First dates aren’t always fun. Especially after a long global pandemic when we have a hard time talking to the bank teller, let alone a potential new life partner. It’s new, it’s nerve wracking, and quite honestly, it can feel a little daunting. The coffee date has long been a classic first-date go-to. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can often get a good first impression and decide if you want a second date in the time it takes to down your oat milk latte.
But if you’ve taken some extra time to get to know your bumble bae before you meet IRL, you may be looking for a more interesting or exciting activity to distract you from the fact this is the first in-person date you’ve been on since early 2020. YIKES. Plus – getting outside of the cafe setting could show you that this new person is up for new adventures and willing to try new things!
Here are some fun ideas to shake things up and get the sparks flying!
A step up from coffee, but still a similar date format! Head to Proof YYC, have a cocktail and shake off those nerves!
Date idea to break the ice: Order each other a cocktail based on what you think they might like! Then compare with what they would have ordered for themselves.
2. Hit the Trails
Ditch the coffee cups for hiking boots and hit the trails with your new love interest! Hiking is a perfect way to inspire meaningful conversation in a low-stakes way. You’ll be surrounded by fresh air and insane Rocky Mountain views and if it goes well, the heat and physical activity is the perfect excuse to extend the date with a post-hike beer or snack. Check out our list on 5 Hikes you MUST do!
3. Game on!
Take all the focus off that awkward first date conversation with some friendly competition at an arcade bar! Hit up Greta Bar, challenge each other to a couple rounds of your favourite games – loser buys the next round!
4. Cooking Class
Nothing tests compatibility like seeing how you work together in the kitchen, and when better to test this out than your very first date! Check out the Cuisine + Chateau classes for a wide variety of cuisines for their hands-on classes (with wine pairings). If you want to keep it casual at home, The Cookbook Co. has amazing options for virtual classes as well!
5. Catch Flights AND Feelings
Go support one of the 50+ Craft breweries in and around YYC and use this first date as an excuse to try something new! Order a flight, sample away and get to know your date IRL. Last Best Brewing is one of our favourite local breweries, plus – their food is unreal. Try their Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich, you won’t regret it.
6. Floating on Air (Or the Bow River)
Load the boat up with drinks and snacks, slather on your sunscreen and hit the river! It’s the perfect casual first date for great conversation and a fun adventure. Make sure to bring some tunes and take turns being DJ! The Paddle Station knows what’s up – they supply the boats, the life jackets and the route – all you have to bring is the transportation and good times.
7. Drag Show!
There are little events that match the energy of a drag show. The music, the dancing – the passion. They are fun, exciting and the perfect atmosphere to bring up the liveliness of the first date and it’s most definitely one for the books. Check out the amazing shows at Twisted Element!
8. Picnic in the Park
Looking for a casual, but slightly romantic first date? Get some takeout from your favourite restaurant and hit one of YYC’s beautiful parks for a picnic! Check out our guide on planning the perfect picnic date!
9. Scoot, baby, scoot!
Start in the East Village with a snack from Sidewalk Citizen, then scoot west along the river pathway all the way down to St. Patrick’s Park, or Kensington for a patio beer.
10. We all scream for ice cream
Is there anyone that doesn’t like ice cream? With incredible local options around the city such as Village Ice Cream + Made By Marcus. Both are perfect ice cream date possibilities with seasonal flavours and amazing locations – perfect to enjoy the sweet treat while you talk and stroll through the area.
11. Escape Room
Now here is a super fun way to test how well you work together! Check out an escape room like Trapped in Kensington, test your skills and how well you collectively problem solve! It’s a fun way to see how well you both work under pressure. Victory = cheers to your success, Failure = Laugh it off and plan your redemption.
12. Calgary Zoo
If you haven’t had a Calgary Zoo date, you are missing out! Adventure the grounds, learn about their conservation, pose for the animal photo-ops and stop at a kiosk for a hot dog and beer lunch. Don’t forget to stop by the penguin exhibit – most mate for life, so maybe their luck will rub off! Also make sure to check out their events calendar for their evening and 18+ events!
14. Yoga Class
Whether you can’t touch your toes, or are an experienced yogi, a yoga date is a wonderful way to test your flexibility. Enjoy a relaxing yin or a sweaty bikram class, and then head out for a nice hearty + healthy lunch to refuel.
15. Rock Out!
Calgary has an incredibly underrated live music scene, one that must be taken advantage with some kickass live music venues spanning the city. A rooftop date at the historic King Eddy, sipping local beer and listening to the best of the best, is the ultimate first date to kickstart a romantic relationship with an unforgettable evening.
16. Bring out your inner child!
It’s no Disneyland, but if you’re looking for a super unique, fun-filled afternoon, head to Calaway Park for your first date! It will show your date you are down to goof around, and that you are in touch with your inner child! Sure, you’ll most likely be the the only ones over the age of 14 in line for the bumper cars, but it will definitely be a date you won’t forget.
17. Check Mate!
Hexagon Board Game Cafe has over 600+ board games to keep you and your date entertained on your first date! While we don’t recommend this date idea for the over-competitive type (since you probably don’t want to scare them off on date 1 over a board game), if you’re not a complete Monica, this is such a fun idea to casually break the ice and try some new board games while you’re at it! Plus, they serve delicious food and snacks, and wine and beer!
Still not convinced to stray from the ol’ faithful coffee date? Check out this guide on 10 best local cafes for first dates!