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10 Great Fall Date Ideas

vintage man woman couple illustration walking in fall

The spring has always been associated with romance — the blossoming flowers supposedly mirroring the spate of budding new loves.

But in my opinion, the holidays and the fall are the most romantic times of year.

Maybe it’s because the fall is my favorite season, or maybe it’s because I love donning sweaters again and all things pumpkin-spiced (Kate and I had a pumpkin pie instead of a wedding cake); either way, I think autumn is one of the best times to plan an outing with your gal. The chill in the air is conducive to cuddling, the changing leaves provide an inspiring backdrop, and there’s just this ineffable, stirring feeling this time of year that lends itself to romance…far more than the humming of bees in my opinion!

Whether you’re trying to win the heart of a new crush or are looking for something fun to do with your spouse, here are 10 great fall date ideas that will have you rustling up some romance along with the leaves.

Football Game

vintage man woman illustration hot chocolate football game

Pageantry, excitement, and yes, even romance. Football games make great dates, particularly first dates. They give you the comfortable side-by-side position offered on a movie date, but with the opportunity to stop and chat whenever you like. And with things constantly happening on the field, there’s always something to talk about if conversation lags.

Kate’s and my first date was to an Oklahoma/Tulsa football game. And we’re still together ten years later, so it worked out pretty well for me. Touchdown!

Pumpkin Carving

vintage schlitz ad advertisement couple carving pumpkins The fun of carving pumpkins is something you never outgrow. Scooping out the pumpkin goo, getting creative with a knife, and experiencing the little thrill of seeing your pumpkin lit from within.

Begin your date by taking your girl to a proper pumpkin patch, picking out your gourds together, and springing for both pumpkins. Then go back to your place to gut and carve up some jack-o-lanterns. After going all Norman Bates on your pumpkins, you and your date can roast the seeds and sit on the porch to admire your work.

Haunted Attraction

the haunted mansion walt disney album story song

Doing something a little scary makes your brain release dopamine, and researchers have found that this neurochemical can make you feel more attracted and attached to the person you’re with; first dates that include a pulse-pounding activity more often lead to second and third dates because of this. So if you’re looking to win the heart of your new gal pal, bring her to a haunted house or other spooky attraction. By the time the last zombie jumps out at you with his blade-less chainsaw, you’ll be going steady for sure.

State Fair

vintage state fair carousel ride people inside spinning

Cattle, carnival rides, midway games, sideshow attractions, hot tub displays, and deep-fried butter. Where else can you find this winning combination of things except the state fair? If you’re worried about making conversation, you’ll never want for things to talk about — if you can’t have fun on a date at the fair, you might consider applying for the job of the aforementioned zombie. And now that you know how to win your gal a giant stuffed bear and show off your he-man strength on the High Striker, you’ve got this date in the bag.

Halloween Parade

vintage avengers comic parading in small town

If you live in the Northeast, check out the Halloween parade in Rutland, Vermont. It’s awesome. Even the Avengers love it.

If you think parades are only for holidays like the Fourth of July, then you’re really missing out. Halloween parades — devoid as they are of ties to history, war, or death — are parades that can let it all hang out. People go just to be kooky and have fun. There’s music, dancing, costumes, and just a whole lot of people having a good time. If you want to get dressed up, but costume parties aren’t your thing, here’s your opportunity.

Hayride

vintage illustration couple on back of hayride moonlit

Hayrides abound this time of year, but if you’re making a date out of it, be sure to pick a good one. They’re frequently found at pumpkin patches, but these are often tailored for the wee kiddies, and the ride doesn’t last very long or go very far. Look for hayrides that are offered by real ranches or farms, follow a nice, scenic route (if it’s under the moonlight, all the better), and provide a little something extra like cider and hot chocolate, traditional horse-drawn (as opposed to motorized) propulsion, or a history tour along the way.

Foliage Drive

vintage illustration couple taking autumn drive blue car

Watching the green leaves transform into beautiful displays of vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds is one of the best parts of autumn. But driving through your neighborhood or walking across campus just doesn’t give you a sweeping view of the unfolding majesty. So hop in your car, pack a couple of sandwiches for a picnic, and take a scenic drive through mountain passes where you and your date can get an awe-inspiring look at the seasons’ changing of the guard.

This can be a stand-alone date, or something you make time for en route to another one of these suggested activities.

