Despite what you might think, dating doesn’t have to be all about expensive dinner dates and long nights out at the bar. It also doesn’t need to be expensive to spend time with your significant other. Instead, impress that special someone with one of our affordable yet fun date ideas.
1. Outdoor Picnic
Take in the fresh air and outdoor scenery with a nice picnic. Pack a cooler of your favorite foods, then head to the nearest park, beach, hilltop or grassy field.
2. Movie Night
Take a trip to the dollar store and pick up candy, popcorn and soda – all of the junk food that makes a movie that much better. Now you’re ready to get close on the couch and snack away while watching movies all night long.
3. Cook or Bake at Home
Cooking or baking is much more fun with a partner than by yourself. Choose something fun to make like homemade pizza or cookies, or go for something a little more challenging such as a foreign dish or an entire cake.
4. Go Bowling
Most bowling alleys spice up the game with black-light bowling and upbeat music. Be sure to look into any special game pricing offered on a certain night of the week, or food and drinks specials!
5. Go Roller or Ice Skating
Admission for roller and ice skating at your local rink is usually around $10, and $5 or less for skate rentals. If you own your own skates, even better! Around the holidays, look out for pop-up ice skating rinks in a city near you – many of them are free!
6. Go on a Bike Ride
Discover new places in town by bike seat. Make things even more exciting (and interesting) by renting a two-person tandem bike!
7. Rent a Canoe or Kayak
Enjoy the peaceful and serene waters of your local lake, river or marsh in a canoe or kayak.
8. Play Board Games
Relive your childhood by pulling those old board games down from the attic. Add some cocktails to the mix and the games will be anything but boring!
9. Visit Your Local Animal Shelter
Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to walk dogs or simply keep the animals company. Visit your local shelter and spend the day with some furry friends. Just be careful – you might end up taking one home!
10. Go to a Local High School Sporting Event
High school sporting events – especially football – are full of energy, entertainment and cheap snacks. Most high school sporting events have free admission, or require a very small admission fee that benefits the school.
11. Hop on a Train to Anywhere
Head to the train station and buy a ticket to anywhere that fits within your budget. When you reach your destination, get out and explore! Or, just sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery on the way there.
12. Pick Fruit
Find a local farm and go searching for fruit! In the summer, cherry or strawberry picking can be a blast. In the fall, apple and pumpkin picking is the thing to do. Afterward, you can bake something together with your fresh fruit.
13. Mini Golf
Mini golf is a whimsical game that always brings out the kid in everyone. Games are usually only a few bucks per person.
14. Go to the Arcade
Gather up your change and head to the arcade! Playing these classic games is a great idea for a date on a rainy day.
15. Attend Free Events in Your Town
Visit your local welcome center or search online for any free events happening in your town. During the summer months many towns host free outdoor concerts and festivals, and during the winter months many host holiday events.
16. Have a Beach Day
While some beaches require beach tags, there are many that are completely free to access. Have some fun in the sun with your loved one for free!
17. Go on a Hike
Embrace nature by hiking in a nearby park or wooded area. Pack your own food so you can sit down and enjoy your surroundings when lunchtime rolls around.
18. Relax at a Coffee Shop
Sometimes you just need to catch up with your significant other. Grab a cup of Joe and chat it up at a nearby cozy coffee shop.
19. Free Museum Night
Many larger museums offer at least one day a week where admission is free, and some smaller museums have free admission every day of the week.
20. Go to Open Houses
Check out some real estate websites to find upcoming open houses near you. Spend the day walking through these houses and chatting about your future dream home with your significant other.
21. Go to the Bookstore
Most bookstores have lounge areas that you are welcome to sit and stay in for awhile. Grab a pastry and some books and just sit next to each other while reading – a relaxing way to simply enjoy each others’ company.
22. Go Out for Ice Cream
Dining out can be pricey. Skip the dinner part and just go out for ice cream to save some money yet still get that feeling of eating out.
23. Have a Bonfire
Light up your bonfire pit and share stories over the flames. Some wine and s’mores complete the night.
24. Go Antiquing
Spend the day visiting nearby thrift stores and antique shops. You never know what treasures you might find! If you’re feeling creative, you can go ahead and restore an old piece of furniture or create something new.
25. Sit by the Pool
Spend your summer days sitting poolside together with drinks, music and some good books. Throw some burgers on the grill for a cheap yet delicious meal by the water.
26. Go Stargazing
On a mild, clear night, spread out a blanket and lay side by side looking up at the stars. For some guidance, download star finder apps like SkyView or Star Tracker.
27. Go to the Carnival
When the carnival’s in town, take your date out for a few spins on the Ferris wheel and some sweet cotton candy.
28. See a Drive-in Movie
Yes, there are still drive-in movie theaters out there. Fill up the tank, pack your own goodies and find a drive-in theater near you. Admission is typically much cheaper than a traditional movie theater.
29. Fly a Kite
On a windy day, buy cheap kites, find an open space and fly them. Hold a competition to see who’s kite can go the highest!
30. Work Out
For the fit couple, you might enjoy working out or taking a class together. Gym memberships can be expensive, but you can easily work out together for free at home, or go for a run in your neighborhood. Also be on the lookout for gyms offering trial classes at no charge that you and your significant other can try.
31. Sing Karaoke
You’re bound to find a karaoke night nearby at a local bar. Loosen up with a few drinks, then hit the stage for your moment of fame! If you’re feeling shy, sit back and watch the other singers for some lively entertainment.
32. Go on a Brewery or Winery Tour
Brewery and winery tours are typically free. Learn all about the brewing and winemaking processes, and take advantage of the free samples offered.
Get in touch with your creative sides! Choose a photo to recreate, paint it separately, then compare the finished products to see who’s is better. No hard feelings – it’s just for fun!
34. Take a Scenic Drive
Hop in the car and take a ride to enjoy the fall leaves or houses decked out for the holidays. If you don’t feel like chatting, blast that old CD mix you’ve had sitting in the car for years, or your best playlist from your phone.
35. Hold a Photoshoot
No need to have a professional camera for this one – your smartphone will do just fine. Spend the day taking photos of each other in different spots around town, then go back home and look through and edit your photos.
36. Go to the Zoo
A day at the zoo is always exciting, especially if the zoo has exotic animals. Admission can vary from free to $15 per person. The food inside the zoo can be a bit pricey, so be sure to pack your own lunches. Also avoid the gift shops – they are full of overpriced souvenirs.
37. Check Groupon
If all else fails, Groupon offers great deals on tons of adventures appropriate for couples, such as cooking classes, rock climbing, massages, food tours and more. Plus, Groupon can show you the best deals happening right around your town.