Bowling is one of those classic date ideas that feels like it’s straight out of a movie. It’s tried and tested, a bit nostalgic, and works perfectly for a first date when you’re just starting to get to know someone. Read on for our ultimate bowling date guide.
Is bowling a good first date?
First dates can be tricky—you want to be original without trying too hard, while also making sure you can actually speak to the other person. Bowling ticks all these boxes, for a variety of reasons.
First off, it’s in a public place, which we always recommend when meeting someone for the first time. A bowling alley or amusement center will mean there are plenty of other people around, making it a safe and fun environment for a first date.
The fact that bowling is an indoor activity means you aren’t dependent on the weather. When you’re planning a first date, you don’t want to worry about whether or not it’s going to rain. A bowling date makes perfect sense for these cozy fall months, especially when it’s dark by 5 p.m.
It also gives you and your date an activity to focus on. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s natural for there to be pauses in conversation. Playing a game together gives you something to talk about and center the evening around.
On a bowling date, there’s also the opportunity to continue the fun post-match. There are often arcade games and other activities within a bowling alley, so you and your Bumble date could play a round of air hockey or try your luck on a pinball machine. You could also grab some drinks or a meal together or go and see a movie. And if sparks aren’t flying while you’re knocking down pins, then you can easily end the date once the game is over. It’s a really flexible first date idea.
Bowling is also a cost effective date idea. One game can cost around $8 and shoe rental generally runs at $5. Prices, however, can vary depending on your location, so always research your local area ahead of time.
If you’re used to bowling with a group, you might be wondering: can two people go bowling? Definitely. It can be just as fun—if not more so—for a couple. It makes the game more intense, and it can bring out your competitive side. It also means you’ll get plenty of opportunities to talk one-on-one. If you race through the game quickly, you can always make it a best-out-of-three situation—meaning more time to chat and more chances to win!
What to wear on a bowling date
Knowing what to wear on any first date can be difficult. Here are our top tips for what to wear on a bowling date.
Remember, you’re going to have to take your shoes off! If you’re a bowling pro (which we imagine you aren’t, or you wouldn’t be reading this article), you’ll have your own bowling shoes, but us regular folk rent ours at the bowling alley. Remember this when choosing your footwear at home, and also your socks. Opt for shoes that are easy to get off and on (so probably not strappy stilettos) and clean socks free of holes since your date will be able to peep them.
You need to be able to move comfortably. Bowling isn’t a hugely physical activity, but you will be throwing the ball and walking around. It’s best to avoid any clothes that are too tight or constricting. You also want to ensure you feel comfortable bending down to pick up the ball, sit at the bench etc., so short skirts and low-cut tops aren’t recommended.
Don’t try too hard. Bowling alleys are usually humble, family-oriented places. If you wear a tie, you’re going to stand out. The best outfit to wear on a bowling date is one you feel completely yourself in—as with any date, there’s no point trying to be someone you’re not.
Still stuck? Go for wardrobe staples like jeans, T-shirts, sneakers, loose-fitting dresses and pants, and sweaters. As with any first date, tracksuits or loungewear are best left at home—there’s a difference between being casual and making zero effort.
Bowling date night tips
Planning a bowling date night is easy—it’s a relaxed, casual first date. But you still need to plan in advance. Here are some of our top tips:
- Book a lane. If you turn up on a Friday or Saturday night without booking in advance, you’ll likely have to wait a long time until a lane is free. We recommend reserving a lane in advance, whatever time you go. It shows your date that you’ve thought ahead and have put effort into planning your date.
- Make it an evening date. If you go bowling on a weekend afternoon, there will probably be lots of children and families playing. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it will feel like more of a date if you go bowling at night. Vibes are everything on a first date!
- Make it a group hang or a two-player date. The great thing about a bowling date night is that it can be either. If you know some other couples and want to make it more of a casual first date, book a lane for the group of you. If you want to really get to know the other person, make it a two-player evening. As we said, bowling is a really flexible date idea which can be molded to suit you.
- Order snacks to the lane. There’s something so retro about pushing a buzzer and ordering food and drinks to your lane. Embrace the full bowling experience and order a variety of snacks and drinks for you and your date to enjoy in between strikes.
- Don’t be a show-off. Remember it’s not about getting back-to-back strikes and wiping the floor with your opponent. If you have a competitive side, try to rein that in! It’s about spending quality time with another person—and hopefully starting a relationship together.
- Embrace the experience. Bowling is all about making mistakes: throwing the ball into the gutter, slipping around in the rental shoes, or even dropping the ball entirely—lots of errors or embarrassing things are bound to happen. But that’s the whole point! Being vulnerable in front of another person is the best way to get to know them, while also showing them who you are. Choosing bowling as a first date shows you don’t take yourself too seriously and allows the other person to then also relax as well.
We hope we’ve convinced you why bowling makes for one of the best first date ideas. Find a local bowling alley, invite your Bumble match and, hopefully, the rest will be history.