Apple Cider Mill

vintage illustration cider mill apples fall leaves

If you’re lucky enough to have an apple cider mill where you live, take advantage of it for a casual afternoon date. You can watch how the cider is made, sip on samples, browse the kitschy products in the country store, and sit down to eat some delicious donuts. Fall-tastic.

Ghost Hunt

vintage couple looking scared ghost scaring them

While on your ghost hunt, always look behind you. Behind you!

It’s hard to imagine ghosts showing their pallid faces when it’s 102 degrees in the middle of July (even humans go into hiding). But when the sun starts to set earlier and the chilly air returns, the world seems considerably spookier. Which makes fall the prime time for ghost hunting. If she’s up for it, grab your lady friend and a couple of flashlights and go explore an abandoned building where specters have supposedly been spotted. If you’re looking for a more low-key (and definitely legal) option, many tours of reportedly haunted parts of town are offered this time of year.

Weenie Roast

vintage illustration friends weenie roast winter ice

Winter came early for these intrepid autumnal weenie roasters.

Let’s face it: there’s never a bad time for a weenie roast. But the fall is peak weenie roast season. It’s chilly but not freezing — the perfect time for cuddling by the campfire, munching on hot dogs and s’mores, and engaging in some good old fashioned fireside smooching.

What are your ideas for great fall dates? Are there any particular haunted attractions, hayrides, or apple cider mills in your neck of the woods that you recommend people checking out?

10 Cheap Date Ideas She’ll Actually Love

Bonus #11: Impromptu living room dance party.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Joe Weber of Dappered.com.

“’Cause I don’t care too… much for money, money can’t buy me love“ – The Beatles

If you’ve decided to take on the challenge of dating women instead of simply hanging out with them, there’s both good news and bad news.

The bad news is that you’re going to have to overcome your nervousness and fear of rejection.

But the good news is that taking women out on dates doesn’t have to be expensive. It simply takes a little more thought.

Too many men make the mistake of believing they can buy their way out of thinking. But creative, cheap dates are often the best kind. They’re more memorable than the standard dinner and a movie, and when a woman sees that you’re thoughtful, she won’t care how much dough you spent on taking her out (if she’s a keeper, that is).

So here are 10 fiscally responsible options for when you’re short on cash but still want to impress her with a terrific date…

1. Wine Tasting

Wineries are sprouting up everywhere this side of Antarctica. Most of these upstarts allow wine tasting for free or for a very small price (and often times, those that charge let you keep the glass.) Go and learn about the different wines, what they pair well with, and keep mental notes on which varietals she enjoys the most. Knowing a woman’s preferred type of wine isn’t as important as knowing her eye color, but it helps. As counter-intuitive as it may feel for those of us who see wasting alcohol as a mortal sin, make sure you use that spit bucket. You’re driving, you need to be responsible, and if you swallow every taste you’re not going to be fit to drive her home. You don’t have to spit every taste, but showcase some restraint. She’ll notice and appreciate it.

2. Hit a Flea Market

Unlike antique shops, flea markets seem geared for the young and not as affluent. The merchandise is almost always more interesting if not downright weird. Same goes for the people in attendance and those who are selling the goods. You can watch people barter, look over pieces of furniture that are probably haunted, and maybe pick up some small gift for your date if something inexpensive catches her eye. If it’s jewelery? Who knows. Maybe it won’t even turn her skin green. (Or it could end up being some awesome treasure). Try and stick to outdoor flea markets that have a good reputation. Not those once in a blue moon indoor sales which charge you an arm and a leg before you even get to lay eyes on what’s for sale.

3. The Sunset Hike + Post Pub Visit

Going for a meandering walk with no real destination can be fun, but hiking to the top of an easy to get to peak to watch the sun go down gives you purpose. Keep it to under 45 minutes. You don’t want to go on some epic journey only to end up stumbling through the dark. Reward yourselves with a beer or glass of wine afterwards at a cozy pub. This works terrific in the fall when you can see all the changing leaves around you.

4. The Photography-Filled Afternoon

File this one under the category of two-birds/one stone. Most of us have relatives in other parts of the country (or world) and you never know what to get them for their birthday or the holidays. Go on a photo hunting expedition in your hometown for the places and scenes that best represent where you live. When you’re all done, pick 12 of the best and hit one of the many websites that allow you to upload photos and create wall calendars. There’s your gift for Grandma and Grandpa who live a few time zones away and would love a reminder of what it looks like where you live.

