So you have had your eye on a certain someone and have been dreaming of sweeping her off her feet. You’ve mustered up the nerve to ask her out once—and, thankfully, it went well, but we all know first dates are just like job interviews.
Even if both of you made a fantastic first impression, you’re not your true self on a first date. Now that you’re a bit more at ease you’re ready to show her your wicked sense of humor (you can’t wait to hear that infectious laugh of hers again), love of foodie culture and chat about your shared interest in all things “Breaking Bad.”
Just one thing stands before you and relationship bliss—the second date.
The second date is often where women separate the boys from the men. To put it bluntly, she is looking to file you into one of two categories: the dude she’d like to see again or the engaging man she wants to be with.
First dates are based on more superficial factors including mutual physical or intellectual attraction and the ability to easily converse—or make decent small talk in many of our cases.
Again, I liken the second date to scoring a second job interview. Sure, she’s interested in you—there’s just no telling how much. I am a huge fan of picking a second date spot that is engaging and fun.
This makes the conversation flow easily and gives us time to get to know each other further while we enjoy an entertaining setting—which really helps to alleviate the pressure surrounding the whole experience.
The good news is you don’t have to shell out a bunch of cash to impress her on the second date. Sometimes the most creative ideas can be both perfect and inexpensive. Keep on reading. I’ll show you the way.
15 Great Second Date Ideas
Here are 15 of my favorite second date ideas (in no particular order of course):
1. A Brewery Tour
Craft beer is all the rage these days, and small town breweries are popping up everywhere. Checking out how beer is crafted is actually really interesting. It’s almost like a really intense cooking demonstration. Keep in mind brewery tours are typically guided events, meaning you can both experience something new without having to engage in forced conversation.
By the end of the tour you’ll have been able to taste so many different lagers, IPAs, and wheat ales the natural topic of discussion will turn to favorite beer blends. Grab another pint and discuss away. Bonus points if you pick a brewery with a tasting room and food trucks to round out the experience.
2. Leisurely bike ride
Take it back to the old school when times were a bit more simple. If the weather is nice out, break out your bikes and go on a super chill ride. Please avoid all hills, as you don’t want to end up gross and sweaty on a second date.
Before embarking, have an intermission stop in mind–anything from an incredible park, a beautiful view or a hole in the wall sandwich shop that serves the very best food. It’s even better if you keep your end destination a surprise.
3. Mini-Golf is always a good idea
Sure mini golf can err on the side of cheesy, but that’s ideal for a second date! (Trust me, I speak from experience). The great thing is mini golf isn’t a challenging physical activity, and the atmosphere is nice and relaxed. Plus, you can joke with each other when you take 10 tries on a par three. This eases the pressure of a forced connection since it’s such a childlike experience.
Believe it or not an evening on the put-put greens will also give you you some key insights into your love interest’s personality. Is she relaxed or tense? Is she able to laugh at herself? Is she complaining of the wind messing up her hair? (If so, run—don’t walk in the opposite direction. This girl will never be able to do anything adventurous with you.)
4. Flea Market
Sure, this may sound a bit odd, but stick with me. Flea markets are super popular lately, and walking around the market, checking out all the hidden treasure is actually a really fun way to spend an afternoon.
There are always cool things to be seen, and many items bring a sense of nostalgia, which is an endless source of conversation. Many flea markets also feature live music and fair-esq food.(Did someone say funnel cake?) This is certainly a date that will stick out in her mind as one-of a kind.
5. Hang out at the arcade
If you have some serious skills when it comes to Miss Pacman, take your date to the local arcade. Tap into your 10-year-old selves, share some laughs and impress her with some of your old-school arcade moves. Bonus points if the arcade serves adult beverages.
5. Plan a picnic
This is a classic date idea that has truly stood the test of time. A cool way to put a creative spin on this old-timey idea is to plan for a day your community has their farmer’s market. Start your date by browsing together at the market, sampling the foods, and pick something you’d both like to feast on at your picnic.
If you’re close to the seaside head to the beach, if you’re in the south try a park peppered with oak trees and Spanish moss, Midwesterners head to the nearest picturesque lake setting. This will also give you some insight into how outdoorsy your date is. Don’t forget to bring a blanket to lounge on.
6. Live Music: always a great idea
Aside from the fact that enjoying live music is awesome in itself, going to a concert or live show is truly a great bonding experience. For a second date, I think it is always a better idea to seek out a lesser-known act at a small venue. (You don’t want to throw down $500 for Radiohead tickets this early. Hell, you don’t even know if she likes Radiohead).
