14 Self Date Ideas – Fun Things You Should Try On Your Own!

Sure, these date ideas would be great with a partner or a BFF, but they're just as good (or better!) to try on your own! Go at your own pace, order exactly what you want, leave when you feel like it ... and return to your relationship refreshed, inspired, and fulfilled! Click through for 14 awesome solo date ideas >> yesandyes.org

Did you click on that link looking for date ideas? Or fun things to do on your own?

Good news! You will find that information here! However. I have cleverly disguised a Giant Life Lesson as a listicle and that lesson is:

we are the only people who are responsible for our happiness.

HA! I lured you in with a Pinterest-friendly image and nice, number-based headline and then I tricked you into talking about deep stuff! THE JOKE IS ON ALL OF US, INTERNET.

Because here’s the thing: it’s not fair, reasonable, healthy, or realistic to expect one single person to fulfill all our needs. It’s not particularly considerate to shoehorn my BFF into a JLo concert when she’d rather be in a tiny, dirty club watching The Melvins.

It’s not really fair to drag my husband to the latest Wes Anderson movie and then sulk because he only liked it 80% (instead of 110% like I want him to.)

In a perfect world, our partners and closest friends make us better people. They complement us and challenge us and love weird roadside attractions exactly as much as we do.

When we suggest a road trip or a dance class or an Ethiopian restaurant they respond with a string of excited emojis.

But that’s not always the case. Putting our happiness in the hands of others is an exercise in disappointment management.

If we put our plans on hold till we find a co-pilot, we might be waiting forever. Dragging a disinterested person to something we’re excited and passionate about is a recipe for resentment.

So let’s not do that.

Instead, let’s fill our own damn cups with literal and proverbial wine. Let’s do the stuff we love doing even if that means we’re doing it alone. Doing things solo makes us more interesting, independent, creative, capable, fulfilled, and self-reliant. And those qualities make us better partners and better friends.

Being good at being alone makes you better at being together. Click To Tweet

14 dates you should take yourself on

Take yourself to a matinee

Yes, you could take yourself to a normal, 7 pm movie. But those cost $12! And they’re filled with 15-year-olds who will make out in the seat in front of you when you’re JUST TRYING TO ANSWER THE PRE-MOVIE TRIVIA THANKS.

Matinees are cheap, awesome, and usually under-attended.

You can sit exactly where you want, buy exactly the treats you want, and if you hate the movie, you can get up and leave. (<- One of my favorite, most empowering moves.)

If you live in Minneapolis, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that The Riverview has two matinee shows during the summer, one during the winter and they’re always $2. Two. dollars.

Take a community ed class

Nobody in your life wants to learn underwater weaving/belly dancing/stained-glass making? Their loss, my dude. Community ed classes are a low-cost, low-pressure, low-commitment way to learn a new skill.

They’re especially great if you’re interested in something that no one else in your life cares about. You can learn a new skill free from your partner’s eyerolls and you’ll be surrounded by other people who are equally excited about this one obscure topic!

Have a ride-all-you-can public transportation adventure

Public transport as a source of fun and pleasure? Yes. YES. This is actually one of my favorite ways to spend a free afternoon!

Buy yourself a Ride All Day pass on the public transport of your choice. Get on the next bus or train that arrives at your stop and ride it till you see something interesting.

Get off and explore a new neighborhood. Once you’re done exploring, get on the next bus or train and lather, rinse, repeat. It’s such a fun, affordable way to get to know your city!

Take yourself out to eat

It doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to be expensive – though it’s okay if it is! It is important that you give your self-date the same attention and care that you’d give a ‘real’ date.

For me, that means looking at the menu ahead of time and getting excited about what I’m going to order, wearing a cute outfit, and giving my meal the attention it deserves (re: not scrolling through Instagram while cramming noodles into my face.)

If you feel shy about eating on your own, bring a book and sit at the bar!

Attend an open mic or improv night

You’re sitting in the dark, being entertained – it’s not like you could talk to your date anyway!

Again, if this is one of your first solo dates or you’re feeling shy, bring a book or journal, buy yourself a drink, and sit on the edge so you’re not hemmed in by big groups of canoodling couples.

Bonus: open mic nights are usually free and improv shows are usually very affordable. You’re good-looking and you’re a cheap date. Win/win!

Take a dance class or attend a social dance night

Lots of bars and dance studios host open dance nights for ‘social dances’ (the types of dances you do with a partner.) The people you’ll find there are usually experienced dancers who’d love to partner with you for a few dances and show you the steps – all you have to do is follow along!

If you’re here in Minneapolis, The Loring Pasta Bar hosts Tango nights, Cinema Ballroom hosts Salsa nights every Friday, and the 301 On Main has Swing dancing every Thursday.

If you’re not quite ready to dance with strangers, enroll in a dance class. At The Tapestry Folk Dance Center you can learn Bollywood, Contra, ballet, line-dancing, or the waltz – for as little as $6 per class!