5. The Bicycle Picnic

Picnics are always at the top of everyone’s list for cheap and romantic dates. But mixing in a leisurely long bike ride can make a nice difference. It’s relaxing, you get to enjoy some scenery on the way, and it’s far more romantic and engaging when compared to fighting through traffic and finding a place to park. Keep the menu simple, know any open container laws that might apply to your eventual picnic destination, and make sure you’ve got a backpack and bike gear rack that can handle your load. Take a bike lock with you. You might end up taking a detour on the way home for ice cream.

6. Take a Historical Walking Tour of Your Town

Almost always free, historical walking tours actually make you stop and appreciate the history that most of us drive by every single day. We’ve got our own point As and point Bs, and most of us rarely spend time focusing on the places in-between. Usually these tours are led by volunteers who can be real characters, and the buildings and their stories are never boring. Both (the guides and history) will provide for plenty of conversation at the cafe or bar afterward. Nostalgia, history, architecture, an appreciation for the past… it’s all wrapped up in one of these on-foot freebies.

7. Cheering on Your Local Roller Derby Girls

For the cost of one cheap seat at most major league games, you and your date could watch one of the hundreds of local roller derby clubs duke it out with a rival. Usually a ticket will let you see a couple of bouts, and the speed and spills are the real deal. It’s something different but still sports related, with just enough adrenaline, which doesn’t involve sweaty guys for once.

8. The Untraditional Movie Night

There are two options here. First, if you’ve just jumped into a relationship, skip the new romantic comedy that just hit the Redbox, and instead go with a classic like Casablanca, To Catch a Thief, or even the goofy-as-all-get-out original Ocean’s 11. Grab some takeout, make a meal, or have some cocktails on hand that line up with the plot or location of your chosen old Hollywood story. Set an upscale mood by dressing up a bit. You don’t want to look like you’re settling in for a night on the couch because you have the flu. Just because you’re at home watching a movie, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up for her.

For those that have been in a relationship for awhile, consider reenacting your first movie date. We all (should) know the first movie we saw with our significant other. Find it for cheap on DVD, grab a wicker type basket from a craft store, dress it up with some tissue paper, and load it up with popcorn, M&Ms, and other movie theater-type snacks. Deliver it to her and ask her over for a movie night. Should cost you less than the arm and a leg you spent on just the popcorn and sodas alone when you two first saw it in the theater.

9. Farmer’s Market in the Morning, Making Dinner Together That Evening

Staying in and making dinner together is as romantic as it gets, but use your dinner date as an excuse to hit your local farmer’s market that morning. Stroll past the different vendors, and eventually you’ll start assembling a pile of fresh local ingredients that you can use that evening. You don’t have to get everything at the market. Maybe just the foundational items for each course–perhaps a couple bunches of kale to saute up with some olive oil and garlic, a couple of local organic chicken breasts that will be plenty easy to stuff, and some berries to pair up with shortcake for dessert. Get creative, then use the middle of the day to find some easy recipes and pick up the rest of the ingredients you’ll need.

10. Monopoly. Loser Buys Dinner or Drinks

Don’t scoff at board games (or cards). They can make for a terrific evening in (if that’s what you’re looking for). Put a friendly couples related wager down on the outcome (dinner, drinks… I’m sure your imagination is wandering to other places). It’ll make the game all the more interesting. Skip Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. Those can get too mentally competitive. Monopoly has enough chance involved that no one’s feelings will get hurt (yours included) if someone completely dominates the other. And dominate Monopoly you will if you nab those orange properties (it’s true, they’ve done studies). Win, and if the prize includes a night out on her dime? Then this cheap date idea just produced another. Well… for you at least.

What are your favorite cheap date ideas? Share them with us and if we get some good ones, we’ll do another installment.

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Joe Weber is the Director and Editor of www.Dappered.com where affordable style is the one and only focus. He believes that living right, living well, and looking good doesn’t mean you should go broke in the process.

10 Holiday Date Ideas

vintage couple kissing illustration merry xmas card

Not to toot my own horn, but I think I’m pretty good at a lot of relationship stuff. According to Kate, I’m very supportive, respectful, and trustworthy, am able to be the rock in a crisis, and have achieved the tricky balance between being nice and being a wiener. But, as Kate can also attest, I struggle with a few things, and one of them is being romantic. I find it difficult to turn my thoughts and good intentions into spontaneous acts of affection.

Which is why I love the holidays.

