The Best ‘Friend Date’ Ideas That Aren’t Just Getting Drinks

The Best ‘Friend Date’ Ideas That Aren’t Just Getting Drinks
Photo: Olesya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

Romantic dates might get all the attention, but maintaining adult friendships deserves just as much love. And with dating apps like Bumble leaning into friendship-specific offshoots, the idea of a “friend date” is becoming more and more appreciated. After all, making new friends as an adult isn’t always easy, but it’s not impossible. 

Not only can you turn classic date night activities into designated friendship time, but also, platonic dates arguably have more wiggle room for the sort of activities you can do. With friends old and new, you don’t have to work as hard to seem cool and attractive. Think about it: Going on a hike with a new love interest means trying not to seem out of shape and sweaty at best, and trying not to get murdered in the woods at worst. A hike with a friend, on the other hand, means taking as many breaks as you guys need.

Maybe you’re trying to get to know someone new from work or Bumble BFF. Maybe you’ve lost touch with an old friend and need to rekindle the platonic flame. Whatever the stage of your friendship, here are some ideas for friend dates to spend quality time together — and maybe even make some new friends while you’re at it.

Ideas for your next friend date

  • Bookstore day. Support local business, find something new to read, and be each other’s manic pixie dream girls.
  • Cook dinner together. If you want to do this with a group of friends, make it a true potluck.
  • Non-date date night. I’m talking fancy clothes, a restaurant you’ve never been to together, and copious amounts of wine.
  • Go on a hike. If you don’t live somewhere with an accessible trail, this could just be a nice, long walk together. Or you could make a day of it and drive a little out of town to get into nature.
  • Local comedy show or open mic night. Either you get to see a quality show, or the terrible talent helps you and your friend bond. This is especially useful for new friends, so you don’t have the pressure to talk the whole time. It’s also great for old friends — the kind with whom you can simply lock eyes to communicate so much about whatever is happening on stage.
  • Running/walking/biking club. Aside from the fitness aspect of it, this is a fantastic opportunity to get to know your community and appreciate where you live. Any group activity like this also helps take some of the pressure off of a friend date where you’re not sure you want to have to talk the whole time.
  • Fitness classes. Similar to the above, but maybe take it easy with yoga or pilates. Make sure to segue into grabbing a bite to eat or a drink afterwards. similar.
  • “First date” activities. Movies, museums, and cafés come to mind.
  • Pottery class. Or any class that gets you out of your comfort zone and trying something new together.
  • Picnic. As the weather warms up, take advantage of a relaxing park day.
  • Thrift shopping. More exciting than regular retail or window shopping, try to find some of the wackiest items you can at a garage sale or thrift store.
  • Play tourist. Maybe it’s a ghost tour, an iconic diner, or a national landmark. Find the most touristy thing in your town — extra points if you’ve never done it before.

The takeaway

The beauty of so many friendships is that you don’t need to do anything special together — sometimes all you need is a beer and few hours to talk. Still, with friends old and new, consider spicing things up. Just like date nights help to keep the spark alive in your romantic relationships, you should make time for your platonic friendships, too.

Log in to comment on this story!