If you’re looking to plan a romantic date night for a special occasion but don’t want to break the bank, you’ve come to the right place! Below, you’ll find a list of unique and creative date ideas for couples, and it has something for just about anyone. There are outdoor and indoor date ideas, opportunities to relax and cuddle, and options for those who like a little more adventure. Try one of these or try and plan each of them over the next year!
Budget-Friendly Date Ideas From an Awesome Interactive Book
One easy way to keep your dates interesting is to grab a copy of Adventures from Scratch: Date Edition. It contains over 50 date ideas that you can uncover together, one at a time. A handy key provides clues as to what you might need to wear or how much money to bring, but you won’t know exactly what you’re doing until you scratch the page and reveal it—like a lottery ticket! This book offers a fun way to change things up and experience new things together as a couple.
30 Affordable and Fun Date Ideas for Couples
Let’s face it—romantic getaways and common dating activities can be very expensive. The good news is that there are many ways to connect with your partner and have a wonderful time without spending hundreds of dollars. Time together and the memories you’ll make are what matter. Even if you have just a couple of dollars to spend, you can plan a wonderful surprise for your partner.
1. Go On a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts aren’t just for kids! ScavengerHunt.com offers app-led city hunts and in-home adventures that are exciting, memorable, and easy on the wallet. Take a road trip and explore a city, rediscover a familiar town, or turn your home into our hunting ground—whatever you choose, you’re sure to have a blast!
If you enjoy yourselves, consider an annual pass so you can try unique experiences whenever the mood strikes! With sightseeing tours, art walks, ghost hunts, and pub crawls in more than 400 cities around the globe, you won’t run out of date ideas. You could even invite friends along for a group date, and get them in on the competition.
2. Set Up a Board Game Night at Home
A little friendly competition is great for date nights. Board games are great for those on a budget because you probably have some at home already. Otherwise, you can pick up a new one to try at a local game or toy store. Even a deck of cards will work because there are dozens of two-player games that only require a 52-card deck.
Some of the classic two-player games include Monopoly, Scrabble, Risk, Sequence, The Game of Life, and Battleship. Put together a good playlist and settle in for some intense gameplay. This is also a great option for a recurring date night. Keep track of your scores and add them up over time. You’ll have fun building off each additional game night.
3. Do Some Stargazing
There’s something pretty romantic about spending some time curled up looking at the stars in the night sky. This is a great date night when there are clear skies and it’s not too cold outside. Download the free Night Sky app that will help you identify constellations, stars, and planets. You could even pair this with a trip to a planetarium or use that as an alternative if the skies aren’t clear.
4. Catch a Movie
Movies are a classic date night activity. Check the local listings and see what’s playing at your local theater. Usually, you’ll have a lot of the newest releases to choose from. Some theaters also do some throwback movies from decades past where you can watch classic favorites in the theater.
Another fun option for date nights is the drive-in. There aren’t very many left in the United States, but if you have one near you, it would make a great date night. You pull your car into a parking spot and lounge in your comfortable seats (bonus points if you have a pickup truck with blankets and pillows in the truck bed).
5. Peruse the Farmer’s Market on a Weekend Morning
The farmer’s market has a collection of local farmers selling produce, eggs, and meat. Get some of your groceries and help support these local businesses. In addition to produce and food, many markets also offer a collection of local artisans and creators. Sometimes, there is live music or performers, so you can hang out for a while and snack on the goods you purchased. Sometimes the best dates are simple and don’t require any dress-up. Make a weekly chore into a fun day date.
6. Take a Horseback Riding Lesson
Horseback riding is a fun and creative date idea because it will get both of you out of your comfort zone a little (unless you grew up riding horses). You can sign up for a lesson or guided ride that is perfect for beginners. You’ll learn all the basic information about how to get in the saddle and how to guide your horse along a trail. It’s a great way to connect with animals and get outside for some fresh air and exercise. Plus, you’ll be able to bond over a shared experience that is unique.
7. Enjoy an Afternoon Wine Tasting
Check out where the nearest winery or vineyard is and plan an afternoon visit there together. Most places will offer a tasting for a low price or even for free if you purchase a bottle. You’ll learn about the varietals and maybe even get a little background of the vineyard itself. By tasting the wine in advance, you can select a bottle that you both like to enjoy later as well.
Most of the wineries have snacks you can purchase or allow you to bring in your own. Enjoy the views of the grapevines and spend the afternoon chatting over a chilled glass of white or red.
8. Dream About Winning the Lottery
This might seem like a strange date idea, but you can walk to a local gas station (or drive to one more remote for a fun outing) and pick up a lottery ticket together. Spend your time together dreaming up all the ways you would spend that money if you won. Make a bucket list of places you want to travel to and all the fancy restaurants you want to have dinner dates at. The odds are so unlikely, but it’s just a great conversation topic and who knows, maybe you’ll grab the lucky ticket.
