Once the awkwardness of a first date has passed, it’s always a relief. Knowing that both parties are interested and that you want to keep seeing each other is exciting, too. But coming up with fresh and fun second date ideas can be intimidating. You want to keep things light, engaging, and personal without being too intimate. As wedding planner Heather Odendaal explains to Brides, a second date is the perfect opportunity to make a good impression.
Meet the Expert
Heather Odendaal is the owner and principal planner at Weddings By Bluebird.
"You have the awkwardness of the first date out of the way—now is your chance to let your personality shine," Odendaal says. "With this in mind, you will want to pick an activity that provides insight into what is important to you, to explore shared interests and compatibility."
If the idea of trying to make things personalized sounds too complicated for you, don’t overthink things. The best option for any second date is simply to do things you both enjoy and to learn more about one another along the way. Ultimately, if the chemistry and connection is good, it won’t matter if you are doing your favorite thing in the world or something entirely new.
If you’re looking for some ideas for where to start when it comes to a second date, here are 25 suggestions.
Attend a Drive-In Movie Together
This might seem like a pretty generic, go-to date idea, but it’s popular for a reason. It’s relaxing, fun, and can be pretty sexy, too. But it’s even better if your date has a special interest in movies.
Cooking together is another excellent date option because it offers you the chance to invite your date into your home. Or, if you love to cook, this is a great way to share one of your hobbies with them.
Do a Blind Wine Tasting
Hosting an at-home, blind wine tasting is another playful second date idea that you could do on its own, have before a dinner reservation, or pair with a homemade meal.
Go to the Zoo
A trip to the zoo is a great way to connect because it combines outdoor activity (walking), a little bit of adventure (exotic animals), and a chance to connect in a setting that’s not super familiar to either of you. Most zoos these days have beer gardens or to-go cocktails available too, which will keep you entertained should you want to take a break from walking around.
Scheduling this activity for early in the morning will ensure you have the zoo mostly to yourselves—and you can get brunch after.
Take a Mini Road Trip
Going to a nearby restaurant or museum that you both love is a good idea, but an even better one is to find a restaurant or museum in a town that neither of you has been to before. You can even assign different tasks for the drive: One person creates the perfect playlist, another brings snacks. The chance to experience somewhere new and get some quality one-on-one during the drive (while learning about each other’s taste in music and more) can only help you get closer.
Go on an Art Gallery Tour
Taking time to visit specific art galleries can often take a little planning, which is why it’s a great idea for a second date, particularly if your special someone is interested in art or in a creative field. Combine the tour with something a little more relaxed for a great balance and a date that goes all day.
Try a Nostalgic Activity
There’s something about a nostalgic game or activity that just adds to those warm, fuzzy feelings, and who wouldn’t want that on a second date? Whether you choose a round of miniature golf, a game of laser tag, or an afternoon of playing Chutes & Ladders in the park (adult beverages encouraged!), the act of doing something "old school" together will encourage you both to talk about your childhoods, backgrounds, and more.
When in doubt, planning something outdoors is always a good option for a date. Odendall suggests activities like bike riding, hiking, or paddleboarding if you are interested in outdoor sports. If you want something a little more relaxing, you could try renting a rowboat, spending an afternoon at the beach, or exploring a local park or botanical garden together.
Have an Appetizer Crawl
You’ve heard of a bar crawl, but what about an appetizer crawl? Trying out different small bites at different restaurants solves the problem of choosing who picks the restaurant, and gives you an opportunity to explore your city or town together, too.
"If you are a foodie, do an appetizer crawl of several restaurants," Odendaal suggests. "Plan for a two-hour activity, but leave the opportunity open-ended to extend longer if the vibe is there!"
Visit a Flea Market Together
Flea markets can be a ton of fun, even if you aren’t into thrifting or antiquing. Grab some iced coffees and pastries before your morning at the flea market or visit a brewery or winery after (or both!) to make the date last as long as possible.
Paint Something Together
There’s a reason why activities like Painting with a Twist are so popular for date nights. The combination of art and BYOB is completely out of most people’s day-to-day schedules, and it’s a lot of fun—even if you aren’t artistic at all. Plus, there’s research that shows this type of date is known to promote the release of oxytocin (an important factor in bonding), which certainly can’t hurt the odds of a third date happening.
Have a Charcuterie Board Competition
If your second date involves having a picnic or grabbing a drink at each other’s home before the main event, challenging each other to see who can create the best charcuterie board can be a fun way to cook for each other without actually having to cook. Want to make things more collaborative? Make the board together and surprise each other with what ingredients you include.
If you have a particular organization that you’re passionate about, inviting your date to volunteer with you could be a fun, interactive activity that also gives back to the community. You could plan on doing a casual lunch afterward or meet up later in the day for dinner if you want to make sure the day has a little bit of everything.
Have a Rainy Day Television Marathon
If you’re both not totally opposed to a little bit of Netflix and chill for a second date, there’s a way to make the date a little more sophisticated. Choose a day when it’s rainy or storming outside to up the coziness level, queue up your date’s favorite TV show or movie of all time (they’ll be flattered you remembered!), and lay out the ultimate snack situation. It’ll be romantic and fun with just the right touch of personalization.
Go to the Farmer’s Market
Going to the farmer’s market is completely free and 100 percent entertaining. You can see the best of the best when it comes to local, fresh food, pick out vibrant flowers, or grab lunch from a new vendor you’ve never heard of before. Whether you and your date want to choose ingredients for dinner together or you’re just interested in grabbing an iced tea and browsing through the different sellers, the farmer’s market is a great, surprisingly affordable date idea.
Go on a Picnic
Much like getting outside, going on a picnic is almost always an excellent second date idea. It can feel a little less formal and stilted than a fancy restaurant or bar, and it gives you the opportunity for some added privacy, too, depending on where you choose to set up. Just make sure you pack ample snacks, drinks (including cold water), and blankets for comfortable seating.
Listen to Live Music Together
If you’re worried about a date with the occasional awkward pause (hey, people are still nervous on date two!), finding somewhere to listen to live music together is the perfect solution. Don’t know what to say? Take a minute to listen to the musicians together before asking the next question of the evening. Plus, live music always makes things more romantic.
Teach Each Other Your Favorite Recipes
Cooking for your date is always special, but teaching them a recipe can be even more intimate. If you both love to cook, take turns teaching each other your favorite, go-to recipe, or a recipe that’s particularly special to you. It’ll pass the time, keep you talking, and create a memory that’s sure to last for both of you.
Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
If there’s one thing that will impress almost anyone (especially someone who lives for adrenaline), it’s a date that involves a hot air balloon ride—and it’s not as expensive as you might think. Companies like Rainbow Ryders offer sunrise or sunset rides for as low as $159 per person. Finish the date with dinner or brunch together to reflect on the hot air balloon ride experience.
Have a Craft Cocktail Competition
Having a little at-home cocktail competition before your dinner reservation could be a great way to break the ice and bond a little bit before heading to a more formal setting.
Be a Tourist In Your Own City
Have you both never been to that tourist attraction in your own city that everyone talks about? What about the most popular museum, or park? Now’s the time to experience it together. It’ll give you the chance to see the city from another perspective and have an exciting date you won’t forget.
Take a Workout Class Together
For some people, a workout class on a second date is a nightmare. For others, it might be perfect. If you both are super active, trying out a new and interesting workout class together is a great way to bond. You could plan to cool off with smoothies in the park afterward or to freshen up separately and meet for dinner later.