Ah, the first date. A night that's equal parts horror, equal parts excitement. First dates are where you really get to know that special someone you've been talking to and see just how compatible you two really are.

A few factors play into what makes a successful first date -- you want to keep it casual and do something that appeals to both parties' interests. An activity that gets the two of you bonding and getting to know each other is recommended. The most important rule is that your first date is fun! We've got some great first ideas for your perusing.

Take A Cooking Class

cooking some brussel sprouts with black pepper

A cooking class is a chance to learn a new skill, work together on something and enjoy each other's company. It's a lighthearted activity (especially if neither of you have really cooked before) and it's a unique way to get to know someone. Cooking classes can be on the pricey side of activities but keep an eye out for deals and it could be the best first date ever.

Go To A Comedy Show

a comedian doing stand up

A night filled with laughter is always a good thing. Comedy clubs are a great location for a first date, especially on the weekends, when the best professional comedians hit the stage. While this can be a great idea for a first outing, it's important to do a little research beforehand -- try and gauge the sense of humor of the person you'll be seeing and if possible, do some research on the comedians performing on the night you choose to go. You don't want to take someone with a reserved sense of humor to go see a very crass comedian!

Head To A Trivia Night

a group doing trivia night

If a local pub is hosting a trivia night, that would be the perfect scenario for both dinner and something to do. Trivia night is a fun cooperative activity that's great for getting to know what someone's interests are based on the trivia questions that they can answer. These interests are launch points for good conversation after trivia night wraps up.

Go To A Sports Game

spectating a baseball game

Cheering on a local sports team can be a fantastic way to break the ice and have fun. The open and rowdy environment is great for letting loose and snapping the tension a first date can bring. If you both enjoy a certain sport, try and go to a game together! Slower sports such as baseball are great to spectate because there's ample time to soak in the action and the atmosphere while still getting to know the person you're on the date with. Tickets for a major professional sports game have risen steadily over the years but tickets on a minor professional sports game maintain relatively low costs. Find the best fit for your budget and tastes!

Check Out A Museum, Art Gallery Or Planetarium

a nice view of a room in a museum

If you're one who loves to absorb some knowledge, a visit to a museum, art gallery or planetarium offers itself as a nice location and activity for a first date. Whether you're both interested and knowledgeable on a subject or you just want to explore something completely new, these exhibits are a simple, quiet activity that leave lots of room for conversation. Depending on the venue you go to, some places offer free admission or admission at a very low cost.If you're more of the quiet type who just wants to get to know someone, these locations are for you!

Visit An Arcade

arcade cabinets all lined up

Loud and crowded, arcades aren't ideal for having a deep conversation but the endless amount of games and activities to play will keep you and your date entertained for the whole night. It keeps the date light and fun by always having something to do and keeping you and your date in a very social environment. An even better option is an arcade that also has a bar, which allows you to enjoy all the games an arcade offers and then grab a drink and chat afterward.

Karaoke Night

a couple doing karaoke

Well, there's no better way to shatter the proverbial ice than a karaoke night. You both get to find out if you're great singers, bad singers or something in between. Karaoke offers a lot of laughs, good music (even if performed questionably) and a tense-free environment to enjoy each other's company. If either of you are too shy to go up alone, it's a perfect opportunity to sing a duet!

Pottery Class

a hand making pottery

A hands-on activity that leaves plenty of room for conversation, pottery is a quiet way to spend a first date. You'll get to know the other person while always having something to do -- all for a relatively cheap cost. At the very least, if your date doesn't go well, you get to go home with something!

Bowling

a woman bowling

It's cheap, it's fun and if both of you end up being terrible at it, it's hilarious. Going bowling keeps the action going and the constant activity will keep the first-date jitters from overwhelming either side. One game of bowling lasts around 45 minutes to an hour, so two or three games should suffice for that first date.

An Outdoor Movie

a crowd of people watching an outdoor movie

Outdoor screenings are a unique twist on the old-fashioned movie date. It's generally dependent on the weather (usually, outdoor screenings are only held during the summertime) but it allows you and your date to spend time outside while still establishing the atmosphere of going to a movie on a first date. Because of how much they rely on environmental factors, outdoor movies aren't a consistent choice but if things work out in your favor, they can make for a very memorable first night out.

Not Recommended First Date Ideas

While there are no definitive bad options for a first date, there are a few things we'd advise against since it might not create the best first impressions. A few less-than-ideal first date scenarios would be:

A Wedding

Weddings are for family and friends who have a close relation to the bride and/or groom. Bringing a first date to a wedding is a one-step recipe for disaster as it's a bad environment to get to know somebody and, most importantly, it can completely ruin the atmosphere for the married couple's special day. Only bring somebody you've gotten to know over a longer period of time as a date to a wedding. If you're looking for a place just to meet new people, however, weddings can be great for that.

Your Place

Inviting someone on a first date to your apartment or house usually sets an uncomfortable tone for the night and it can also be seen as just lazy. Plan an activity and go out somewhere! Finding a fun, lighthearted way to spend the night in a neutral environment is key for a successful first date.

Going Clubbing

I don't care how much you like your dancing shoes, the loud and rambunctious club scene can spell out a first date disaster. It's important you keep things slow and tame when you're getting to know somebody, so try and keep wherever you go a little more lowkey before you head out and tear up that dance floor.

First dates can be the start of something great but it's important to get off on the right foot. Take the time to chat with the other person, gauge their interest and plan something fun and memorable. Don't overthink it too much but put some level of care into making the night great. There's plenty of things to try, so find something that's right for both of you!

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