A first date in the Pacific Northwest is a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone new and have a blast at the same time, but it can also be a ton of pressure. You want to find something that can bring out the best in each of you and give you a chance to get to know each other while having fun
How do you strike the right balance? The best date ideas are ones that are both fun and easy. It's hard to go wrong with dinner and drinks, but if you're looking for something a little more exciting, we've got plenty of suggestions. Here are some great date ideas in Oregon, organized by location. Each of these is location-specific, but you can often find a comparable activity close to you if you like one of the ideas that’s not in your area.
The International Rose Test Garden & the Japanese Garden
Portland’s Rose Garden has been around for over a hundred years, and it is a great place for a date. The garden features more than 10,000 roses, and its beauty and peace will give you the chance to talk and connect. You can easily spend a couple hours strolling around the grounds. The nearby Portland Japanese Garden, which is considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, has a cafe where you can enjoy some light snacks and tea, or you can bring your own. The best time for viewing roses is May through September while the Japanese Garden offers beauty year round.
Second-Hand Shopping & Bookstore Perusing
Corvallis has a wealth of bookstores and thrift and vintage shops that make for a great time shopping on a budget or just window shopping. You will run into inviting conversation starters, from favorite works of literature to strange old knickknacks. Then, when you get a little thirsty or peckish, you can drop into one of the city’s excellent coffee shops or breweries and grab a drink and a bite.
The State Capitol
Why not check out your state capitol while getting to know each other? You’ll gain a sense of history as well as a feel for the workings of our current governance. On the first floor of the building, you’ll find a collection of exhibits to explore. You can also join a historical tour of the building or go on your own self-guided walk. You can even observe the legislature at work when they are in session! See your democracy at work. Plus, the Capitol building sits in the center of a multitude of the downtown places of interest. So, if you want to extend your date, there are plenty of spots to visit nearby.
The Oregon Coast
A Beach Stroll and Picnic
Pack an array of delectable goodies in a basket or backpack and take off across the sand for an enjoyable day outside. Obviously, this adventure is contingent upon good weather – including not too much wind. But, if you’re unafraid of a little chill or a drizzle of rain, you can do this at any time of year. It’s especially nice to plan this outing around sunset and twilight, when the sky will bring a special glow to your experience. Bring a trusty light to help you get back to the car and always pack for a drop in temperature.
Petersen Rock Garden
This place is one of those unique experiences that you won’t be able to really anticipate before you see it. Danish immigrant Rasmus Petersen started the garden, located a little north of Bend, as a pet project in 1935. It has grown to include miniature models of famous buildings and monuments, including the Statue of Liberty, all made from pebbles, rocks, and found objects. You’ll have plenty to marvel over and enjoy while you learn more about each other.
Visit a Vineyard
Like many places in this area of Oregon, Eugene has an array of nearby vineyards and wineries that offer great opportunities for a fun day. Because this is a bit more of an excursion than some other date ideas, you’ll want to be sure you’re both up for a few good hours together. Vino is also a handy way to loosen the tongue and ease the nerves associated with first dates. If you choose this delightful date idea, be sure to plan your transportation ahead so you can savor the wine knowing that you have a safe means to get home.
Enjoy a Night at the Theatre
If you want a change from the classic movie-night first date, you can switch it up for some live theatre. Whether you choose the world-renowned Shakespeare festival or the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, you’ll have exciting options that will serve as good conversation starters over a post-show drink or snack. Make sure you look up the length of the play before booking anything as some plays run quite long. It’s better to choose something around 90 minutes for a first date. This will ensure you’re not too tired after the performance so you can head to a local restaurant or bar and talk about the show.
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