Whether you’re going on a first date, or have been married for years, you’re reading this story because you’re tired of the ol’ dinner-and-drinks routine. It’s a popular date option for a reason — it’s non-controversial (usually), there are countless options for it and it’s a good way to connect with another. But it’s also… done. Plus, what if you’re trying to cut back on drinking?
So you’re ready to mix it up and try something different, but then comes the realisation that you can’t even think of what else there is to do. Sure, there’s going to the movies, but is there anything else?
“You can play mini-golf, go on a taco crawl, have a picnic in a park, or visit a café with live music,” says Logan Ury, Director of Relationship Science of dating app Hinge. “Skip the cocktails and focus on date ideas that involve play and connection.”
If you are cutting back on drinking or not drinking at all, and you’re newly dating someone, Ury says it’s helpful to be upfront about your preferences and to let the other person know what you feel comfortable with.
“If you don’t drink, do you mind if your date does?,” she says. “They might not know how to navigate the conversation, so lead the way by sharing vulnerably and making them feel safe by asking questions.”
Ahead, Ury shares 9 date ideas that all don’t require you drink.
Laugh at a Comedy Show
“Laughter is the perfect substance-free way to take the edge off. Laughing releases oxytocin — the same bonding hormone released during breastfeeding — and makes us trust the other person more. (And if it’s oxytocin you’re after, laughing is a more socially appropriate activity on a first date than breastfeeding.)”
Sing at Karaoke
“One of the best ways to connect is by creating a sense of play. And if you can nail that Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga duet, what can’t you do?”
Visit a Bookstore
“Go to a bookstore and pick out a book for the other person to read. This is a chance to share who you are and what matters to you.”
Drop By an Art Gallery
“If you tend to get nervous on a first date, this date will take away the pain of awkward silences. If you can’t think of anything to say, take in the art, and give yourself a moment.”
Watch a Play or Concert
“Support the arts! Plus you’ll have plenty to talk about after the show. This is a great way to create conversation.”
Share a Smorgasbord
“In other words, plan a picnic, even if it’s indoors. Each of you brings a few of your favourite items. It’s a chance to be thoughtful and share stories about yourself.”
Sketch Each Other
“Head to a local park or lookout spot with some art supplies and sketch what you see. Bonus points if you sketch a portrait of each other. It’s a chance to play together, in a flirty way.”
Take an Archery Lesson
“Or go axe throwing. Both are great ways to see if someone has a growth mindset. Plus we tend to like someone more when our adrenaline is up.”
Visit a Farmer’s Market
“Enjoy local flavours and then cook something together with your farmer’s market finds. Whether you’re a gourmet chef or the king of the microwave, this is a fun way to collaborate on making something together.”