You made a great first impression on the first date, but now it’s time to deepen your connection. According to surveys1https://www.zavamed.com/uk/first-date-expectations.html, over 70% of men and women want a second date with someone who expressed interest in them and has a good sense of humor.
Instead of going out to another dinner, the excitement of unique date plans is sure to catch your potential partner’s attention. After all, novelty is memorable and addicting2https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/sbp/sbp/2004/00000032/00000004/art00006.
Plus, if your first date was a bit nerve-wracking or awkward, these 81 date ideas can create a more relaxed setting to get to know each other.
81 Best Second Date Ideas
Dating doesn’t always have to involve putting food in your mouth! For a couple in the early stages of a relationship, creative dates away from the table go a long way in establishing chemistry and intimacy. Check out these actionable tips for unique creative date ideas to get out of your comfort zone and think outside the box.
Outdoor and Nature Lover Date Ideas
Warmth and sunshine are nature’s invitation to get romantic in the great outdoors. These nature-based dates are accessible for most urban, suburban, or rural areas.
- Farmer’s market stroll
A local farmer’s market is a great place to get outside and explore seasonal food selections. There are usually plenty of crafts, small gifts, snacks, and even live music. For an added treat, plan your market trip around ingredients for a homemade dinner you’ll make together.
Use Local Harvest to find a market near you. Don’t forget your reusable bags!
Action Step: Open outdoor events can seem random and a bit chaotic, and they might not be the most comfortable if you feel socially awkward. Breathe deep and take it in. Enjoy some tasty treats and kid around with some vendors. Most of all, have fun!
- Picnic in the park
Time in nature is proven to make you feel more relaxed and at ease3https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01490409509513239. A picnic in the park allows you to connect with your date in a low-pressure setting while still enjoying an element of romance.
- Plan for a warm, sunny day.
- Consider scoping the park ahead of time so you can find the perfect spot.
- Bring a big blanket or foldable chairs.
- Pack your date’s favorite snacks or drinks! Consider a charcuterie and cheese board or gourmet sandwiches from a local deli. If you’re not sure what they like, just ask!
- If desired, bring a portable Bluetooth speaker so you can play some light background music.
- Fruit picking adventure
Enjoy an old-fashioned romance strolling through an orchard with a basket of fresh-picked fruit. U-pick farms allow you to harvest your own berries, apples, pears, peaches, or other fresh produce straight from a farm field.
- Go star gazing
There is something about the unfathomable galaxies up above that inspires deeper thinking and awe. Sitting under starlight also opens the gate for more romantic or spiritual conversations. Bring a comfy blanket, a bottle of wine, and maybe even a telescope if you have one! You can also use a phone app to identify different galaxies.
Action Step: This is the perfect opportunity to set your phones down and enjoy some deeper discussions. Just be careful not to get too private right away. Here are 82 First Date Conversation Starters Guaranteed to Create a Spark.
- Flower picking
If your date loves flowers, you may want to put a spin on the above idea by going to a U-Pick flower farm. Alternatively, you could head to a wildflower meadow (just be sure it’s not a protected nature area).
If you can’t find fresh local flowers, you can head to a floral shop or grocery store and invite your date to pick out 3-5 different varieties of flowers. Then, you can arrange them in a beautiful bouquet together. Trader Joe’s has an awesome cut flower selection!
- City bike ride
Rent bikes and explore your city on two wheels. Want an extra bonding experience? Try a tandem bike! The challenge will help you gauge your communication compatibility with your date. Plus, you’ll probably share plenty of laughter as you try to peddle in sync!
- Hiking date
Any nature lover will appreciate a well-planned hiking date. You can settle into each other’s company as you observe the trees, wildflowers, birds, and local landscape.
Action Step: Use AllTrails to find a trailhead near you. Choose a hike that isn’t too challenging or long (climbing 15 miles up a mountain is a pretty intense second date— but hey! Maybe your date is into that sort of thing)! Pack protein bars, jerky, or snacks to share. Don’t forget water bottles and your phone for photos at the top!
