The Bachelor, our favorite reality show, isn’t known for it’s subtlety. That’s kind of a given — when one man is thrown into a pit of 25 sexy ladies and given only a few weeks to choose his soulmate, the stakes are pretty high. ABC’s resident Cupid, Chris Harrison is known for wailing curveballs at contestants, who quickly find themselves doing all their own stunts in dates that seem more likely to inspire an asthma attack than the beginnings of a lifelong romance.
We’re not complaining — if we wanted to watch two people awkwardly sip coffee and ask about each other’s siblings, we’d just sit at Barnes and Nobles for an hour. We tune into The Bachelor (and The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise, et al) for the DRAMA, and that includes some seriously wild dates. But don’t let the fact that you don’t own your own helipad discourage you. Check out this list of our favorite creative date ideas and see how you can use them as inspiration for some unique date nights of your own!
Juan Pablo was the first latino to star in a season of The Bachelor. He was also the first Bachelor to assume a woman would enjoy jogging through the desert in full makeup and brand new sneakers.
We’re not sure what Kat expected when she was whisked away on a private jet and handed a glow-in-the-dark outfit, but we’re pretty sure she didn’t imagine running a 5k in the dark. Still, this date was definitely colorful and helped inspire these first date ideas:
An Obstacle Run. Themed 5ks have become a HUGE thing. If you’re thinking of trying one out on a first date, choose one that includes obstacles, like a mud run. The obstacles will give you a chance to slow down, interact and work as a team. Just make sure you choose a shorter run and give your date a heads up so they don’t don their newest pair of Nikes.
A Group Dog Walk. If you’re not sure your date is the athletic type, this activity is a safer bet. It’s fun, casual and gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors while getting to know each other (something that can be a little difficult while sprinting). Check apps like Meetup for group dog walks that are being held in your local park and don’t worry, you don’t have to have a dog to join in on the fun!
Watching Emily O’Brien scale San Francisco’s Bay Bridge with Ben gave many viewers a serious case of vertigo. Emily had a moment of panic halfway through her climb (who wouldn’t?) but a kiss from Ben calmed her nerves enough for her to make it to the top.
When she did, Ben pointed something out — if they could make it to the top of the Bay Bridge together, what couldn’t they do? If you want to feel the same powerful bond without having to sign an insurance waiver first, these cute first date ideas are for you:
Indoor Rock Climbing. This will be a new activity for most daters and sharing new experiences is always fun! Plus, this date idea lets your partner choose their own difficulty level and decide how high they want to climb. With secured equipment and skilled instructors nearby, they’ll feel safe enough to relax and enjoy the climb.
Cave Repelling. Want to get a little adventurous but aren’t ready to climb a bridge like Spiderman? Spelunking is a great middle-ground. Take a tour of a local cave together then spend some time repelling inside! Repelling doesn’t require as much upper-body strength, but it’ll definitely get your heart pumping!
Plummeting off of a skyscraper in the middle of LA sounds like the beginning of a Bruce Willis movie, not the “jumping off point” for a solid marriage, but that didn’t stop Sean Lowe from strapping in with Sarah, who screamed all 35 floors down. If there’s one first date tip we’ve learned from The Bachelor, it’s that when the helicopter comes for you, be very, very afraid. If you’re looking to add a little excitement to your date, try these great first date ideas instead:
Indoor Skydiving. Yes, you read that right. Indoor skydiving will give you a rush without the pesky side effect of putting your in mortal danger. Here’s how it works: in a padded room and in full safety gear, propellers create winds up to 120 mph that lift you off the ground and let you “fly!” This is an experience your date definitely won’t forget!
Gun Range Shooting. If you want to feel like the star of your own action movie, but you get woozy with heights, head to the shooting range. Most ranges will allow you to bring your own gun or rent one of theirs. If you don’t have any experience, sign up for a beginner’s class together to learn gun safety and how to load and fire. Make some friendly bets and see who’s the better shot, then take your paper target home as a souvenir!