This time of year takes all the work out of creating romance; the elements for it are already in place. We’re naturally feeling less guarded and cynical and are primed for bonding and cozy intimacy. Christmas lights and decorations set the scene and provide the requisite warm fuzzies. There’s magic in the air before you even lift a finger. The holidays are like a pool teeming with fish; all you have to do is let down your net to pick up a great bounty. The romantic atmosphere is out there; you simply need to take advantage of it. Here are 10 ways to do just that.

Looking at Christmas Lights

christmas lights on country house postcard

The warm twinkle of Christmas lights can set the heart of your special someone aglow and give you both the childlike feeling of magical possibilities. Ordinary houses and trees are transformed into something extraordinary.

Most towns have hot spots for Christmas light decorations. Some neighborhoods compete in an annual arms race to see which house can create the best display. Their neighborly pride is your gain. After you map out your route, create a holiday music mix that you can listen to while you’re driving around. You can never go wrong with classic Christmas crooners like Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra.

Also be sure to check out the massive displays that are sometimes put on in parks by community organizations, where you can walk around in a winter wonderland of millions of lights. Check your local papers and ask your friends and co-workers to find out where they are. And try to go during the week as they can be especially packed on the weekends.

The final touch to this night of romantic holiday lights is a thermos full of thick, delicious hot chocolate.  Sip on it while you take in all the wonder. Your date’s heart will melt.

Holiday Baking

vintage couple eating cookies smiling portrait

Man, I love Christmas cookies. Both the eating and making of them, and chances are your wife or girlfriend does too. Holiday baking is a fantastic date idea because it gives you a chance to work with your gal on a shared task, which in turns strengthens your bond and connection with her. And most importantly, you get a delicious treat to eat when you’re done!

To keep this date simple, stick with making one kind of cookie; I would vote for gingerbread men as wielding the cookie cutters and decorating the little guys is an enjoyable task. Invite your gal over (or go over her place=-she probably has the cookie cutters), turn on the holiday tunes, and start whipping up a batch. The oven won’t be the only thing warming up.

When you’re done baking, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor or make a plate and deliver them to a little old lady.

Ice Skating

vintage couple ice skating in city

Re-create the romantic ice-skating scene between Cary Grant and Loretta Young in The Bishop’s Wife by taking your gal to a skating rink. Between the hand holding and the full body embraces needed to keep each other from “accidentally” falling, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to strengthen the physical and emotional bond with your date. Many cities-even relatively balmy ones-have outdoor skating rinks during the winter that play Christmas music while you glide through the winter air. If yours does, take advantage of it while you can. It’s way more romantic than an indoor rink.

Decorate the Christmas Tree

vintage couple decorating christmas tree illustration

A Christmas tree will infuse your date with the sights, lights, and smell of Christmas. It’s a holiday date trifecta. Start the date off by taking your special someone to a tree farm to pick out your tree. When you get home with your tree, play some Bing Crosby, sip some eggnog, and start decorating. If you’re hanging childhood ornaments, share some of the memories you have them with your date. She’ll think you’re sweet. You can even do some flirty teasing by putting tinsel on her head when she isn’t looking.

When you’re done decorating, turn off the lights in the house and show her you’re not afraid to have fun like a kid by lying side by side together under the Christmas tree and gazing up through the branches. Romantic smooching is 100% guaranteed.

Volunteer

vintage soup kitchen during holidays

During the holidays, the need for volunteers goes up substantially at food banks, soup kitchens, and clothing donation centers. They need more hands to handle the flood of donations that come in during this time of year. I know sorting cans of pumpkin doesn’t sound very romantic, but volunteering is a fantastic date idea, especially if you’re trying to figure out if she’s the one. You’ll get a chance to see your girlfriend in a different light. How does she treat others less fortunate than her? With compassion? Scorn? Does she whine when given an undesirable assignment or does she roll up her sleeves and get to work?

I definitely recommend doing the volunteering date after you’ve been with someone for awhile. It’s a little heavy for a first go round.

Christmas Movie Night

vintage couple watching movie illustration wonderful life

Instead of dropping a double sawbuck on taking your date out to the movies, stay in and watch some classic Christmas flicks together. Stock up on your favorite Christmas movies, make some hot cider, and curl up next to each other under a blanket for hours of holiday-themed viewing. Need some help on which Christmas movies to watch? Here’s a list of some of my favorites. Many of them happen to be romantic comedies. Bonus!

