So you’ve nailed the first date: you figured out how to land it, what activities to plan, and how not to screw it up. Congrats, bud! Now comes the even harder part: You actually like this person and want to see them again.
Which means you have to plan a damn good second date.
There’s no question the first date is scary, but the second date comes with a whole new kind of stress. By date number two, you’ve exhausted all the getting-to-know-you questions, and there’s pressure to plan something more creative than “coffee” or “drinks.”
“It is more stressful because you want to impress your date, but also not overdo it and scare them away,” says Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com.
So what’s the secret to planning a good second date?
“Try to make sure the activity has some sort of connection to you or your date,” Sullivan suggests—that way, you know you’ll enjoy yourselves. Is there a bar that makes a cocktail you really love? A free concert with their favorite kind of music? That’s the kind of thing you’re looking for. If you’re drawing a blank, think back to that first date conversation: “Did you discuss a park or restaurant you both like?” Sullivan says.
We asked Sullivan, along with the Men’s Health staff, for their best second ideas. Here’s what they offered up.
The Best Second Date Ideas
“Throw it back to when you were a kid and have a game night with your date,” Sullivan says. “Play all the board games you used to as a kid, or even pick up a puzzle and work on that together for some quality conversation and bonding time!”
“Play a round of mini golf on your second date!” Sullivan says. “No matter how bad or good you are, it is a fun activity that allows you show off your competitive side.”
… Or go for full-size golf! Trust us, you don’t have to be Tiger Woods to have fun at the driving range. If your swing is a real stinker, you’ll still have a laugh. Plus, it’s a good opportunity for your partner to get behind you and give a hands-on tutorial, or vice-versa.
Switch it up with a daytime date. Make reservations at your favorite boozy brunch spot, and then go for a (tipsy?) stroll through the park.
Whether you’re into true crime, weird science, or improvised musicals, a live podcast taping can be very entertaining—and gives you a built-in conversation topic if you grab a drink afterward.
Movie in the park
Many cities show free movies in the park during warmer months. A movie in the park is a great second date because you can pack a picnic—that’s instant romance right there—and you don’t have to be totally silent like you would in a theater.
You don’t need a movie in the park to have a picnic. Hit up the farmer’s market to pick out bread, fruit, and cheese—or whatever else looks tasty—and bring it to the park. For bonus points, pack a frisbee so you have something fun to do when you’re done eating.
Depending on the time of year, you might be able to check out a holiday market or street fair—and cozy up with a hot chocolate or gelato when you’re done.
Group workout class
Note: Only plan this date if you know your date is into fitness. If they’re not, they might hate you—but if they’re just as much of a gym rat as you are, hit up spinning, kickboxing, rowing, yoga, or whatever class you love the most. (Just don’t be the Loud Guy™.)
If the great outdoors is your preferred gym, go for a hike. Look for a route with a stunning view along the way—somewhere you can pause to enjoy the scenery, a snack, and each other’s company.
Plenty of bars host trivia to draw people in on less-crowded nights. The questions are a built-in source of conversation, and the two of you will bond as you take on other teams.
If your date has a sense of humor, check out a standup or improv show. We recommend buying tickets for a comedian or improv group you’ve seen before, so you can minimize the risk of supreme un-funniness.