101 cheap date night ideas

Feb. 10, 2020

Remember date night before kids? It used to be so easy, and now it all seems like a distant memory. The good news is that you can always bring date nights back into your routine. The key is to establish a particular day for your date night — whether it's on a weekly or monthly basis — and stick to it. They don't have to be expensive either.  Here's proof! 

We put together 101 unique and affordable date ideas and activities to get you started. You can even do some of these date nights at home while your kids are sleeping!

Active & sporty date ideas

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1. Get in touch with your inner kids and play on a playground. They're not just for kids!

2. Go for a run together.

3. Have an alphabet scavenger hunt. Challenge yourselves to kiss in front of an item that starts with each letter of the alphabet.

4. Head to the basketball court and play a game of HORSE or 1-on-1.

5. Bowl a game or two.

6. Cheer on the high school sports team.

7. Find some discount coupons or online offers to try out free martial arts or exercise classes.

8. Get in a round or two of mini golf.

9. Hit some balls at a local driving range or batting cage.

10. Play racquetball or tennis.

11. Ride bicycles.

12. Roller skate around your neighborhood or in a local park.

13. Stroll through a college campus.

14. Swim a few laps together at your local community pool.

15. Take a dance class. Chances are good that there are a few low-cost lesson options in your area.

16. Throw the Frisbee around in a nearby park.

17. Try out a yoga class at a local studio. Sometimes, yoga studios give discounted rates for classes taught by instructors-in-training.

18. Volunteer together.

19. Watch planes take off and land at the airport.

Arts & culture-related date ideas

Arts and Culture Date Night Ideas
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20. See a movie at a drive-in theater.

21. Browse the stacks at the bookstore or library.

22. Check out free or low-cost museums. Small-town museums often have low admission rates, while larger city institutions often have free or pay-what-you-wish hours. Some museums even have "free nights" that just ask for donations!

23. Do some people-watching at a local carnival or town festival.

24. Enroll in a class together. Usually, you can find reasonably priced programs through your community college, parks and recreation department or community center.

25. Find a poetry reading in your area, whether it's at a coffee shop or community center. Maybe consider reading one of your own compositions, too!

26. Go to a local record or music store and browse the shelves for new genres or musicians you haven't heard before. If they allow you to listen to certain CDs, have at it!

27. Listen to a concert by your community band or orchestra.

28. Attend a free concert in the park.

29. Sing in a karaoke bar.

30. Sit in on a presentation or lecture at your local library.

31. Stroll through a local art fair or show.

32. Take in a play or musical performance at your local high school or college.

33. Test your smarts at a trivia night. 

34. Visit a historic site in your area. Admission is usually inexpensive.

Food & drink-related date ideas

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35. Browse the farmer's market — and don't be shy about trying the samples they put out!

36. Conduct a taste test with goodies from a few local bakeries.

37. Get a scoop of ice cream at a nearby scoop shop.

38. Go out for breakfast or brunch at a restaurant you've been meaning to try.

39. Grab coffee at your favorite coffee shop.

40. Head out to happy hour for a drink, and maybe even make a meal of appetizers while you're at it. 

41. Look up lunch-hour specials at restaurants in your area and pick a spot to have a lunch date.

42. Pick up your favorite pizza and eat it in the park.

43. Take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free meal coupons for local restaurants. Keep an eye out for deals like these in the newspaper or on social media and online deals sites.

44. Participate in wine or beer tastings at a local winery or brewery.

Home improvement-related date ideas

Home Improvement Date Night Ideas
Image via Unsplash.com/clemono2

45. Browse a home-improvement store and brainstorm some renovations you'd like to do in the next year or two.

46. Get some inspiration from your home improvement projects by checking out houses in ritzy parts of town.

47. Scope out new home furnishing possibilities at different furniture and home goods stores.

48. Take a peek at homes in your community during real estate open houses.

49. Walk through a garden center or arboretum to get ideas for your own landscaping or garden.

50. Wander through an antique store and come up with backstories for some of the more interesting treasures you find.

Nature-related date ideas

Nature Date Night IDeas
Image via Unsplash.com/spring_fed_images

51. Attend any "free days/nights" that are offered by your local zoo or aquarium.

52. Buy or make cheap kites and go fly them in the park.

53. Camp at a state park, which often has lower fees than a privately owned facility.

54. Check out the wildlife at a park or wildlife refuge in your area.

55. Collect shells at the beach.

56. Feed ducks at the pond.

57. Go fishing, whether it's at a lake or in the ocean.

58. Go for a scenic drive.

59. Hike the trails at a nature preserve.

60. Participate in a local astronomy club's stargazing event.

61. Pick your own apples or berries at a nearby orchard or berry farm.

62. Play with the puppies and kittens at your local animal shelter.

63. Rent a canoe and paddle around for the day.

64. Research birds in your area and go bird-watching.

65. Take a walk in the local park or botanical gardens. 

66. Try your hand at geocaching.

67. Watch the sunset. This can be done from the beach, the hood of your car or your own front porch.

Shopping-related date ideas

Shopping Related Date Night Ideas
Image via Unsplash.com/el9th

68. Browse a secondhand store for new-to-you treasures.

69. Drop by any local estate sales in your area.

70. Go fantasy car shopping. Browse the lots and dream about which ones you'd like to own. Maybe even take one for a test drive!

71. Hit up a used book sale.

72. Stop by the mall for some window shopping. Treat yourselves to a soft pretzel or a giant cookie as you stroll through.

73. Stroll through your local flea market, and keep your eyes peeled for great deals!

74. Walk through your downtown area and browse the boutiques.

‘Stay at home’ date ideas

Stay at home Date Night Ideas
Image via Unsplash.com/insolitus

75. Bake each other's favorite types of baked goods.

76. Challenge each other to a video game competition.

77. Cook a special dinner together after the kids go to bed. Dress up and maybe even bring out the china.

78. Make chocolate fondue — dip strawberries, marshmallows and pretzels.

79. Do crosswords or other types of brain puzzles.

80. Draw pictures of each other. Stick figures are allowed!

81. Eat takeout by candlelight.

82. Ever play the game Name 5? Take turns calling out categories and seeing if the person can name five things that fit (five Tom Hanks movies, five pizzas topics, etc.)

83. Go camping in your own backyard.

84. Grill a pizza in your backyard.

85. Have your own little spa night, complete with bubble bath, foot massages and whatever else your ideal spa treatment would include.

86. Hunker down for an epic movie marathon.

87. Listen to a new podcast together.

88. Look through travel brochures and plan your next vacation.

89. Invite friends over for a game night.

90. Make a fancy popcorn recipe and eat it while you watch a movie.

91. Play a favorite card or board game, or maybe try a new one!

92. Put together a time capsule that you can bury in your backyard.

93. Read aloud to each other from a book or magazine.

94. Binge-watch as many episodes of a new TV show as you can in one night.

95. Roast marshmallows around a backyard fire pit.

96. Set up an indoor picnic. 

97. Snuggle in a backyard hammock.

98. Take a trip down memory lane together by looking through your old yearbooks.

99. Try your hand at Google Roulette. Just plug random words into a search engine and pick an activity from the results. 

100. Visit a hobby store to pick out supplies for a project you can work on together, like a vacation scrapbook or a model car.

101. Watch your wedding video.

Don't let a lack of funds hamper your dating creativity! No matter your budget, you and your partner can enjoy fun, romantic, relationship-building times together.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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