The sun is blazing warm, the birds are chirping loud, and the grass is certainly looking greener. That’s right, Spring has definitely made an appearance in Ottawa, and it looks like it’s actually staying for awhile. After all, you can never be too optimistic when it comes to Canadian weather… However, one thing is for certain though: 50% of the population has finally migrated out of hibernation and has been settling nicely onto those patios we now call our second home. I mean, how tempting does a pint of beer or a strawberry daiquiri feel after being stuck in an office for 7.5 hours? On a scale of 1-10, I’d say 11.

A few months ago, I got tired of hearing about the typical first dates that couples tend to go on, especially during the long cold period we call winter (aka “Snowpolypse”), so I decided to take the matter into my own hands and blogged a few alternative memorable first date ideas that two people could enjoy without getting too bored of the ‘same same but different’ routine. There is no other type of feeling or love that can beat a summer romance. It’s carefree, it’s unexpected, and it makes every bone in your body feels alive. It can even bloom into what feels like the greatest love of your life! But in order for all that to happen, it all starts with a date. First dates have so much potential, why not spice it up a little at the first encounter by doing something different?

With the Tinder sign-ups stats increasing more than ever during these warmer months, it’s your turn to stand out! Here are some fun ideas for your next date with Tinderella or Prince Charming.

Ottawa First Daes

Image Source

For the animal lovers…

Since Ottawa doesn’t have a zoo, Parc Omega is probably the next best options if you love animals and the wildlife. In fact… it’s better than a zoo because you can actually physically interact with the animals that cross your paths! The park itself is located 45 minutes away from Ottawa, and offer many activities throughout its venue. Whether you feel like driving through the park or walking through various trails, you are encouraged to pet and feed the animals as you please. Wildlife include deer, black bears, wolves, coyotes, and even bisons! Don’t worry, you won’t get eaten alive or be running for your lives while you are there, though… that’d definitely make a memorable first date eh? Admission in about $24-$28 per person depending the time you go, but I can tell you right now it is worth every penny! PS: Bring snacks (for you and the animals)!

For the laid-back strollers…

If you enjoy indulging in beautiful sceneries and don’t want to be surrounded by screaming kids at the infamous Tulip Festival, the Arboretum and Ornamental Gardens at the Experimental Farms is a great alternative as a first date (and it’s free)! Bask in the glorious sunshine and stroll around the magnificent gardens offered throughout the property. Afterwards, continue your time together and walk across the streets to rent a canoe or paddle boat and float on the shimmering water at Dow’s Lake and throughout the canal. It’s definitely a great way to get some energy into you after the relaxing walk in the gardens. Finish the date off with ice-cream or a small picnic and I’d say it’s a trifecta of a date!

For the hopeless romantics…

It doesn’t get any more romantic than watching fireworks under the starry skies… not to mention without creating some fireworks between the two of you! The Casino du Lac‑Leamy’ Sound of Light Festival takes place from August 6th – 20th by the Museum of History and it is an event not to be missed! The countries participating this year are as followed: China, Netherlands, Estonia, and Australia. Grab a blanket and a hot chocolate and enjoy a spectacular show! Tickets are only $8/night.

For the adventurous souls…

If you are a nature guru and enjoy a more active first encounter, I highly suggest driving out to the Gatineau Parks for an adventurous time! The Gatineau Parks offer numerous trails, exploration caves, and hikes that will get you sweating in no time as you are surrounded by the beauty of what nature has to offer. To top it off, pack a light lunch and some snacks to enjoy throughout your hike! Get “lost” and relish in the company of one another. You know what they say, there is no WiFi in nature but you’ll get a stronger connection! I personally enjoy going early morning or around dinner time just so the sun isn’t too blazing hot and the traffic isn’t too jammed up for parking. Bonus? If you hike up Pink Lake or King Mountain, you can catch the sunset at a decent time! Now, how romantic would that be for a first date?

For the Notebook lovers…

Remember that Notebook scene where Noah almost risked his life to just talk to Allie on a Ferris wheel? Ok well, no one needs to go to that extreme, but there is something about a county fair that just makes you feel so carefree and cozy while bringing back some unforgettable childhood memories. Whether it’s the smell of the buttery popcorn or the taste of a perfectly roasted corndog, the fair offers many rides, exhibitions, games and activities that will no doubt give you and your date a perma-smile throughout the day! County Fairs are spread throughout cities surrounding Ottawa and last about a weekend or two! You can keep an eye out on this list for further information! Gentlemen, take note – win her a stuffed animal and she’ll always have a souvenir to remember you by!

For the city seekers…

There are two types of people in this world: ones that always seek to be a tourist in their own cities, and ones that don’t. So to one’s surprise, the latter are often missing out on some of the most unique events that their city has to offer! Ottawa is no doubt a city that constantly has events happening in every nook and corner, and it’s one of the reason why I enjoy living here so much the past 7 years! If you and your date are looking to explore Ottawa and what it has to offer besides its beautiful scenery, take a look at this calendar and dive right into the fun! Some of my favorite events that happen in the summer are the Glow FairThe Italian Week Festival (no thanks to my obsession with pizza and pasta), and The Dragonboat Festival. And to top that off, most of these events are free to attend or have a low admission fee!

For the patio indulgers…

I get it, it’s hard to stay away from the patios, especially when we only have 4 months worth of time to enjoy it! I too love sitting on a patio for three hours straight sipping on one too many pitchers of sangria, but why not keep your date on their toes (literally), and coordinate a walking pub crawl! What do I mean by that? Essentially, you and your date will have three destinations to go to, with each one specifying to a separate course (i.e. appetizer, main course, dessert). Whether you start off the date at his favourite restaurant or finish it at a fancy hidden pub off Preston… the world is your oyster! (Tip: If you enjoy tacos, I highly recommend stopping by Nacho Cartel food truck by uOttawa for some of the best tacos in town!)

There you have it! A few creative first date ideas that will bound to get you at least a second date… that is, unless  your personality didn’t cut it. Kidding! Either way, this summer is shaping up to be a hot one. So go out, be adventurous, and enjoy all the first dates you can… After all, you are only young once!

Feature Image Source
Jess P