Congrats are in order: Against all odds, you had a good first date. And now, you're on the hunt for a second date idea that'll sweeten the deal (or at the very least, lead to a third).
“While a first date uncovers potential chemistry and whether you enjoy someone’s company, the second date is where you discover if your date aligns with your values and could be a potential long-term match,” Sara Tick, LMFT, a licensed couples therapist and the founder of Modern Meet, a dating coaching company for professional men, tells TODAY.com.
At this point, however, your date is more or a less a stranger, making it difficult to come up with a date activity they'll genuinely enjoy. Whatever you do, don't let the pressure of planning the perfect second date get the best of you. "Try not to micromanage the situation and leave room for flexibility and feedback," Treena Orchard, Ph.D., dating app expert, professor, sexuality researcher and author of the upcoming memoir "Sticky, Sexy, Sad: Swipe Culture and the Darker Side of Dating Apps."
With this in mind, we've gathered the best second date ideas. according to relationship pros. They range in cost, length and intimacy level — so the ball's in your court (and, well, your date's).
Head to the farmers market
Grab a reusable bag and head to an outdoor market to pick up some fresh finds. "This type of date is terrific for introverts because it keeps the conversation flowing because there is plenty to discuss as you meander through the booths," Tick says.
If things are going well, pick up some groceries so you can cook together later in the week.
Take a walk
Make that a nice, long one at that. “Aim for one that starts at a mutually convenient point and ends at a bar or destination for a nightcap," Erika Kaplan, vice president of membership at Three Day Rule Matchmaking, tells TODAY.com. Not only will you have plenty of time to ask each other important questions, but you can always chat about your surroundings if there's an awkward lull.
It’s the sport that’s sweeping the country. Why not make it your second date du jour? “Competition brings out the best and worst in us all. Enough said,” Turner Grant, author of "To Venus and Back, One Man’s Quest to Rediscover Love," tells TODAY.com. Head to lunch once the game is over so you have time to chat off the court.
Go rock climbing
“This can be a great way to bond and have fun together, while also pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new," Liam Barnett, co-founder of DatingZest.com, tells TODAY.com. You can do it either indoors or outdoors, simply find a local rock climbing gym or rock climbing instructor and get to scrambling.
Take a cooking class
“Whether you fancy yourself a chef or are a total amateur, cooking classes make great second dates because you work together to create something new (and delicious),” Tick says. “Besides getting a glimpse of how you work together as a team, your date will have a set beginning and end, which is helpful for people who don’t like guessing when a date should wrap up. Bon appétit!”
Mix up some cocktails
Barnett says taking a mixology class together is another fun choice for a second date. “This can be a fun and interactive way to learn a new skill and create something together, and can also provide a great opportunity for conversation and bonding,” he adds.
Go to a comedy club
Humor is the way to someone's heart. Go to a local comedy club or improv show to see if your date has a good sense of humor — or any at all. "This can be a fun and lighthearted way to spend an evening together, and can provide plenty of opportunities for laughter and conversation," Barnett says. Sit in the front row at your own risk.
Check out the zoo
If have a soft spot for animals, head to a zoo or animal sanctuary to see if your date feels the same.
"Most humans love or can appreciate animals, whether they’re wild, exotic, or the pets we come home to. Spending time with animals is often therapeutic and there are moments for conversation alongside quiet reflection,” Orchard says. “Both of these activities are essential in a good relationship."
Play a game of mini golf
Ready to tee off on round two? Round two of dates, that is. “Any activity that begs for a little bit of flirty competition and allows you to show your inner kid a little bit inevitably offers an opportunity to laugh and connect,” Kaplan says.
Go for dinner and a movie
If you take this classic route, Tick says it’s a good idea to watch the movie first so that you can discuss it over dinner. “This is particularly useful if your first date was short," she says. Since it'll be on the longer side, it'll give you plenty of time "to get to know your date better while also cozying up in the theater."
Go axe throwing
Have you always wanted to give axe throwing a try? A second date is a good time to check this off your list. “It’s unique and many people haven’t done it before,” Kaplan says. “Nothing’s better than a shared new experience to help two new people connect.”
Scope out a museum or art exhibit
“Something about a museum is quite intimate, which is great for building some romance,” Kaplan says. If you can, visit a museum or art gallery that is new to both of you. FYI: This date will go better if you make it a rule to put your cell phones away and really soak up the scene.
Complete a small bucket list item together
“Find out whether your interests align by doing something you have both always wanted to do and never have,” Antonia Hall, MA, a transpersonal psychologist, relationship expert and author, tells TODAY.com.
Ask your date if there's something that's been on their bucket list for some time, and then share your list. See if there's anything that you both want to do or come up with something new at random.
You can also use this date as an opportunity to do something that scares you. “Take a leap of faith together with an adventure date that challenges you both. Overcoming a challenge and fears together will instill a sense of shared adventure that can create a bond upon which relationships can be built,” Hall adds.
Sign up for a paint and sip class
“Channel your inner Picasso with a glass of wine at a local art class. In fact, the more you drink, the better your artwork will appear,” Tick says, noting that this activity is great for people who don’t mind if things aren’t perfect as long as they are having fun. “At the end of the night, you both will have a take-home memento of your fun evening together.”
Hit up the bowling alley
There’s much to love about bowling. “It’s low-cost, pretty easy to play and fun. Plus, everyone looks kind of dorky doing it, which can level out the nerves on both sides,” Orchard says. Since it's an individual activity, "you can also cheer one another on like a team."
Watch a sunrise or sunset together
“The shared enjoyment of time in nature is a wonderful way to connect," Hall says. Bring a picnic blanket, basket full of snacks and champagne (or coffee if you're waking up early). Be sure to check the weather forecast before you head out the door, though.
Go for a hike
“This date is more casual in structure with conversation at the forefront of your time together," Grant says. As a result, this will "break down boundaries between the two of you."
The main benefit: “With your emotional guards let down, you will learn more about them and more about how you feel being with them.”
Take a whirl at the ice skating rink
Grant recommends ice skating because it's "a fun, no-pressure date." You'll get a sense of how seriously they take themselves (and their skating skills), plus how they react when they fall. “Go and see how ‘fun’ feels with the other person. If it’s not fun, then get out fast!”
Eat your way through the city
Not sure what kind of food your date likes best? Give 'em a smorgasbord of options by visiting a few different spots in your area. But if you do know what. they really like, go all-in on tacos, ice cream or the food of their choosing.
“This type of second date will keep the energy moving and also has a built-in activity to keep the conversation flowing,” Tick adds.
Plan a picnic
“There is nothing more romantic for a second date than a picnic," Tick says.
Keep the spread simple with wine and cheese or make a few dishes to take along on your park outing. Feel free to ask your date to bring dessert or appetizers so you both can get involved in the planning of this one.
“Location is important for this date, and it’s essential to pick a public spot that is not too secluded. Feeling safe is very important when dating and getting to know one another, so make sure your picnic has lots of foot traffic nearby,” she explains.
Do something they mentioned on the first date
Show you were paying attention on the first date by planning an activity based on something you talked about when you first met. “Did you discover that you both love the same sports team or ice skating in the park? Expand on the shared connection by planning an activity you both enjoy, and you’ll set the ground for building a future," Hall says.