7 First Tinder Date Ideas (+ 4 Common First Date Mistakes)
You've finally managed to get her to agree to a first date from Tinder. The pressures on, because all of that work is for naught it doesn't impress.
Well don’t worry about it. Here are 7 first date ideas that will he her excited for a 2nd.
What a Bad First Date Looks Like.
Before we get into our list of 7 first tinder date ideas (that don't suck) I want you to first understand what doesn't work, and why.
If you're able to understand this then you'll have no problem coming up with more good ideas yourself.
All bad date ideas have 4 things in common.
They put pressure on the girl.
They require too much investment.
They have no exit strategy.
They are too fun, or not fun enough.
A bad date will hit 3 of these points. A horrible date idea will combine all 4 in a toxic swirl, sort of like the swirl of a public toilet.
You don't want her to see you in that light, do you?
The 4 Biggest First Tinder Date Mistakes
Mistake 1 - It Puts Pressure on the Girl
You know that feeling you get from a used car salesman?
You might think you're treating her out to a nice dinner at an expensive restaurant, or paying for her ticket at a concert, but all you're really doing is making her feel like she "owes" you.
It's the same icky feeling.
The guys with the greatest intentions bring a girl out and overspend when they are together. It doesn't feel like you're making her feel uncomfortable but that's exactly what's happening.
By the end of the date, she's going to feel awkward. She'll feel like she "owes you" sex. And as you know the more awkward she feels the less likely you'll be to actually have sex. Completely counterproductive.
This doesn't mean you have to be cheap.
But keep things in the range of $5 or less. It's completely fine to cover her coffee or her ice cream cone - but when you're spending more than that you're going into creepy range.
The first time you meet should be as pressure-free as possible. It's about you both getting to know each other as people. Keep as much shit off the table as possible. You'll thank me - and she'll thank you - later.
Mistake 2 - It requires too much investment.
Let's go back to that concert. It sounds like a blast with you and your mates. It might even be cheap. It's going to be exciting and crazy. So, what's the problem here?
When you really break it down, you're asking a lot out of her for a first date.
She'll spend an hour getting ready, an hour (total time) in transportation, an hour waiting in line and getting into the venue with you, then the show will be two or three hours.
At this point, your total time is five or six hours. That's a huge investment for her to make with a guy that she hasn't even seen face to face yet.
She's going to be thinking to herself, "What if the guy is creepy? I'll be stuck with him for six hours!" Don’t let that happen.
And this isn't just about her, either. This is about you.
Think about it. Do you really want to have to be hanging out with a girl for that...
Has a bad personality?
That has reeking bad breath?
That hates the music and stops you from having a great time?
Do you really want any of that?
Had your date just been 30 minutes to an hour, you'd know right away wouldn't be stuck where you are now.
Dates are about you both screening each other. What message are you sending her if you're willing to spend half a day with someone that you haven't screened? Desperate is the answer.
Mistake 3 - No Exit plan.
Take the worst of mistake 1 and mistake 2, put them together, and you get mistake 3. The idea here is simple: a bad 1st date is one where you can't skedaddle if you're not feeling the vibe.
Locked in a three-course dinner? You're not going anywhere, and neither can she.
Part of an hour-long performance at your local theater? You're planted. (Also, are you time traveling to the 19th century?)
Point is, you want to be in a situation where you can say, "Oh, would you look at the time..." it won't feel awkward.
But this isn't just about being 'locked in', this also includes a date where you both had to drive far to get to.
Once we get to the list of 7 date ideas that actually work, you'll see that in those examples you'd be able to leave when you felt the time was right. And same for her.
Mistake 4 - It's too much fun, or not fun enough.
Alright, this is a bit of a weird one. But after shooting myself in the foot enough times I've learned my lesson. Let's start with the obvious...
Not Fun Enough.
Dinner dates at sit down restaurants just don't work. Why? You're seating in front of the girl... just watching each other eat.
There isn't enough fun, or excitement, coming from outside of you two. The reason you want this is that it gives you the ability to talk about the environment when you run out of things to say.
It lets you both just chill and not make the silence awkward. An environment is a powerful tool. You want there to be some distractions in the background to keep things interesting and take some pressure off of you.
Alternatively... you can mess up by bringing her to a place that is too much fun, or too distracting. Which brings us to...
Too Much Fun.
If you bring your date to a local dive on a Friday night where there is loud, crazy music playing you'll never actually get a chance to talk to her. She'll be too distracted to get to know you.
That's no one's fault by your own. And it comes down to your decision to bring her somewhere that she couldn't get to know you.
Don't be that guy. You want your first date with her to be at a place where you can focus on each other when needed, but take a break and let the energy of the place lead you.
Quick Recap of Bad First Tinder Dates.
We've made it. You know what doesn't work. This list will get you started, and from here you'll be able to drive on autopilot. Just a recap...
Keep things light.
Don't make it more than $5-$10.
Make sure she, or you, can leave early.
Pick something where you can hear each other talk.
Even the guys at Art of Charm gave similar criteria to bad dates.
The 7 First Date Ideas that Work.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of these ideas. There's a reason why these actually work (work as in, best chance to end up as a hookup, or at least a 2nd date - which we've also written a guide on.)
Keep in mind that when you bring her to one of these first date ideas, if you both are getting along you can bring her to a second. Nothing is in isolation here.
Date idea #1 - Local Pizza Joint
One of the old guys at Zirby would swear by this. You both grab a slice, and then easily transition into "Date idea #4" below. Unlike a "sit down dinner" you'll both get to eat something mess with your hands, keep it cheap, and have a chance to have great conversation.
