BEST SOUTHERN FLORIDA DATE IDEAS FOR FIRST DATES (AND BEYOND)
First dates are all about getting to know someone else to see if there are more dates are in your mutual future! They are NOT about testing, interviewing, or showing off to a date. Great first dates should be relaxed and comfortable with lots of opportunities for listening to and learning about someone else. Keep the length of the date limited, because no one wants to feel trapped, especially when meeting someone for the first time—so no day trips or travel dates (yet!). On a first date, it is always better to leave them wanting more, so plan something a little on the simpler and shorter side, and let what you learn about your date inspire your next date idea!
Take a walk in the park – Walks are great opportunities to get conversations flowing, the minimal movement and nature views help distract from nerves and self-consciousness without distracting from your date. Here in southern Florida we have the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens for some classic and traditional beauty, the Matheson Hammock Park and Beach for some seaside vistas, and then a plethora of local parks for something a little closer to home!
Get some culture at a museum – Museum dates are great choices for anyone who struggles with conversation starters and icebreakers. Check out something modern like the Miami Institute of Contemporary Art, or something fun like the Ice Cream Museum. Ask your date their thoughts about the art, or learn about different installations together. Let the information and stimulation a museum has to offer naturally lead to discussions of interests, tastes, hobbies, popular culture… anything really! It’s not really about the exhibits, its about how much fun the two of you can have learning and experiencing together, so don’t forget to keep the focus on your date! If all goes well, there’s almost always a cute café or restaurant attached to the museum as well.
Coffee with a twist – Typically, coffee dates can seem rather unromantic. We’re nearly always grabbing coffee on the run nowadays, on our way to some important meeting or appointment. The last thing we want is to make a date feel like they’re just a quick stopover before our next big thing. However, coffee doesn’t have to be that way. Take Miami’s own Panther Coffee. They’re known for hosting “cupping” sessions—the coffee equivalent of a wine tasting—where you have a feast for the senses and learn about the finer points of coffee. For those who prefer not to have too much alcohol around or like daytime dates, this is an excellent alternative. Just make sure, if you’re planning a coffee date, to pick a romantic, intimate coffee shop and schedule enough time for you both to explore the chemistry!
Southern Florida dinner hotspots – Dinner is a classic because it’s easy to converse, delicious flavors are almost sensual, and, well, everyone has to eat! But it’s easy for those of us who live and work here in Florida to forget that there are great restaurants on the water that aren’t just for tourists. Crazy About You is one of our favorites, because the food is interesting and eclectic—there’s something for everyone’s tastes! And the restaurant is waterside, so the setting is already romantic. Best of all, it’s not too fancy for a first date, so no one feels any added pressure from a formal setting. Juniper on the Water is another great choice with light, Mediterranean cuisine and excellent brunches! Or, of course, if you have a favorite local haunt, it’s always sweet to share, and it makes your date feel as if you’re letting them into your world just a little bit. And lastly, if you prefer more formal dining experiences, Red Fish Grill is one of those classics everyone knows and loves, and Palmeiras Beach Club is even on it’s own exclusive island only accessible by boat! We might recommend saving something so high profile for a later date as we describe in our next article, but there’s no hard and fast rule about that, it simply depends on the people involved. In general, unless your date is more traditional or it’s your favorite cuisine, we’d say steer clear of steakhouses and the like, as it doesn’t communicate anything unique about you.
Hopefully these can get you started, or at the very least get your creative juices flowing! And you can have a great first date that leads to an excellent second and third date where you can start to break the “rules” and take a little more freedom in planning your ideal dates. We’ll have ideas posted for you soon!