- Row your boat together
If you live near a lake or river, renting a canoe or kayak is an affordable way to get out on the water together.
Renting a rowboat on a small pond has been a fun date activity for centuries. Traditionally, the man has put out most of the muscle, but anyone can take a turn with the oars to show off their triceps! You can see how your date communicates and hopefully share some laughs as you try to coordinate your paddling efforts.
Action Step: Many city parks offer small non-motorized boat rentals. It’s best to call ahead or check a website for times, costs, and seasonal restrictions, including times when the rentals aren’t available. Remember, safety first. If you’re not a strong swimmer, wear a life jacket.
- Baby goat yoga
While therapeutic farms are an emerging trend in mental health care facilities, many farmers are opening their spaces to everyone with hip activities like petting the ducks and rabbits or yoga with goats. As far as memorable dates go, this one is surefire.
Action Step: There is a potential problem with this idea if your date has allergies. Make sure to discuss it in advance, and if they have concerns, a great alternative is a country drive to visit farms offering apple or berry picking or strolling through a field for a Halloween pumpkin.
- Jet ski rental
For the adrenaline junkies, a jet ski adventure is an exciting way to get a little closer and enjoy the water. You can invite your date to ride with you on a single jet ski or rent a jet ski for each of you. However, don’t be offended if your date is afraid of jet skis or doesn’t quite trust you enough to get on the back of one yet.
- Botanical garden walk
Most cities have a botanical garden or arboretum filled with native plants. In the spring, they make a beautiful date destination for photos, a casual stroll, and peaceful conversations. You could grab a coffee or tea first and head to the gardens on a nice day. Combine this idea with the film camera idea below for a unique memory.
- Sunrise or sunset romance
Every day, the sun gifts us two magical rainbow shows that are completely free for everyone across the world. Sharing a sunrise or sunset with a date is a unique opportunity for connecting while enjoying the inspiration of nature’s watercolors.
Action Step: For sunrise, bring hot coffee and a cozy blanket. For sunset, pack some sparkling beverages or herbal tea. Don’t forget to ask whether your date is a morning person or a night owl!
- Beach day
If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, invite your date for a relaxing time in the sun. The ocean is naturally soothing, so neither of you has to worry about feeling too nervous.
Action Step: Bring a bag or cooler with snacks, drinks, a portable speaker, towels, and an umbrella. Build sand castles together, swim in the waves, or chase each other on the beach. For something truly unforgettable, plan for a sunrise or sunset on the beach!
- Autumn splendor
A stroll through a park or forest in autumn is a breathtaking way to spend a second date. If the weather is still warm and cooperative, this also makes an excellent setting for a picnic or to share a warm thermos of apple cider.
Action Step: If you’re not prepared to glam it down a bit with your footwear, go for a drive to enjoy the fall colors. Proper shoes like comfortable runners with treads are safest for a forest walk, especially if the leaves are damp and potentially slippery on hilly paths.
- Dog walk date
Dog lovers seem to have an easier time bonding with people who get along with their furry best friend. If your date has a dog, invite them to meet at the dog park or a local walking trail. Bring dog cookies, a tennis ball, and poop bags, just in case.
- Volunteer at the local animal shelter
Have a positive community impact, and get to know your date at the same time. Volunteering is proven to promote bonding4https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/casp.2448 between couples and groups. Check your local animal shelter for volunteer opportunities. Some shelters require an orientation, so make sure you coordinate in advance.
Action Step: Finding out how and where your person wants to volunteer is an excellent indicator of their core values and interests, and cultivating compassion builds your strength of character, self-esteem, and your couple bond.
- Go to a zoo or animal sanctuary
You can still enjoy the beauties of nature in an urban area. Local zoos and sanctuaries offer an opportunity to view (and sometimes interact with) wild animals while learning about them. Book a short tour and take plenty of photos. Take a mental note of your date’s favorite animal(s) and see if you can find a sanctuary that rescues those species.
