So, you’ve worked up the courage to ask her out on a date. Maybe you found her on the Internet, perhaps she is a co-worker or maybe she is a friend of a friend. At any rate, now that you have done the hard part and she accepted, where will you take her?
Think about her personality and what you know about her hobbies, likes and dislikes. Is she the adventurous, spontaneous sort? Perhaps she is quiet and romantic. Outdoorsy? Classy?
Depending on your answer to the above, here are five suggestions for a winning first date in Phoenix:
For the Outdoorswoman
Fill a backpack with a healthy picnic of apples (or any seasonal fruit), wedges of cheese, crisp crackers, granola bars and sparkling cider. Meet her in the morning for a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s, and then hop in your ride for a scenic drive to Apache Junction. You’re headed to Hieroglyphic Canyon at the base of the Superstition Mountains, which can be a bit tricky to find, so click on this link for the best directions.
The hike is an easy one, but still a bit of challenge and suitable for any experience level. The change in elevation will have you hiking uphill until you reach the canyon, so plan on an early morning start or a cooler winter day. This hike is very popular one so the earlier you go, the better. After winding through some beautiful desert scenery you will arrive at the canyon with its gentle stream of water below and magnificent petroglyphs above. Take off your hiking shoes, dip your toes in the water and share your picnic.
If you want to extend the date, stop at the Apacheland Movie Studio on your way back to town for a cold beer at the bar with its great view of the majestic Superstition Mountains.
For the Adventurer
Pick your date up and head on over to F-1 Race Factory, 48th Street and Washington, for a thrilling good time! If it is your first time at the kart track, plan on spending a bit of time getting registered and going through their safety video. When you are done, it’s on to the track! In motorized karts that reach up to 45 mph, you and your date can enter into a bit of healthy competition to see who can beat the other’s time or gang up on another racer and help each other win.
After you’re done with the race, head on over to Honey Bear’s BBQ, 5012 East Van Buren Street. They have some of the best Memphis-style barbecue sauce and tenderest beef in the city. Although the restaurant is in an unassuming little building and the rule is “serve yourself”, the food is great and you can share your kart racing experiences over mouthwatering barbecue and fresh lemonade.
For the Romantic
The tried and true works best for this woman, with a little twist. Start by making reservations at Brunello’s or Rigatony’s; both of these Italian restaurants in Mesa have a very nice, romantic atmosphere with great food. Make sure you have a bouquet of flowers when you pick her up – roses are trite so try another type of classic flower in season such as tulips. No need to break the bank with your choice, either. Most grocery stores (Whole Foods is probably best) have a large floral section. Just take off the tacky plastic sleeve and wrap your bouquet with a wide ribbon and you’re all set. If you are choosing Brunello’s, make reservations on the patio where you can overlook the lake and feed the ducks pieces of bread. On weekend nights they have a strolling violinist so be prepared with a classy song request (think Tony Bennett-era) when he comes by your table. Impress her with your knowledge of wine by ordering just the right bottle from the extensive wine list (here again you may want to do some advance prep work).
After dinner, take a drive to Papago Park at the corner of Van Buren Street and Galvin Parkway (next to the zoo – another possibility if it is still open!) and stroll amongst the boulders and cacti beneath the moonlight.
For the Younger Woman
Ra Sushi Bar at 411 South Mill Avenue is an extremely popular place and always a good bet for a first date if she likes Japanese cuisine. Sit out on the patio and do some people watching but plan ahead to get the best parking spot as they go fast on weekend nights. After dinner and sake, head down to Tempe Town Lake for a stroll along the water or take a boat ride beneath the sparkling lights of the bridge. After such a fantastic evening, a kiss under the moonlight is definitely in order!
For the Older Woman
A scenic drive along Highway 88 outside of Apache Junction is a wonderful afternoon ride, even more so if you have a convertible on a perfect fall or winter day. If she is an outdoors type, stop along the way at one of the lakes and throw a fishing pole in the water or simply take a hike along the lake’s edge. When you get thirsty, drive a short distance to Tortilla Flat Stage Stop for a cold beer perched atop a saddle barstool. You’ll find plenty to talk about as you gaze about at all the paraphernalia hanging on the walls and from the rafters. Your date may want to drop into the gift store or just wander about the building facades. Every now and then they have entertainment in the form of a small band playing on the outdoor patio.
After your time in Tortilla Flat, head back down the highway to Canyon Lake. A sunset cruise complete with dinner and drinks, on the Dolly Steamboat, is a great way to tour the beautiful canyon and makes for a very relaxing end to the day.
There now, with these suggestions how can you have anything but a great first date?