12 Cheap Date Night Ideas in Boston

Gillian Burdett
Jan. 13, 2014

Don't let money hold you back from a great evening out in Beantown.

For couples living in the Boston area, the high price tag that comes with a traditional date night can quickly put the brakes on any date plans. But it doesn't have to.

“Boston has such an amazing array of arts, entertainment and dining options that your ‘date night’ can be more than the usual dinner-and-a-movie combo.” says Mara Littman, Boston Herald “State of the Arts” columnist and founder of BostonDateNight.com.

Lisa DeCanio, writer for Boston-based food blog Just Add Cheese, agrees. "Boston is already a huge tourist destination,” says DeCanio, “full of history, culture and entertainment -- all of which inspire great date nights. Throw in Boston's burgeoning culinary scene, and there's really no better city to woo your boo.

Here are their suggestions for inexpensive date nights in Boston. So hire a babysitter and plan one for this weekend!

  1. Wally's Cafe in the South End
    This historic nightclub, established in 1947, features live jazz nightly until 1:30 a.m. and there's no cover charge. Littman's insider tip: To get a good seat, arrive by 9 p.m. Sets begin at 9:30.

  2. Cambridge Historical Tours
    Costumed guides bring the history of Cambridge and Harvard to life with these tours that begin in Harvard Square. For $15 each, you and your date can select one of several 90-minute tours, including a ghost tour. Look for costumed tour guides in The Pit (1400 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge).

  3. SOWa Artists Guild First Fridays Open Studios
    “South End is a super cool area of Boston,” shares Littman. The SoWa Artists Guild (450 Harrison Avenue) holds a free open studio the first Friday of each month. Partake in the art scene and chat with the artists. The studio is open to the public from 5–9 p.m.

  4. Wine Tastings
    Many wine tastings are free. “Some of the places also offer food," says Littman. Try these tasting rooms for a sip of the grape:

  5. Brewery Tours
    If suds are more your thing, DeCanio suggests you check out these tours:

    • Samuel Adams (30 Germania Street) tours are offered Monday through Saturday and last about one hour. You will learn about the patriot Samuel Adams and the brewing process while sampling the brewery’s products. The tour is free, but the Brewery suggests a $2 donation, which goes to charity.
    • Harpoon Brewery (306 Northern Avenue) offers tours seven days a week. The $5 charge includes beer tasting.
  6. Tazo Chocolate Factory Tour
    Learn about Tazo’s method for making organic dark chocolate. Tours of its Somerville factory are offered daily, last approximately 45 minutes and cost $5.

  7. Myers + Chang Cheap Date Night
    Both Littman and DeCanio recommend Cheap Date Night at Myers + Chang, a trendy restaurant with an Asian theme. Cheap Date Night is every Monday and Tuesday between 5 and 10 p.m. Five different menus are offered at a fixed price of $40 per couple.

    Oyster Oblivion is another Myers + Chang special. Every Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. and lasting until the restaurant runs out of oysters, diners can take advantage of $1 oysters (limit of 12 per customer).

  8. Mount Auburn Cemetery
    A cemetery might not be your first thought when brainstorming date ideas, but according to Littman, “The view from the top of Washington Tower is spectacular -- a panoramic perspective on Boston, Cambridge and beyond.” There is no admission charge and the historic cemetery has a visitor’s center, an interactive kiosk and an app for self-guided tours. Enjoy the gardens or seek out the graves of noted Bostonians.

  9. Institute of Contemporary Art
    On Thursday evenings from 5-9, admission is free. Littman notes there are beautiful views of Boston Harbor from the museum.

  10. Public Open Night at the Coit Observatory of Boston University
    Wednesday evenings (beginning at 7:30, in the fall and winter, and at 8:30, in the spring and summer) observe the night skies through telescopes and learn some astronomy through this free program (725 Commonwealth Avenue). This is a “weather permitting” activity, so call ahead if the skies are cloudy.

  11. Walk along the Harborwalk
    Pack a picnic, learn about Boston’s maritime history and enjoy nature along the Boston waterfront.

  12. Ice Skating at the Charles Hotel
    During the winter months, the Charles Hotel (One Bennett Street in Cambridge) opens its skating rink to the public. The cost is $5 for adults. Skate rentals are available for an additional $5.

Take advantage of one of these ideas to enjoy a great night out, while still being mindful of your budget.

What are you favorite date night ideas in the great city of Boston? Share them in the comment section below.

Gillian Burdett is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found here.

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