Cheap Date Night Ideas

Hey guys! Hope you all had a spectacular weekend!

Today I wanted to talk about some fun, inexpensive date night ideas! We all know that "dating" your partner is super important, especially when you have kids. I mean honestly, sometimes I just want a date night so that I can have an uninterrupted conversation with an adult foronceinmylife. But that's besides the point. 

While I absolutely love getting dressed up and going to dinner, etc., it's pretty rare that we actually have the budget for that. So I wanted to give you some ideas for different types of dates that you can do either for free or on a low budget ($50 at most). A few of these are also on my summer bucket list that I posted last week, so they are also good for families. BUT even "family" activities can be romantic when it's just the two of you.

Scroll on down and find something fun for this weekend! I've included some local suggestions for those of you who are also in Austin, as well, so be sure to let me know if you try them out!


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Go Outside

  • Go for a hike or walk
    We love Austin for its amazing location in hill country, yet we rarely get out to experience nature in person. Taking the time to stroll along a path is a great way to connect with your partner, and get a little exercise while you do it. We've been wanting to hike Mount Bonnell, and Zilker Park is so beautiful for taking a casual stroll.
  • Visit a botanical garden
    I mean, if nothing, just go for the Instagram factor. Here in Austin, I have been wanting to visit the Zilker Botanical Garden. We also LOVE Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, which has 21 acres full of walking trails, as well as a peafowl sanctuary where you can mingle with the beautiful peacocks that roam in the open.
  • Go camping
    You can do this at any local campground, or, if you're feeling a little lazy, just pitch a tent in the backyard! Campfire and s'mores are mandatory, though. We did this with the kids this weekend and had a blast.
    P.S.: speaking of s'mores, have you tried them with peanut butter cups instead of chocolate? Holy shit, guys. It's amazing.
  • Stand-Up Paddle Boarding or Kayaking
    This is something that has been on my bucket list forever. There are rental places all around Lady Bird Lake, and even some at Lake Travis and Lake Georgetown. Most places offer an hour rental for less than $30 (for a tandem kayak or paddle board).
  • Visit a waterpark
    This can be pricey depending on how you do it, but you can almost always save money if you purchase "choose-your-day" tickets online. In the Austin area, Typhoon Texas in Pflugerfille offers tickets at around $25 depending on the day. If you're not worried about budget, Schlitterban in New Braunfels is the place to go, but expect to pay around $55 per person.

Fill Your Belly

  • Go out for ice cream or dessert instead of dinner
    This is even more fun if you go to a retro-style diner (Grease, anyone?). I've heard really good things about P. Terry's here in Austin, and Hubby and I love Hat Creek - not retro, but they have some excellent milkshakes. I've also been DYING to try Prohibition Creamery for their boozy shakes.
  • Visit a Farmers' Market
    I love going to farmers' markets simply for the fresh baked goods and condiments, not to mention all the fresh produce and meat. In Austin, the SFC Markets are great if you're closer to downtown. If you're further north, I've heard really good things about the Texas Farmers' Market at Lakeline.
  • Cook a fancy meal together
    Complete with a fancy table setting, candles, and good music. Or if you're not great at cooking, grab a Groupon for a cooking class!
  • Experiment with cocktail-crafting
    This is obviously best if you already have some sort of basic bar setup so that you don't have to purchase too much in the way of supplies. That being said, SaloonBox is a monthly subscription service that hand-selectsdifferent specialty spirits for a custom-crafted cocktail for you to try. I cannot wait to subscribe!
  • Go for a picnic
    Eddie and I used to do this a lot when we were first dating. I would bring him my chicken salad sandwiches and we'd eat at the park for his lunch break. Miss those days!

Kick it Old-School

  • Do a puzzle together
    This sounds a little cheesy, but we love to work on puzzles together. There's just something about completing a project together that seems like you're bonding that much more.
  • Put around at mini golf
    This was one of me and Hubs' first dates! I don't think there's a single person on this earth that's actually really good at mini golf, so it's nice to do an activity where you can both laugh. Locally, I've heard that Peter Pan Mini Golf is fun (and super weird). Duke's Adventure Golf also looks really fun, and has good reviews.
  • Go bowling
    Even if you're terrible at bowling, it's fun. It might even be more fun when you're terrible. Add a few beers into the mix and you've got yourself an awesome time! If you want to kick it up a notch with some great food and cocktails, Punch Bowl Social is a great option which has been on my wishlist forever. They have bowling as well as a few of the other old-school games on this list.
  • Hit up a dive bar and play pool or darts
    I'm not normally a competitive person, but I looooove pool, and will talk shit all day when I play with the boys. Naturally, whooping Hubby's butt is a blast!
  • Play laser tag
    This was one of my favorite things to do when I was younger, and I still love it! Even though you'll probably be the oldest people in the arena, it's still fun to run around and hide behind corners and blast the crap out of people. Or is it just me? Regardless, Main Event supposedly has a multi-level space that sounds awesome, and they have several locations nationwide. They also have bowling, an arcade, and some great dining options.
  • Check out an arcade
    Nickel arcades are really fun if you are on a very limited budget. Unfortunately, I haven't found one in the Austin area 😔 However, we love Pinballz Arcade for their great selection of old-school games (including a giant Pac-Man). Kung Fu Saloon is also a pretty sweet bar/arcade if you find yourself downtown.
  • Go roller skating or ice skating
    What's more romantic for a winter date than wobbling around the ice rink and grabbing a cup of hot cocoa afterwards? I can't think of a single thing. Or going for a slow skate to an R&B song in a smelly roller rink? Ahhhh, the memories! Playland Skate Center looks really cool if you're in Austin, and Chaparral Ice has a great ice rink.

Get Artsy

  • Visit a museum
    Many museums have days with free admission, and even if you pay, it's usually pretty affordable. Hubby and I love checking out The Blanton on occasion, and I've been dying to go back since they finished installing Ellsworth Kelly's "Austin."
  • Attend a free concert in the park
    Many cities have these during the summertime, and it's a great way to get in some live music and outdoors time. In Austin, Blues on the Green is probably the most widely known with the best acts.
  • Have a themed movie night
    Grab some popcorn, theater candy, and go the whole nine yards. Then pick a theme like black-and-white classics, low-budget sci-fi's, rom-coms, etc. and get to it!
  • Visit a bookstore together
    We love going to Barnes & Noble and just getting lost for awhile. Grab some books, then sit down in the cafe together and peruse your selections; you can either quietly discuss, or just read! We sometimes just like to sit quietly and enjoy each other's presence.
    If you're in Austin, Book People is a great store to check out, and they have signings and even readings on a regular basis. P.S.: They're having a Harry Potter 20th anniversary celebration on July 31st, so if you're a Potterhead, you should definitely go. Duhhhh.

Be Different

  • Do a thrift store style challenge
    Have you heard of these? I read about this awhile ago, and thought it was such a fun idea! The premise is that you each take $10 and head to the thrift store to buy an outfit for each other. The idea is to pick out something as preposterous as you can, then wear the items out in public. If you both look ridiculous together, it's hilarious!
  • Go "window shopping" in your dream neighborhood
    We like to do pretend house-hunting in certain areas in Austin where we might like to live one day. I really enjoy this because it always sparks a bit of discussion about dreams and goals, and usually we get some goal-setting done, which is fun. Nothing like a little tandem daydreaming!

That's it for my list! What is your favorite way to date on a budget?

Much Love,

Michelle