So you’ve met a special girl, and now it’s time for you take her out and spend some time getting to know her better.

This is when you’ve got to have a few solid first date options to choose from.

Most guys, however, settle for taking the girl to dinner, or the classic “dinner and a movie” combination.

Other guys are way too concerned about coming up with romantic date ideas, when they should be thinking about taking her to a place that is fun and comfortable for both people.

While there’s really nothing wrong with going this route, you’re not going to give her a particularly memorable experience. You don’t want to seem just like every other guy who’s taken her out on a first date (and probably didn’t get a second one with her).

You want this occasion to feel special, and that’s why coming up with some clever first date ideas is important.

(By the way, when I say “special,” I don’t mean “expensive.” All of the first date ideas I’m about to give you are designed to be relatively inexpensive, because even if you’ve got plenty of dough to spend, you don’t want to give her the sense that you’re trying too hard.)

I’ll explain in a moment why taking women out on a “predictable” first date is not only going to earn you points with her — it actually works against you.

For now, let me share with you some of my favorite first date ideas. I’ve taken women to all of these places on first dates (and sometimes on second or third dates), and as long as your lady is up for some fun and trying something a little different, these first date ideas can be magical.

Another reason why I especially like these first date ideas is that they take some of the pressure off of you. If the entire first date takes place in a restaurant, the burden will be on you to carry the conversation and keep her attention.

With the first date ideas that I’m about to share with you, there are some built-in “distractions.” One of the keys to choosing the right venue for a first date is having the right balance between conversation, and pleasant distractions.

Just bear in mind, not all of these first date ideas are going to be appropriate for every type of girl. If she’s a “high maintenance” girl who’s always perfectly made up and is terrified at the prospect of breaking a sweat (or breaking a fingernail), then some of the more physical, outdoorsy date ideas on this list aren’t going to appeal to her.

You should also have a sense of her personality and interests before you decide on the right first date idea. Some girls find museums fascinating, while the average 22-year-old you meet while out partying at a nightclub would probably be bored out of her mind by such a place.

Also, you’ll want to let her know to dress casually for some of these first date ideas. I like to create some anticipation and the “element of surprise” by not telling her where I’m taking her on the date, but I will tell her how to dress.

(You don’t want your date wearing a cocktail dress and high heels when you bring her to your local bowling alley or driving range!)

With the 10 first date ideas on this list, you should be able to choose one that works for you, and your date, and creates the opportunity for you to show her a special, memorable time that leads to a second date in the very near future.

5 Excellent First Date Ideas

#5: Let’s Go Bowling!

Bowling is just plain fun. The vibe is casual, and you can always share a laugh over having to wear those hideous bowling shoes.

Grab a couple of beers and slices of pizza, and have a friendly competition with her. This type of laidback environment will put her at ease and make her comfortable, even if she’s the world’s worst bowler (or you are).

It also shows her that you don’t take yourself too seriously, and you’re not worried about trying to impress her. You’re just into having fun with her. This is the right mindset for approaching a first date with anyone.

#4: Get Outdoors

Exploring the great outdoors and enjoying some physical activity is a terrific first date idea, provided your date is up to the task. You need to check first to ensure that she’s the outdoorsy type. A high-maintenance woman does not want to go on a hike (you know, that martini-sipping girl with the perfectly manicured nails probably isn’t up for it). But for the cute surfer girl you met at the pub, it’s perfect.

#8: Hit The Golf Driving Range

Personally, I’m not into golf, so I wouldn’t use this as one of my own first date ideas. But a lot of my buddies are into golf, and they swear by this one. This is a fun outdoors activity that isn’t too strenuous, and she doesn’t need to be athletic to enjoy herself. If she’s played golf before, great; if not, you can help her learn how to swing. (This is a perfect opportunity for you to get up close with her, and build some physical contact with her in a non-creepy way.) If she already knows how to handle a club, then the two of you can engage in some playful competition.

