Skip the movie. Spice up your first date with 10 unique date hotspots that won’t hurt your wallet

date hotspots

For most of us, the dynamics of the modern-day dating scene are terrifying at worst, confusing at best. For better or for worse, online dating apps have brought about a huge shift in dating dynamics, including what we think a first date should look like. Finding unique date hotspots can be a challenge.

While apps like Tinder may harbour connotations of late night, sleazy hookups, the truth is more and more people are using apps like this in the hope of finding a serious relationship.

Tinder and similar apps give people the confidence to make contact with others. These are often people who may not have the same confidence to talk to a stranger in real life. We all know how terrifying that can be. Of course, Tinder dates also present a unique set of challenges.

What Tinder Is Up Against

More often than not, most people will have never have laid eyes on the prospective interest prior to the date itself. Now, while we aren’t telling you to constantly be worried about being catfished (although, that is a concern), we are more highlighting that your date may have a completely different personality in real life than they do online. A personality perhaps, that you do not click with the way you did online.

With that in mind, it can be daunting choosing a first data spot that will help cultivate the romance, however, still inspire a relaxed vibe. So, why not opt for something a little more casual? Dating app first dates do not suit the traditional, cliched scenes from movies. A candlelit dinner or spending two hours locked into a movie in silence is probably not the best place to go with someone you’ve never actually met before. Who knew that romcoms didn’t actually provide us with practical advice?

So, your friends at Nifty have put their heads together and put together a list of the best first date hotspots, that sets the mood for romance, whilst thinking of your wallet as well.

#1 – Pub Trivia

Price: $$

Pub trivia is a great first date spot for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s trivia! Honestly, who doesn’t love playing trivia?

Playing trivia at the pub is a great ice breaker. If the conversation between you and your date isn’t flowing as well as you’d like, the constant stream of trivia questions will provide a heap of conversation starters. You’re also able to find out a lot about your date’s hobbies and interests by which questions they are able to answer.

The best part of going to pub trivia? It’s in the pub. So, if you are super nervous or if things start to get awkward, you have the age-old escape of alcohol at your fingertips.

Pros: You can win prizes.

Cons: Trivia nights are usually only hosted on weeknights.

#2 Museums

Price: Free – $

If you or your date seem like culture vultures, why not consider going to a local museum? Generally, museums are free to get in to. On the off chance they have a special exhibition you have to pay to get in to, entry is usually not expensive.

Museums provide a great balance of a quiet place to roam around together and get to know each other, as well as having interesting exhibits everywhere to spur on conversatio

We would recommend avoiding going during school holidays, as these type of places are inevitably filled with loud, overactive children hyped up on sugar and holiday-mode euphoria. Having squealing children running past you may sap a little bit of the ambience out of the date.

Additionally, even if the date is a bit of a disaster and you never see each other again, at least you learnt something about Ancient Egypt.

Pros: The gift shop.

Cons: School excursions.

#3 Galleries

Price: Free – $

If you really want to give the illusion of being an intellectual, you should meet your date at a gallery. Gallery entrance fees are usually reasonable, or completely free.

Once you’re in, you and your date can wander listlessly through artworks and learn more about each other. Additionally, it’s a scientific fact that everybody looks at least ten times cleverer when gazing at artwork with a puzzled expression.

If you find your date isn’t going to plan, you can always pretend to be completely engrossed in each artwork you come across and avoid conversation until you leave.

Pros: Make all your Instagram followers think you know/care about art.

Cons: Hipsters.

#4 Parks

Price: Free

Going to one of the parks in your city may be a great first date spot, and as you’d expect, parks are completely free.

Now, by a park, we are not talking about 20 square meters of dead grass and a swingset. Try to pick one of the nicer, bigger parks in your city. The botanical gardens are always a safe bet.

Keep an eye on what’s happening in the parks around your city. Quite often there will be free events like festivals or outdoor cinemas being held in these places.

If you can enjoy your date’s company when you’re just walking around a local park, then you’re on to something good.

Pros: Dogs.

Cons: Dog poo.

#5 Arcade

Price: $ – $$

Who doesn’t love a day at the arcade? But have you ever thought of it as a date hotspot? Well, you should. There’s something about a room full of epilepsy-inducing flashing lights that ignites the inner-child in all of us.

Arcades provide a super casual setting for a date, where you don’t have to take each other too seriously. Why not verse each other in a game? Or maybe try and win your date a giant stuffed toy?

Afterwards, you can relive your childhood and load up hot dogs and ice creams.

Pros: Plenty of entertainment options.

Price: Free

#6 Beach

Price: Free

If you live near the ocean, you should consider taking your date on a trip to the beach.

It’s not just the beach itself that makes this such a great date spot, but everything else that comes along with the beach. There’s nothing more wholesome than eating fish and chips by the beach, being swarmed by seagulls.

Take a long, romantic walk with the sand in between your toes, whilst bonding over the romantic poets or your favourite foreign films. Wait, romcoms definitely gave us unrealistic expectations for dates. Thanks a lot, now we just have sand stuck in our toes.

Pros: It’s the beach.

Cons: Sand. Sunburn. Sharks.

#7 Antique Store

Consider exploring some antique stores with your date. The more obscure the location the better. You’ll often see a part of your city you never knew existed.

Why not try to guess the past lives of objects you find in the store? Whatever your experience at these type of stores, you can guarantee it will be memorable.

And, if worst comes to worst on the romance front, you always stand a chance of finding an antique that you’ll cherish long after you’ve forgotten your date’s name.

Pros: Finding hidden gems.

Cons: Dust and a Joe Goldberg-like shopkeeper.

#8 Market

Price: Free – $

Check online to see what markets are running in or near your city. Not only will you support local businesses, but you’ll also look sustainable and responsible.

Whether its a fruit and veg market or a monthly crafts market, there is sure to be an event close to you that is happening soon. Entry is usually free or is a small fee that sometimes goes to charity.

These markets always have awesome food that you don’t usually see anywhere else, as well as a heap of colourful characters. The best thing about markets is you don’t even need to buy anything to enjoy your time there.

Pros: A million things to look at, buy, eat and see.

Cons: Those people walking around on stilts.

#9 Make a meal at home

Price: $$

Instead of going out for dinner, why not try to make something together? There is nothing quite like making a meal together for the first time as a bonding experience. Making a meal that neither of you has cooked before will allow for the most fun. The best bit is even if the meal is terrible it will probably be more memorable of an experience than if it is delicious.

Pros: Learning to cook a new cuisine.

Cons: Letting someone you’ve never met inside your house and giving them access to knives.

10. Go op-shopping

Price: $$

Our final first-date hotspot is the humble thrift store.

Exploring a few op-shops is not only a fun date idea, but also allows you to expand your own wardrobe with some funky gear. Two birds with one stone!

While you’re shopping, why not play a game where you buy each other’s outfits, that you have to wear later. This is a really inexpensive way to get to know your date in a way that isn’t too serious and is a bit of a joke.

Pros: Finding your new favourite shirt.

Cons: Someone might have died in it.

So there you have it, Nifty’s top-10 date hotspots! Just remember, in this era of dating apps and online flirting, to not take yourself too seriously and to just enjoy your dates for who they are. At best, you’ve found your soul mate. At worst, you had an experience you’ll look back on and laugh at, and best of all, you got away with spending less than $20.

Before you go

Struggling to save? Read what the experts have to say. Or moving in with your partner? Find out how to manage money and love. Also, explore how reality TV is affecting our understanding of modern romance. Stay tuned to the Nifty blog for more of the latest tips and tricks in personal finance and those lifestyle hacks that will make life that little bit easier.