Don't worry if you can't blow out the bank, you can still create a jaw-dropping evening for your partner. Here are a few ideas to spark your date night imagination, even if your wallet is a little light. Get closer, so you can go further.
1. The Bike Date
Create some fancy edibles and ride bikes to a secluded location where the two of you can share some sparkling wine. Here's a recipe for homemade sushi. You should be able to get Bike Rentals for as low as $30 for the whole day! And grab a bottle of Korbel, the best cheap champagne there is. There's nothing like a secluded picnic and some beautiful scenery to create a romantic atmosphere.
Image by Cea./Creative Commons (Bicycle), Amanda Slater/Creative Commons (Picnic Eggs Florentine), laurenbeth93/Creative Commons (Champagne), Chloe Lim/Creative Commons (Korean Sushi), Kevin Eldon/Creative Commons (Picnic Tablecloth)
2. The Camping Date
You don't even need to travel very far. Find some ground to post up, build a fire, and roast some s'mores. Bring some cheap binoculars to bird-watch! It's easy to find camp grounds all across the country, and you can even rent a tent for cheaper than buying one. Don't forget your s'mores ingredients. When it's dark, the two of you can retreat to the tent.
Image by Henry Burrows/Creative Commons (Tent), Sam Howzit/Creative Commons (Campfire), Kim Love/Creative Commons (S'mores), Minnesota Historical Society/Creative Commons (Binoculars)
3. Cook Together
Cooking together is one of the most romantic activities at your disposal. Take a trip to the local farmers market and just buy whatever the two of you like -- most markets are fairly cheap when compared to local grocery stores (and more interesting). Then, take it all home and try and turn it into a delicious dinner. Finding a farmer's market near you is very easy. Supercook lets you add random ingredients and turn it into a meal. For drinks, be spontaneous and let Drinkify tell you what goes with your music.
Image by msabcmom/Creative Commons (Cheese), Natalie Maynor/Creative Commons (Peppers/Cucumbers/Potatoes), SMcGarnigle/Creative Commons (Green Beans), ConstructionDealMkting/Creative Commons (Candles), Carissa Rogers/Creative Commons (Pan On Stove)
4. The City Exploration Date
Take any local public transportation to the end of the line, preferably to a neighborhood the two of you have never explored together. Walk around, take in the sites, and sample some of the local cuisine! If you don't have public transportation, or want to use a different randomizer, use a random point generator to plan a spontaneous trip. After a long day of shared exploring and experiences, you'll feel infinitely closer to your partner.
Image by The Eyes Of New York/Creative Commons (Subway), Peter Blanchard/Creative Commons (Walking Sign), Global Jet/Creative Commons (Nathan's Sign), mjtmail (tiggy)/Creative Commons (Ferris Wheel), TheCulinaryGeek/Creative Commons (Hot Dog)
5. The Drive-In Movie
Get some gourmet popcorn, organic soda, and candy beforehand. The two of you can enjoy the movie together without shelling out major bucks for normal movie concessions. Drive-ins.com may look antiquated but it's still the best source for finding a drive-in theater near you. You can buy three Gourmet popcorns for the price of almost one in a store, and soda and candy are also pretty cheap when purchased outside of the major theaters. And you get the added bonus of privacy. Use it wisely.
Image by John Verive/Creative Commons (Candy), Pete Markham/Creative Commons (Steering Wheel), Emily Meeks/Creative Commons (Popcorn), Katherine McAdoo/Creative Commons (Soda)
6. The Paris Date
Fresh Baguette ~$2.50. Assorted Imported Cheeses ~$15. French Wine ~$15. French Move rental ~free on Netflix, and if you don't have it you can use a free subscription. You've got to admit, $32.50 is a hell of a lot cheaper than plane tickets. And you won't get lost on the way back to your bed.
Image by cogito ergo imago/Creative Commons (Poster), Jules Morgan/Creative Commons (Cheese), PublicDomainPictures/Creative Commons (Beret), lmnop88a/Creative Commons (Wine), Rebecca Siegel/Creative Commons (Baguette), Wikimedia (Eiffel Tower)
7. The Stay-cation Date
You don't need to travel to an exotic location to make it feel like you're on a romantic vacation. Pick a nearby hotel (bid on one for a super low price) and bring a few essentials — wine and some homemade sweets -- and don't forget to make it feel like a couple's vacation in every sense.
Image by Dan Taylor/Creative Commons (Tub), pure.sugar/Creative Commons (Strawberries), Robin Parker/Creative Commons (Soap), Dan Taylor/Creative Commons (Hotel Sign), Arthur Brant/Creative Commons (Wine)
8. The Sample Date
There's a ton of stuff at the mall you can do for free. Grab free samples, try on clothes, and don't forget to pay a visit to the puppy store. TOTAL COST = a few dollars on gas! You could also skip the mall and use Kapture to get free stuff by taking random photos all over your city. Plus you get the added bonus of going on a random adventure. Cap the night off with some other things the two of you can do for free.
Image by Melinda Josie/Creative Commons (Puppy Store), Bob Doran/Creative Commons (Cookies), Marcin Wichary/Creative Commons (Massage Chair), Roberto Verzo/Creative Commons (Mall), jbcurio/Creative Commons (Popcorn)
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