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Holiday Inn
  • White Christmas
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Bishop’s Wife
  • Elf
  • Peanut’s Christmas
  • A Christmas Story

Christmas Shopping

vintage couple holding christmas presents illustration

I know. I know. Consumerism has been sucking the life and spirit out of the holidays for decades, but it’s okay to take a sabbatical from the high horse and enjoy giving and receiving a few gifts this time of year. When it’s not overdone, it’s really a terrific tradition, no? I personally quite enjoy Christmas shopping. Buying gifts for loved ones amidst the hustle and bustle, festive store displays, and Christmas music gets me right into the holiday spirit. I’ve been doing more online shopping these days, and while it’s convenient, it’s just not the same.

Both you and your main squeeze probably have some shopping to do, so why not do it together? You can help each other pick gifts out for friends and family while taking in all the sights and sounds of the holidays. And of course you can drop hints about what you’d like to get from her by pointing out things that catch your eye. End the date by going home, ordering take out, and wrapping the presents together.

Go see The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol

christmas carol drawing illustration

If your lady is into ballet, take her to a performance of The Nutcracker. Yeah, it’s ballet, but it’s a) romantic and b) a holiday tradition, which makes it perfect for this list. I always thought the sword fighting rats were pretty cool as a kid and that crazy guy with an eye patch was bad-a.

Going to see A Christmas Carol also makes for a terrific date. Every time I see it, I leave with an uplifted heart and a ton of holiday cheer. Here in Oklahoma, a local theater does A Christmas Carol with an Okie twist. Instead of taking place in Victorian England, the play is set in Territorial Oklahoma right after the Land Run. Scrooge is some sort of cattle and oil baron and instead of plum pudding the characters eat corn bread. It’s a kitschy good time.

Holiday Bed and Breakfast

holiday inn movie screenshot playing piano in front of tree

This is a tradition my wife and I began while I was in law school. After the craziness of finals was over, we’d rent a room at a bed and breakfast near Oklahoma City for a night of romance and reconnecting. The bed and breakfast we go to is old and homey, and the charm is only heightened by the seasonal decorations. It’s a night of total relaxation. We’ll light a fire, watch some Christmas movies, and, well, you know.

In the morning, we’re treated to a holiday-themed breakfast of pumpkin spice pancakes and hot chocolate. After our little holiday getaway at the bed and breakfast, my wife and I always feel reconnected and filled with the holiday spirit.

Sledding

vintage couples sledding down snowy hill

Emotionally charged moments between you and your lady friend create memories and increase bonding. The adrenaline rush from speeding down a snowy hill can jump start your relationship. When the first snow covers the ground, grab your gal and your sled, find a quality hill, and take her for the ride of her life (for those of you in warmer climes, there’s always ice blocking!). Finish the date by warming up next to a fire. Oh yeah.

Do you have any other holiday date ideas? Share them with us in the comments!

15 Creative Date Ideas

vintage couple military wedding 1930s 1940s

A Night in Paris (or Rome…) Without Leaving Home

From Emilio

You decorate your apartment like a restaurant in a foreign country. Make it cheesy as possible while keeping it looking nice. Decorating is easy, use construction paper and cheap things you find at Michaels or something. Cheap and quick. Then you have a friend dress up like a waiter and speak in the accent of that country. Cook the themed food yourself and then have you friend “wait” on you two. He can buzz off after the food is served. It shows off your cooking skills, your romantic side, your sense of humor and your creativity.

Fun at the Holiday Inn

From Bob P.

My wife and I have been dating since college (we are now both 40). Back then, in order to get away from dorm life we would rent a room at an inexpensive hotel, bring a cooler full of drinks, snacks you can eat in bed and candles. We would get out of bed once to go out to dinner. 20 years later a good date night for us is to recreate this in the comfort of our own bedroom. We send the kids to the grandparents and stay in bed all day/night. We spend more time sleeping and reading than we did 20 years ago … but still a good date nonetheless.

X Marks the Spot

From Pat

After being in a relationship for eight years and taking two years to recover I started dating again a year ago this week. Using online services, I have gone on A LOT of first dates this year. No matter who it is or what their back ground, I have found that taking a girl geocaching is the best first date by far. Geocaching is a treasure hunt involving a handheld gps, where people publish the coordinates of their cache (treasure) online and you seek it out. Girls love the idea of searching for hidden treasure. It creates a lot of interaction and many times it is a completely new and unique experience for them. It is easy to do so you can hand over the gps to them and let them go and there is some amount of oxytocin (key to female attraction and desire) that is produced when they find the first cache, a perfect time for a first kiss.