Artistic and Creative Date Ideas
Creative expressions are proven to build social bonds5https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/77038411.pdf and help people feel more connected. Here are some intriguing date ideas for artsy personalities.
- City on film exploration
Buy two disposable film cameras and set out on a city photography adventure. You can take pictures of the scenery, plants, art, or each other. The only rule is you both have to use up all the camera shots.
- Take a couples dance class
Whether it’s ballroom, salsa, or swing dancing, a lowkey dance class could reveal how well you “flow” with your date. Most couples’ dance classes start with the basics and allow you to practice with several partners in the class, which means you don’t have to hold onto your date the whole time. Make sure they enjoy dancing before you plan this one!
- Visit a pottery studio
Sculpting and crafting pottery isn’t just for children. The relaxing vibe of a pottery studio or class allows plenty of time for enjoying each other’s company and creating unique art pieces together.
- Go to a wine and paint class
The recent “Wine ‘n Paint” trend is not only for girls’ nights. Instead of going out to a bar, invite your date to a painting class that includes adult beverages and something to keep you both entertained while you chat.
- Attend a local craft workshop
From leathercrafting to knitting to painting to woodworking, notice if your date expresses interest in learning a new craft.
Action Step: Check Eventbrite or your local craft store for upcoming events and workshops where you can get creative together.
- Go to a poetry reading or workshop
Roses are red; violets are blue… I want to get to know you. While a second date may be too early to write a romantic poem, it is a lovely time to enjoy spoken word at an open mic.
- Exchange playlists
Music lovers know how vital this passion is, especially when your person shares the same tastes in genres and groups. So make your next date a listening party for two! Ask them to bring a playlist of their favorite songs, and prepare your list too.
Action Step: If your musical tastes don’t match, it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker. Our musical tastes can grow or change over time, and you may get turned on to something new. You don’t need to pretend to like their music and be aware if they’re critical of your taste in tunes.
Urban Date Ideas
Metro areas offer practically infinite opportunities for unique dates that don’t involve a standard restaurant or movie.
- Visit a local museum
If your date is more on the shy side, a museum is an easy way to bond without feeling the need to constantly talk to each other. Depending on their interests, choose an art, science, or history museum.
Bonus points if you plan based on a niche interest they have, like their love for classical painting!
- Go to an amusement park
Replace the butterflies in your stomach with a roller coaster thrill! Whether it’s Six Flags, Universal, Disney, or a water park, invite your date to enjoy a day of channeling the little kid inside. Perhaps enjoy a little romance as you overlook the city sunset from a ferris wheel.
- Go to a rooftop bar or restaurant
Rooftops combine the bustle of the city with a breath of fresh air. Overlook the beautiful skyline and dance to some music. For something more adventurous, invite your date to “rooftop hop” by having a drink at two or three different rooftop bars.
Dining with a rooftop view or against a spectacular backdrop sets a fantastic mood. Better-known establishments may have longer waitlists and a stuffier attitude, so go for walk-in seating around the bar or on a patio. Sometimes museums have great views from the top. See if any public buildings in your city offer a viewing deck.
Action Step: A romantic atmosphere with a view is an excellent indicator that your date wants to impress you. You may want to try hard to exceed their expectations, but relax and just be you because authenticity rules when it comes to attractive qualities.
- Unusual or quirky tourist attraction
Use Atlas Obscura to find a weird or wacky attraction like a mirror maze, tiled staircase, or a historically haunted house. If you know your date has an eccentric hobby or interest, search for something on the same wavelength.
- Mural and graffiti art tour
As graffiti has become a more mainstream art form, most cities are filled with colorful murals and unique destinations. From the iconic graffiti wall in Austin, Texas to the mural tour of downtown Nashville, you can take your date to check out the artistic corners of the city.
Action Step: Search and pin several locations on your phone map, then rent bikes or segways to get around between them! You can also google “[City] mural tour” for a predetermined route.