Get up early and take yourself out for breakfast before work

There’s something so sneaky and luxurious about starting a workday with a little decadence. “Oh what’s that? You were sitting in traffic and eating a Lara bar at 8 am? I was eating french toast on the patio of my favorite cafe. NBD.”

Set your alarm for an hour and a half earlier than usual and maybe lay out your clothes and lunch and head to bed a bit early. Choose a cafe that’s conveniently located – either on your route or near home or work – and duck in for an early morning date with yourself. Lovely!

Breakfast solo dates are particularly good for people who aren’t 100% comfortable eating by themselves. You’re a lot less likely to be tucked among couples at 8:15 am!

Watch a sunset + eat an awesome snack

Sunsets aren’t just for couples and cliche proposals; they’re gorgeous and calming for everybody. Google ‘best places for sunset [city name]’ and find your way to one 20 minutes before sun down. Bring a snack of your choice and/or a book or journal and enjoy.

Concerts! Yes! Even if you feel a little awkward at first!

I’m a pretty confident go-out-aloner but solo concert-going tripped me up for ages. Everyone is there with their friends! Everyone is taking group photos and wearing themed outfits and CLEARLY they’re all staring at the weird lady who’s dancing in the corner, alone.

Newsflash: nobody’s looking at you. Everyone else is too busy taking their group photos and trying to remember where they parked to notice that you’re there alone. And if they do notice, they’ll probably think “What an awesome, independent human!”

Solo concert-going is amazing. You can sing along with every song without worrying that you’re annoying your friend. You can stand up or sit down or dance your ass off, with no concern for your friend’s site lines or energy level.

You don’t have to worry about anyone getting drunk, tired, or going home with some cutie they met in line for drinks. You can stay for all three encores or leave after an hour because you heard the one song you came to hear.

Take a day trip

It’s lovely to take day trips with your partner or BFF. It can be just as lovely – or lovlier, even! – to take them on your own!

Poke around the shops for as long as you’d like. Follow the signs towards the beach or state park because you want to. Have coffee in a cafe, lunch at a diner, and then double scoop of mid-afternoon ice cream without worrying about anyone else’s appetite or dietary restrictions.

Solo day trips are particularly awesome during those ‘seasons’ when your partner is regularly occupied, watching football or fishing or playing soccer. Let them do their thing, while you do yours!

Head to a museum

I find art museums oddly exhausting and if we’re at one together, I’ll probably alternate between moping, sitting on benches, and rushing through the exhibits.

But if we’re at the International Museum of Surgical Science? Or The Museum of Jurassic Technology? You’ll go grey waiting for me to finish reading every last placard.

Solo museum attendance allows you to go at your own pace, even if that means scuttling through to the over-priced gift shop or chatting with one docent for an hour about the merits of Degas.

Go to a specialty food store filled with your favorite foods

OBVIOUSLY, I’d go to a cheese shop but maybe you be happiest at a wine store or a fancy butchery or Penzeys Spices.

Head there on your own and spend half an hour poring over the inventory and chatting with the staff. Ask them which products are new and which ones they’re obsessed with. Sample everything you can possibly sample.

Then splurge on a few lovely things (I’m looking at you, $34 Madagascar vanilla beans) and head home and make something amazing. And you can eat it all yourself! You don’t even need to share!

Have a solo spa day

It’s not unusual for ladies to have spa days with their BFFs, but what if you took one on your own? Imagine a day of almost complete silence and pampering.

No gossiping while you got a pedi, no idle chit chat about how good the massage was, no re-hashing work stuff while drinking cucumber water. A solo spa date can be an even calmer, more rejuvenating experience than going with a friend!

Go antiquing or thrifting

Linger over that collection of spoons for as long as you want. Try on 24 different pairs of jeans. Walk into that antique store and walk out again 30 seconds later. Look at that vintage coat, try it on, feel unsure, leave, and then come back and buy it. When you’re doing it on your own, you don’t need to worry about anyone else’s schedule or annoyance-level!

But I want to hear from you! Do you ever take yourself on solo dates? How do you keep from piling all your happiness expectations on your friends, family, or partner? 

P.S. Taking yourself on dates and making time for yourself is a habit you have develop and something you can build into your day or week! This will help – and it’s free!

Photos by Annie Spratt and Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

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19 Comments

  1. ieva

    Pinned this post to re-read for inspiration. The older I get, the more I realize I love doing things on my own. This list will help me try new things :).

    Reply
  2. Lindsay

    i really needed this! i tend to get cranky when my partner doesn’t want to do things with me, and lately have been trying to remind myself that i can do things i want to do on my own! i used to do things on my own all the time, but since being in a relationship, i’ve become more dependent. to hell with all that. besides, i actually have MORE fun at events (concerts, especially) when i’m not concerned with whether someone else is enjoying themselves.

    Reply
  3. Becky

    Love these ideas! Especially being in a long distance relationship, it’s so important to fully enjoy all you can do on your own. I actually prefer going to concerts alone or shopping alone most of the time, as like you mentioned you don’t need to abide by anyone else’s agenda! Not to mention getting to enjoy your favourite sushi place alone and order all the things for yourself because your friends turn their nose up at the mention of sushi!

