Dating can be hard. So, why should picking the place to go for your first date be difficult? You don't want to go somewhere too loud, or too boring, or where the food or service aren't good. The first date is what determines whether or not there is a second date, or a third, so you have to do it right.

I've taken it upon myself (not that I'm any "dating expert" or anything) to compile a list of some great ways to spend a first date in West Michigan.

  1. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - Contrary to popular belief, Frederik Meijer Gardens is open year round. While it might be a bit cold to walk around and look at the sculptures in the winter, there are plenty of activities to do inside, as well. This is a nice attraction because it has a variety of elements and can be a good place to just walk and talk during a first date. The garden is on 132 acres and includes a large outdoor sculpture collection, indoor and outdoor gardens, a tropical conservatory, nature trails, and tram rides. It can also be a nice date to attend an event in the Meijer Gardens ampitheater during their Summer Concert Series. With its location, there are also plenty of restaurants surrounding the park for lunch or dinner before or after. Click here for more information on the park.
  2. Dr. Grins Comedy Club - When asked what they think is the most important attribute in a mate is, a lot of people answer with "a sense of humor". So, why not head to a comedy club for a first date? Dr. Grins brings in acts from all over the country including the likes of Bobcat Goldwaith, Kevin Nealon, Pauly Shore, Aries Spears and more. Another great feature of Dr. Grins is that, while you can eat in the club itself, it's also located within the B.O.B. which houses several other restaurants for many different tastes including Gilly's, Bobarino's and Judson's. For more on Dr. Grins and The B.O.B. click here.
  3. Mojo's Dueling Piano Bar - Love of music is something that a lot of people have in common, and who doesn't love some live entertainment every now and again? Mojo's, located right in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, not only boasts a great food menu, but also live entertainment every night in the form of piano players. Now, you may be thinking, why would I want to sit around and listen to boring piano songs all night? Well, let me tell you, this show is something you just have to see. With great performers you get a huge variety of songs from all different artists and genres. From "Don't Stop Believin'" (Journey) to "Raise Your Glass" (Pink), to audience participation, they definitely keep the attention of the audience all night long. For more on Mojo's click here.
  4. Wealthy Street Theater - Love old movies and cult classics? Check out the movies playing at the Wealthy Street Theater! Great movies such as "Goodfellas", "Harold And Maude", the "Princess Bride" and more on the big screen every Tuesday night as part of their Meanwhile Film Series. If you are a member of the Community Media Center, you can order drinks at our bar and enjoy a local Michigan beer, a glass of wine, or a mixed drink while watching your favorite cult classics from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The Wealthy theater also hosts several live theatrical performances throughout the year. Located right in the heart of East Town, there are tons of restaurants to choose from if you want to grab a bite to eat before or after the show. For more on the Wealthy Street Theater click here!
  5. A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That - With the climate and weather being what they are in West Michigan, there are some things that you just can't do year-round. So, I'm cheating on this one and including a bunch of great, outdoor/seasonal activities for you and your date to enjoy. Of course, in the spring, summer, and fall you can head out and enjoy America's pastime by catching a West Michigan Whitecaps Game! In the fall, winter and spring take in a hockey game with our very own Grand Rapids Griffins! Not into sports? That's ok! There are plenty of other great places in West Michigan that you can head. Take in the Festival Of The Arts, ArtPrize, or ice skating in Rosa Parks Circle. Take a walk on the pier in Grand Haven, bike down Kent Trails, go sledding and one of the many parks West Michigan has to offer. Find something that you and your date will both enjoy and go for it!

As I said earlier, I'm no dating expert, but if you want to have a fun time on a first date in West Michigan, this is definitely a start!