Figuring out where to go on a first date with a new crush can be stressful. You’re either just starting to get to know them or you’re meeting for the first time, so it’s likely that you’ll both be uncertain about the best place to go on your first date.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you’ll probably both be doing a lot of talking, so a movie definitely isn’t a great first date destination. And if you’re anything like me, then you might not be crazy about the idea of watching each other eat while attempting to converse. The best first date destinations are those that offer a natural environment for two people to talk openly. Another thing to consider is that you should always go somewhere public on a first date, especially if you’ve never met them before. Dating apps and websites attract a lot of unwanted scammers and predators, so you’ll definitely want others around in case you need to make a speedy escape from a total weirdo!
Lastly, awkwardness is unavoidable when you’re getting to know someone romantically. It takes vulnerability to just be yourself, which is why I like to avoid very intimate first date destinations like a couple’s massage or a private candlelit dinner. So, to avoid awkwardness and the pressure of impressing your crush on your first date, I’ve put together a list of 15 of my favorite first date destinations ranked from somewhat fun to endlessly fun!
15. Queen Califa Magical Sculpture Garden
Located in Escondido, this lively sculpture garden was created by French-American sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle. This beautiful outdoor museum offers endless opportunities for conversation and mutual awe. If your date has an appreciation for art, then you’ve got to make Queen Califa your first date destination. This rare gem is open limited hours, so be sure to check for availability before heading over!
14. Maze Rooms
Maze Rooms is a chain of escape rooms with several locations in Los Angeles. Although these venues are ideal for a group of people, you can still have fun as a pair. Escape rooms require communication and teamwork, which is a perfect opportunity to learn how effectively you and your date can collaborate. Patience, trust, and stress management are also essential to exercise during an escape room, and what better time to weed out a poor team player than on your first date?!
13. Annie’s Canyon Trail
This trail is perfect for two active people who can bond over Mother Nature. Located in Solana Beach, San Diego, this 1.5-mile hike features beautiful views and a small canyon that you can’t find anywhere else in California. This hike is the perfect length for a first date and can be followed by some excellent fare at Robert’s Taco Shop just a mile away!
12. Golfland: Camelot
Perfect for the competitive pair, this first date destination offers a robust selection of attractions. From mini golf to laser tag to go-kart racing, there are endless opportunities for teamwork and some friendly competition. Located in Anaheim, Golfland is the place to be for all those who are still kids at heart!
11. Raquel’s Jazz Lounge
Tucked into the heart of the Inland Empire, this cozy lounge features live jazz and a full bar—the perfect combination for letting loose and engaging in great conversation. If you and your date are both music oriented, then I highly recommend this gem as your first date destination.
10. LA County Fair
All LA natives know that the LA County Fair is the best end-of-summer spot. Depending on what type of date you’re looking to have, this fair offers a broad range of activities, including carnival rides, live concerts, a petting zoo, countless food stands, and many vendors selling unique products. While the LA County Fair is usually only live from August to September, the Orange County Fair offers similar activities and is open from July to August.
9. Angel Stadium of Anaheim
What better way to get to know someone than by bonding over America’s favorite pastime?! Tickets are as cheap as $5 a game, and if you or your date isn’t a huge baseball fan, you can always grab some helmet nachos and converse at table at the Budweiser Patio. While there are several MLB baseball stadiums in Southern California, Angel Stadium has parking areas that are easier to navigate than Dodger Stadium in LA or Petco Park in San Diego.
8. The Queen Mary Ghost Tour
Located at the Long Beach Harbor, this haunted venue is a staple in Southern California’s Halloweentime offerings. Take a paranormal investigative tour of the ship to learn about its haunted history or check out Illusions of the Past inside the ship’s theater to witness encounters with the spirits that still roam the premises. If you’re looking for a different kind of scare to bond over, look no further than this eerie and fear-inducing first date destination.
7. Cowboy Country
Another Long Beach locale, this country bar offers great live music and line dancing! Arrive early in the evening for line dancing lessons if you’re a noob, and when you and your date start to break a sweat, cool off upstairs with some billiards and a drink. If you want to be ultra prepared for your first date, check out this bar’s happy hour deals and line dancing schedule beforehand.
6. SC Village
For all those daring pairs who don’t mind getting dirty on the first date, SC Village is one of the largest and most intricate paintball and airsoft parks in Southern California. Nestled in Chino, this hidden gem is a perfect opportunity for you and your date to practice teamwork and trust. What’s more—you’ll find out quite a bit about your date when they’re under fire!
5. Medieval Times
A bit on the pricier side, Medieval Times is the ideal spot for the pair who loves knighthood and all things Renaissance. This Buena Park venue is full of conversation-worthy medieval props and events, including a museum of torture, a full bar, a medieval dinner, and a live show with jousting, sword fighting, and impressive engagement from the audience—so be prepared to get rowdy!
4. The Brea Improv
If you and your date share a mutual appreciation for comedy, then the newly updated Brea Improv is your perfect first date destination. This comedy club features comedians big and small from all over the world for reasonable prices. Included in the building is Copper Blues, a modern lounge dedicated to live rock and blues artists. Check out the Improv’s event calendar to see if your favorite comedian is performing soon!
3. Knott’s Berry Farm
Although Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood might be the most sought-after amusement parks in Southern California, entrance into those parks alone will break your bank—especially if you’re paying your own tuition. While Knott’s Berry Farm is generally less crowded and less expensive all around, it houses some of the most exciting rides and roller coasters the country has to offer. If you or your date isn’t a huge thrill seeker, then hang out in Ghost Town, where you can immerse yourselves in a Wild West experience as well as participate in an interactive show!
2. Raging Waters
Open throughout the summer months, Raging Waters is hidden away in the hills of Bonelli Park in San Dimas. California’s largest water park is the ultimate first date destination for all lovers of fun! Spend hours going on rides and splashing around in the wave pool, and then head over to the lazy river so you and your date can float upstream together and engage in endless conversation.
1. Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain is by far the most fun first destination in Southern California due to its offering of some of the largest and craziest roller coasters in the country. Even more affordable than Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags is located in Valencia and occasionally offers discounted tickets and special hours for emergency service workers as well as LA county employees and their families. Spend the day here and really get to know your date as you traverse through these fear-inducing, adrenaline-pumping attractions together!
What do you think of this list of the most fun first date destinations? Let us know what you think and how your first date goes in the comments below!
Featured image source: https://wearecomet.com/projects/niki-de-saint-phalles-american-sculpture-garden/
Jamie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is an aspiring writer, professional editor/proofreader, and piano player. In her free time, Jamie enjoys reading classic literary works, composing music, and playing Xbox with her husband!