Romance is something we often seek when starting new relationships, but also when we’re with our other half for the long haul, and sometimes it takes thinking outside the box to both to ignite the flame and to keep it lit.
Going to the movies, sitting at the bar, ordering takeaway – these are the unimaginative dates we’ve already tried and tested. And we understand that ‘Netflix and chill’, or regular dinner dates can become boring when often repeated, so we have a baker’s dozen date ideas for you to surprise your first date or significant other.
From the inexpensive trips and places you can visit in your local area, these thirteen alternative date activities are sure to have you two bonding, and hopefully more by the end of it.
1. Channel Your Inner Animal at The Zoo
You may have gone to the zoo when you were a child, and many of us will have fond memories of visiting the monkeys or feeding the farm animals. Bring one another to this magical land, you’re bound to discover new things about each other. Sometimes there are also nighttime zoo tours, which can really make memories.
Visit Dublin Zoo, €17.50 pp
2. Go for a Coffee and a Walk
Rather than staying cooped up in a pretty little café, why not get yours to go and wander around the city instead. Fresh air and chatting without strangers eavesdropping is definitely more inviting – and if there’s a park nearby, the canal or a coastline then even better.
Visit The Maritime Café in Dun Laoghaire
3. Get Competitive and Go Karting!
Nothing ignites a spark like a bit of competitiveness, which you can achieve speedily while driving circuits around one another. Karting is also a very fun way to test limits, though be cautious if doing so on a first date.
Visit Kylemore Karting from €15 pp
4. Check Out an Art Gallery or Museum Exhibition
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are into the hipster, artsy type why not visit an art gallery or museum to see what new exhibitions are in your local city with your love interest. From modern art to pop culture, architecture and photography, there are plenty of different versions of art you can explore.
Visit the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kilmainham
5. Be a Tourist in Your Hometown
This is definitely a fun activity if you’re up for it, which we do recommend. Hop on a tour bus and get to learn about your city, have fun with the real tourists and enjoy the many sights you can get from sitting on the top deck. We rather enjoy Dublin’s Viking Splash Tour, complete with viking caps and roaring at locals.
Board the Viking Splash Tour from €25 pp
6. Enjoy a Wine or Whiskey Tasting Evening
Much more engaging and interactive than your regular dinner date, why not book into a wine or whiskey tasting evening. Hopefully you’ll enjoy each other’s company as much as much as what you’re tasting.
Visit Teeling Distillery from €15
7. Go Bowling
Channel your teenage self and book a lane at your local leisure centre. You could use your real names on the scoreboard, or you could make up an alias or funny nickname for each other. A couple of beers, nachos or fries, and you can even challenge each other with silly bets – like who can score the most , and who knows you both might score big.
Find your local Leisureplex
8. Have a Few Drinks and Play Board Games
Instead of going for Netflix and chill, why not try Monopoly and chill? Board games aren’t just for Christmas time with the family, you can really have a fun night with your date with an old school game. Just try not to get pernickety about the rules! Don’t want to stay at home? Head to a bar that has a great board game selection.
Visit The Blackbird in Rathmines for pizza and beer at €12 too
9. Try a New Cuisine
If you do decide upon a simple dinner date, make it more delectable by trying a new cuisine neither of you have tried. There are plenty of restaurants or bistro cafés in the city centre that you have yet to discover, so why not do a little research together and pick somewhere brand new.
Visit Monty’s of Kathmandu for Nepalese cuisine
10. Hop On a Train
Oftentimes, adventures await when you board a train. If Harry Potter is an inspiration to go by, anything can happen to a new destination. Pick a place at random and explore the area, or hop on the Dart train and visit a few different stops along the way.
11. Head to the Theatre
The arts season has many shows dotted around theatres nationwide, and in the capital there is always a show worth seeing. From operas to ballet, dramas to comedies, there is definitely one show to suit both of your tastes. And if you enjoy dressing to the nines, it’s the perfect date venue for it.
Check out the National Concert Hall for full schedule
12. Take a Bike Ride on the Wild Side
An innocent bike ride along the coast, through Phoenix Park or along the canal, taking a bike ride together is a fun way to spend the day, while also exercising. For added kudos, bring a packed lunch, wine or beer and a couple of plastic glasses, or stop into a local café to rest.
13. Go For Brunch
Make an earlier start to your date and head out for brunch instead of lunch or dinner. Not only do brunch menus have more delicious food options, it also means you can spend more time together and dine in different cafés than you would after dark.
Visit Whitefriar Grill for brunch