#7: Take Her To An Aquarium

These places aren’t just for third-grade field trips. They’re also cool environments for a first date. There’s something beautiful and mesmerizing about watching all of that undersea life. You’ll also discover some weird, slimy creatures that the two of you can laugh about. Aquariums invite you to stroll with her at a leisurely pace and take in the scenery together.

#6: The Theater

This is one of my favorite first ideas because it’s much more original than taking her to a movie, plus it’s more upscale and sophisticated. This first date idea allows you to tell her to “dress up, because I’m taking you somewhere classy.” An added benefit of taking her to the theater is that they typically have an intermission, which gives you the chance to chat with her. (At a movie, you spend the whole two hours sitting in dark silence with her.)

#5: Art Gallery

If she’s into the arts, a local arts gallery can be a perfect first date idea. Just make sure you do some research on the exhibit you’ll be taking her to; you don’t want to bring her to anything too weird or depressing.

As with aquariums, art galleries allow you to walk with her (which is a great way to burn off nervous energy), and an interesting exhibit will provide you with tons of conversational topics to keep things flowing.

#4: A Local Music Show

Taking her to a musical performance is a great first idea, as long as it’s not too loud. During the summer, some cities have concerts at the park where you can spread out a blanket and chill out with a bottle of wine and some finger foods. You could also bring her to a cafe, or even a coffee shop, where local musical artists perform.

As long as you can hear each other over the music, it’s all good. The style of music should be geared towards sitting back and listening — not dancing (or head-banging, God forbid).

#3: Ice Skating

This one makes my list of first date ideas because it’s innocent fun, and it transports many of us back to our childhood days.

If she’s a competent ice skater, she’s feel comfortable in this environment and you can get her to show off her skills. If she doesn’t know how to skate, then you’ll get to hold her hand and help her stay on her feet.

You’ll share a lot of laughs. I would note, however, that if YOU are an awful ice skater and can’t keep yourself from constantly wiping out (or crashing into her), you should avoid this first date idea. You don’t want to look like a bumbling idiot.

#2: Gift Shopping

It’s no secret that women love to shop, and feel at ease in shopping environments.

To pull off this first date idea, you tell her that you need to pick out a gift for a friend or family member, and you’d love to get her opinion. Then bring her along on your shopping trip. Have her help you choose something.

This shows her that you’re a thoughtful type of guy, and it creates a reason for you to talk to her again in a day or two — she’ll want to know whether the gift was a hit.

If it was, then you’ll have her to thank, which makes her feel good.

Note: This gift shouldn’t be anything extravagant. With this first date idea, I usually tell her I need to buy a shirt for a buddy of mine, or some perfume for my sister, because their birthday is coming up.

#1: Try Some New Cuisine

Anytime you can share a new experience with her, it helps to strengthen the connection between you. If you’re going to take her to a restaurant, make it something different and give her an experience to remember.

This can be a type of ethnic cuisine that neither of you have tried before, or even better, you can turn her onto a type of exotic cuisine that you already enjoy and you think she will, too.

(Women love a guy who can show them new things and broaden their horizons.)

If you’re both trying this food for the first time, it creates an element of anticipation and adventure.

But do some research first. Get the names of some dishes that you’re both likely to enjoy, and then order a bunch of things to increase the chances of you both discovering something new and delicious.

Tactics For First Date Success

The techniques I teach in my book Tactical Attraction system are designed to make it easy to meet women, talk to them and get dates, so what you’ll need next are some solid first date tips to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Right off the bat, the most obvious question is where you should take her on to make sure it’s a fun first date.

There are endless possibilities for first date locations, and much of it depends on the area where you live. So instead of trying to list a bunch of possible first date locations, let’s start with some BAD first date ideas (places you should definitely avoid)…

Whenever possible, you’ll want to pick her up for the date rather than meeting her somewhere.

This places you in the driver’s seat in more ways than one. Have the radio set to a popular station, but keep it at a low volume. Then ask her if there’s something specific that she’d like to listen to: “I don’t usually listen to the radio, so if you want to hear a station just let me know.”

