Better than dinner-and-a-movie dates
Sharpen your knife skills
Sushimaking classes are fun for a date night, but how often will you really roll out that bamboo mat? Go for a knife skills lesson instead, where you'll gain Edward Scissorhands-level ability for everything from dicing onions to deconstructing roast chicken. You'll both be amazed at what a difference a few tips make—just try not to giggle when instructed to choke up on your tool. To find one near you, contact a local culinary school.
A night at the museum
Cocktails and DJs are spoonfuls of sugar that help culture go down. At least, that's how some museums see it—so they throw regular parties and concerts that also happen to make perfect dates. L.A.'s Barnsdall Art Park hosts Friday Night Wine tastings with gourmet food trucks, San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences throws a weekly DJ Disco Party and New York City's American Museum of Natural History hosts concerts with the likes of Q-Tip.
Watch a meteor shower
Cliché? Maybe. Rom-com level romantic? Definitely. Roll out a blanket, munch gourmet snacks and get to know each other while gazing up at the night sky. This summer, the Perseid meteor shower will send shooting stars across the North American night sky most visibly from August 11-13. You'll get the best show starting around midnight.
Rent a partner kayak
Coordinating strokes, steering in the right direction: Paddling together on the open water is a crash course in relationship communication (not to mention a killer arm and core workout). Test your mutual cooperation skills, then peel off the life jackets and toast your synchronicity over mojitos or margaritas.
Go berry picking
Leave your smartphones in the car and spend an afternoon outside picking sweet summer berries. You'll have a task to concentrate on, making chatting that much easier, and the race to fill your cartons breeds healthy competition. Plus, there's no stress about looking perfect when you're both sporting squashed berries in your hair.
Find a lobster shack
Dating's already awkward—why add the pressure of a white tablecloth restaurant? Seek out a laidback seafood shack instead, where your meal comes on melamine trays and requires rolling up your sleeves and getting messy. Bonus: You'll find out whether or not he's able to laugh at himself as soon as the waitress hands out those lobster bibs.
Crash an underground dinner
Up-and-coming chefs often host family-style meals in their apartments, unused warehouses, or even farmer's market fields. Not only will you feel like you've stumbled upon a secret society, you'll be surrounded by other couples just as excited to be there as you are—which means no stilted one-on-one small talk. (To keep an ear out for local dinners, scour your city's food publications and don't be shy about asking chefs and bartenders for the scoop.)
Go stand-up paddle boarding (SUP)
This trendy core workout makes for a perfect afternoon date. Unlike some sweat-inducing activities, it's easy to talk and connect while you're both navigating the open water. And because women tend to have lower centers of gravity than men, it's likely to be easier for you to stay on the board—so your hair and makeup won't get drenched unless you want to take the plunge.
Become a connoisseur
Wine tasting is a great go-to date, but this age of artisanal everything means the two of you can get schooled in the finer points of anything from cheese to chocolate to Cognac. Find a local gourmet shop that offers classes or research the small-batch scene in your area to find tasting and tours. (In Boulder, Colorado, for example, where craft microbrews are exploding, a bus will take you to small-batch breweries around town.)