- Book an Airbnb Experience
Local hosts on Airbnb Experiences offer one-of-a-kind activities like walking tours, candlemaking, crystal hunting, pig cuddling, photography lessons and photoshoots, ax throwing, and a smorgasbord of other random experiences. This is extra fun if you recently moved somewhere new and didn’t know the city that well.
- Flea market adventure
Flea markets can be eye-opening and maybe a tad adventurous, but you could surprise yourselves and dig up a treasure or two! Even if it’s not an activity you do often, hitting up some garage sales is a shared activity that can show off your couple skills.
Action Step: Observe your date as you nose through garage sales together. Are they courteous to the owners, or do they trash previously loved items as “junk?” Research shows that kindness is the most significant indicator that your person is good relationship material.
Unique Foodie Date Ideas
Who doesn’t love to eat? These foodie dates spice up the traditional dinner date into something intriguing and adventurous.
- Cooking class date
Instead of going to a standard dinner date, why not learn to craft a unique meal that you can share together? If you know your date’s favorite cuisine, find a class that teaches a unique method like Italian pasta making or French baking. This can even lead to a fun third date where you try out recipes at home!
- Go on a food crawl
No, these aren’t phone apps. It’s an “any time of day date” where you sample smaller plates by visiting different eateries, restaurant counters, or food trucks! You can both choose some spots and make an adventure of it (after all, surveys show that adventurous people are more attractive6https://www.elitedaily.com/dating/adventurous-people-more-attractive/1956442).
Go to one restaurant for appetizers, another for the main course, another for dessert.
Action Step: The best part of this date is the spontaneity, but it’s a good idea to check ahead at a few sit-down places to make sure their location isn’t fully booked or if there’s bar seating just in case.
- Build a meal
A fun, impromptu date is visiting a specialty food store together. You each grab a basket and buy some crackers, cheeses, meats, olives, or pickles to take home and blend into your charcuterie platter. It’s a tasty way to see what their eyes eat first!
Action Step: Be sure to let each other know about any food allergies or absolute dislikes. When you’re at the checkout, don’t forget to do a quick comparison of your baskets to make sure you’re not duplicating items, and be adventurous if they’ve chosen an item you haven’t tried before.
- Go to a wine tasting
Wine tastings are available at wine shops, bars, vineyards, and wineries around the world. Often they’re located in very romantic settings with gorgeous views. You and your date will have the opportunity to taste an array of flavors and styles of wine.
If you’re lucky, a sommelier (pronounced soh-mah-lee-eh) will walk you through the unique qualities, flavor profiles, grape varieties, and production locations of different wines. Learning and drinking can make a great combo!
- Visit a brewery
Beer lovers unite! You can try a flight of unique beers at your local brewery and take a tour to learn more about the fermenting process. For a longer weekend adventure, get smaller beer tastings at several breweries and try out some of the delicious gastropub food!
Playful and Adventurous Date Ideas
- Board games and chill
Binge-watching is always tempting, especially after a long day or week, but early in a relationship, spending an afternoon date playing cards or board games is a great icebreaker. You can also gauge how you and your date handle a little competition.
Here is my list of 30 incredible board games.
Action Step: Choose a few games to keep it interesting, and don’t be hesitant to learn a new card game if they like it and want to teach you so you can play together again. The science of soulmates reveals that learning can grow a relationship, and you may even find your soulmate!
- Thrift store outfit challenge
A thrift store adventure makes for a spontaneous and humorous date to test how well you know your date’s fashion taste. Head to a resale shop and budget $10-$20 for each person to pick out an outfit for the other. You can dress your date up in something hilarious, sexy, stylish, or outright ridiculous. Take plenty of fun videos or photos to laugh at later.
- Mini Golf
Enjoy playing a game without feeling pressured to talk to your date 24/7. Mini golf can show you whether your date is competitive, a quick learner, or easily frustrated. Plus, the family-friendly public space of a mini golf course can put both you and your date at ease.
