10 Best Places for a First Date
by Amy Keyishian
e asked you about those places most likely to guarantee a good date—here’s how you answered*:
of you would love… A coffee house
Funny, this venue also showed up as one of the worst places to take a first date in a previous Happen poll. But hey, one man’s poison, another man’s passion. It’s certainly low-pressure, which is always a plus, and the caffeine can’t hurt the conversation either. “Coffee will prevent even your most boring story from putting your date to sleep,” jokes Todd Katz, 39. “Also, it’s a very cheap date. Unless you go to Starbucks. Then bring your checkbook.”
of you would love… A walk in the park
Ah, the calming sound of leaves rustling, birds singing… Mother Nature can be quite the matchmaker. “On my first date with Joel, we walked his dog, Casey, in the park,” says Felicia Roff, 30. “It was a beautiful day. Plus, Casey is insanely adorable.” No wonder they turned into lovebirds soon afterwards.
of you would love… The local diner
It may not be swanky, but it’s comfortable, as is the food. “You know you’re in love if you can canoodle after eating 10 tons of meatloaf,” says Marjorie Ingall, 38. “When I finally met up with Jonathan after chatting ourselves into a lather online, it was fun to dig into some honky-tonk comfort food and enjoy a really low-key setting.”
of you would love… Brunch
A late-morning weekend date has a lot of advantages… like the ability to size up your date in broad daylight. “Brunch is more casual — and less pressure — than a dinner date, and yet more leisurely and fun than a lunch date,” says Jason Kersten, 34. “I’ve had the best conversations with women over Bloody Marys.”
of you would love… Live music
Too loud — say, heavy metal — is usually bad, but if it’s jazzy or acoustic, this is a lock. “I was going on a date with someone that wasn’t my usual type, much less straight-laced, and he took me to see a show by an African group,” says Ellen Benson, 32. “It worked out so well. The musicians were so happy and enthusiastic and fun. Knowing that my date had scoured the city’s offerings to find this for us revealed how creative and cool he was.”
of you would love… A museum
There’s something classy about this daytime-date choice, and there's always something to talk about. “I met a blind date at the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum,” says Jennifer Wertkin, 37. “Being around all these beautiful and interesting objects eased us into natural conversation, and the whole date was very low-pressure and unforced.”
of you would love… A fancy restaurant
Well, who wouldn’t? All the five-star treatment can rub off to a good romantic effect, as Rachel Stark, 32, agrees. “I went out to a really top-notch restaurant with this one guy, and it was so impressive to see my date read the wine list like a pro and then suggest appetizers, main courses, and desserts that complemented one another. By the time dinner was over, I felt like such a lady. Now, that’s a date!”
of you would love… A comedy club
A lot of people hated this idea in our “worst first-date” poll, but if the chemistry is right, even bad comedy can give good laughs. “We were just looking for something entertaining to do and ended up in a bar that was having open-mic night,” says Laura Gilbert, 28. “The comics were so bad that it was even more hilarious than professionals would have been. It was like karaoke but even more embarrassing, and I have to say, we bonded over it.”
of you would love… A bar
Let’s be honest here: Alcohol does wonders for easing those first-date jitters. Another benefit is its open-endedness, points out Rick Toscano, 30. “With dinners or movies, there’s a definite end to the date, which can be awkward,” he explains. “In a bar, a date is much more fluid. If you’re having a good time, the drinks can keep coming.”
of you would love… A sporting event
Even if you’re not a die-hard fan, heading to a baseball or basketball game can be exciting simply because the stakes are high—someone wins, someone loses. “It’s like going to a movie, but more interactive,” says Lynn Harris, 36. “Plus, the adrenaline-filled display on the field can only ramp up whatever chemistry you have already.”
Amy Keyishian writes magazine articles, young-adult novels, and shopping lists. Her first date with her current beau involved canoodling in a window overlooking the city—she recommends it highly!
* Percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were asked to pick all places they thought would be great for a first date, not just one.
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