Helping Hands, Holding Hands

From Shaun

Volunteering together at a rescue mission or home for the elderly.

Love in the Great Outdoors

From Andrew

Simple date idea:

Make foil dinners and take drinks and s’mores to your favorite hiking/camping place.

Keep your drinks cold in the lake/creek-bonus if you bring a watermelon and cool it off the same way for a snack).

Spend the evening skipping rocks, and exploring before you build a nice fire and cook your meals in the coals. Spend some time by the fire making s’mores and then find some place nice to watch the stars.

Simple and romantic. Very relaxing. I’m from Oregon and this is fun do to in small groups or with just me and my date. There are variations depending on your local geography etc. (Spend the time at the beach, in the mountains, watching a distant thunderstorm etc.).

Key point here: making fire to win the affection of a beautiful girl is in our DNA! Bonus if you collect your own wood (bring a hatchet and make sure its legal) and light the fire with flint and steel without any propellant! If you use friction, even better!

Love is Like a Fine Wine

From Jaymz

Wine tasting at a winery set on a river-gorge or overlooking some scenic landscape. Buy a couple of glasses, or a bottle, and have a picnic lunch with some nice quality meats, like presciutto or a quality salami, some nice cheese, fresh fruit, and an appropriate chocolate to accompany the wine (the deeper and redder the wine, the darker and more bitter the chocolate). My wife and I have done something similar to this on the Columbia River in central Washington state at Cave B. Sit around, talk about the beauty of the landscape, life, dreams, philosophy, family, or nothing at all and just take in the beauty.

Go Fly a Kite

From Alan

Flying a kite! Sounds little kiddish, but hey, we got to let the little kid inside of us out sometime, and why not do it with the one we love.

Where the Wild Things Are

From Kevin

These were my best dates:
1: My girlfriend and I went to the zoo in the winter time. Since it was cold, we were the only ones there, and a lot of the animals (such as the polar bears and the tigers) were actually more active than they would have been in the warmer months. It was great to bundle up and spend the whole day there. Along these lines, one of my brothers once took his wife to Disney world in the off-season, and they were just about the only ones there; they didn’t have to wait for a single ride. There’s something nice about having a huge place like that to yourselves.

2: My girlfriend and I recently went to a playground after mass. It was surprisingly fun to enjoy the swings again for the first time since elementary school. She seemed to have a great time too, and keeps saying “we should do that again sometime”.

Working with Your Hands

From Paul

The best dates have to be planned, but flexible; adventuresome, but enjoyable; creative, but grounded.

Other posts have mentioned picnics, and that’s a great foundation. But the picnic has to be somewhere unique. A skyscraper rooftop is preferable, but a greenhouse, library, or art museum are fantastic options if you have the connections to make it happen.

After the picnic it’s time to pull in something stimulating. I’d shoot for a local factory or artisan shop to take a tour of. I spent one of the most enjoyable afternoons with my wife at a bell-making foundry near Phoenix. Google “Paolo Soleri” if you’re in Phoenix and want to check it out. A chocolate factory, vineyard, cheese maker, or carpenter would do just as well though, it takes a little research and luck to find the right experience. The stained glass exhibit on Navy Pier in Chicago is another great opportunity. It allows for conversation, but also gives the opportunity to pause and reflect on the experience so you don’t feel pressured to have something to say all the time. If you’re super on-the-ball you’ll have an original way to get from the picnic to the next experience. Horse drawn carriage, limousine, helicopter, tandem bike or segways all are memorable.

After that there’s nothing left but a shared dessert. Any restaurant or grocery store can provide an opportunity for fun. This is a great place to get flexible, you can give her 3 sealed envelopes and ask her to choose one. Each envelope has a different dessert destination in store. Or, for best results I’d pull out a recipe card and take her to the store to buy the ingredients together then head home to make it together.

That would be a date worth blogging about.

Variety is the Spice of Life

From Jason

Best date would be what my girlfriend and I did on our first date.
First I took her to a quiet spot in the woods next to a lake (but not too secluded, so she could feel comfortable), I put down a blanket and we had a picnic (the gourmet sodas scored extra points with her). After that I took her mini-golfing. We then went to my house where we built a fire in my front yard and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. And to cap it off we went inside, turned on some light swing and danced into the wee hours of the morning.

