No matter how old you are, a first date can be a tremendous source of excitement and anticipation. It offers the possibility of meeting someone new, discovering a romantic spark and being the first step in a long journey of love. While it may be convenient to rely on old standbys like dinner and a movie for a first date, consider going beyond the ordinary and doing something different. It just may make for a night that you and your date will remember for years to come.
Here are some of our favorite unique first date ideas in the Cincinnati area:
Date Night: The Cincinnati Art Museum’s “Art After Dark” series is a great way for you and your date to meet in a casual, relaxed setting — and learn something new! You will enjoy live music by local bands, wine tastings and light appetizers, along with guided tours of the museum’s awesome galleries. You and your date even will have the opportunity to take selfies in themed photo booths and to create a craft, so you will always have a fun memento to remember your first date by. Check out the schedule of upcoming “Art After Dark” events here.
Game On: A little friendly competition can be a great way to kick start conversation and break up any awkwardness of a first date. Head to a local arcade, like Dave & Buster’s in Springdale and Florence or GameWorks in Newport, so you and your date can get your skee-ball or air hockey on! Looking for something even more interactive? 16 Bit Bar+Arcade’s festive atmosphere and huge selection of your favorite old-school arcade games also makes it a fantastic spot for a first date.
Be Classic: Movies are a time-honored first date tradition, but the latest Hollywood blockbuster may not offer the kind of atmosphere you want for your first date. Instead, consider making your first date a little more special by heading to the Esquire Theatre for retro and foreign films, or check out the “Classic Film Series,” featuring movies from yesteryear at Cinemark Theatres in Florence, Milford, Oakley and Western Hills. When the weather is nice, Washington Park also hosts a “Cult Classic Night” that lets you experience classic films under the stars in the park. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that!
Get Hyped: Whether your date is a sports fanatic or not, checking out a local sports team like FC Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Cyclones or the Florence Freedom is a great, inexpensive way to get to know each other better. It will be impossible for you and your date to not get excited when you are part of such an enthusiastic crowd! Most local stadiums offer great deals on food and drinks as well as additional entertainment and theme nights to make your date even more special.
Drink Crafty: If craft beer is more your style, Cincinnati’s many breweries offer tours that are a great way to learn more about this growing industry. You’ll have a chance to enjoy samples, along with great conversation with your date. Rhinegeist, for example, offers several public tours every day. Moerlein Lager House allows you to experience an authentic 19th century tap room. If you would like your first date to be a full-on craft beer experience, look into one of the Cincinnati Brewery Tours, which offer several different tours featuring multiple breweries and historical locations. Cincinnati’s rich craft beer scene truly offers something for every type of dater!
Cook It Up: You pretty much can’t go wrong by including food as part of a date. So why not take it to the next level by making your own? Sushi Cincinnati offers a unique dating experience in which you and your date can learn to make sushi — and even bring your own beverages to enjoy while learning if you would like! If you are feeling even more adventurous, The Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s International Market offers courses on just about any kind of cuisine you and your date would want to make. There’s even a monthly “Date Night” series, during which you and your partner can learn to make perfect date night dishes like filet mignon and more. Check out a full schedule of classes here.
Sing It: You can tell a lot about a person by their taste in music, and there’s no better way to instantly break the ice than by singing in front of each other on a first date! You both will have a blast belting out classic karaoke jams and learning each of your favorite tunes. Best of all, Cincinnati offers a ton of karaoke spots no matter what kind of atmosphere you would like your date night to have, from serious competition to dive bars. Check out a list of some of our favorite karaoke destinations here.
Get Dramatic: Although going to the theater always is a good idea, sometimes it can be cost-prohibitive for a first date. You’re in luck, though, because Cincinnati has a wide variety of community and local theaters that showcase fantastic productions at a fraction of the price. The Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, for example, often offers edgy shows that will be sure to give you and your date plenty to talk about. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati features regional premieres of brand-new shows, so you can be sure you and your date are seeing something new. The Carnegie has a little something for everyone, from classic musicals to family favorites and more.
Perk Up: Coffee also is something that comes to mind quickly for those looking to go on a first date, but that’s no excuse for playing it safe. There is no shortage of Cincinnati-area coffee shops that would make for a perfect first date destination. For example, 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab in Over-the-Rhine offers a variety of handcrafted coffees to suit every connoisseur’s taste. Red Tree Gallery in Oakley allows you and your date to get your caffeine fix while browsing a gallery of fantastic local artwork. And Velocity Bike & Bean offers live music on Saturday mornings — an idea for a weekend date!
Walk It Out: If you want your first date to have a more relaxed atmosphere, a walking tour through the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area will let you get to know your date in a fun, casual way while learning more about our area’s history and taking in the picturesque locales. Consider embarking on “Prohibition Resistance: The Lager Tour,” where you and your date will learn the story of how beer built Cincinnati, or the “Newport Gangster Tour,” where you can learn how the little town gave birth to the modern day gaming industry.
In short, when it comes to good ideas for a memorable first date, Cincinnati truly is a city of near-endless possibilities. Make a good enough first impression and who knows? You may fall in love, and it just might be your last first date ever!