Caroline Gerdes
September 20, 2014 8:00 am

Dinner. A movie. And maybe mini golf if you’re lucky. It seems like the first date is always the same formulaic awkward introductory interview. Try not to eat weird in front of the other person as you formally struggle with conversation, followed by silence in a movie theater that may result in an arm around your shoulder move. If you’re stuck in a dating cycle reminiscent of Bill Murray’s life in Groundhog Day, have no fear! Here are 11 unusual but awesome first date ideas!

1.  The Whole Foods Challenge

This grocery store date idea has a competitive element. Go to a grocery store (one with clothes, soap, food, etc. Whole Foods is a good choice), split off for 10 or 15  minutes and run through the market to pick out goodies for the other person — or for the date. Find chocolates to share or a bottle of wine. Oh, and you can’t spend more than $20 each. On your mark, get set, date!

2.  A night picnic with stargazing

As Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind explains, “Night picnics are different.” There’s something very romantic and a little dreamy about eating a home-packed meal under the stars.

3.  The triathlon date

No, I don’t mean running, biking and swimming. Pick three fun activities and go! For you two, this could be a drinks, dinner and dessert or a hiking, kayaking and lunch date. Personalize and set goals for the night together!

4.  Brinner

Because breakfast for dinner is always awesome.

5.  Volunteer together 

Get to know your date while giving back. Volunteer to build a house for Habitat for Humanity, collect canned goods for your local food depository or plant tomatoes in a community garden.

6.  Go on a brewery tour or wine tasting

This is a good way to take the edge off a first date, without overindulging. Comparing favorite drinks is also a good conversation starter.

7.  Do something during the day

Who says it has to be date night? Hit the farmers market, a museum, the zoo or even a movie matinee!

8.  Take a class 

Learn something together! Spice things up with a cooking class, have fun with a weird workout or learn to Tango even if, between the two of you, you have four left feet. The class is an ice breaker and an instant shared experience.

9.  Go on a mini scavenger hunt 

Take a walk around town, checking off items on a small scavenger hunt.  Or, you could surprise your date with a hunt that leads to where you’ll be having dinner.

10.  Visit a fortune teller

Spring for a palm reading or tarot card session. Regardless of the relationship forecast, it will make for a memorable first date.

11.  Craft! 

Go paint pottery or build a birdhouse. Who knows? If it works out, you’ll have a sweet keepsake!

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