Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas

My least favorite question on date night is this: So, what do you want to do tonight?

My answer? I definitely do not want to waste time figuring out what to do.

Here are some of our favorite go-to ideas for when we don’t know what to do.

1.  Homemade hot drinks. For five months before Dexter and I “started dating,” we went out on “non-dates” at coffee shops. We drank mochas and talked and talked and talked. Actually, Dexter talked and talked. I talked and listened. Luckily, I like to listen. We still love coffee shops, but have started having coffee-shop-inspired dates at home more often.

2. Watch a movie. I know it seems like a cop out, but I’m not a huge movie person. Movies at the theatre are so expensive, and at home I’d rather multi-task by doing the budget or folding socks while watching a movie. (I do better with sitcom-length shows.) However, my husband LOVES movies. To him, snuggling on the couch while watching a movie is heaven on Earth. Going to a movie  at the theatre is even better. For years, I thought I needed to come up with something better, but I have finally realized that watching a movie blesses my husband more than a spotless house and a four-course meal.

3.  Live music. In October, a British stranger Dexter met at work offered to put him on the guest list for the Los Campesinos–the band he worked for. We spontaneously stayed out late for a Wednesday night date, and had a lot of fun! We didn’t come away any more virtuous because of the lyrics, but the sound was good and British accents make everything better! We also got to see The Envy Corps for the first time–something that has been on Dexter’s wishlist for a long time. We’re lucky to live in a city with some great venues and live music for free all summer long, so this is an easy date for us to find. (Although, we’ve planned on going to several events but stayed home because we were so tired. We’re kinda lame.)

4.  Take a class. Our local health food store offers cooking classes for about $15/person. They usually involve food that you get to eat, so it might even do double-duty as dinner out. Homemade pizza, homemade sushi rolls, and bacon are all themes that have caught my eye.

5. Make dinner or dessert. It’s amazing how a clean kitchen can stay clean when there are two grown-ups cooking together. We have a blast trying out new ingredients like spaghetti squash and brussels sprouts together in the kitchen! My advice is to keep whatever you’re making simple so you can still talk and avoid getting cranky about the details of meal preparation.

6. Photography. You don’t have to have a fancy camera to take interesting pictures. We followed our dogs around with a camera back in the day when 4.5 megapixels was impressive for an affordable camera. By the time we have kids, we’ll be photography pros! You could even start a photoblog to document your photo dates.7.  Painting. Even if you’re not a painter, painting can be cathartic. Buy some canvases and paints when they’re on sale at the craft store. Look for colors that complement your home’s color scheme so you’ll end up with some affordable wall art. You don’t have to do still-life or anything complicated. Work together to use masking tape or stencils to make a simple, geometric painting. Or try something abstract. If you buy a small can of primer, you can always let an ugly painting dry and paint over it for a brand new start.

8.  Take a walk. I’m still convincing Dexter that this one is a good idea–to give him credit, he does stand for 3-9 hours each day as part of his job. We always have good conversations when we go on walks, and I always come home feeling loved and encouraged.

9.  Read. This is a great combo with Date Idea #1. Spend the afternoon chilling out, reading books independently, reading a book aloud, or listening to an audiobook. Then talk about it.

10.  Window shop. We need to leave the debit card and cash envelopes at home to keep this date economical. We have fun walking around Target, antique stores, or craft shows, pointing out home decor we like and discussing whether we could make something similar ourselves.

Photo Credit 1

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179 thoughts on “Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas « Mrs. Dexter -- Topsy.com

  2. Hi Kelsey — so I know this is a little creepster, but we met briefly last week at the Getting to Know Grace class, and I realized I’d met you after I found your blog! :) Anyway, I love this post — so many great date ideas, and inexpensive, too. My husband and I will have to try some of these soon.

      • If I had kids, I wouldn’t either! These dates are definitely easier for a couple with no kids. I’d definitely recommend tacking a walk onto the end of a dinner out date, though! You’ve got to take advantage of every minute you have a sitter!

  3. You know, I need all the ideas I can get these days: Thanks for the tips!

    I personally love love LOVE cooking with my boyfriend…no double entendre intended… ;) We talk, we play, we laugh — it’s the perfect date!

    • Thanks! It took me a while to get my husband warmed up to the idea that cooking can be a date, but he really enjoys it now. Especially since I’m usually up for making something more fun and slightly less healthy!

