20 Great First Dates That Don’t Require Sitting at a Bar

It’s a familiar trope: A guy or girl walks into a bar, orders a drink and  meets their match. This may help to explain the popular assumption among today’s singles that any first date that’s worth its weight in fun or romance must include drinks at a bar. This isn’t the case!

In reality, there are some very good reasons to choose a venue and activity that doesn’t include alcohol:

Your safety should be an important consideration on a first date with someone you don’t know. In many cases, your date may be a complete stranger—and if not a stranger, then the friend of a friend. Drinking even a moderate amount, can possibly cloud your judgment and lower your inhibitions. You always want to keep a clear mind so you have full control of your experience.

A first date, for all intents and purposes, should be about getting to know the other person. Because alcohol helps people relax, “meeting up for a drink” can be many people’s way of taming the social anxiety of a first date. But most people become much more extroverted when they drink, according to research. In this sense, alcohol can actually inhibit your ability to get to know a new person.

Many people simply don’t drink for health and/or other reasons. Ten percent of Americans say they’re in recovery for substance abuse. Then there are roughly seven in 10 Americans who take a prescription medication and probably can’t drink (or don’t drink very much). For this big dating demographic, meeting up in a bar could introduce potentially more social awkwardness and discomfort.

20 Fun, First-Date Ideas That Don’t Involve Drinks

Fortunately, there are many fun alternatives to drinks at a bar, as is clear from the following 20 first-date ideas that don’t involve alcohol and can still be fun, interesting and/or romantic:

  1. Get drinks—only at your favorite coffee shop.
  2. Take a walk in the park.
  3. Get ice cream.
  4. Hit the arcade.
  5. Attend a local sporting event.
  6. Go golfing or practice some shots at the driving range.
  7. Visit an art gallery or museum.
  8. Catch some live music.
  9. Take a bus or boat tour of the city.
  10. Visit the planetarium.
  11. Take a cooking class.
  12. Go to the fair or an amusement park.
  13. Take a bike ride.
  14. Go bowling.
  15. See a comedy show.
  16. Take your pooch(es) to the dog park.
  17. Attend a food festival.
  18. Take a trip to the farmer’s market or a flea market.
  19. Go kayaking.
  20. See a play or movie together.

These are just some of many first date options that don’t need alcohol in order to be fun, or romantic, or both. Got a suggestion that’s not on this list? Share it with the rest of us!

Guest Post contributed by Beach House Center for Recovery

Posted by Anna Ciulla

Anna Ciulla, the Clinical Director at Beach House Center for Recovery, is responsible for designing, implementing and supervising the delivery of the latest evidence-based therapies for treating substance use disorders. She has a passion for helping clients with substance use and co-occurring disorders achieve successful long-term recovery.

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