What are some great places/activities for a guy to take a girl on a first date in Boston?
March 3, 2006 9:17 AM   Subscribe

FirstDateFilter, BostonFilter: I'm looking for some fun, low-pressure sorts of places in Boston to take someone on a first date. Movies are boring and you don't get to talk. I like nice restaurants, but I think going too fancy can make people uncomfortable and feel pressured on a first date.

I think I'm looking for something slightly offbeat and definitely fun. Not overly romantic but not totally platonic either.
posted by santry to Human Relations (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Best answer: I think these are fun first date places in Boston:

The New England Aquarium
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Museum of Science (+ planetarium show?)
Institute of Contemporary Art

Personally, I love going to movies too, so a movie date is not boring to me, especially if it's an old movie at a revival house or just a more obscure movie.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 9:31 AM on March 3, 2006

Haha, jinx, Uncle Glendinning, you owe me a Coke.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:32 AM on March 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

The Aquarium is nice, but I'm not sure it's date material - the smell can be a bit unpleasant at times, despite the stingrays+++.
posted by Ryvar at 9:33 AM on March 3, 2006

I'll second the Museum of Science. Chicks dig the lightning show (well, at least all the good ones do).
posted by uncleozzy at 9:36 AM on March 3, 2006

Cheap, yummy asian food is a great low-key date. Try Rod Dee on the C line in Brookline, as long as it's not peak time and you can snag one of the tables.

The MFA has lots of arthouse movie screenings.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:38 AM on March 3, 2006

Back in my single days, I took a few dates to the the observational deck at the top of the Prudential Building (or the Hancock when it was open) and then, if the weather was nice, for a stroll along the large reflecting pond at the Christian Science Center. This was ususally preceded by dinner at a relatively cheap Thai place on Newberry Street. You can easily walk to all three places as they are pretty close together.

This date plan seemed to go over very well and, in fact, the last person I took on it, still continues to go on dates with me many, many years later.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:40 AM on March 3, 2006

What about the littlest bar in Boston? That was fun and you can get intimate in the respect that you might have to squeeze close together.
posted by mic stand at 9:54 AM on March 3, 2006

Furthering the idea of Thai food on Newbury St... I love Thai Basil... great food, not expensive. Plus you can follow that by a stroll down Newbury Street and stop for coffee/tea/dessert somewhere nearby.

Bowling at the Milky Way in JP? Or bowling/pool at Lucky Strike?

If the weather warms up a bit, a walk around the Arboretum?

Ice skating on Frog Pond.
posted by jerryg99 at 9:58 AM on March 3, 2006

Along the lines of the Arboretum, there is Mount Auburn Cemetary in Cambridge. While a cemetary may seem like a strange location for a date, this place is more akin to a beautifully landscaped sculpture garden than anything else.
posted by alms at 10:28 AM on March 3, 2006

For a nice, interesting and very tasty meal, you could go to Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge. It's on Main street between Central and Kendall. They call what they serve tapas, but it's really just a variety of eclectic appetizers that you're supposed to share. Very cute and romantic in a fun way. The decor and ambience is also pretty much exactly what you describe. Slightly offbeat and fun - but it's still a relatively "fancy" place, so it's good for a first date.
posted by pazazygeek at 10:28 AM on March 3, 2006

Coolidge Corner is, admittedly, in Brookline, but easy to get to on the Green Line. Lots of charming but not overly romantic restaurants and coffee shops, indie movies (yeah, I know you said no movies) at the Coolidge Theater, good food. Paris Creperie is a great, cheap place for dinner or a quick snack, and Peets or JP Licks are good for chatting and people-watching. Booksmith often has readings by authors or other events that could be fun too. I like to go and just walk around.

There's a Farmer's Market there in summer...pick up some fresh tomatoes and bring her home for dinner :)
posted by fuzzbean at 10:32 AM on March 3, 2006

Response by poster: Some really great suggestions here, guys! We both like wine, so I'm thinking of stopping at the wine jukebox along the way to wherever we go . . .
posted by santry at 11:01 AM on March 3, 2006

Best answer: I'm a big fan of food-sharing restaurants for dates. It gives people a reason to interact, and a built-in conversation topic. Here are some of my favorite places for food-sharing:

Tapeo on Newbury St. has great tapas, and the best way to do it is to order several and share. It's a great way to learn someone's tastes, and have fun with mildly-adventuresome food. It's the sister of Dali, in Cambridge's Inman Sq. Dali is fantastic too.
Diva in Davis Sq. has fixed-price dinners for two of tasty indian food.
Temple Bar in Cambridge on Mass Ave between Porter and Harvard Sq. has sophisticated ambiance, and you can order fondue (cheese or chocolate), and they have a great beer and wine selection.
Finale is a fun dessert-and-wine place with locations in Boston and Cambridge that has sampler plates designed to share.

I second these already-mentioned locales: Milky Way, Aquarium, Museum of Science.