  4. My husband and I used to hop in the car and just drive. We found a bunch of cool restaurants that way. Going on walks is always a great way to spend time together, too!

    • We’ve never tried out “just drive.” Sounds like an adventure! Maybe we’ll try it out and bring our camera to take some interesting pictures.

    • Pizza and netflix is one of our favorites! I’m not always diligent enough to do homemade pizza, but it’s always so much better that way.

    • Thanks! We’re trying to get out of debt (one of the main themes of this blog) so we try to keep things affordable. I didn’t think I’d like reading aloud to my husband, but it comes in so handy on a car trip! It’s definitely cheaper than buying an audiobook!

    • Thanks for commenting! You should check out the guest post my friend Ambre did today on my homepage. She makes THE best hot chocolate in the world!

    • I always get so cranky when we can’t decide. I think it’s better to just pick something, even if you’re not sure it’ll be the most fun thing in the world!

  5. You and Dexter sound like the cutest couple ever! I love #2… I love that snuggling on the couch makes Dexter soooo happy. :)

    #5 So true! Keep it simple…

    #4… wait, I’ll just say ALL OF THEM… you two sound like such a sweet couple and these are really great tips!

    Thank you!

  6. With four kids, we are always on the lookout for cheap date night ideas. Lately we have been finding dinner-for-two deals at some of our favorite restaurants which gives us a chance to have a nice meal for not too much money. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

    • I love eating out! Anything that keeps my kitchen clean! Groupon has been great for saving money on that lately, if you have one in your town. Hopefully, several of these suggestions are good “after bedtime” dates that parents can do after the kids go down. I can’t vouch for that, though, because I don’t have kids yet.

  7. I saw this post on Freshly Pressed and I decided to glance at it to see if there were any good ideas for me and my boyfriend. It turns out that we already do 8 out of 10 of these pretty regularly. I also appreciate that these ideas are great ideas if you’re on a budget (and we are, since we are college students). Great post, I’m glad I saw it.

    • Thanks for reading! My husband and I met in high school and got married in college, so we also had NO money. Good luck finding more cheap dates!

  8. Great post!
    My fiancee & I started out becoming friends first with coffee shop and brew pub talks. No pressure for a formal date. That way you get to know the person a bit better before making the leap…
    Congrats of FP!

    • We did the same thing–but only at coffee shops. We were 17, though, so pubs weren’t an option. It saves a lot of heartache if you only date people you’d be friends with anyway!

  9. What a wonderful post! I loved the one about taking cooking classes at your local health food store. I’m going to do some research and see if our local store offers the same. One of our favorites is getting a good book and taking turns reading out loud to each other.

  10. me and my wife actually started a blog together to keep us both communicating constantly…and learning how to agree with each other on what to put up for the blog, haah. we’ve done everything on your list except #4. Great post. We’re happy, but i think we can be happier.

    follow my blog too!: http://www.crowdtheories.com

    • I definitely respect doing a blog together! We tried to do one, but didn’t stick with it because it’s hard to co-author a post! Now we have a photoblog–much easier! I will check out your blog soon!

  11. I love live music, but don’t really feel it’s a good date thing to do, at least not in the beginning. It’s too loud to get to know someone and have good conversation.

    • I see what you mean. For people who know each other well and have similar tastes in music it can be a good experience to share. Definitely not a good getting-to-know-you date.

  12. Pingback: Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas | El blog de First Studio Institute

  13. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo date idea!! We just bought a new Canon Rebel DSLR, but neither of us really know how to use it, so your idea would be a great way to learn something new together. Thanks for sharing!!!

  14. Pingback: {Blog Spotlight}Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas |

  15. Great ideas! I love walking with my husband–not only do we get much needed exercise, but we are away from the phone, the computer, the tv… etc.!

  16. These are great ideas! Back when we first started dating, I used to feel bad that we watched movies all the time, but I realized that it’s actually something we both enjoy. We don’t always agree on the movie, but as long as we cuddle, I don’t really care.

