Yay, spring has sprung! Not that we had to endure too harsh of a winter (thanks El Nino!) but still, the arrival of spring is always met with relief and joy. Many of us break free of our sweaters and furnaces and long to be out in the world this time of year. If you’re read to mingle but you’re short on cash, or simply frugal, I’ve got five fun date ideas that won’t set you back.
#1. Walk through an arboretum or botanical garden
Most cities have free parks for residents, places to hike or walk, maybe green expanses for casual soccer games and frisbee throwing. But many places–especially those near colleges, universities or research institutions–also have arboretums and botanical gardens that are used for research purposes, as well as for public enjoyment. These areas are often free, though occasionally they charge a nominal fee (like $10 or less) for admission. These gardens are painstakingly maintained, and they change every few weeks depending on what’s blooming. They’re perfect for an economical date. Pick up your date, stop for to-go-coffee, then take your time strollin’ and romancin’.
#2. Enjoy a patio happy hour
It’s time to get your drink on in the great outdoors! Happy hour is a good time to explore your neighborhood’s patios, sidewalk cafes and rooftop bars. First, drinks and apps are discounted. Second, if it’s say, a Wednesday at 5pm, there’s good incentive to have two drinks, then leave it at that. Work the next day, you know? Good for the budget, the body, and a perfect opportunity to spend some time with your best guy or gal.
#3. Meet for a food truck lunch
Another workweek date that is easy on the pocketbook is especially convenient if you work in the same area as your love. Pick a food truck you both like (oftentimes food trucks keep customers posted on Twitter and other social media of where they’ll be each day), buy your grub, then sit outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. It’s like a picnic, only without the hassle of packing the food up, the basket, etc. (photo credit)
#4. Train for and Run a 5K
When you’re first dating someone, you’re likely having romantic dinners, frequently splitting a bottle of wine while watching Netflix…and probably skipping Saturday morning workouts in order to cuddle up to your new infatuation. We’ve all been there, ain’t nothing wrong with it. In the short term. Long term, it means compromising your health and physical well-being. Instead, sign up for a 5K, 10K or half marathon with your other half. Races vary in price depending on length (it’s typical for a 5K to cost $15-25 with preregistration), but the great thing about races is that each training session is a date on its own. So it’s really like shelling out $25 for several weeks or even months of built-in dates. When you complete the race, you can do something special to celebrate–like give each other massages for those sore muscles. Ooh la la!
#5. Play Mini Golf
Yes, it has the ultimate cheese factor–miniature golf. You probably played it on family vacations as a child, then again with your first steady in high school. The good news? It’s so cheesy, so old school, it’s come back around to being something people have nostalgia for, if not actually being cool again. It’s like handlebar mustaches, right? Kinda creepy, kinda great. And definitely inexpensive. Take advantage of warm spring evenings to play a few rounds with a date. Treat him or her to an ice cream cone afterwards. Wholesome and classic. (photo credit)
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