For something completely different, try Tomb. It's a quirky little interactive-puzzle-group-adventure-play thing that's certainly unique and worth talking about over a beer at Boston Beer Works, right up the street.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 11:04 AM on March 3, 2006

There's The Enormous Room in Central square that is pretty much a medium sized room filled with couches and carpets where you can spawl about, drick cocktails, and listen to a live DJ spin the night away. A bit on the pricey-side, so it'd be a decent "this is a bit more than friends hanging out" type place.

I'm not sure how much of a boozer you and your date are, but you could also start your own personal Mass Ave-a-thon. Start at the Hong Kong in Harvard (a decent spot for a date night anyways - live local comedy, large Scorpion bowls) then work your way down Mass Ave towards (and then over) the Charles. You'd hit The Hong Kong, Grafton Street, The Cellar, pour a 40 out at the closed Plough and Stars, then to People's Republic, then the Cantab, then to whatever that Tavern place is that replaced Good Life, the Enormous Room, Phoenix Landing, the Middle East and/or TT the Bears for live music, Cambridge Port Saloon, Miracle of Science, Asgard, then stumble over the Smoot Bridge, then Crossroads, then whatever that crappy basement bar is, and then the last stop I've ever made it to, the Other Side (which could be a nice date spot as well - cheapish, organic-leaning food; good beer selection).

If you want to go zany, you could try and crash a convention at Hynes. Nothing bonds like trying to sneak your way into a giant teacher's conference or shoe seminar.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:11 AM on March 3, 2006

Temple Bar in Cambridge on Mass Ave between Porter and Harvard Sq. has sophisticated ambiance, and you can order fondue (cheese or chocolate), and they have a great beer and wine selection.

There's also its sister joint, The West Side Lounge, next door for post-dinner cocktails and kanoodling.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:13 AM on March 3, 2006

Restaurant. You want to talk to the person and allow the two of you to figure it out. As for Boston, no clue.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:32 AM on March 3, 2006

If you want to have a great meal in a very low-key, offbeat place, I recommend the Delux Cafe in the South End.
posted by dseaton at 11:52 AM on March 3, 2006

My first "official" date with my husband was at a Nader rally at the FleetCenter, but that's not really an option at this point.

For restaurants, I'd recommend The Good Life at 28 Kingston Street (downtown). You can sit upstairs and have an informal dinner, or you can head downstairs to hear some live music.

One of my favorite hip-but-casual restaurants in Boston is Silvertone, at 69 Bromfield Street. The atmosphere is laid-back retro 40s and the menu is good without being pretentious. However, I would only recommend going to Silvertone at a non-busy time of day, as it can get very crowded and extremely loud, and the service gets cranky when it's packed. That said, if you want to show her the best macaroni and cheese in town while sipping some tasty cocktails, head here in the late afternoon/early evening.
posted by hsoltz at 12:06 PM on March 3, 2006

Finale is a fun dessert-and-wine place with locations in Boston and Cambridge that has sampler plates designed to share.

Yes, yes, yes, this was going to be my suggestion, too. The one in Boston is a little less cozy than the one in Cambridge, so maybe you go there first and then try the Cambridge one if the relationship goes somewhere. It's fun, a little romantic, decadent, and yummy.

Just don't go on a Saturday night, when they are mobbed.
posted by briank at 12:13 PM on March 3, 2006

I've always been a big fan of Addis Red Sea on Tremont St in the South End. It's Ethiopian and has a pretty nice vibe. The food is made to share, so you have that going for you.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:14 PM on March 3, 2006

Be offbeat/smart:

Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt| Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum, 32 Quincy St, Cambridge | March 11–May 21

Be romantic/smart:

Gadi Roll's Romeo and Juliet at the American Repertory Theatre

Be political/smart:

Street Fight at the Brattle

Be gourmet smart:

take her to little Baraka
posted by matteo at 12:23 PM on March 3, 2006

Maybe Improv comedy with dinner after? Or Shear Madness? I like having an activity as the early part of an first date - gives the conversation a starting point.
posted by darsh at 1:10 PM on March 3, 2006

Sunday night is Sinatra night at Lucky's Lounge in the Fort Point section of South Boston. Cool bar and great music, and a little different than your average night out. The crowd is a mix of hipsters and old Italians from the North End. Oh, speaking of great places to go for a date- the North End! Go out for Italian food then hit a cafe for coffee and cannolis. You can't beat Mike's Pasty.
And I second Delux in the South End.
posted by emd3737 at 2:18 PM on March 3, 2006

if you're into art at all, do NOT go to The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It's like an attic that's full of stuff some people might want you to think are important works, but really....you're better off spending a few hours at Antiques on Cambridge and then going for drinks/food/ice cream etc...

*my personal opinion but I wouldn't pay money to go to the Gardner.
posted by eatcake at 3:08 PM on March 3, 2006

Iruna, 56 JFK Street,Cambridge for dinner. Quiet, delicious, great place.
posted by madstop1 at 6:24 PM on March 3, 2006

The Aquarium is nice, but I'm not sure it's date material - the smell can be a bit unpleasant at times, despite the stingrays+++.

Derail: As a marine biologist, I have to say that the aquarium is always my second date. If a guy doesn't like being there, he's out. (Once had one that was afraid of the spider crabs and wouldn't touch anything in the touch tank.)
posted by nekton at 7:42 PM on March 5, 2006

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