Hello my name is Vanessa Friedman and I fucking love going on dates in the day time. I thought this was a normal and regular thing to do, but I mentioned it to several friends recently and they all expressed a fair amount of shock. Why would I want to meet someone for the first time when it was light outside, one friend wondered. What exactly would we be doing, another friend wanted to know. How on earth did I initiate sex during the day, a third friend asked. They all seemed baffled. Which, frankly, baffled me!
Here is a short and incomplete list of reasons why going on a date during the day rules: everyone looks super hot in natural light, you don’t have to worry about getting sleepy, if you’re sober (or just don’t feel like drinking) there’s less of an assumption that you’ll meet at a bar, some activities can only happen during the day, sex in the afternoon is the fucking best, if the date sucks you can believably say you have another appointment to get to, if the date rules you can stretch it out for hours and still get to bed at a reasonable time!
Spring has sprung where I live, and there’s no better moment to plan a cute daytime date than now. The flowers are blooming and your love / lust / casual crush can too. I present you here with a short list of 10 cute daytime dates. It is by no means complete or exhaustive – please feel free to add more suggestions in the comments!
1. Classic Coffee Date
This is such a classic that I remain perplexed why my friends thought going on dates during the day was so odd. This is a really good first date scenario if you’re going out with someone you’ve never met in person before because if things go poorly it can be very, very short. “Oh wow, you don’t think all cops are bad? You’re an [insert your personal hard no zodiac sign here]? We share not one, not two, but three exes? Okay so weird, my coffee is all done, NICE TO MEET YOU GOTTA GO BYE!!!” On the other hand, if you just can’t stop talking and staring at each other’s cute faces, a coffee date can stretch out for hours. I personally want to put in a plug for making sure the “coffee” spot you suggest also serves tea, because, ahem, some of us don’t drink coffee but we’d still like to be able to sip on a warm beverage while deciding if we could imagine inviting you to join the intentional community we’re scheming and dreaming about with our friends for the future, ya know?
2. Share an Ice Cream Cone
YUM. Need I say more? Ice cream is like, a fun summer alternative to the classic coffee date. And while the image of sharing a cone with a pretty girl is cute, I absolutely support getting your own cones if you’d prefer, obviously. This activity is great because if it’s a first date you can bail just as easily as you would on a coffee date; if it goes well you can absolutely linger (maybe you need a second ice cream cone, WHO IS TO SAY). If you’re a longtime couple just looking to go on a cute intentional date then I’d like to take this moment to point out that an ice cream cone makes a really good couples selfie prop, just saying.
3. Grab Lunch
A step up from a coffee or ice cream date! Lunch is a full meal but it’s not dinner, which I think for some people indicates a level of fanciness or seriousness that lunch does not. It’s just lunch! If your date is a busy corporate queer, they can squeeze a lunch date in during a busy week. If you’re going on a second date and trying to gauge how you feel about this babe, lunch is a great option, and also has a natural end time if it’s a weekday and you both have days to get back to. Pick a spot that everyone enjoys (if you’re going to be paying for food at a restaurant you should definitely like it) and that is geographically convenient for all, and enjoy some food and conversation. Delish.
How is this different than grabbing lunch, you may ask. Well when you go picnicking you are making an event out of a meal. This is not a first date. This is the kind of thing you’re going to want to do with someone you already know you like spending time with. Pack up a basket (or cooler, or tupperware, or bag, or whatever) with your date’s favorite foods – either bring easy finger foods, or remember to pack utensils. Bring along a blanket, and maybe some candles for ambiance. If you’re bringing wine or seltzer or water infused with lemon and mint leaves, bring some cups that you can pour your fancy liquids into. Wear a cute outfit that’s easy to sit on the ground in comfortably. Maybe bring a wide-brimmed hat, I don’t know your life! Along with food, it’s also fun to bring activities: tarot cards, regular cards, coloring books and crayons, board games, books to read out loud to each other, journals… the options are endless. Pick a somewhat secluded spot and plan to spend a big chunk of time there. Fucking swoon.
