In the beginning finding cool things to do on a date and making time was easy. You may have even spent way more than you were comfortable with, because you were smitten and it was worth every penny. But things have changed. It’s not that you and your significant other care less, but life happens. Grown up things like children, jobs, mortgages. You spend a lot of time, money and energy creating a good life for your family. But don’t forget about your life as a couple. It’s important to stay connected and dates are a wonderful way to do just that. The great thing is that awesome dates don’t have to cost a lot in order to be a lot of fun. For great cheap date ideas consider the following list of twenty below.
1. Sometimes You Just Need to Wine.
The ultimate in adult activities, “wining” can be an awesomely fun and inexpensive date. If you like wine (or like the idea of trying new wine) wine tasting is the perfect date. Many places offer free tastings, or charge a nominal fee like $5-$7 per person. For that price you’ll typically receive five or six one ounce tastes. That’s like a glass of wine. They’ll also sell wine by the glass and/or the bottle for you to enjoy on site. One bonus is that wineries that are located within a vineyard may offer astounding views which you’ll want to savor, so pack a lunch of fruit, cheese and crackers and enjoy.
2. Attend a Music Festival.
If you love live music, music festivals can be a wonderful way to spend some time together. They happen all over the country and while some may cost a significant amount of money, many are free or charge a nominal fee. Some of the many pleasures of attending a music festival include multiple stages, multiple artists and the ability to attend early in the day through late at night. Another plus is that many festivals are annual events so you can plan in advance to attend as they last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Don’t have any music fests near you? Do a search for local community music concerts and you may be rewarded with awesome music for free. Either way grab a chair at the venue, bring a blanket, pack a meal if allowed, and enjoy the performances.
3. Take a Cooking Class Together.
Wait. What? You cook every night. Why would you ever want to take a class? Because it can be lots of fun. Really. From cakes to pies, pizza to sushi, you’ll be with a small group of people who are out to learn new techniques, laugh and make mistakes in a relaxed environment, end up with something yummy (hopefully) that you’ll be able to taste on the spot, and generally have a great time. Classes in every price range are available like Williams-Sonoma’s free technique classes. Prefer to stay in? That’s cool too. Take a free online cooking class together. Many websites offer them.
4. Enjoy a Movie that’s not on Netflix.
Don’t sit at home watching Netflix. Definitely don’t pay $50 for a movie for two with popcorn and drinks. Try these cheap date movie ideas instead.
- Drive-In: If you’re lucky enough to live near a Drive-in theatre you’re in for a treat. For about $20 the two of you can enjoy a movie (many offer double features for that price), a large freshly popped popcorn – with real butter, beverage and a great night under the stars. Some allow you to bring your own food, so pack a dinner and enjoy this version of dinner and a movie.
- Second Run Movie Theatre: Remember when movies used to cost $3.50-$5.00? Well you can still pay that price if you can wait a little. There are theatres all over the country, many in wonderfully old, historic buildings that offer discount prices for movies after they’ve left the major theatre chains. They often serve fresh popcorn and you can actually afford to buy candy. Let’s face it, there’s something about buying it there (rather than sneaking it in) that makes it more fun.
- Movies in the Park: Many communities offer free movies, you just have to search your community activities online. It’s typically going to be a family fare, and the picture and sound quality may not be the greatest, but it’s hard to beat free. Bring a blanket or chairs, pack a picnic and just relax. Speaking of picnics…
5. Have a Picnic with a Twist.
Yeah. Yeah. A picnic at the park. It’s nice. It’s sweet. Zzzzzz. Hold on. It’s a classic for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t punch it up a bit. How about:
- A picnic and flying a kite. Kites can be had very inexpensively.
- Hike (or drive) to a scenic overlook and have a picnic with an amazing view. Search for scenic spots in your neck of the woods and go.
- Picnic at the beach.
- Picnic near the railroad tracks and watch the trains go by.
- Picnic near a private airfield. Often, there’s a grassy area outside of the private airports. Watch the planes take off and land and dream about your next adventure.
- Picnic while watching a fireworks display.
- Of course, have a picnic during your winery or drive in movie date.
6. Take a Ride on a Ferris Wheel.
Sometimes the best dates are those that remind you of when you were a kid. Carnivals can do just that. The lights, the sounds, the rides and the food. Many carnivals offer free entry or charge only a small fee or a fee for parking. Stroll hand in hand, eat a candy apple and enjoy.
