Ahh, the paradoxical first stage of the human romantic relationship. You want exhilarating dates that let the love flower blossom, but you don’t want to give “marriage is on the horizon” hints with an activity that’s overly romantic.
Find the sweet spot where love meets low-key with these fantasy dates from around the world.
The Singapore Zoo in Singapore
This is not your typical dinky date zoo: The massive park was named PawNation’s favorite because it’s committed to caring for animals. That means there are no fences, people-- only moats and a little glass will separate you and your lover from actual pygmy hippos.
Yeah, escaping the clutches of a tiger might feel romantic, like surviving the Titanic together. But the zoo’s quirky sideshows will balance it out: Laugh at elephants during their log-lifting performance or chuckle at the naked mole rat exhibit.
Bali Botanica Day Spa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Skip the cheesy drama of the standard couple’s table massage with Botanica’s offbeat coffee bath. Your masseuse will scrub you with coffee and rice powder, sweep fresh papaya across your skin and dunk you in a “bath of fragrant blossoms.” The set-up is not intensely romantic, just intensely humorous.
Cooking Class at Salsa and Salsa in Mazatlan, Mexico
This isn’t Martha Stewart’s sit-down dinner— you’ll learn to make seven types of salsa and chase them with quesadillas. A Salsa dancing class at the end adds just a dash of passion to the night.
Kensington Roof Gardens in London, England
Girls will love knowing that legendary department store Derry and Tom’s commissioned the garden in the 1930s, and guys will love knowing that girls love that. Stroll hand in hand amidst the lilies, but keep the mood kooky by playing hide-and-seek with the garden’s four flamingos, one of whom is named Splosh.
Bungee Jump in Val Verzasca, Switzerland
It’s proven that after experiencing an adrenaline rush, you’ll mentally link the excitement you felt to the person you experienced it with. Basically, you’ll both fall in love because you were once terrified together. And nothing terrifies more than bungee jumping.
This is the dam James Bond jumped from in Goldeneye, which he’ll think is awesome. And the jumps happen at night, which she’ll think is romantic. But don’t worry about getting too sappy…. it’s hard to exchange sweet nothings when you’re free-falling from a hydroelectric dam.
Cine Thisio in Athens, Greece
A gorgeous view of the Acropolis glows just past the big screen, and folding chairs are close enough to allow cuddling. But the rambunctious Greek audience -- and their homemade sour cherry juice -- will make sure to keep the vibe light.
The Tonquin Valley in Alberta, Canada
“The Amazing Race” proves it best: embarking on a journey together will totally tell if you can last as a couple.
On this ambitious hike through the Canadian Rockies, challenging terrain opens onto lovely flower fields that were favorites of Ansel Adams'. Camp out in a tent or hut, but if your synergy is mounting, book a lodge.
Karaoke Kan in Tokyo, Japan
Impress your date by booking the room Bill Murray used in Lost in Translation, and get to know your new mate’s music taste with a huge selection of American tunes. There won’t be any snuggly serenades, though: You’ll have 10 other singers in the room with you, and you can request tambourines to up the tempo.