Watching the World Wake Up

From Dan

I met this girl and invited her to go on a date, we had some trouble picking the time (we both worked odd hours), so I finally said, “what are you doing tomorrow morning-early?” She said, “I dunno, sleeping.” and I said, “I’ll pick you up at 5, bring a pair of hiking shoes, and a bottle of water.” That morning I picked her up, and we drove up into the mountains. I gave her one of my headlamps, grabbed my bag and we hiked a couple miles in darkness up to this amazing lookout over the city and mountains all around us. We got to the top just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. As the mountains changed colors all around us and the city lights began to turn on. I pulled out my backpacking stove and made bacon and eggs and orange juice and we ate breakfast and watched the city wake up.

The Forecast: Meteor Showers with a Chance of Love

From Allen

During the summer months look online for days there are going to be meteor showers. Then late at night go pick up your date and bring her somewhere where there is little to no light pollution; a beach or park is usually a good place. Make sure to take a look at the weather because you want it to be a clear night. Try and get there before the shower is supposed to star. Bring along a blanket and lay out underneath the stars. It is important to know what area of the sky the shower will be in. Get a book from your local library and learn some of the constellations so while you’re waiting for the shower to start you can point them out to impress your date.

Love’s in Season

From John Paja

During the summer, when fruit is ripe and ready for picking. Take her to a fruit orchard. Bring a blanket and a basket. Go pick some peaches or apples or oranges. Then, lay your blanket somewhere nice and shady and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Have a picnic and enjoy each other’s company.

Dance the Night Away

From Brian

My girlfriend and I are both in college, so my idea had to be relatively cheap.

I surprised my girlfriend out of the blue with an evening of salsa dance lessons (at a local dance studio that offers 1/2 off pricing!), then a dinner at a dimly lit restaurant, and then a quick drive up into the mountains where my favorite stargazing spot is located. We jumped up on top of my car and slipped into a sleeping bag together and watched the stars.

I think it was romantic and classy.

Quite a Catch

From Jeff

My best date idea: For the right woman, a quiet evening ice fishing. Bring plenty of snacks and hot cocoa, make sure the fish shack is warm, and bring along soft music that she likes. Make sure you give HER more attention than the fish, no matter how well they’re biting! When you get home, she may want you to help her get warmed up.

And finally some general dating tips:

From Nate

For the single Art of Manliness readers out there, like myself:

I’ve been on more blind dates and first dates throughout my dating “career” then I’d care to count, but I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way about how to make these successful. And naturally, being an avid AofM reader, it’s important to approach the process in a gentlemanly way.

First off, don’t wait until to the last minute to ask her out. Even if she probably will be grooming her cat and watching a movie alone on Friday night, you can’t call on Thursday night assuming that. Flatter her by asking several days in advance.

And for goodness sake give her enough information so that she can prepare adequately for the date. Should she plan on eating beforehand, or plan on coming hungry? Will she be outside and need something warm to wear? If you’ll be walking during the date, then the 4 inch stilletos are probably a bad idea…

And lastly, especially for a blind date, practice the art of the “mini-date.” Nothing worse than planning a whole Friday night out, only to realize that there’s obviously no connection within the first 10 minutes. Saturday morning breakfast is my personal favorite. No connection? 45 minutes and you’re out of there (w/o the awkwardness of dropping her off at 9pm on a Friday night…) Soulmates? Then talk for hours and ask her out for a real date on a coming night.

From Derek

I like to stick to some simple rules:

1. Set the right conditions – make sure you get a babysitter for plenty of time if needed, plan so you are not rushed to get somewhere, try to ensure that no tension or stress arises during the time you have set aside for the date.

2. Put your cell phone on silent and check it when you excuse yourself to the restroom. Nothing says she’s not important like catching up with your buds while you are supposed to be wooing your lady.

3. Movies are fun and can be great, but I prefer activities where you are engaging each other. Take a class together, go somewhere scenic and talk (more importantly, listen) but whatever you do show your loved one that you are invested in her and your collective lives.

4. A caveat to number 3, it doesn’t always have to be a crazy complicated event. Mastery of the simple is far more impressive than bumbling through an attempt to be overly romantic.

5. Be a servant – “the greatest among you will be the greatest servant”. Show this in your date and follow up in small ways daily and it will have a huge payoff. You will be reciprocated.