9. Have Picnic in the Park
A picnic may seem a little old-fashioned, but it’s a wonderful date idea because it combines a meal with a beautiful outdoor setting and you can use things you already have at home to put it together.
You can stick with the traditional sandwiches and small snacks, or make a little cheese board and include a bottle of wine or champagne in the basket to enjoy. Use a blanket or pack some chairs and include any utensils, dishes, and napkins you might need.
Head to a local park or lakefront area and put out your blanket and spend a few hours enjoying some fresh air, good conversation, and snacks and drinks. You can bring a deck of cards or books to read while relaxing. Dates don’t always have to be two people staring into each other’s eyes and having deep conversations. Just enjoy the time spent with one another.
10. Get a Workout with Rock Climbing
Want to test the trust with your significant other? String each other up and climb a wall with your partner being your safety line. Rock climbing gyms are located all over the place and many of them have a great discount for your first visit. It starts with a safety briefing and afterward, you’ll be able to start scaling the colorful pegs in the wall. You’ll be working muscles that you didn’t even realize you had, but it’s a fun way to work out and spend time with your partner.
11. Race Against Each Other in Go-Karts
It’s easy to find small outdoor amusement parks that have a go-kart track and a mini-golf course. Some even have a batting cage or an arcade. These are great places for a cheap date night because you can try new things together and relive some of your favorite childhood activities. You might be surprised how fun it can be to have a little competition between the two of you.
12. Browse Some Garage Sales
Saturdays are perfect days to head out and browse some garage sales and estate sales. You can find all kinds of treasures if you take your time and exercise some patience. People sell everything from furniture to old records to gently used sports equipment. Many neighborhoods even organize sales so you can hop from house to house and check out multiple sales in one visit.
Estate sales are another great option where people are selling an entire house full of belongings. Shop together and find something that you can fix up older furniture pieces with some DIY to make it a full-day activity.
13. Battle It Out in Video Games at Home
One of the easiest at-home date night ideas is to pull out the video game system and play a couple of games. You might like racing games, like Mario Kart, or something classic and a little more retro like Pac-Man. Most video game systems allow you to download games now in just a few clicks, so you can revisit a fun activity from childhood and see if you still remember all the cheat codes and special moves in games.
14. Try a New Fitness Class Together
Have you been driving past a yoga studio or rowing spot that you’ve been wanting to try? Most studios offer an introductory class for a steep discount (sometimes even free.) Consider inviting your significant other on a date where you’ll both get to try something new. Whether it’s a yoga class or something intense like kickboxing, it will be fun to work up a sweat.
To find out class schedules, head to the gym’s website and you can usually get information about first-time discounts and promotions. Pack your gym bag and have fun learning something new together. You might even find something you want to return to over and over with each other to make it part of your weekly routine. You’ll both enjoy the endorphins of exercise together.
15. Explore a New Hiking Trail
Hiking is a free activity and the only thing you might have to purchase is a parking pass. The good news is that there are plenty of parks that have free parking and easy access so you’ll have options. You don’t need any special equipment or supplies unless you are climbing rocks or getting into something more advanced.
Grab your tennis shoes and pack a few snacks and some water and get out into nature. You can use an app, like AllTrails, to find the best hikes near you. These tools will give you an idea of distance, elevation gain, and you can even read some reviews from previous hikers to learn about trail conditions and any possible issues or closures.
16. Find a New Food Truck to Try
Food trucks have become popular in most cities around the United States. With kitchens on board, these trucks make it easier for chefs to get their food to more people and have less of an investment at the beginning. The meals typically cost less than a restaurant experience and you’re still able to enjoy a meal prepared by someone else.
A quick google search will give you a list of some of the most popular food trucks in your city. Once you narrow down the list to a couple that look enticing, just find their accounts on social media. Most food trucks move around each day, but it’s pretty easy to find out where they are going to be. They are often set up near city parks or breweries, so track them down and enjoy an incredible meal.
17. Visit the Library
Libraries are one of the best free community spaces. With shelves of books covering all types of topics, you can take advantage of this for a cheap date. Take your partner to the library and browse the shelves. Find a topic that interests you both, like travel books or cookbooks, and pour over books together and share things you’re learning or places you want to visit together in the future. Maybe you can plan a little getaway based on the research that you’ve done.
You can also choose a book that you both want to read and check out two copies and snuggle in for a reading date together. You can chat about the book as you read it and see if your thoughts are aligned. Compare your thoughts and opinions on characters or events in the story.
18. Compete Against Others in a Trivia Night
Bars and restaurants have started hosting regular weekly trivia events that are usually free to sign up for. If you win, you might get a free drink or a small prize. Order a happy hour drink and appetizer and get your thinking caps on to compete for first place. You can find special trivia events that focus on one particular topic like sports, Harry Potter, or history, but many of them are just general and have a huge variety of topics. You’ll be able to work together and compete against others for a fun night.
