Second Date Ideas That Keep the First-Date Magic Going

Second dates are debatably the most difficult dates to come up with ideas for—you want them to be a little more special than the first date but not too romantic. It’s challenging to find the perfect balance, especially when you don’t know the preferences of the person you’re seeing. However, finicky as they may be, there’s something a little extra exciting about second dates. They provide ample opportunities to gain deeper insight into someone’s world while still keeping it lighthearted. It’s basically an excuse to go do something fun with someone whose company you enjoy (and to whip out the personality quizzes and astrology questions you’ve been holding back).

If you’re struggling to come up with the ideal activity for your second date, we’ve got you covered. These nine date ideas are the perfect balance of entertaining and chill while providing opportunities for conversation galore. Read on for ideas that will spark friendly competition, flirty chatter, and, hopefully, a third date.

1. Try any accessible variation on golfing

Mini golfing. Driving range, a la Top Golf. Indoor mini golfing bar. The options for golfing in some way, shape, or form are oddly plentiful. Plus, they all allow for friendly competition, which almost always leads to flirting. Golfing is one of those second-date ideas that isn’t boring and doesn’t allow for much dead air, so if you’re still struggling to find things to talk about with your date, the game will keep the conversation flowing. While you’re at it, chat about what sports you used to play as a kid or any fun competition-based stories you might have up your sleeve to learn more about each other. Don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable with a golf club—you’ll have plenty of chances to laugh it off with your date.

2. Belt it out at a karaoke bar

Former theater kids, this second date idea is for you. In all seriousness, a night at a karaoke bar is a great way to get to know someone’s taste in music and culture, even if neither of you ends up taking the mic. As each new singer takes the stage, you and your date will be able to enjoy (or politely cringe at) the music together while discussing your favorite artists, songs, and genres. (Someone’s go-to karaoke song says a lot about them, if you ask me!) And if the drinks and conversation flow well, you might find yourself on stage or singing a duet—which would be totally rom-com coded.

3. See a comedy show

There’s nothing better than spending an entire second date laughing. And if you aren’t 100 percent confident you can count on your date to provide the jokes over dinner, then definitely grab tickets to see a comedy show. A hidden benefit of attending a comedy show together is that you’ll get a solid sense of your partner’s sense of humor and maybe even some of their social or political views. (After all, if you all aren’t going to find the same things funny, it’s better to find out now rather than later!) Either way, this is a memorable way to spend an evening with someone—even if it only ends in a few cringe stories you tell your friends about later. Get a little dressed up, grab a drink or dinner beforehand, and enjoy the entertainment.

4. Check out a local bookstore together

If anyone out there is curious about how to get me to fall in love with them very quickly, this is your sign to take me on a bookstore date! If you’re a huge book lover, a former obsessive English major, or just love the ~vibe~ of a local bookstore, checking out a local bookstore is an amazing way to connect with a fellow nerd on a second date. To make it extra cutesy, pick out books that you each think the other would enjoy reading—or you just enjoy browsing together. To make this excursion feel more date-y, grab lunch after you hit the bookstore and read together at the table, or find a spot to picnic and leaf through your new books. Sharing thoughts on your new reads over snacks is just about the most romantic thing I could possibly think of.

5. Do something scenic

Going on dates is a nerve-wracking experience, so get some of that nervous energy out together with a hike or bike ride through a scenic route in your area. If you and the person you’re seeing are especially outdoorsy and have connected over your love of activities, this is definitely the second date idea for you. It’s an especially compelling option if it’s nice out and you want to take full advantage of the great weather. Don’t have access to a hike or bike ride near you? No problem! You can still get outside by finding a spot to kayak or paddle board, or you can even take a scenic drive and take in the sights. Regardless of whether you end up hiking, biking, or driving to the top of your nearest overlook, the view will be stunning and romantic just the same.

6. Head to a zoo, aquarium, or botanical garden

Whether you’re gazing at animals, sea creatures, or cool plants, going to a natural exhibit makes for an amazing second date idea. The sights will provide you with enough cues to keep the conversation flowing, but these chill activities won’t distract from your date, unlike a show or movie. Doing activities like these will bring out that sort of childlike wonder in you and your date because wandering around a natural exhibit will likely give you flashbacks to exploring on class field trips or with your parents. You can even use this opportunity to ask your date what their favorite animal was as a kid. All of these things are bound to bring up some funny childhood stories that will help you get to know them better. The combination of a zoo, aquarium, or botanical garden plus good conversation sounds like a memorable and unexpectedly romantic second date to me.

7. Paint pottery together

Instead of watching people on your FYP go on pottery dates, go on one yourself! You likely have a paint-your-own pottery store nearby, so it shouldn’t be too hard to plan ahead. There are even some stores that offer other crafts, like painting, charm necklace building, or rug tufting, too. A shared craft is a great way to sit across from each other with prolonged time to chat and get to know one another while simultaneously focusing on an activity. If you’re nervous about your painting abilities, never fear. Even if you mess up spectacularly, you’ll still have a funny keepsake from the date to remember it by.

8. Check out a museum you’ve never been to before

Museum dates are absolute classics. From art museums to science museums to history museums, it’s always fun to wander with a date from room to room. This second date idea is perfect if you and the person you’re seeing want to bond over ~culture~ together. You’ll learn their thoughts on parts of history, art, music, and everything in between. Certain pieces are bound to unlock deep conversations about your favorite artists or writers, too. My personal recommendation is to check out the history museum of the city or town where you live. You’re bound to encounter some funny, bizarre, or fascinating niche stories you never knew about your city.

9. Do a dessert crawl in your city

If you, like me, are a low-stakes first-date kind of person (i.e., coffee or a drink), it might feel a bit intense to bump it up to dinner on the second date, much less to a full-on activity. The solution? A dessert crawl. Start out with a drink and a chocolate lava cake at your first stop, and then bop around to local ice cream stores and cookie shops. It’s one of those late-night activities that feels just the right amount of whimsical and silly for a second date, and it’s a great way to play tourist in your own town. Rank your favorites, and go back to your top choice on future dates!

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