Make over your date night: 20 outside-the-ordinary, surprising dates to spark romance

Frankly, you probably feel lucky if you even get a date night. And tried-and-true though it may be, sometimes dinner and a movie needs an update. Your date together doesn't have to be wild, extreme, or totally wacko to be unusually delightful. Getting outside of the dating box is all about having a new experience with your partner--any new experience, whether it's dorky, silly, or sexy. Those new experiences can help simulate those first-time-we-laid-eyes-on-each-other butterflies, no matter how many kisses you've stolen over the years. Here, twenty unconventional date ideas for the lazy, foodie, retro-loving, and high-octane among us.

  1. B-I-N-G-O! Hey, it's not just for old ladies. Or maybe it is. But think how young and attractive you'll feel!
  2. Wine tastings, classic or DIY-style. There's likely a winery or microbrewery within striking distance to you, but if there's not, many wine stores will offer afternoon tastings on the weekend. Or create your own tasting by sampling a wine flight at a cozy little boite or buy half-bottles and do a blind tasting at home. Close your eyes, search for those plummy notes, and make it a full sensual experience.
  3. Crawl for "the best." Find the best tacos or the best cappuccino by hitting up three different places around town and comparing.
  4. Drive-ins. Put on your cutest vintage dress and take the car with bench seats. Find one near you here.
  5. Strap on a life vest. Head out on the high seas (or just, like, a nearby lake) for a canoe or paddle boat ride. You'll have to work together to get anywhere--a perfect, if unsubtle, relationship metaphor.
  6. Opposite day. Whatever you usually do on date night, turn it on its head. So, if you usually walk to a casual restaurant, drive to a fancy place. If you usually do something active like mini-golf, hold hands in a dark theater.
  7. Scavenger hunt. Make a list of twenty-six items--one for each letter of the alphabet--or Google "scavenger hunt list" for a pre-made version. Hit the town searching out the items together.
  8. Bowling. Whether you go a fancy revival place with oysters and garlic frites, or kick it old school at the glow-in-the-dark midnight bowl, this date has timeless appeal. Pitcher of beer optional.
  9. Be seduced. Burlesque isn't your usual pole dance. These routines usually feature women of all shapes and sizes performing vintagey dances of titillation and tongue-in-cheek humor. Take mental notes and finish the show at home.
  10. Get sweet. Skip the protracted three-course dinner (a too-full tummy always seems like an obstacle to hanky panky anyway) and just go for dessert at the poshest place you can find.
  11. Swing. Not that type of swinging. Lace up your saddle shoes and take a lesson in this athletic, cheeky dance style. Or go slow with foxtrot or rumba.
  12. Look at the stars. Yeah, you could drive to a field and spread a blanket out on the hood of your car for gazing. But you could also lean back in comfy planetarium seats and connect the dots on dozens of constellations. Brings new meaning to "star-crossed lovers."
  13. Laser tag. Running around in the dark with guns and getting short of breath? What could be more romantic?
  14. Living room picnic. You don't even need a babysitter for this one. Put the kiddos to bed and spread out a blanket on the floor with cheese and chocolate.
  15. Go on a first date...again. Been married for seven years and wondering where the passion went? Sidle up to your honey in a bookstore like it's the first time, or pretend that you're on a blind date. There's no talk of kids, money, or logistics. Just hot, flirty, getting-to-know-you banter.
  16. Read the future. Buy a pack of tarot cards (most will come with a guide inside), and take them to a bar or coffee shop and read each other's fortunes.
  17. Get trigger happy. Revisit Space Invaders and Pac-Man with a date at the arcade. Sip a coke with two straws.
  18. Leave it up to chance. Get in the car or strap on your walking shoes. At random intervals--every third stoplight, say--flip a coin to determine whether you turn right or left. Find a new restaurant this way, or just a weird storefront you never noticed before selling Russian dolls.
  19. Jam together. Even if the genre isn't your particular bag, live music can be energizing. Find a little jazz club, open mic night, bluegrass band, or even a piano player at nearby hotel bar.
  20. Tailor-made date. Craft an evening filled with all of your partner's favorite delights, complete with tater tots, velvet paintings, and Nascar. Your love will swoon from the thoughtful sweetness of it.
What was the most thoughtful, usual, outside-the-box date you ever went on?

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