5. Day Drinks / Happy Hour
Okay, so I know I said that one of the perks of daytime dating is that you don’t default end up at a bar, and that’s true, but just because you’re meeting up during the day, doesn’t mean you can’t go to a bar. Many bars open early and have happy hours and drink specials if you’re there before the nighttime crowd, and many bars have delightful outdoor spaces that are very perfect during the day. Also, some bars are less crowded during the day (not all, but some!) which can actually be very useful when you’re on a date. I personally really enjoy having some wine or a delicious cocktail in the afternoon – it feels exciting, and it’s nice to feel excited on a date. Hopefully the person you’re drinking with will spark the same level of excitement in you as your fancy cocktail does!
As a Capricorn, I am super into being efficient and multi-tasking. If you need to get some shit done and your date is willing to go to the store you need to visit, this can be a perfectly valid and fun activity! I will say, you should choose your shopping destination with care. I don’t think going to Verizon is the ideal shopping situation for a date. No one has ever had a good time at Verizon. (Apologies to anyone here who has had a good time at Verizon, but also, I kind of don’t believe you?) But think of things that you’d enjoy having a friend’s company with – thrift shops and farmer’s markets come to mind – those kinds of shopping experiences can be wonderful dates. The point of a date is to spend time with a person and get to know them; shopping is a perfectly reasonable way to do that. If it’s someone you’re just getting to know better, it can be really flattering to ask them to help you pick something out or weigh in on options. Also, there’s something kind of fun and nostalgic about hanging out at a mall with a girl you have a crush on. You might be rolling your eyes at me right now but don’t knock it til your date has bought you a Cinnabon from the food court, okay?!
7. Book Browsing
I know what you’re thinking — this is just shopping for books! — but honestly, browsing books with a date is a whole activity unto itself. I don’t mean to be a stereotype of an MFA student / freelance writer but y’all, BOOKS ARE THE TRUE WINDOWS TO OUR SOULS. Engaging with a date about what they like to read can be so intimate and is a great daytime activity, while also one that gives you some quiet time together instead of the pressure to make conversation nonstop as you browse the shelves. Go to a book store. Go to a library. Go to a book swap. Go to a zine workshop. Go back to their place and browse their bookshelf. Read to each other. Take notes on their favorite books – read them and talk about them the next time you go out. BOOKS ARE SEXY, GET INTO IT!
8. Visit a Museum
Museums are often not open in the evening, making them a very logical daytime date activity! I also happen to think the act of choosing which museum or which exhibit to go see together is just as romantic and informative as the act of actually going to the museum. It’s neat to learn things about a hot girl you’re into in indirect ways as well as via obvious questions and conversations. This is also a good option if you’re shy, much like book browsing. It can feel intimidating to converse with someone for hours on end – having a very clear activity, like walking around a large building staring at art (and people watching!) provides a great structure for the date. Not sure what to say? Ask your date what they think about a specific painting.
9. Take a Hike (or a Walk) (or a Seat)
I wouldn’t recommend the hike part of this daytime date activity for a first date, because a hike usually implies spending a lengthy amount of time together and, depending on the difficulty level, can be a really vulnerable activity that’s too intense for the getting-to-know-you stage of dating. That said, my main thought with this suggestion is to get the heck outside! Especially when the weather is nice, a major perk of dates in the day time is just soaking up the sun. Going on a walk in a park or even just sitting on a bench and chatting for a couple of hours can be a really sweet way to get to know someone, and bonus, it’s totally free! If you’re going on a third or fourth date and both people like hiking or are feeling adventurous, going on an adventure together is a very cute date idea. I will take this moment to emphasize, though, that a fun date has never ever occurred from one person forcing the other person into an activity they don’t enjoy, or forcing a level of intensity/difficulty that sucks for the other person. Duh, I know, but I’ve talked to enough “I won’t go hiking with you” queers on Tinder to learn that apparently some outdoorsy queers actually do try to force their dates to go hiking and uh, don’t do that!!! Just get outside and enjoy nature and each other’s company in a way that feels nice for everyone.
