Picnic Date Ideas

Picnic Date Ideas

With warm days finally here, you might be thinking about how you can enjoy the summer with a date outdoors. Picnic dates can be casual and fun opportunities to get to know a new potential partner in a more relaxed setting. Whether you love a classic picnic (wicker basket, red-and-white checkered blanket) or want to get a little more creative, Bumble has some cute picnic date ideas to get you inspired for your next spring or summer outing.

Shop for food together

Need food ideas for your picnic date? Start by meeting up at a specialty grocery store or deli and picking out a few items together. Bumble dater Jane, 33, says, “On my last couple of picnic dates, my boyfriend and I went to one of the nicer, smaller grocery stores in his neighborhood and picked out snacks and wine we hadn’t tried before.” Consider making a game of this by buying food based solely on packaging with interesting design. Or, hit a global supermarket and create a smorgasbord of options from each part of the world.

Of course, the food on your picnic date definitely does not have to be fancy or fussy. Another Bumble dater, Kate, 35, says, “On one of my picnic dates, we just went to the grocery store that was closest to the park, went to the hot bar, and picked up a random mix of whatever food they had out.” However you choose to plan the menu, shopping together will let you and your date get to know each other’s interests and preferences a little bit more.

Also, plan the picnic details

Spontaneity in any date or relationship can seem romantic and exciting, but thinking through even seemingly minor details can be critical to the success of a picnic date. Kate gets real about this. “Honestly, sometimes it’s hard to find a bathroom when you’re on a picnic date, especially if you’re in a public park,” she says. “It’s just not the most ideal situation for a first or second date, when you don’t really know the other person that well to suddenly have to pee with nowhere to go.” 

Bring some tunes

It’s a seemingly small touch, but bringing a portable speaker will add a little more ambience to the date. You and your date can each connect your phones and compare the summer playlists you’ve each been building. You can also create a collaborative playlist together ahead of time and chat about why you chose each song during the date. With some music on in the background, any lull in conversation will seem more like a relaxed pause than an awkward silence.

Turn your picnic into dinner and a movie

In the summer, many cities screen movies (often for free) at sundown in their largest parks. Jane says, “When I first started dating my boyfriend, the park near my apartment screened a movie. We brought food and drinks to make a picnic date, and it was just a fun way for him to get to see my neighborhood.”

Get romantic with a trip to a botanical garden

Many botanical gardens have an area specifically devoted to picnics. Check the website for your nearest botanical garden, and make an afternoon of your visit. Take an hour or so to wander along the paths through the gardens and greenhouses, and end your walk with a picnic date. Your nearest botanical garden might even have regular free days, though you’ll probably need to register before you go.

Take a hike

If you and your date are both true outdoorsy types, consider adding a little adventure to your picnic date by tacking it onto a long hike. Identify a trail near you that is known for a particularly scenic viewpoint half-way through the hike. You might not be able to carry a lot of food, but even a selection of fun, protein-loaded snacks (nut bars, trail mix) will be a welcome treat mid-hike. Be sure to check the local park service’s website, so that you’re clear on how they prefer you to carry and dispose of food.

Get a good view from a rooftop

Picnics don’t have to be in any kind of park, of course. If you’d like a change of scenery, get an elevated view with a picnic on the roof of your or your date’s building. “I tend to think of the rooftop picnic date as a third or fourth date,” Jane says. “It helps if you know the other person a little better than you did on your first or second date, since you’re either going to their building or having them over to yours.” If you have a folding table, you can even set that up with a tablecloth and candles for a romantic evening vibe. And don’t forget that portable speaker. 

Try moving locations

Instead of bar hopping, try park hopping. “When my date has a plan, it always shows they’re excited and willing to make an effort,” Kate says. “But I have been on picnic dates where my date has suggested we go on a walk afterward or go meet up with mutual friends at a different park. That kind of spontaneity helps the picnic date feel casual and light and like they want to keep the good times going.”

Try an Indoor picnic

What do you do if you wake up on the day of your picnic date to find the forecast predicts less than ideal weather? Don’t cancel! If you feel comfortable and know your date well enough, invite them for a picnic in your apartment. Push couches and chairs to the wall and set up the picnic as you would if you were in the park.