Waterloo isn’t a big city, and if you’re a student, a lot of us are stuck in our campus bubbles. It’s sometimes hard to get inspired when it comes to dates.

In my opinion, first dates should be kept fun and low pressure. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’re trying to feel things out and come up with conversation topics. These date ideas in Waterloo will help you do just that!

1. Waterloo Park / 50 Young St. West

Waterloo Park is a short distance from the universities and home to an adorable mini zoo! The park has a variety of animals you can look at and read about, including peacocks (when the weather gets warmer), llamas, and miniature horses.

Waterloo Park is an adorable first date spot. It gives you quality time to talk to your date, while not being too high-pressure conversation-wise because there’s so much going on around you. 

If you want things to be a bit more romantic, there is a boardwalk with benches along the way so you can stop and stare at the water (or into each others’ eyes).  

2. A Coffee Shop / Uptown Waterloo

Getting coffee is a really good first date option, especially if it's an online date or someone you have never met before. It’s casual—you can decide to leave after one coffee or stay and order some food if the date is going well.

This is also a good idea for students because we always have work to do. A study date is an easy way to get some one-on-one time together in a casual setting.

There are so many good coffee shop options in Waterloo but my favourite ones are Seven Shores Community Café (10 Regina St. North), Death Valley’s Little Brother (84 King St. North) and Settlement Co. (23 King St. North). 

3. Princess Cinemas / 6 Princess St. West and 46 King St. North

Princess Cinemas offers a unique twist on the classic movie date. It is an old movie theatre with two locations located around the corner from each other: Original Princess Cinemas and Princess Twin Cinemas. The Original Princess theatre is a converted brewery building that opened in 1985 and prides itself in showing critically acclaimed, cult and festival films; where the Princess Twin Cinema shows more mainstream flicks. The Princess Twin is also attached to a café, which offers a deal for dinner and a movie. 

A movie at either cinema would be a sweet date idea, especially for those looking to impress their dates with the architecture or their cult film knowledge. 

4. Huether Hotel / 59 King St. North

If you want to take your date out for a drink, but don’t want to take them to a student bar, Huether Hotel is a good choice. There’s a nice patio, a jazz club and a cool space with pool tables and arcade games on the upper level. There’s so much to do and you can cozy up next to your date teaching them how to shoot pool, or get some healthy competition going.

5. Brunswick Zone Frederick Lanes / 385 Frederick St.

Bowling is a little corny, but have you ever not had fun at a bowling alley? Brunswick Zone Frederick Lanes has a licensed bar, snacks and a mini arcade—plenty of options for stuff to do with your date. They also have unlimited bowling every Friday night after 10 P.M., so you can stay for as many games as you want without breaking the bank. 

6. Crossroads Board Game Café / 258 King St. North

For the games lover, this cute café is located almost across the street from Laurier campus. They serve decadent desserts and actually have a good selection of two-player games, or you can bring another couple for some four-player action. 

The venue also holds events like Thursday night Smash Bros Melee tournaments and Paint Nite on Mondays and Wednesdays.

These first date ideas in Waterloo are all relatively cheap, so are ideal for students. Take some of the pressure off and let the sparks fly at one of these six places on your next first date.