Extremely important PSA: you can have sex during the day! It’s amazing and I strongly recommend it, if having sex is a thing you like to do! Lying in bed with the sun streaming through the window while your date fists you and the birds sing with joy? Hell yes. Starting a sex marathon early enough that everyone can orgasm multiple times over the course of multiple hours and you still have time to process before dinner? The dream! Trust me when I say any kind of fucking that feels great at night can be just as hot, if not hotter, during the day. You’re welcome.
Did I forget to mention your favorite daytime date in this list? Do you want to tell me about the best day time date you’ve ever had? Do you want to guess my favorite food to bring on a picnic? Talk to me in the comments. Love you, mean it, happy daytime dating!
Most cities have gorgeous art-show-event-things outside during spring, like New York’s Figment Festival. Check to see what sort of free public art (or even just a decorated waterfront space like Philly’s) exists in your neck of the woods! Those are usually really cute, often free, have something to engage with to at least make conversation about, and lets you be goofy together!
Also you can roll almost any of those dates into this idea and then it becomes about 3x more special because you’re doing it in a cutesy, artsy, kitschy space out of the fantastic queer RomCom we all deserve to live in.
*by “those dates” I mean the ones Vanessa outlined above!
this is such a good idea! thank you for the recommendation 😊
this is super cute!
I read this and thought that I’d like to go on all of these dates with my girlfriend. then I realized that you wrote that getting ice cream is great for longterm couples.
and then I remembered that my gf and I just went out for ice cream (with whipped cream and chocolate sauce!) between chores this sunday and talked about major life changes, and it was sunny and just super nice.
also, for (not onyl?) longterm couples may I just add shopping “boring” things to the list? like, have you ever bought a vacuum cleaner from the store? it is so much fun – because you’re basically cleaning the store for free, they let you test all of the vacuums. anyways, I’ve been in this relationship for 6,5 years now and will show myself the way to the door, thanks!
my fave activity to do with partners (not as a first date though) is grocery shopping?? idk, i just really love the mundane
Cannot recommend enough going on a date to the tip (the dump).
It has only ever been successful for me, but if it isn’t for you then at least there’s the opportunity for a psychologically beastly move to break up there.
It would be a great way to learn their views on the environment. “Do you recycle? No? Goodbye.”
Thank you for remembering the non-coffee drinkers, Vanessa!
i hate coffee so much but i love going on “coffee dates” and drinking tea! you’re welcome!
Same! I always overthink whether to clarify that when arranging “coffee” dates. I recently told someone that I don’t drink when they asked me out for drinks and learned that they did not want to date people who don’t drink alcohol.
To add, there are just dozens of morning shifters you’re never going to meet dating in the evening because we fall asleep if we sit down after 7pm.
Dozens of us!
Have been combining numbers 9 and 10 the past month or so – turns out there is deeply nothing better than fucking under cover of very tall grass in the sunshine. Currently protecting my field spot like a dragon.
YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO US ALL.
Frisbee/Aerobie in the park. Great for a first date if you’re shy and don’t want to talk; great in a long-term relationship. Gets you outside and you can be as vigorous or as low-key as you’re both feeling like.
Likewise, bike rides.
Find a pretty place to enjoy the sunset (or the sunrise, if you’re dating one of those dozens of morning-shifters). Snuggle, or don’t; talk, or don’t; make out, or don’t. Ogle the sunset/rise and breathe deep.
Bake something together. Probably something from Reneice’s recipes. If all goes well, feed it to each other. If not, well, it was fun, here’s your half, buhbye now, and at least you’ve got half of something delicious to console yourself with afterwards.