The radio is a safer bet than putting on your own music. She might not like the style of music you’ve chosen, but she will probably be too polite to say anything.

Let her put on her favorite radio station and enjoy the music she likes. It will brighten her mood.

If you drive a less-than-impressive car, just be sure it’s clean—and know that a little air freshener can go a long way. If your car is an eyesore, or there’s any chance that it will break down, take a taxi and explain to her that your car is in the shop—and know that as a Mack, you’ll need to start looking into a better set of wheels ASAP.

You certainly don’t need to drive a tricked-out Escalade or a Benz, but you do need to have a decent, reliable vehicle. If you do happen to drive a nice car, downplay it if she compliments you on it. Tell her “It’s reliable and gets me around, that’s what’s most important.”

Dinner Dates

Whether you’re meeting for cocktails, coffee or dinner, the place you select absolutely must be clean. Faced with a choice between great food or a clean environment, go for the clean environment. This is especially true when it comes to restaurants.

Before the date, you need to have your game plan worked out. If you’re taking her to dinner, be familiar with the restaurant. If you haven’t eaten there before, visit the restaurant prior to your date to scope it out.

Know exactly where it is and the type of food they serve. If you don’t have time to visit in advance, call the restaurant, talk to a staff member, and ask some questions about their menu, their prices, and any specials. You can also try looking it up on the Internet and learning some facts about the place and its owners.

During a first date, these are all good conversational topics. The more enthusiastic and knowledgeable you are about the restaurant, the more special the occasion will feel to her.

You should be familiar with a variety of restaurants, since women have different tastes. But have at least two staples. Sushi and Italian are good ones.

If the staff knows you, and you know the menu, you’ll look and feel in control of the environment. It’s better to “master” two restaurants than to be somewhat familiar with joints all over town.

If the restaurant has an attractive waitress or two, even better. If they remember you and greet you by name, your date will be impressed. Then again, a pretty waitress can also be a macking option for the future. When you show up with an attractive date, you become more intriguing to that waitress. You might want to show up next time alone, or with a male friend, for the purposes of getting her phone number and making it happen.

Before you go on this dinner date, walk through it in your mind. Know where you’d like to sit; there might be a nice outdoor area, or some comfortable booths. Also be aware of the parking options. If there is a valet, always use that option. It’s a few bucks well spent, and it shows class.

Since originality is important, try to avoid chain restaurants. If you’re on a tight budget, find a place to eat that is inexpensive but has interesting aspects that you can mention. This could be a special menu item, a certain dessert, or a quirky bit of history. Maybe back in the 1950s it was a Mafia hangout, or a famous movie filmed a scene there. You should be able to mention reasons why you picked this place. If you’ve eaten there in the past, mention that it’s one of your “special places”—implying that you would only bring a special person to share it with.

Even if money is not a problem for you, taking her out to a fancy meal can backfire in several ways. Instead of impressing her, treating her to an expensive dinner (upwards of $100) might actually make her feel uncomfortable: I barely know this guy, and he’s spending all this money.

What is he going to expect at the end of the night?

It also increases your own expectations. If you’re spending way more money on this date than you would normally spend on dinner, you’re probably going to feel cheated if you don’t at least get a goodnight kiss. You’re also going to feel disappointed if ten minutes into the meal, you realize this isn’t a woman you’d care to see again.

So why put this added pressure on her, and on yourself?

For these reasons, it’s usually better to keep this first meal casual and low-cost. Or, meet for coffee or drinks. It shows that you aren’t eager to make anything happen.

The vibe you’re sending is that you’re interested in getting to know her; if a mutual attraction develops, you can always treat her to a nice meal next time.

Spending excessive money can make you look like you’re auditioning for the role of her boyfriend, trying to woo her by laying out cash.

As a rule of thumb, don’t spend over $50 on a first dinner unless you regularly spend that (or more) on meals.

This first date sets the bar for how she expects your future dates to go, and she might not appreciate that bar being lowered. Once she associates you with gourmet cuisine, a burger joint is going to feel like a letdown.

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