So, it’s happened. You met on a night out, or you started chatting in the line at Starbucks now you’ve organised to meet up again, but there’s one problem – where and what to do?

What you choose to do on that first day together can make or break a relationship, so there’s a lot of pressure getting it right. This is why we’ve willingly stepped in to help save the day with five different themes. With each theme we’ve suggested a place to start off, somewhere to take them afterwards, and a place to keep in your back pocket if all seems to be going well. Feel free to mix and match the ideas, after all it’s you who will be experiencing it…

Surf House


Start at: The Roseleaf Café, Dubai Garden Centre. Head over at around 4pm, nab yourselves a couple of cakes and coffees and get to know each other over a chat. If the convo’s getting dry, you can head over to the aquarium section.

Then: It’s off to the Surf House at Jumeirah Beach – so make sure you tell them to bring their swimwear. Pick up some paddleboards at Dhs75 an hour, bob out into the ocean and proceed to act cute together against the setting sun. It’s a good opportunity to check out their bod on the sly, too.

If it’s going well… Grab some dinner at The Maine, JBR. You’ve spent the last couple of hours in the ocean, so why not go the whole hog and head to this highly-popular and hip seafood restaurant. The food is great, it’s cosy, and a meal there for two won’t break the bank. The Maine doubles as a bar too, so if it’s still going well after your meal you can stick around for a couple of drinks.

Expect to spend: Dhs300 to Dhs400

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Horse Riding


Start at: Mushrif Park for a relaxing afternoon horseback ride through the desert. There’ll be a guide on hand to point out the wildlife, while you and your special friend (hopefully) gaze longingly into each other’s eyes against a sprawling desert backdrop. Carrots are provided so you can say ‘thank you’ afterwards to your horse pals.

Then: It’s off for sundowners at Jetty Lounge on Jumeirah Beach. Park yourselves in a comfy spot on the beach (you’ll need it after the horse riding), and grab yourselves a drink as the sun sets over The Palm.

If it’s going well… Head for dinner at Pierchic, which has been repeatedly hailed as Dubai’s most romantic dinner spot with charming views of the ocean and the Burj Al Arab.

Expect to spend: Dhs700 to Dhs800.

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Courtyard Playhouse


Start at: Tom & Serg, Al Quoz. They’ve got a great menu and even better coffee, so if you’re into your beans then this is the place to be. It’s always buzzing, too, which helps to make any awkward silences a little less silent. Even if you don’t know much about coffee, you’ll get trendy points for knowing about this place.

Then go: Escape Quest, JLT. You’ll both be locked in a room, and then tasked with breaking out of it by solving a series of puzzles. It’ll allow you to see how bright your potential future partner is, and serves as a great opportunity to work together towards something. Warning, this could also cause arguments.

If it’s going well… Head back to Al Quoz to the Courtyard Playhouse. Monday and Wednesday is comedy night from 8pm to 10pm, and could serve as a great light-hearted way to end the day after stressing out over Escape Quest. Each comedy night has a different theme, ranging from complete improvised shows, to stand-up and improv battles. Oh, and it’ll help you figure out your date’s sense of humour. 

Expect to spend: Dhs250 to Dhs300.

Culinary Boutique


Start at: Culinary Boutique in Jumeirah. Not only do they offer up some great grub, they also offer an array of neat cooking courses teaching you how to make everything from homely treats to cosy dinners. Sign yourselves up, and prove that you’re a dab hand in the kitchen.

Then: If you’re both into snow-sports, then Ski Dubai is a safe, and fun, bet. If one of you has never skied before, it’s actually even more fun. Handholding is now a necessity to avoid any nasty (and rather embarrassing) falls. If you get tired of skiing, there’s also zorbing on offer (rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball), and penguins to cuten things up.

If it’s going well… Head on over to Chillout Ice Lounge in Times Square for a hot chocolate. Everything from the chairs to the tables is made out of ice, and various ice sculptures dot the lounge as decoration. The sub zero temperatures are guaranteed to bring you closer together.

Expect to spend: Dhs350 to Dhs400.

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Blue Bar


Start at: The Magazine Shop, DIFC. A chilled-out hub amongst DIFC’s art galleries where you can grab a coffee and a bite to eat. There’s free Wi-Fi so you can update your friends on how the day out is going. There’s also a large stock of high-quality independent magazines from around the world for you to check out, and see what your ‘partner’ reads.

Then go: Artspace in DIFC. Entry is free, and walking around a gallery looking at the art will give you something else to focus on aside from each other. If you do a little reading on the exhibition before you go, you can even appear to know what you’re talking about, which will trick your date into thinking you’re really cultured.

If it’s going well… Head over to the Blue Bar in Novotel, Trade Centre. It’s cosy and dim lit, with performances from live bands happening every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This place has won awards for being the best live music bar in Dubai, and for good reason too. Drinks are reasonably priced, the atmosphere is relaxed and the live music is on point.

Expect to spend: Dhs150 to Dhs200.


Images: Getty and supplied