Updated November 2017

First dates are tricky.

It can be tough to plan the perfect night while still finding a balance between impressive and overzealous.

Who should pay? How much should you spend? Movie? Dinner? Bowling? Argh… this is perilous territory.

To help you navigate these tumultuous waters, here are a few first date night ideas you may want to consider:

1. Brunch:
Meeting for breakie has numerous perks: it’s inexpensive, it’s quick, and it’s casual.
Try White Wolf in Ivanhoe Village, or Briar Patch on Park Avenue, or check out our growing list of the best restaurants for brunch.

2. Food Truck Events:
These meals on wheels offer a casual alternative to dinner at a restaurant…. much cheaper too! Opt for one of the events with a little more atmosphere such as Tasty Takeover in the Milk District.

3. Fun Activity: Do something fun and there’s a good chance the date will be fun. Consider frisbee golf, bowling, zip lining, or ice skating at RDV's Ice Den.

4. Starlit Movie: Simply going to a movie is an uncreative option unless you amp up the experience by seeing an outdoor flick. At Date Night at Leu Gardens or Popcorn Flicks in the Park, you can even bring a bottle of wine. Be sure to sit back from the crowd so you can still chat during the movie without disturbing anyone nearby.

5. Cooking Class: Take the focus off the date and put it on a fun task, such as brushing up on your culinary skills. While cooking classes can be pricey, they are also such a blast and waaaaay more fun than simply going out to a restaurant. Try Truffles and Trifles in College Park or the Griffin Cooking School at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes. Check out our most recent roundup of local cooking classes for more ideas.

6. The Great Outdoors: Get out there and DO something. Think about renting a canoe at Wekiwa Springs, go kayaking in a clear kayak, or bike or rollerblade the West Orange Trail.

7. Farmer’s Markets:
Unlike dinner dates when every moment needs to be filled with chatter, a farmer’s market date offers lots of little breaks for munching and wandering. My favorites are the Audubon Park Community Market on Monday, the Winter Park Farmer’s Market on Saturday, and the Orlando Famer’s Market on Sunday at Lake Eola.

8. Art Party: With a mix of live music, art, light bites and cheap drinks, art parties give first daters lots of distraction during those awkward, ‘not sure what to say next’ moments. Try 1st Thursdays at OMA, 3rd Thursday Gallery Hop & Art Walk, and Culture & Cocktails at the Maitland Art Center.

9. Cool Coffee Shop: Like the brunch date, coffee dates are quick and inexpensive. Be a little more creative in your choice of venue; places like Austin Coffee House and Stardust Video and Coffee have way more character.

10. Live Music: No, not a concert. That would be too loud. Opt instead for a venue where the music is more of a good backdrop, such as the Front Porch Bar at House of Blues, or Bosendorfer Lounge at the Grand Bohemian.

Oh, and these all make great date night ideas for all you veteran couples out there!