- Look for ghosts
Sometimes, it’s a seasonal offering, especially during Halloween, but many cities offer ghost tours throughout the year. It’s better than a scary movie because it’s spontaneous and interactive, and it’s scientifically proven that some people get drawn to fear7https://news.usc.edu/151096/why-do-we-like-to-be-scared-usc-experts-explain-the-science-of-fright/.
Action Step: If you’re not fond of scary situations or are concerned about appearing helpless, you’re not alone. Check out these pop psychology myths for helpful tips on the good ways (and not-so-good ways) to combat fear and anxiety.
- Ping pong match
Ping pong, or table tennis, can be competitive, or better yet, a shared sport where you both concentrate on keeping that little ball in play! Ping-pong bars have become popular and are springing up in cities everywhere.
Pickleball is also becoming all the rage. Some bars are even setting up pickleball courts on the property!
Action Step: If your ping pong date is going exceptionally well, try this come and get me technique as you paddle to signal your attraction.
- Go ice skating
Ice skating is great; you don’t have to be experienced to skate on the ice. If one of you falls, it’s a great way to see how your date would react to helping you.
- Workout together
Fitness lovers don’t have to do all their gym sessions in solitude. Invite your date to a yoga or cycling class, or do a fun weightlifting circuit together. You can motivate each other to push your limits. Consider exchanging playlists or grabbing smoothies after.
- Channel your inner child at an arcade
If you haven’t been to an arcade in decades, this is an exciting way to awaken your inner child and let loose with some playful competition. Get an abundance of coins or tickets and try to win each other prizes like giant teddy bears and little trinkets. Take a cute photo in the photo booth, for memory’s sake!
- Visit a zip line course
A little thrill can help you both break out of your shell. Research shows that a little bit of fear can build stronger connections8https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2017.00356/full?fbclid=IwAR0fNOYMCU3wzabTgP2jjgEcQz7clQCN2DpKXd7lsSUL_eNsxBxRBRExwrI in relationships because it signals the same oxytocin hormone pathways as attraction and bonding. As you fly over beautiful scenery or overcome your nervousness about heights, you may find yourself more attracted to your date.
Many zip line courses also have high ropes to test your balance. Make sure your date is OK with an adventure before you plan this one!
36 More Unique Second Date Ideas
If those ideas didn’t satisfy your craving for something new, try to wow your date with one of these quirky and unforgettable second-date ideas.
- Play laser tag
- Go roller skating
- Visit an antique store
- Have a bowling competition
- Feed the ducks in the park
- Plan a candlelight dinner
- Go rock climbing
- Play pool or billiards
- Go to a comedy club
- Mix up some cocktails with a mixology book or class
- Go for a tea tasting
- Attend a drive-in movie
- Do an escape room
- Try archery
- Go for a run or sign up for a race
- Test drive an amazing car
- Go to a karaoke bar
- Try out a gourmet bakery
- Visit your favorite bookstore
- Go to a sports game
- Go to a concert or festival
- Take a scenic drive
- Look at holiday lights
- Take a ferry
- Have a backyard campfire or bonfire on the beach
- Attend an art gallery opening
- Go swimming or hot tubbing
- Tour the aquarium
- Play trivia night
- Take the subway or public train
- Have your palms read
- Make ice cream together
- Go to a haunted corn maze
- Go to a burlesque show
- Race go-karts
- Go horseback riding
Second Date Conversation Tips
You’ve got choices to plan a great second date, but when do you start deepening the conversation beyond just fun or filler? If you’re feeling a real connection, there are levels you can take in asking questions that help to build a deeper, more satisfying connection.
The Right Way To Go Deep
Asking someone deep and meaningful questions early on in a relationship isn’t meant to scare them off. On the contrary, what you’re doing sets the stage for a potential lifetime of excellent communication. So keep reading for the first level of deep questions that you can explore together on your second date.
Here are things to consider:
- You’re not interested in “how”: You know the common “how” questions. “How are you?” or “How was your day?” The problem is “how” questions don’t answer who your person is, what their beliefs are, and what their big picture is for their life.