    I’ll have to give some of your ideas a whirl!
    <3 Milieu

  17. I’m going to weigh in with a date idea: geocaching! I’ve just gotten into this and I find that it’s more fun with a partner. All you need is a handheld GPS unit and an account (you can sign up for free) at Geocaching.com. Sorry if I sound like a shill, but I seriously think this could be a fun date! I live in the South, so my cardinal rule of ‘caching is to bring bug repellant, and lots of it. :-) -MM

  18. Great ideas. I hate having to find a solution to the question “What do you want to do today/night,” because I am so indecisive and I never know what to pick. I love the band idea, I always enjoy going out and finding bands I have never heard of before. Great post!

    • Movies aren’t our go-to plan. We probably see one at the theatre three or four times a year. My husband loves them, though, and they can be good discussion prompters later on!

  19. Pingback: Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas (via Mrs. Dexter) « Random Musings

  20. Hey nice ideas – I love the photography one, because it gets you out and about and living and learning.

    … I’d like to see a list of the top 10 worst date ideas. Number 1: sushi and/or udon restuant, unless you enjoy wearing your meal on top of your going-out-clothes. Or maybe I’m the only person who doesn’t know how to take elegant bites of sushi.

    • Haha! I agree! I think you’re supposed to eat sushi rolls in one bite. Maybe I have a small mouth, but I know it’s not pretty when I’m chewing that!

  21. Noticed the books in your picture. I’m a big fan of Mark Batterson and got to hear him speak recently. Also a big fan of Dave Ramsey. Love this post! My wife and I are always asking: “What do you want to do tonight?” and usually end up watching TV…

    • Glad to year you liked Batterson. I got the book for free to review, but the description sounded great. I’m excited to start reading. Thanks for commenting!

  22. These are all great ideas, and I have even done some of them myself. Sometimes, I get the local paper toward the weekend and check out all the upcoming events–some of which are free!

  23. These are great date ideas. I love making my own fancy coffee drinks and watching movies at home, and these are very inexpensive ideas as well. Taking a class together is a great idea — my wife and I did a hot glass class together once. It is nice to have a list of things to do, as this avoids the dreaded “what do you want to do tonight” back-and-forth that wastes half of your night.

    • Sometimes I’m a snob about what I’ll add to my hot chocolate, but peppermint definitely makes the cut. Thanks for the comment!

  24. I love this and actually have done many of the things on your list already. Even though I’m 28, my past relationships were very restrictive and my current one (and hopefully the final one as I believe he’s my soulmate) is so different. We DO things like take walks, watch movies, see live shows, etc. You know, like REAL dating should be. It’s been rather interesting. I thought about taking a dance class with him too, but we are longer distance than most so it probably wouldn’t work out. Anyway, thanks so much for sharing these great ideas. I will keep them “freshly pressed” in my head for awhile…

    Meredith
    http://www.thissideofthecreek.wordpress.com

    • Glad you’re in such a great relationship. I’m hoping to get to take dance lessons sometime–still waiting for my husband to warm up to the idea, though!

  25. Pingback: Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas (via Mrs. Dexter) « Fun to Live the Illusion.

  26. Hi! Dropped by from Freshly Pressed. I’m divorced, no boyfriend, no dates, but I love some of your ideas!!! I’d be with your hubby on the walking one though, and probably the cooking one as well. It’s just so warm and humid where I live I’d end up feeling crappy. My top picks are coffee dates at home , reading and movie nights!!! :)

    • I don’t think these ideas are exclusive to dating–just avoid holding hands or snuggling if you’re with a friend! Thanks for commenting!

  27. Pingback: long walks and food ideas « On Chocolate Hill

  28. I love the ideas! I love spending time with my sweetheart, but sometimes I run out of ideas… The photoblog idea is great, I will suggest that, we both love taking pictures. My personal number #1 favourite past time with my boyfriend is planning a vacation, but too bad that is possible only once a year.. =)

  29. Pingback: Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas (via Mrs. Dexter) « outloudjournal

  30. How about simple board games and a glass of wine. Backgammon in college was a fave of mine…I don’t see anyone playing that anymore. I think we need more human interaction and playing a board game can really bring out the person; you can invite another couple along to break that awkward silence. The 20 minute coffee shop date is a fast and easy way to end a bad date without too much expense.

  31. Hi Kelsey,

    Found your blog on ‘freshly pressed’ this morning & really enjoyed this post! I like your idea to find a hobby that you enjoy together.. & oddly enough my husband & I both like gardening! (What are we, prematurely retired?!)

