and the chance to spend some uninterrupted time with your partner. Add to the romance by arranging for champagne and roses, or having their favorite meal delivered for an impromptu picnic in bed.

Build a campfire and make s’mores 

Is there anything more romantic than sitting in front of a blazing fire with the person you like? Not unless there are s’mores involved. Scout out a suitable location ahead of time – some cities have designated fire pits in parks or beaches – bring a blanket and a thermos of cocoa or a bottle of wine, and some music, and enjoy. Not a guitar person? Put together a romantic playlist on Spotify instead.

Have a spa day together 

Combine self-care and romance with a spa date for the two of you. A couples’ massage is a great way to let go of the various stresses in your lives and prepare you for a romantic evening. No room in the budget? An at-home spa date is an easy way to add some self-care into your lives without breaking the bank.

Explore further date ideas for a great at home date night

At home dates are a fantastic alternative, for many reasons – they’re far cheaper, can be very relaxing, and can be tailored to your particular lifestyles and interests.

Try a tasting menu somewhere special                              

Dinner is one of the classic date ideas for a reason. Take it up a notch by picking a restaurant that makes dinner an event – the kind of place that does tasting menus rather than letting you order items a la carte. It’s a fantastic way to explore the nuances of a cuisine or just spend time with each other in an elevated atmosphere.

Take your relationship to the next level with creative dates

While there are some great date ideas on this list, remember: they’re all just starting points. What matters is you and the person you like; with a little creativity and forethought, you’ll be able to find something that works for both of you. That said, the specifics of a given date aren’t important; spending time with the other person is. How you (or they) act on said date is way more important than what you do.

If you’re looking for a serious relationship, eharmony is for you. Eharmony brings together people who are looking for serious relationships with compatible partners. Want to meet someone who takes dating as seriously as you do? Sign up for an eharmony account today.

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