Living the good life is all too often mistaken for living expensively. While there’s a certain thrill to shelling out money on experiences, there’s plenty of fun to be had for a low cost. Looking to shake up your next date night or expand your personal creativity? We’ve got you covered with a few of our favorite affordable activities.
Whether you prefer to spend your weekends with friends or solo, these are no-fail ways to add some excitement to your life.
Go exploring. Wherever you live, odds are that there’s someplace nearby—a neighborhood, landmark, or nature preserve—that you haven’t yet discovered. Whether it’s finally visiting the Empire State Building or perusing through a thrift shop, it’ll be worth it.
Volunteer. Regardless of your interests, there’s likely a way to use that passion to give back to your community. Donate your time to a local animal shelter or library—it can be a useful way to pick up a new skill as well.
Take a drop-in class. From Bikram yoga to ceramics to sushi-making, there’s a class somewhere nearby with your name on it.
Go roller skating. Trust us—it’s just as fun as you remember. Grab a group of friends and consider it your workout for the day.
Host a movie night. Invite your friends, make some popcorn, and put on your favorite double feature.
Be the bartender. Choose one classic cocktail and learn how to make it to perfection. Needless to say, this one pairs perfectly with our last suggestion.
Cook something new. Buying ingredients at the local farmers' market or seafood stand will save you plenty of money compared to dining out.
Take a hike. Research a local trail and get moving.
Read an entire book in two days. If this one sounds boring, you might not be choosing the right book. Opt for a graphic novel like Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons or a collection of short stories like Junot Díaz’s This Is How You Lose Her.
Head to a coffee shop. Bring your latest read or get to work on a project you’ve been meaning to wrap up.
Orchestrate a game night. You can opt for classic games, like Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit, or choose a modern iteration, like Cards Against Humanity.
Go on a low-cost shopping spree. Grab a couple of friends and hit up your favorite local vintage store.
Online shop like it’s a sport. Set your eBay searches to “Time: Ending Soonest,” then go on a mini treasure hunt—nothing over five minutes or $5.
Visit a museum. Whether your interest is in fine art, ice cream, or just about anything in between, odds are that there’s a museum for it.
Throw a listening party. Grab a handful of records (or your phone's playlist) and kick back to give them the attention they deserve.
Attend an outdoor concert. As the weather starts to warm up, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a live show outside.
Have a picnic. Because owning and using a picnic basket is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Bake a cake. No reason required. (Trust us—your taste buds will thank you.)
Write a letter. Whether it’s to your mom, your college roommate, or the author of your favorite book, it’s well worth rediscovering this lost art.
Visit an art opening. This cultural pastime is easy and free. The likely promise of free wine doesn’t hurt either.
Announce a spur-of-the-moment karaoke outing. Nothing says good, clean fun like a heartfelt rendition of Britney Spears’s “Lucky.”
Attend a lecture. Check your local college or university for interesting upcoming events.
Go on a wellness spree. The best things in life—meditation, yoga, and sunshine, just to name a few—really are free.
Play basketball. Or football, baseball, or curling—or whatever your local park will allow.
Visit an arcade. A number of cities offer vintage-style arcades (some even have full bars and live DJs) that will allow you relive your ’80s nostalgia for just a handful of quarters.
Go to an estate sale. To be fair, this one is only as cheap as you make it, but there are deals to be had.
Be an artist. Grab your paints, pencils, charcoals, or crayons and go somewhere that inspires you.
Visit an all-day spa. Perfect for solo or group outings, many all-day spas allow you access to pool and sauna areas for around $20 to $30.
Change up your fitness regimen. If you normally hike, then go for a bike ride. If you’re a daily runner, try mixing it up with a boxing class.
Go dancing. Whether salsa, hip-hop, or ballroom is your speed, find a spot and shake it up.
Now that you’ve figured out what to do this weekend, plan your next weekend's activities.