Season 13 taught us how Jason Mesnick likes his ladies – trim, tan, and slathered in plaster of Paris. Some of the creative date ideas on The Bachelor make us wonder exactly how drunk the producers get before their brainstorming sessions. This date, which had the ladies making “artistic” casts of their breasts was definitely cringe-worthy. Still, the date did have have some positive elements that we used to come up with these cute first date ideas:
After Hours at the Museum. Field trips aren’t just for middle schoolers. Many art museums have begun opening their doors later for special adult-only events. These events include hors devours, cocktails and even interactive exhibits and crafts for couples. Plus, you can wear your sharpest outfit and not worry about having to strip down and cover yourself with plaster (unless you want to continue the date at home!)
BYOB Art Class. You don’t have to be a trained artist to create your own masterpiece. Amateur painting classes will guide you through the process (and most of them let you bring your own wine to enjoy while you work!)
Check out Groupon to get a good deal on classes near you. After your date, swap paintings with your partner. Every time they look at your work of art, they’ll think of you!
Juan Pablo, or “El Bachelor” as he liked to call himself, scored major points with viewers when he treated his date Clare to a private concert with Josh Krajcik. Krajcik had just come in second place on X Factor, making him an easy choice for reality TV lovers that season.
Viewers loved the date so much that producers repeated it twice — once with a private concert from Train for Brad and Jackie, and once with an Amos Lee concert for Ben and Caila. Darius Rucker and The Cranberries also delighted viewers with private concerts on The Bachelorette.
Although you may not be able to swing a private concert from a chart-topper, you can recreate the romance with these intimate date ideas:
Private Viewing Party. There’s nothing unique about dinner and a movie, and inviting someone over for Netflix and chill doesn’t always mean what you think it does. Here’s a unique way to watch: setup a projector in your backyard.
Some cushions, pillows, and cozy blankets will create the perfect viewing area and some tiki torches will set the mood. We recommend having a latex condom and free sample of ASTROGLIDE discretely tucked behind a pillow just in case your private theatre turns into a fantasy suite!
Vintage Record Shopping. Spend the day combing local record stores or flea markets together and picking out some albums. Then head back to your place and give your selections a spin. A few glasses of wine and you might be brave enough to ask your date to dance!
This date is fun because it lets you get to know your date’s taste in music, doesn’t cost much and gives you a built in topic of conversation so you won’t have too many awkward pauses (always good to avoid those).
Hopefully these date ideas will fill you with confidence, but if you’re still not sure what to do on a first date, here are some bonus first date tips to help you make a great impression:
This stops you from talking all about yourself without turning the date into a job interview.
A lot of daters are afraid of being pushy on a first date, so they overcompensate by refusing to make any decisions. “Where do you want to eat?” One person asks. ‘I don’t know, where do YOU want to eat?” Don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet and make a decision to keep the date rolling.
Most of us aren’t mind readers, and we’ll spend a good portion of the date nervously asking ourselves, “Are they into me?” Ease the tension a little by offering a little assurance. Simply saying, “This is fun!” or “You’re really easy to talk to,” will go a long way.
Who should pay for a date? Is it the man? The person who asked the other out? Everyone has different ideas on this, but it’s never a bad idea to offer. If they let you pay, go for it. If they don’t, drop it. If they pay for the movie, offer to buy the snacks. Remember it’s not about the money, it’s about showing you’re willing to chip in, even if they turn you down.
Imagine you aren’t on a date, but hanging out with a new friend for the first time. You’ll stop worrying about “impressing” them and focus on getting to know them and having fun instead — and that’s what dating should really be about!
Looking for more great first date ideas? Check out our post with 25 Sexy Date Ideas for Summer, our 21 Sexy Winter Date Ideas for Guys on Any Budget or if you’re looking to get out there and get active, try our 4 Date Ideas That Double As Workouts.