    I share your faith & am interested to check out some of the blogs on your blogroll.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Suzanne

  32. I like this list because it’s basic. The focus is on simply enjoying the other persons company amidst a low key distraction. Anyone can afford these dates, and everyone should enjoy them.

  33. Just found your blog. I really liked this post and will take a look at some of your other posts. Feel free to check in on any of my blogs.

    Hwat a great idea to share tips on what to do for dates. It is so true. I’ve had the same problem when on dates and we’ve ended up just really not doing anything, which can be nice once in a while, but yes. What a great list. Love it. :)

  34. I love the “Taking A Class” date idea. After the class, if you both enjoyed it, it can turn into a great way to bond in the future! I’m new to WordPress. Check out my blog, Jenna’s Antenna!

  35. That coffee shop one is great! I’ve just been hanging out with friends, not even bothering with the whole “dating” business, and it still works. I’m guessing “raiding record stores” falls under “windowshopping?”

  36. Pingback: from books to beer, day 1. « REcycloBlog

  37. Congrats on being FP! Being married 25 years we slacked off on some of these ideas. Kids interrupted them too. Now the older ones can baby sit and we are free. Even going to evening church can be a date! Then a quick meal out, a drive and/or a walk. Point will be to get alone time together.

  38. Hot drinks . . . . lovely.

    Have you ever heard that if you want a first date to be really successful, you should do something scary or slightly dangerous for a first date? I took my wife Ice skating for a first date; it worked a treat.

  39. Loved this post, and graphically nice as well, good stuff! Tried the photography date, for example, was a blast. Variation: Both of you have a camera, do a walkabout the city/wherever you are. Every five minutes or so, one person picks a subject, animate or inanimate, to take a photo of. Each takes one photo, getting as creative as possible. Then, the other person chooses the next subject, taking turns one after another. Grab a laptop, head to a coffee shop, download the pics, and go through them all, comparing the two pictures of each subject. This date was amazing for me. :)
    Dug

    http://thf2.wordpress.com

    • Reading aloud is definitely not for everyone. I’m an elementary ed major and my husband has done lots of theatre, so we both like it. Audiobooks are a good substitute!

  40. I love the idea of taking a class as a way of going on a date. Especially a cooking class where you get to eat the food. It’s the perfect excuse to try out that class you were hesitant about going to alone.

  41. This is great! My husband and I go through this routine almost every week when it comes to date night (“What do you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know…did you have any ideas?”) so this is a fun list. We usually end up watching a movie or going to a coffee shop. I’ll have to share this list with my husband and see if we can branch out a bit :-)

  42. Great ideas! I’ve been blogging about cheap ways to find cool new stuff and the cooking classes seem like a pretty good way to do that. I also decided to move “down the food chain” about a month ago so I’ll certainly be checking out the rest. Thanks for writing!

  43. I love this post! Thank you for sharing your creative ideas. My husband and I live in Austin, TX, and are blessed to be in a city with some many fun things going on all the time, but sometimes we feel like paupers b/c we just can’t afford to enjoy all the events with any degree of regularity. Your ideas are inspiring and fun! Cheers from another (lame) young couple who loves date night!

    • Glad you found them helpful! We got married during college and are trying to get out of debt as fast as we can, so cheap dates are important to us!

  44. Hi Mrs Dexter, like your list.

    It was great, at the end of idea #2, seeing the phrase ‘blesses my husband’, and quickly checking your about info, to realise that what we had here was a sister in Christ!

    Good suggestions all round; can i offer a couple too?

    1. If you have the location and inclination for them, why not make and fly kites? good fun, interesting, challenging!

    2. in a list of christian date ideas, i read about doing some kind of volunteering day/evening, and that sounds a great idea.

    nice work.
    james

    • Thanks for the suggestion! We actually bought kites while we were dating, but never got around to using them. Volunteering would be great, too! We have a friend who’s involved in Habitat for Humanity, so we’ll have to ask him how to get involved.

  45. Such simple ideas, but they are perfect. I am passing this a link to this blog to my wife right now.

    We too often overlook these simple enjoyments.

    Along with going on a walk is going to a park. Cheap as free and you get to be outside. You don’t have to even hassle with packing a picnic lunch. Just go and sit on the grass or sit on the swings. Talk and talk and talk and listen (as you said), and you end up feeling so good

    • Good suggestion! When we were in college, we’d order Chinese and take it to a park next to a river and sit under a willow tree and talk. It was so peaceful and fun!