19. Help Out at an Animal Shelter
Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to help walk the pups and play with the cats. Call the shelter in your area to see when they need people to help out and make it a date. It’s a great way to spend time with animals, give back, and do something unique and free together. Are you considering adopting a pet in the future? This is a great way to see how your date is with animals and you might even fall in love with one in particular and decide to adopt together.
20. Enjoy an Ice Skating Date
In the winter months, it can be hard to find fun date ideas that don’t cost a lot and allow you to hang out outside. Ice skating is a great option. Most rinks have skates you can rent if you don’t have your own. Spend an hour or so circling the rink together and practicing your skating skills. Even if you’ve never skated before, it’s easy to pick up and fun to do. Finish with some hot cocoa to warm up.
21. Go Out for Ice Cream
A classic date idea is sharing a malt or a banana split. Find a new ice cream spot in your neighborhood for your next date night. It’s best enjoyed on a warm summer evening. Some ice cream shops have flights or samplers so you can try multiple flavors. Share a sundae or get your own, but sit down and take your time enjoying your company.
Add this stop to a bike ride to cool down and give your legs a break. If you’re feeling super ambitious, you get bonus points if you map out a few ice cream shops and make an entire day out of biking between them and sampling a few spots.
22. Skip the Spa and DIY Your Own
A trip to the spa is a great romantic date idea, but it can get really expensive to pay for a couple’s massage or spa services. Instead, get the supplies you need to set up an at-home spa. Take turns giving each other massages. Pick up some face masks to do while relaxing together. You can make it as simple or fancy as you want using candles, essential oils, lotions, and other skincare essentials. Just enjoy time pampering each other.
23. Get Your Laughs at a Comedy Show
Everyone loves laughing, so plan a date night at a comedy club for something a little different. Most places have a variety of performers. The ticket prices are usually very affordable and you just need to order one or two drinks while you’re there, so it can be a great cheap date night that will keep you giggling for hours.
24. Learn Something New at a Cooking Class
Many local co-op grocery stores and community centers offer cooking classes for a very reasonable price. Sign up to go together and learn how to make a new meal together. It’s fun to work together in the kitchen and maybe you’ll have a new specialty that you can cook together in the future. Find a cuisine that you haven’t tried before or a dish that seems intimidating and learn how to do it together.
25. Sing Karaoke Together
Let your guard down a little and find a spot that has karaoke to enjoy. It’s fun to watch, fun to participate in, and would make a great date night activity. There are usually two options—a bar that has a public karaoke night each week or a karaoke spot where you get your own private room to sing your hearts out. The latter makes it extra fun because you don’t have to wait your turn and you don’t have to be nervous about performing in front of a bunch of strangers. Either way, grab a round of cheap drinks and put on a show.
26. Try a New Brunch Spot or Coffee Shop
Most people think of romantic dates in the evenings over a candlelit dinner and drinks, but mornings have some great options as well. Take your partner to a new brunch spot for a nice, slow weekend morning meal. The prices are usually less than a dinner menu. Make it a double date and invite friends.
Coffee shops are another great morning date option. Try a new latte flavor and share some pastries while chatting. Do the crossword in the newspaper together, or play a card game while hanging out and enjoying your morning.
27. Pick Up Some New Moves at a Dance Class
Dance classes are a romantic and fun date night idea. You can find everything from ballroom dancing to hip-hop classes, so talk to your partner and decide what would be the most fun for you two to do together. Usually, these classes take place over a few weeks so you’ll be able to repeat the activity a few times, but in the end, you’ll have some new skills you can show off on wedding dance floors and other gatherings in the future.
28. Rent Boats and Go Kayaking
Do you have a lake or river near you? Chances are, there is a spot where you can rent kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards, and get out on the water. You can pack some simple snacks and make an entire afternoon of this. Once you’re on the water, you can relax and enjoy the sunshine or you can paddle hard and explore new areas. This is a great outdoor activity that is perfect for a date.
29. Plan a Netflix Binge Session
Is there a show you both love watching? Plan a lazy day where you can hang out in your pajamas, eat snacks, and watch a bunch of episodes in a row while snuggling on the couch. Whether it’s an intense true-crime series or a comedy, it’s fun to plan for a day where you don’t need to do much and you can just veg out and relax.
30. Step Back in Time at the Roller Rink
Have you been roller skating in the last decade? It’s been making a comeback in the last year or so in popularity, so get on board. Make a fun playlist filled with classic 70s tunes and hit the boardwalk or spot in your city where you can cruise along and practice your roller skating moves. The roller rink is another popular spot where you can just cruise around in a loop like ice skating.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many fun things you can do on a first date without breaking the bank! Pack a picnic lunch, take a bike ride, go for a hike, or try anything on this list of affordable date ideas for couples.
Budget-friendly date ideas for couples include a fun evening at the roller rink, a DIY spa day, or a picnic. Use things you already have and get creative to make it even more personal and special.