- Make eye contact: Scientific researchers have found that when people make eye contact, it activates oxytocin chemicals in the brain (the chemical of bonding). So really look into “the windows of their soul,” but always remember to blink to avoid looking odd!
- Realize how to connect truly: People often rely on social media as their primary form of “checking in,” but scrolling through posts and pics is a “how are they” connection… it’s not going deep.
Keep reading for second-date questions that answer important “who and what” questions about your date!
Learn Your Love Language
Before you prepare yourself to volley questions at someone, take a moment to explore the different ways that people express their feelings and what kinds of relationships satisfy them the most. These are called love languages.
What is a love language? You may intuitively know how you express love and deeper feelings, even if you’ve never thought about it before. These are all love languages:
- Quality Time: Do you crave significant moments with someone you love where you bond and share meaningful thoughts and conversations? When “stolen moments” matter to you the most, quality time is your specific love language.
- Physical Touch: People who “speak” their love language through physical touching will display how they feel through hand-holding, hugging, cuddling, or other physical intimacy. A physical toucher may also be drawn to PDA (public displays of affection), though not all are.
- Gifts: It doesn’t always mean extravagant, expensive, or impressive items (they aren’t “buying” love). The love language of gifts can mean genuine tokens of affection like handwritten notes, a flower, or a tasty treat. The “thought that counts” here is not always money being spent.
- Acts of Service: As a love language, acts of service are like gifts that someone performs in the form of action. Service can be as simple as running errands, driving someone to an appointment, cleaning up living spaces, cooking meals, or caring for a loved one when sick. These actions affirm their feelings, and it’s often easier for them to express love like this instead of through words.
- Reassurance and Affirmations: Some people speak a love language through verbal cues and clues that communicate their love and deeper feelings. They use phrases to reassure and compliment the ones they love and express themselves clearly. Other people need to hear these things and may “fish” for compliments.
One (or more) of these love languages should resonate with you. As you begin asking deep questions of your partner, note their reactions and responses. In time, you’ll better understand how they express love and emotion, which can nurture a more satisfying relationship.
Second Date Questions
As mentioned, there are levels in deep questions, and the question ideas listed here are a good launchpad for getting to know who your person is.
It’s best not to hit someone with all these questions simultaneously! Instead, take a quiet moment, start with a few, and listen to your person’s thoughts… their answers are the gift here.
- Who’s your ultimate dinner guest, present, past, or pretend?
- Does fame appeal to you, and what kind of famous (acting, music, sports, politics)?
- Do you ever rehearse phone calls or conversations beforehand, and why?
- What’s your idea of a perfect day?
- Have you ever sung to someone, and what song? Do you sing to yourself?
- If you’re 30 years old, let’s say you live until you’re 90. Would you rather have the mind or the body of a 30-year-old for the next 60 years?
- What three things do you wish your partner would share in common with you?
- What do you feel the most grateful for right now in your life?
- If you could gain one special ability overnight, what would you want to wake up with tomorrow?
- If someone gave you a crystal ball right now, what question would you ask about your life, the future, or anything else?
- What’s your dream job, dream trip, or dream goal? What’s keeping you from trying it?
- What is your proudest accomplishment yet?
- What do you value most in a friend?
- What is your best memory?
- Do you believe that love and affection are essential in life?
- If you had only one year left to live, would you change your life and why?
Don’t stop asking questions and listening with eye contact as your relationship progresses. Maintaining a deep interest in your partner has proven to keep a relationship strong and fresh as a couple grows and changes together.
Key Takeaways: Approach a Second Date with Curiosity and Playfulness
Good second date ideas shouldn’t be nerve-wracking, and once you decide where to go on a second date (whether it’s one of these dinner date ideas or more creative date ideas), relax a bit because some of the pressure is off.
Ultimately, the date setting is just the backdrop for forging a connection. Go into your date with the goal of learning more about this person!
You have some great second-date questions at your disposal, and you can try out a fun quiz like the 5 Love Languages to understand how you show and express your feelings and how you want someone to demonstrate their love for you.
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