  46. Awesome blog topic! My husband would love cheap dates since we don’t have much money. Not sure how the cooking one would work out since we have such a small kitchen and he hates when we’re both in there, and he can’t sit still cause of his ADHD long enough for a movie, but that’s where the tweaking comes in to adept it to each couple’s needs. Thanks!

    • Thanks! As I’ve said to others, we’re trying to get out of debt so we’re spending as little on dates as we can (while still having some fun!). We have a small kitchen, too. When the dishwasher or fridge door is open, things can go down hill fast! Maybe instead of a date you can do it as a “getting along training exercise.” :)

  47. Another great date idea is to go to the park. This would obviously depend on the weather, or at least your sense of adventure, but the park offers a ton of opportunities: walking/jogging, tennis, swings (yes, swings), possibly handball, or even watching a pee-wee baseball game for fun. This can even be fun in the rain, just as long as you have the chance to dry off when you need to.

  48. Love #3 – Live Music!

    People sometimes get caught up with the idea that a concert is going to be pricey and crowded – what we need to realize is that it is usually possible (in any urban area anyhow) to find great talented artists in local pubs or bars, often free of cover or under $15.

    Great article on dates ideas!

  49. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a couple years now, so many times we find ourselves bored with the typical dinner and a movie, or just staying home watching TV. My favorites on the list are cooking together, taking a class and window shopping. Love your post and I look forward to trying some of these!

  50. Ok..so here’s what my hubby of 30+ years and I do on our relatively infrequent date nights.
    We meet at a lounge in a downtown hotel pretending we don’t know each other. We kid around with double speak getting to know each other and laugh ourselves silly. He always starts off with “Hi beautiful, do I come here often?” and I am on the floor laughing every time.

  51. I think, there are much more brilliant ideas for a perfect date, it’s not about thinking, it’s about interests ;) I would like to spend my date learning how to cook… I remember one time I spent time with someone special cooking up some pasta and drinking wine at my house, we ended up dancing, laughing and calling more friends ;) good times, livin’ positive ;)

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  53. Wow, I really enjoyed this blog. I feel like the date ideas were not only different and fun sounding, but also nice and inexspensive. I especially love the photography idea, since I love to take pictures and the take a class idea which I think is a fun way for two people to interact!! Thanks for the ideas!!

  54. I’m with you on the movie thing. I think it’s so expensive to go to the theatre. (Cost us 25 dollars last night! We could have bought the movie in a few months!) But watching at home usually causes me to multi task. I’ve found that going to a movie together is really fun though. Laughing along with an audience changes the movie experience and gives you a reason to get dressed up for the night!

    • I agree! I’m a cheapskate, and I hate to see that money leave my wallet. I told my husband that if we don’t get popcorn or a drink, we can go to twice as many movies. I think he was sold!

  55. Pingback: good reads « pen it down

    • Board game nights are good! I did a top ten list on games a few weeks ago. Sometimes we avoid games so nobody has to lose…Or we have to play till we’ve both won!

  56. The brussel sprouts photo is fab!
    My hubby and I love movies, but I have to
    inspire him to go with me to the forest and

    walk..walk..walk…walk…
    *Different scented massage oils are a great gift….but you may have to insist that your hubby focuses the first 5 minutes only on your upper back:-)

  57. Pingback: Top Ten Favorite Date Ideas (via Mrs. Dexter) « whatiknowtoday

  58. Pingback: Dating Ideen | ringeblog

  59. Another couple that does the same thing my humans do! It really works. They do most of the things you’ve listed and will try the two (photography and painting) the don’t currently. A couple things you might try to add to your “date” nighs – Playing cards and board games. It’s amazing how much fun these are and forgotten they’ve become. – This may not be for everyone, but my humans to a combination nature watch – enviro cleanup walk/trip.
    Sandy
    http://www.sandysays1.wordpress.com

  60. I agree with most. like you said a movie can sponser littler interaction – though it does feel like you’ve gained an experience together. I’ve never tried a photo-date or taking a class.. maybe at a place like Whole Foods? Idk.. anyways good post, got me thinking.

  61. Pingback: Top 10 Date Ideas | Ideas to Have a Great Date | Fab Housewife

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