30 First Dates That Aren't Dinner & A Movie

Photographed by Refinery29.
You meet someone, sparks fly, and you exchange phone numbers. After some witty banter via text (OMG you love Big Mouth too??), you finally set a first date. You're excited, of course. But then they do something so egregious, so harrowing, that you're ready to pull the plug on the whole situation: They ask you out to dinner and a movie.
Is there anything more boring than a canned movie-and-dinner date? It's long, it's overly intimate, and it's such a snoozy way to get to know a person. And while it may be the way some of our parents got to know one another, our parents also didn't date online or use the word "fuckboy" in everyday conversation. Times are changing, so shouldn't first dates change, too?
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Ahead, find date ideas that aren't dinner and a movie. If things go well, you can grab dinner on date two. But chances are, you'll want to go on another date from our list. Trust.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Take a long walk in the park

If you're lucky enough to live in a place with gorgeous outdoor spaces, take advantage of the scenery and invite your date for a little fresh air and exercise. Bonus: There's no set time for a walk in the park, so you can cut it short if you're not into the date or just keep strolling along if you are.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Meet for breakfast

The great thing about a breakfast date is that it opens up the rest of the day for you. If you two hit it off over bacon and eggs, you can keep the date going. No sparks? Your evening's still open for something else to come along...
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Browse a bookstore

Books are the ultimate conversation starters, so you'll probably have tons to chat about. Bonus: Most shops have coffee spots, so you can discuss your finds over a brew, too.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Take a cooking class

Ambitious? Sure. But it's a pretty solid way to create some major bonding. Worse case-scenario, you'll walk away with a few good recipes to recreate.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Visit an outdoor market

Whether it's a flea market or a farmer's market, wandering from booth to booth is a fun way to get to know one another.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Plan a day trip

This is a great idea for someone who you know as a friend, but want to get to know in a more romantic way. Head out of town for a ski or beach trip, and enjoy some one-on-one time.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Go for a picnic

You can each agree to bring something specific, or meet at the grocery store and shop for a spread together.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Go to a poetry reading

Not someone who can muster up sweet nothings on your own? Let someone else come up with the romantic words to set the mood.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Take a painting class

The couple who crafts together, stays together — right?
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Go ice skating... or apple picking...

Seasonal-specific activities are like limited-edition dates: You can only participate in them during certain times, which makes them all the more special.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Pop by a cat café

Both fans of felines? Get cozy with some cats while you sip some beverages. Your date gets bonus points if they wind up adopting one, of course.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Play some bar trivia

What better way to test if you'd make a good team?
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Go bowling

If a casual first date is your speed, rent some bowling shoes and play a few games against each other. Plus, if you load up on bar food and beer, it is technically dinner.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Visit an art museum

You can live out your very own When Harry Met Sally fantasy IRL!
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Take a city tour

If you live in a big city, chances are you've never played tourist there before. Grab your potential S.O. and jump on a double-decker bus for a fun date.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Take on some rock-climbing

This date allows you to get your sweat on while also participating in a serious trust test.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Stargaze at the planetarium

There's something super romantic about staring up at the stars. But if it's too chilly outside (or light pollution makes your view not-so-pretty), take the gazing inside.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Visit a food truck festival

Go around from truck to truck and rate your favorites. If the winning truck has a standalone restaurant, then you already have an idea for date two!
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Chuckle at a comedy show

If a typical two-drink-minimum comedy club isn't your thing, look up comedy podcast tapings. They're just as fun, and you can listen to your episode later on.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Belt it out at karaoke

It's even more fun if you pick one another's songs.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Date like a kid

Whether it's arcade games or laser tag, find a spot that lets you indulge your younger self. Laughter is basically guaranteed.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Take a boozy tour

Whether it's at a brewery or a vineyard, it's a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Check out a live music venue

Concerts can be tough for a first date, but a smaller venue makes it easier to mingle between sets.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Cheer on your favorite sports team

You can watch at a bar or at the stadium. Either way, you guys will bond over your shared love of sports.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Have a multi-venue meal

Okay, so this is technically dinner. But it's more of an adventure than a typical sit-down meal. Have your appetizer, main course, and dessert at different spots — because who doesn't want to have nachos followed by sushi followed by flan?
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Skip dinner and just get dessert

If your date isn't willing to share an over-the-top milkshake with you, then are they really The One?
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Stretch it out in aerial yoga

Sure, there's not much time for talking during a yoga class, but stretching your body while flying through the air in a giant hammock suspended from the ceiling will surely give you and your date something to talk about once the class is over. And if you don't end up enjoying the other person's company, at least you got a cool experience out of it.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Play tourist

This one's mostly for big city dwellers, though smaller towns have plenty of exploring to be done, too. Take the day to hit up any touristy spots that you've never seen, or revisit old favorites. It can be fun to see your city from someone else's eyes.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Visit the aquarium

Stop sleeping on your local aquarium. Even if you find staring at fish kind of boring, most aquariums have live shows where you can watch sea lions do tricks. Watching one of those adorable sea animals do a handstand is sure to give you and your date something to talk about.
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by Tristan Offit.
Walk a dog

If you've bonded over your love of animals, a walk-a-dog date is perfect. Lots of animal shelters let volunteers come and walk a dog. The pups get to stretch their legs and you and your date get the satisfaction of doing something good (plus, who wouldn't want to play with a dog?)
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