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This post is about free date ideas.
College is a time for penny pinching and not spending. When it comes to dates, you can sink a lot of money into them if you don’t think ahead!
Of course it’s nice to treat your partner to a treat every now and then and splurge a little, but this doesn’t need to be an everytime thing! Going out to eat can be a special occasion, but dining in, going on long walks, and spending a day exploring a new city can be the usual.
I personally make the most memories with my partner when we are exploring a new part of the lake shore, sifting through thrift stores downtown, or going on a sunrise hike.
Here’s 27 free date ideas to save you and your partner money.
Free Date Ideas
Hiking is a great way to get exercise, and you and your partner will be lost in conversation in no time. Better yet, it’s free! Hike in a new place every time, or have a “usual” place that is soon filled with memories.
2. Cook a Meal Together
This is a great way to bond, and although it might not be considered “free,” both of you need to eat, so cook and eat together! I really like finding a challenging recipe to tackle together and spend a lot more time cooking than just a usual weeknight meal.
3. Plan a Game Night
You’ll be surprised how fun games are to play, and they create amazing bonding experiences! Colleges usually have games you can rent, or you can dig up some old ones from around the house.
4. Beach Day
Beaches are free, and super fun! Plan a great day of swimming, tanning, and playing on the beach with your wonderful significant other.
5. Volunteer Together
This is one of my favorite things to do with my partner, Ian, and we absolutely love being able to give back to our communities.
I also think this is a great way to learn the true character of your partner, by watching them interact with other volunteers and people or animals who are in need.
6. Binge Watch TV
Rainy day or a snowstorm? Pop some popcorn and snuggle up to a wonderful binge session of a show you both love. Or, pick a new one and start watching together.
7. Plan a Brewery Tour
Surprisingly, brewery tours are usually free. Check out local prices and call ahead to be sure, and enjoy your time at the brewery.
8. Bar Trivia Night
They might be kind of mad if you don’t buy a drink, but bar trivia night usually costs nothing and is super fun to enter. You might win, or you might both make total fools of yourself and
9. Tour Your Own City
Be tourists around your own city! Look up popular things to do in your city, and act like you’ve never seen them before. Odds are, you really haven’t seen some of them.
10. Wander Art Galleries
Art galleries are surprisingly fun to go to. It’s amazing how talented people are. I really enjoy going to photography art galleries!
11. Take Advantage of Free Admission
Check the fine print under most local attractions. There’s student discounts, and free admission on certain days or free admission after a certain time. Take advantage of this! This is a great opportunity to explore a new space.
12. Go To A Book Reading
Authors will promote their books by hosting book readings at local bookstores, venues, etc. These are usually free, and it’s great to support an author who is just becoming known. Who knows, you both could love the reading and decide to purchase the book!
13. Picnic In A Park
Use food that you have around the house, and pack a picnic. Choose a quiet, romantic park or space on a hiking trail and enjoy your meal together.
Stargazing never loses its romance. If you live in a big city, the travel to outskirts of the city will be an adventure. Bring a blanket, and spread it out on the ground or hop on the hood of your car. Check out the constellations!
15. Free Concerts
Check to see if any free concerts are headed your way. These are more common than you would think. It’s always local performers, and they are very cool and exciting to listen to.
16. At Home Movie Night
Going to the movies is usually way out of budget for people, especially college students. Don’t feel the pressure to go out and watch the newest movies. Stay at home and watch a hilarious old movie, or watch the newest movie on a streaming service.
17. Bike Ride
Bike rides are a great way to get exercise, and a super fun activity to partake with your significant other.
I really like biking an hour or two before sunset, and enjoying the cooler night time weather and watching the beginning of a gorgeous sunset.
18. Farmers Market
Farmers markets are wonderful for supporting local businesses, but also for exploring all the seasonal produce and other things the farmers market has for sale.
When given the opportunity, I really like to get as much of my produce as possible from the farmers market. It’s usually a great price, much more fresh, and supports local farms. You should try it, too!
19. Pumpkin Patch
In the fall, a pumpkin patch is the picture perfect place to spend the day with your partner! There’s tons of stuff to do, and usually has some kind of animal to interact with – my favorite part.
Winter may be cold and miserable for some, but make it more fun and spend a date sledding! The best part about sledding is all you need is a sled and a hill. You’ll have a blast! Cuddle up with some hot chocolate right after.
21. Garage Sales
Garage sale hopping is a fun way to see what kind of weird junk other people keep in their houses. Maybe you’ll want to buy some?
22. Thrift Stores
Just like garage sales, thrift stores are equally great for seeing weird stuff. The only thing about thrift stores is that you might actually find stuff you need around the house. I’m a huge believer in buying as many thrift items as possible. It saves a TON of money and the environment!
23. Tour a Winery
Just like a brewhouse, wineries sometimes offer free tours. These feature romantic vineyards, and have tons of picture perfect scenery for you and your partner to soak in.
Hammocking was the first date that I shared with my partner Ian, and we make a habit of hammocking any chance we get. You’ll get lost in conversation in no time, and the hike to the perfect hammocking spot is always super fun.
25. Firework Show
Firework shows are free to the public, and are a super fun way to spend a night together. Pack a sturdy blanket to spread out on the ground, and some snacks.
26. Water Balloon Fight
Be a kid again! Cool off in the summer weather and enjoy a water balloon fight together. Make it a contest and get way too into it to have the best time.
27. Bake a Dessert
Just like cooking, baking is a great way to bond and create something amazing together. Try and challenge yourself and make a super difficult dessert, or make your favorites together.