25 Amazing Super-Cheap (or Free) Date Ideas

by Jillian Finley

Dating on a budget? No problem. Cities are alive with a slew of low-cash options and fun excursions to keep you entertained on a shoestring budget.

Go to a Free Concert

Record stores and community centers are consistently flush with indie bands playing gigs for free. Some museums have recurring jazz nights. Check out your local paper and subscribe to weekly newsletters to stay abreast of cool happenings. 

Stroll Through a Museum

Many museums have one day a week where you can get in for free or with a small suggested donation. What could be more classic than a day spent taking in art and culture? Wander and explore to your heart’s content. 

Mingle at an Art Opening

Check your city’s listings for local galleries hosting events. Opening nights play host to free booze and killer people-watching. Dress to impress, and enjoy. 

Get a Buzz on a Brewery Tour

Take a tour of a winery or a local brewery. You’ll learn fun facts to prattle off at your next dinner party and will score some free drinks along the way. 

Visit a Community Theater

Summertime is the perfect season to take in a free community show. From Shakespeare in the Park to dinner theater, there is sure to be a host of comedies and dramas alike available. 

Have a Netflix Marathon

Forgo the theater, and binge on your favorite show together from the comfort of your home. Concessions are considerably more reasonable when purchased outside the multiplex.

Host a Game Night

Whether it’s playing a game of cards one-on-one or hosting friends for board games, you can’t go wrong with old classics like backgammon and new gems like Cards Against Humanity. 

Walk Your Local Dogs 

Your local humane society is in constant need of dog walkers. Volunteer to take a few pups around town for an afternoon. The dogs will be adorable, and it’s great exercise. Win, win.

Dance the Night Away

Kick up your heels to a live band at a dance hall. Odds are the cover charge and theme will vary depending on the day of the week, so plan ahead. 

Tour a Local Landmark

The hectic pace of city life often leaves residents little time for actual exploration. You’d be surprised home many “landmarks” longtime dwellers have never visited. Make a list of places in your city you’ve always wanted to see, and get cracking. 

Go Stargazing

Head to your local observatory for a star party, or simply drive outside city limits to stargaze. Download astronomy apps on your smartphone or pack a telescope for bonus points. 

Pack a Picnic

Even if you’re not an impressive chef, packing a masterful picnic is a simple affair. Wine, a cheese board, a simple salad or two, and voilà! Lunch alfresco is served. 

Volunteer in Your Community

Bond over a common social issue near to your heart. Sign up to devote your time to building homes for Habitat for Humanity or gardening in an urban farming project. Making a contribution as a couple is super sweet.  

Get In Some Laughs at a Comedy Club

Sense of humor is critical. Take in an improv or stand-up show. There’s usually a drink minimum, and depending on the venue, ticket prices may vary. 

Have a Listening Party

Pop into the record store and pick up a few used vinyl gems. Take them home for a spin over a bottle of wine. The exercise of making selections alone will be great conversation.  

Go on a Hike

Get outdoors and go for a scenic hike. If you’re looking for more conversation that actual exercise, opt for trails with a less steep incline or scenic overlook resting areas. 

Ride Bikes

If you don’t have your own, rent city bikes and glide around town. Stop off at your favorite landmarks or sentimental spots. It’s a great way to show off your neighborhood or explore together. 

Hit Up a Dive Bar

Skip the swank martini vibe, and hit up a local dive. Choose a place with pool tables or shuffleboard. Throw your favorite tunes on the jukebox and stay awhile. 

Shop the Flea Market

Cruise your local flea market for antiques and hidden gems. Combing the aisles together is a veritable walking tour of conversation pieces.

Roller-Skate the Day Away

Find out just how much your hand/eye coordination has declined since early youth. Roller rinks are a bargain. Pick up your favorite childhood candy on the way over for a real jolt to the past.  

Go for a Scenic Drive

Save up for a weekend getaway or simply get out of dodge for the day. A sunset cruise with the windows down offers a cool, romantic vibe ideal for showing off your Spotify playlist curation skills. 

Brave the Gun Range

There’s nothing like adrenaline and some healthy competition to create a spark. Take your paramour to the shooting range and fire off some rounds. Target practice is a challenge that requires ample precision and focus. 

Test Your Bowling Skills

The pastime is tailor-made for a chill evening of beer and conversation. While upscale alleys offer higher price points (and, to be fair, newer shoes), the old classics will still keep you entertained for very little cash.

Get Inspired at the Library

Get lost in the public library together. The architecture will be undoubtedly cool, and you can hunt around for your favorite works as you resist the urge to make out in the stacks.

Share Peanuts at a Baseball Game

If you don’t mind sitting in the cheap seats, you can score tickets as cheap as $5 to take in a day at the ballpark. Bring extra cash for hot dogs and beer. 

Have a favorite free date idea? Tell us in the comments below. 

Opening Image: Melanie Acevedo

Explore: dating, Ideas, budget, Love

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