Better yet, pick a band neither of you have ever heard of and experience them together for the first time. This is great way to find out about each other’s musical tastes—and you can discuss your favorite shows, bands, songs etc. Even if the band sucks you’re bound to have some fun. Hey, if the music is terrible this could always become your little inside joke.
7. Attend a Sporting Event
Get your adrenaline pumping by attending a rowdy sports game. You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for NFL tickets. Instead, hit dollar beer night at the local hockey team’s rink or check out a minor league baseball game.
Tickets are inexpensive, but the love for the game is still there. Bonus points is you’re rooting for different teams. An innocent, little rivalry is a great way to get the blood pumping.
8. Take a lesson or class
Hit the classroom—or yoga mat if you’re feeling especially brave–for some fun semi-active fun.
Lessons or classes are always better if it’s something neither of you have experience with, as this activity will help each of you gauge how well you deal when you’re plucked out of your comfort zone. Make it creative too—Indian cooking classes, meditation classes, scuba diving, even rock wall climbing–the list is virtually endless!
9. Attend trivia night at a bar
It sounds super simple, but this is always a great time! Buy your date her favorite libation and wow her with your knowledge of all things categorized as useless information. This is a chance to share some laughs and put your heads together in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Plus, if your team wins you typically get a round of drinks on the house–how’s that for incentive?
10. Check out some art
If you live within close proximity to a major city, wandering through a gallery or arts district is a recipe for a fun–and it’s pretty classy! Discuss the art in front of you and engage in casual conversation as you weave in and out of each gallery.
Make sure to check with your local arts district before planning this date, as these areas often feature a pre-planned monthly gallery hop featuring live music with wine and cheese on the house.
11. Hit the lanes
Bowling is an old favorite of mine. Who gives a damn about gutter balls? Sure the shoes are ugly, but bowling is another relaxed atmosphere conducive to easy conversation and friendly rivalry that may even provide some shared laughs. Some bowling alleys also serve beer, so you can split a tasty pitcher of your favorite draft.
12. Cook a meal for her
It goes without saying that the ladies love a man who can cook. You don’t have to make a four course-meal for your date, but show her that you’re willing to put in some effort in the kitchen. Try a new bottle or type of wine and get to sipping while you show off your chef skills.
I personally recommend whipping up a dish you know you can pull off, but there is always something said for being adventurous. Bon appetite!
One word of warning: you should probably figure out prior to this date if your gal has any strict food restrictions. It goes without saying you shouldn’t grill up a juicy steak for a vegan or serve breaded pork chops to someone following the Paleo diet.
11. Visit an Arboretum or Botanical Garden
Botanical gardens are obviously beautiful places featuring a variety of plant life from around the world. What better way to enjoy the outdoors and get a bit of exercise on a nice, sunny day?
Similar to the previously-mentioned flea market idea, the abundance of plant life supplies you with plenty of conversation topics. Hold her hand while you take in the beauty around you. Just don’t pick the flowers and arrange them into a bouquet for her–that’s frowned upon.
12. Check out a Museum
Sure this is right along the lines of gallery hoping, but museums are yet another great way to surround yourself with conversation pieces. Even if you’re not in Washington D.C. with a wide-range of options to choose from, think outside the lines of your traditional art museum.
In Los Angeles, taking a date to the Getty Museum is one of my favorites! The grounds are beautiful and a perfect opportunity to hold hands or slip in a kiss!
13. Brave a Local Ghost Tour
Ghosts tours are growing in popularity, and are a fantastic out of the box idea for multiple reasons: they obviously require imagination, suspended disbelief and a healthy dose of sarcasm. Plus, they tend to get the adrenaline pumping. You can discuss whether or not you buy into any of the stories shared over a post-ghost hunting cocktail.
14. Go Fishing
Yes, literally. Grab some fishing poles and your tackle box. This is simple and fun, plus it gets you both out in nature for a bit. I caution not to break out the fishing wire unless you are confident that she’s a good conversationalist. This is certainly an activity that will give both plenty of time to talk.
Ask her about her hobbies, favorite music and where she grew up. This is also a great way to see how she reacts to the outdoors (if you see high heels on a fishing date, you’ll know right then and there she’ll never join you camping). You might even catch something you can cook for dinner.
15. Catch an outdoor movie (if it’s summer of course)
Sleepy Summertime evenings are the perfect time for outdoor movies. Grab a blanket and fill your cooler with sodas and snacks. Outdoor theater is just as entertaining as going to a traditional movie, but more romantic and with the added opportunity to casually make out. (Even better, if your town–or anywhere in within close driving vicinity–still has a drive-in.
Head there before its made ancient history.