dating

The best first dates (that aren't movies and dinner).

A dinner and a movie is nice. It feels ‘coupley’; is romantic enough; requires a sufficient amount of effort from both parties; and can form the basis of a happy, lasting memory.

It’s also BLAH.

The dating scene has never been so exciting (adventurous?). In the face of new-age dating and such high-tech wooing habits, why on earth are we still stuck in the dinner-and-movies trend of 20 years ago?

It’s time the dating ‘experience’ caught up. There’re greater expectations to live up to.

No, I don’t want to “go for a drink”. Or “catch a movie”. Or “Netflix and chill”.

You can do better than that.

It’s time to revamp the dating experience.

With this in mind, we’ve created a list of unusual dating experiences that have nothing to do with movies and dinner.

Oh, and don’t thank us when you fall in love. You are very welcome.

Something sophisticated

For a conversation starter that’s about more than the weather or the colour of your eyes, head to an art gallery, zoo, planetarium, museum or aquarium. You’ll be able to walk, talk, and discreetly suss out each other’s tastes.

Art gallery dates are always fun. Just make sure you don’t take it too seriously – Kim, 28.

Something fun

Visit a theme park; play on the swings at a kid’s playground at night-time; consider laser skirmish; try your hand at ice skating (apparently it’s a good excuse to hold hands). Trampoline parks can be good fun, and go-karting can be a speedy get-to-know-you.

Laser tag as a first date lets you team up and break the touch barrier. It’s an opportunity to have fun and get comfortable around each other, BEFORE going to dinner and drinks – Annie, 32

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Aquarium date in the movie 50 First Dates

Something adventurous

Rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking and hiking are beautiful ways to spend time with each other, without distraction. These dates can feel like an escape, and can let you connect in a different, unique, memorable environment.

My brother planned a hike to a remote waterfall and picnic for his first date with his now wife. It sounded pretty cute - Jessie, 29.

The jet skiing date in the movie Hitch was enviably cute

Something romantic

I'm not sure why, but the most romantic ideas tend to revolve around the middle of the night. Think star gazing, midnight swims, drive-in movies, a panoramic view of the city lights... Dreamy.

Midnight swims in harbour pools sound terribly fun and romantic. This is Sydney-centric, but my housemate always takes his dates to a harbour pool in Cremorne that's open 24-hours - Nicole, 22.

For those early sleepers, romantic doesn't have to be in the middle of the night. Think breakfast dates, ferry rides or  wine tasting.

Something... physical

Going to a concert, taking salsa lessons or learning to DJ are quick ways to get to know someone. Taking an exercise class together, or trying an activity that is new to both of you, is a good way to break the ice and shed yourselves or your respective comfort zones.

via GIPHY

Something testing

Escape rooms should be the new relationship-tester. They involve the two of you, trapped in a room, with the only way out through problem solving and team work. There's a chance you might not want to talk to that person ever again after emerging, but at least you know you'll end up with someone you can rely on in an emergency.

People on Reddit share some their personal stories of falling in love.