7. Test Drive Your Dream Car.
It’s one of the stranger cheap date ideas, but it can get your engines revved up. Have a dream car in mind? Go to a lot and look at your car, pick up a promotional package and test drive it. It’s a nice break from reality that can leave both of you smiling for the rest of the day.
8. Enjoy a Happy Hour Dinner at a Fancy Restaurant.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a high end restaurant. Many offer happy hour specials at reasonable prices, so linger over a couple of drinks and nosh on a few fancy bar food items in style.
9. Take a Stroll on the Beach at Night.
The beach takes on a whole different vibe at night. Stroll hand in hand at the water’s edge. Bring a blanket, star gaze and enjoy the sound of the surf. If it has a lively boardwalk find a seat and people watch. Bonus? Beach fees, if there are any, are typically waived after a certain time.
10. Visit Open Houses in Your Dream Neighborhood.
Open houses can be inspiring and motivational. You can get design ideas for your current residence and it’s fun to dream about your future together.
11. Cheer on a Local Sports Team.
Check to see if you have a minor league sports team in your area. Fans are fiercely loyal and you can get caught up in the energy and excitement. Minor league baseball tickets for instance, are inexpensive so you can splurge on a beer. Another option is cheering on your local college sports teams. Unless they are in Division I, you’ll probably get to watch for free. Since the games are student centric, concession prices will probably be more reasonable too.
12. Visit an Arcade.
Remember the video arcade games you loved as a kid? What about air hockey, skeeball, and miniature bowling? Find a local arcade house, buy a round of tokens for $10-$20 and make a date of playing your old favorites and new classics. Many have discount days so you save even more. Some even have on site restaurants where you can enjoy a beer or a glass of wine while you play. Larger chain arcades like Dave and Busters tend to be a little more expensive, but they offer discounts too which makes it a great option for cheap date ideas.
13. Pick Your Own.
Have a date at a pick your own fruit and vegetable farm and you’ll enjoy fresh air, beautiful scenery, and prices that are better than at your local supermarket. Best of all, because you pick it, you know it’s fresh. Bring it home and whip up something delicious using a technique you learned during your free cooking class date and enjoy with a glass of wine you purchased on your date at the winery.
14. Take a Leisurely Ride in a Pedal Boat.
Find a local park with a lake and take a pedal boat ride if it is available. It’s a tiny slice of romantic when done on a beautiful day.
15. Dance Like No One is Watching.
You might not go to the club, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for dancing. Classes like tango, ballroom, even hip hop, can be intimate experiences where knowing your partner will enable you to truly enjoy it. You may find free or low cost dance lessons in your local community events section. Sites like Groupon and Living Social are also a great way to obtain low cost dance lessons. So set a date and take a spin on the dance floor.
16. Bring Out Your Inner Artist.
Bring out your inner artist and have a few laughs. All this cheap date requires is a visit to the dollar store to purchase two drawing pads and some colored pencils. Go to your favorite hang out, find a spot to set up and get to sketching. Maybe you’ll draw each other. Stick figures are acceptable. In the mood to be a little messy? Get some fingerpaints. Enjoy great conversation and have a few laughs. Even if your sketches aren’t great, put them away to find another day. You’ll have fun reliving it when you do,
17. Linger Over a Cup of Coffee.
While on the run you may grab a cup of joe from your favorite coffee shop, but how often do you do it with your partner? How often do you sit, relax, talk and linger over that cup? Maybe it’s time you did. Add a pastry, find a comfy chair and just soak it in. Find one that offers live music or poetry slams for an additional perk. Get it? “Coffee?” “Perk?” Anyway…
18. Go Tubing.
Tubing is great because it’s a multi-seasonal cheap date idea, especially if you have your own tubes. In the warmer months find a river, pack a floating cooler and have a lazy day on the water. In the winter find your favorite hilly park and race down the hills for hours, followed by a hot cocoa.
19. Visit a Museum.
Many people forget about this tried and true classic. There’s something peaceful and meditative about sitting in front of a piece of art and contemplating its beauty and uniqueness. It’s also a fun and economical date because depending on your location there are so many types to choose from. How about a museum devoted to cars, stamps, hair, dolls, canal boats, different cultures and countless other topics? Exploring them means a lof of potentially affordable dates.
20. Check Your Local Calendar of Events.
The local community events calendar is probably one of the most underutilized resources available for free and low cost things to do. Everything from free swim, to tasting events, concerts in the park, historic home tours, parades and more can be found. The variety will keep you in unique dates all year long.
These are some of my favorite cheap date ideas. What about you? Let me know below..