Plus, with all that salt you'll both be craving a refreshment afterward.
Date idea #2 - Coin Toss Date
This is one of my favorites, and it's been very effective for all of the Zirby readers that have tried it. The concept couldn't be more simple: you both meet up and walk. Every time you get to a street you flip a coin. Heads, turn left. Tails, turn right.
You'll have time to chat as you walk, and as you'll do you'll end up seeing all new parts of the city that you can check out. My friend Dan tried this date
Date idea #3 - Local festivals.
You're more limited on choices if you're outside of a big city, but most small towns will have plenty of little festivals going on. In my own area, we have the Italian American festival, the annual pig roast, summertime farmer market, all of October...
Note that I'm using the word festival loosely, and rightly so. Going to the local orchard gives you guys plenty to look at, no time constraints, and also the time to bond together without too many distractions.
Date idea #4 - Dive bars.
I'm not talking about cool hipster dive bars. I'm talking about trashy, hole in the wall places only locals who live in walking distance go to.
Here's an example: by my house, there is a super old bar where only super old people hang out at. We're talking 55+ plus. It's a very small space and the best part is the last call is at 9:45 pm. PM! Without a doubt, this is my favorite bar to bring a girl for drinks.
Why does it work so well?
It's unlikely she's ever been to such a local bar before, a bar that isn't trying to be cool. A bar where you can strike up great conversation and hear stories of the people sitting next to you without worrying about her getting hit on - and without you having drifting eyes. It just works, and it works almost too well.
Though, you've got to be pretty lucky to find a place like this with such an early last call.
Why is this the icing on top of the cake?
After a few drinks - you can either part ways or what tends to happen is they call the last call is I invite her back to my place. It's early enough that it doesn't feel like I'm bringing her right back to my bedroom but late enough that it makes sense to go have a few beers on my patio.
This place is a gold mine.
Date idea 5: Commercial bars.
Applebee's. Chili's. Local hotel bar. Yes, I'm serious.
This might seem like the polar opposite as the dive bar, and probably nothing like the kind of cool, chill bars you and your friends go to - but, you couldn't be more wrong.
The local dive and Chili's have one very big thing in common, for the purposes of a first Tinder date:
While you're here you're in a bubble. You get to people watch. You're not going to Applebee's because you like their shitty drinks. You're going because it's funny, ironically, and serves as one giant inside joke for both of you.
If the previous is a gold mine, this is a diamond.
No one thinks of this, but man, if you can sell her on it you'll have an amazing time. You won't spend a lot, and you can buy over the top tropical drinks. You'll never run out of things to say, and you can make jokes about bringing her out to only the best.
For your second date, you're set - you can pull out inside jokes and bring her to only the finest eating establishments...
Don't be so quick to judge, these aren't generic "bring her to coffee" ideas. These are original ideas that work. Plus, this gives you a great excuse to say, "let's get the hell out of here and get some real wine, and watch the stars on my rooftop."
Date idea #6 - "Soda" in the park.
Meeting her earlier in the day? Maybe Sunday? Try this. All you need to do is meet up by a park, go to a local 7/11 and fill up a Big Gulp with ice. Maybe grab a few bags of salted peanuts.
Because when you get to the park you're going to fill that Big Gulp with a cocktail you premixed in thermos you have in your bag. Or pour in a few beers. Or some wine.
Now you'll both be enjoying the weather in a park drinking some cocktails. This is especially great for Spring, and even better if your cocktail is actually made well. She'll remember this date, and if you guys get along, grabs some food once the sun begins to set.
Works like a charm.
Date idea #7 - Thiftin'
Screw the expected. Have her meet you at Goodwill. What the hell you'll find in there will be anyone's guess - but you'll come across plenty to talk about.
Reminisce about the 90s after you come across a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt you could have sworn you used to own.
Try on weird hats and take photos of yourselves together. (You'll be able to send them to her later to lift her mood.)
Find a weird board game - buy it - and then go back to her place or yours to play it with some take out.
Find a baseball bat and ball and head to a local part to knock it around.
See where I'm going with this? If things aren't clicking, great - you've wasted no time and can leave after.
But if you guys are really connecting well then you can use this as an excuse - depending on what you find - to go to each others place, go to a park, or go to another thrift store. There's a lot of options.
It's one of the reasons I love this idea. you'll get a lot of mileage out of this one date idea that I bet you she's never gone on before.
So far, you've learned both the 4 common mistakes guys make with their first Tinder date ideas, and also 7 dates that don't suck.
With these ideas in mind, you'll be able to find what works in your immediate area. Obviously, the coin toss date wouldn't work so well out in suburbs - but the core point - keeping things light, cheap and unexpected - will work in your favor.
If you're finding that you're not able to set up the first date once her get her number from Tinder, you should take a look at our guide on how to text women, filled with lots of real screenshots.
Or, better yet, you can take a look at our comprehensive Tinder Guide to see how to optimize your profile, photos, bio, and swiping strategy if you want killer tips on getting matches to begin with.
No more Coffee Dates.
Now you can avoid boring coffee dates (unless you really like coffee and know some super cool places in your area!) and ineffective dinner & movie dates.
Oh, most importantly...
Wish you could post up your Tinder profile, or screenshots of recent Tinder conversations to find out what you're doing right - and more importantly - what you're doing wrong?
That's why we have our 100% Private Facebook Group called Own Your Online Dating. Come join it along with over 1,000 other guys to get immediate feedback, watch live Q&A's and more.