    Reply
  4. Kate

    Excellent post! I have done pretty much all of these, except for sunset watching which I am totally game for, and early morning breakfast which sounds lovely but way too early. I think some of the harder things to try alone e.g seeing a concert – they can be challenging and awesome at the same time. often people want to hear that it will 100% fine and that’s not necessarily true. But that’s okay! You can feel awkward and also really happy that you are seeing your favourite singer live.

    Reply
  5. Deserae

    I am already planning two of these! I have a spa gift certificate in a neighbourhood full of charity shops. Actually, I will probably have to add a third (take yourself out to eat), since I will be out all day. I would add a 4th, and hit the awesome cheese shop, but while I love me some cheese, it would be a form of self-abuse as it does not love me back. 🙂 Great list.

    Reply
  6. sarah

    I’ve learned not to let “I don’t have someone to go with” stop me from having fun. Life is to short to sit at home waiting on other people.

    Reply
  7. Stef

    I have been single through pure choice for the last 18 months and love it because I get to do what I want, when I want to. It’s do liberating. I hop on a train and go shopping somewhere new. I have a stop over in my favourite place (York) now and then. Embrace all that you do. Go sit on the beach with chips and ice cream and watch the world go by. Enjoy!

    Reply
  8. Maleah

    I do all this stuff all the time. I grew up an only child and spent a lot of time by myself, and I like it! The only one on that list I haven’t done is go to a movie, and only because I don’t like them enough to use my alone time for them.

    Reply
  9. Kate

    I loved how I came across this post while sipping coffee in the middle of a solo vacation. I rented a tiny house on Airbnb and have been adventuring around a mountain town. I hiked to a waterfall, made a grilled cheese and am reading in a coffee shop before yoga. I love the encouragement to do things alone. If I waited for someone to come along, it would never happen! Thanks for some great ideas!

    Reply
    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Yes! I love a good solo vacation! Good on you, Kate! <3

      Reply
  10. Amanda Kennedy

    My partner is working remotely for a long stretch so I’m often alone at the moment. The harsh winter (I’m in Australia) is providing me an easy excuse to stay inside but I like these for inspiration. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So glad you found it helpful, Amanda!

      Reply
  11. Alexandra Waters

    “Nobody is looking at you” so true! As a frequent solo adventurer, this was the most liberating lesson I’ve learned. It inspires me to be outrageously authentic, especially when out on a date with myself.

    Reply
  12. Dressler Parsons

    I LOVE THIS ARTICLE. It was also heartening to read through it with an internal dialogue of “OMG I love doing that!” or “Hey, I did that all the time studying abroad!” or “YES solo-breakfasts at Essence Bakery are a perfect way to start the morning.”

    I also heartily second social dance nights as a thing to do alone–I always have more fun swing-dancing when I go on my own versus when I go with a date. When you’re with a date, you’re mostly just going to be dancing with them–and that’s a lot of dance-skill pressure to put on someone. When you’re alone, you’re going to dance with a lot of different people of varying skill levels, and you get to meet everyone and leave whenever you want!

    Reply
  13. Katelyn

    These are wonderful! I’ve been working on making more quality me-time for the last year or so and it has completely changed my life. The problem I encounter however is finding the time to be alone. I’m married and my husband and I live in a small-ish apartment with our (laughably fluffy) cat and I find it difficult to make it clear that I want to spend time alone – not because I’m upset with him in any way – but that I like spending time with just me. Sometimes when I make plans he feels left out, and I completely understand where he’s coming from. Any tips on how to navigate those waters?

    Reply
    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Yes! I’m an introvert who’s married to an extrovert and here are five things I do:

      1. We’ve had very frank, direct, loving conversations about my need to have alone time. He knows it has nothing to do with him, so when I bring it up, he’s not surprised or offended.

      2. Sometimes we drive to parties separately. Kenny likes to close things down, I top out at 2-ish hours. All our friends know this. So sometimes I leave before he does!

      3. When he has work he needs to do after hours or on the weekend, I encourage him to do work in a coffee shop so I can have the house to myself 😉

      4. We have a shared Google calendar and I know when he has plans with his friends so sometimes I make sure *I* don’t have plans then so I can be alone.

      5. We call alone time ‘choose your own adventure time’ – so it’s less emotionally weighted 😉

      Reply
  14. Katy Tafoya

    I do so many of these already and can’t second your recommendations enough. And of course, I immediately Googled the best place to see the sunset here in LA (so many options, I know, I know).

    Reply
  15. Angie

    Farmers markets are a good solo date. Your from Mpls? Have you been to Hunt & Gather? Love that shop, I like to go there alone or with people, fun quirky shop1

    Reply
  16. Bethlehem Alem

    Thanks for the tips.

    All I did was go to movies & eat at any restaurant I could find but now I will change my way.

    Reply

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