Do a creative project together. Build shelves, make a quilt, make fifty fold-and-cut paper snowflakes and hang them up in your kitchen because why not, design a world for a roleplaying campaign and get so engaged in bouncing off each other’s ideas that you’re shocked to glance at the clock and realize six hours went somewhere and now you have all these maps and notes and sketches and stories.
Afternoon nap date. (This is probably a relationship thing, not a first date thing, but what do I know, you do you.)
OK stopping here because just thinking about an afternoon nap date has got my brain going mmmm, zzzz.
Love a good afternoon nap date! Must’ve been dating long enough that you don’t just end up having sex the whole way through nap time
I like day dates better cause I feel less nervous and in some ways like brunch/lunch food better.
Fantastic list! Day dates are the best, and I’ve had some very good times with museum dates and park dates.
I’d also put in a plug for political and activisty dates. Go to a protest, join a picket, do some leafletting, put up some posters! Grassroots political engagement is hot.
Shoutout to the 2pm date that turns into happy hour drinks that turns into dinner that turns into a sleepover.
And shoutout to the 2pm date that ends promptly at 3pm.
drew this is why i love you
I love day dates! Fancy restaurants are more affordable and easier to get into at lunchtime, too.
i also love day dates! (and day sex!!!) i’m a chronic fatigue bb and get real sleepy and cranky at night. big fan of daytime everything
And re: no 9 (take a hike, or a walk) — if it’s good enough for maggie nelson and harry dodge, it’s good enough for the rest of us::
“Of their first meeting, Harry told me, “She was just open-faced. Big strong smile, firm handshake, and then—whoosh—blushing.” A few months later, he e-mailed her to ask if she’d like to take a walk. He reasoned that “walking is good, because if you’re really nervous you can get the jitters out.” ”
Outdoor theater/performance, like Shakespeare in the park! It’s super low-pressure since there’s performers to focus on. Being outside gives you more freedom in how you and your date negotiate physical space (maybe that’s just my own peculiar anxiety). Also it’s usually light-hearted and often cheap/voluntary donation. I’m kind of a theater nerd so this is a go-to whenever possible!
Maybe a “coffee” shop that serves hot chocolate in addition to coffee and tea. Because some of us are children.
There’s a restaurant I can’t afford to go to as much as I’d like, but I guess I went enough, because they used to not serve hot chocolate and I kept asking and now they do.
Thanks for making the world better <3.
loved this article. i do agree that day dates remove some of the stress & pressure of the more conventional evening dates (bars, restaurants & the movies).
didn’t even realise that all these fun, chill, outdoor activities could ALSO be dates!
if you are lucky enough to live by the ocean.. beach dates have been the best in my experience <3
– The zoo is another fun daytime activity! It has both indoor and outdoor spaces, so it works in any weather. Plenty of cute animals to talk about.
– A conservatory/greenhouse/botanic garden. This is also great in all weather, especially winter because conservatories are WARM and expose you to plant life when everything else outside is hibernating.
– An aquarium or planetarium (same benefits as a museum).
– I took a date to the 2017 Women’s March, and it was awesome. I definitely got laid that day. No joke!
this is a lovely list, and even though I’m not really ‘dating’ anymore, I just want to confirm that the hiking one is not a great idea for early in the ~relationship~. I did not know this and that’s how I ended up crying while crouched next to my date, also crouching, on a steep dirt trail while people’s dogs sniffed around and I had to lean up against a tree, still crying, while someone gingerly stepped by us
then again you may be a much better processor/hiker than me and that might be your killer 1st date. but if you are emotional like myself just, it might be a lot
(but also we still had really great sex that night so maybe I take it all back?)
I know this is basically the opposite of this article, but does anyone have ideas for cute late night dates that aren’t just drinks/dinner/movie?
I’m a few dates in with a girl who usually finishes work around 7-8 pm, and I’m stumped for ideas. All the cool daytime places are closed, but I want to be more creative than getting drinks.