My Favorite Free Dates

February 6, 2017 by Amanda Blankenship

free dates
Dating can be expensive. There’s no doubt about that. If you take someone out for the generic dinner-and-a-movie you can spend $100 or more on one date (and it could be the last date if things don’t go well).

My thoughts on this are, instead of dropping a ton of money on a date, why not try and scope out free dates? In my experience, the free dates tend to be the most fun and most memorable of them all. It just takes a little thought and creativity. Below are some of my favorite free dates.

The Best Free Dates

Going on a date is supposed to be a fun experience. Why worry about going over budget or spending too much (or too little) when you can go on a completely free date? Here are 20 free date ideas I’ve discovered in my hometown:

  1. Walk the greenways. In Charlotte (where I live), there are a number of greenways you can walk. In fact, they are located all over the city. If you have trails or something like this near you it can present a great opportunity to chat and enjoy the outdoors. (I wouldn’t do this as a first date though.)
  2. Trivia night. Many bars throughout the United States have trivia nights. You don’t have to spend anything (though you’ll likely get a beer) and you can have a ton of fun testing each other’s knowledge.
  3. Picnic in the park. Picnics have always been cute free dates. All you’ll have to spend money on is food and, if you’ve already got everything to make a sandwich at home, you have nothing to worry about!
  4. Take a brewery/winery tour. In my city there are a number of local breweries and wineries that offer free tours. Check your local brewery/winery to see if they offer the same thing!
  5. Tour a museum. The majority of museums have a free entry day during the week (some are free all the time).
  6. Visit a local park or lake. Luckily, Charlotte is extremely close to a plethora of gorgeous parks and two great lakes. If that’s the case for you as well you have a beautiful opportunity for a free date.
  7. Karaoke. Though it may cost you some dignity, singing karaoke is always free (though the booze to help you work up the courage to sing won’t be).
  8. Watch planes take off. At Charlotte-Douglas airport you can watch airplanes take off from a viewing pad. If your local airport has the same thing you can bring your date there for free and watch the planes. (I would bring some music and headphones too.)
  9. Head to the beach. Okay, this isn’t totally free but what I do at the beach is. Charlotte is only about 3 hours from the beach and once you get there you and your date can picnic, play in the sand, swim and soak up some sun for free.
  10. Go to an open mic night. Coffee shops, bars and many other establishments hold open mic nights and they are free. Check one out.
  11. Do an art crawl. Charlotte has a huge arts community. There are two separate neighborhoods that have gallery crawls that are offered for free and it is a great way to get to know someone.
  12. Scope out free food events. Another great thing about Charlotte is that there are a plethora of free events all the time. You can download an app, like Eventbrite, to keep up to date on all the events in your area (free and otherwise).
  13. Search for free live music. Free live music is another thing Charlotte does not have a shortage of. You can find free music just about anywhere in the city, especially on the weekends.
  14. Be childish. One of the best dates I’ve been on involved creating a homemade Slip-N-Slide. Seriously, just be a little creative and don’t be afraid to be silly.
  15. Go geocaching. Where free dates are concerned, geocaching is one of the most interesting. You can download an app, find geos and check in/move them. It’s a great way to walk around, talk and get to know someone.
  16. Hold a game night (great for double dates). If you have another couple you’re friends with invite everyone over for a game night. Play games you’ve already purchased and ask your friends to bring some as well. Make it a BYOB and bring-your-own-snack to cut costs even more.
  17. Get dressed up and go to expensive open houses. I’ve done this and it is a great time. You can chat about what you’d do with the house, etc. and even pretend you’re interested in buying.
  18. Movie marathon. This one is great for rainy days. My favorite thing to do is to pick a series of films (like “Rocky” or “Lord of the Rings”) or a television series and binge watch it for the day. All you’ll need is what you want to watch, blankets/pillows and snacks.
  19. Volunteer together. This is another great free date and its fulfilling as well.
  20. Do something crafty/fun. If you’re crafty and have some extra materials lying around, why not put them to good use for a date?

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to impress someone. To me, the best dates in life are free.

Do you have any free or cheap date ideas? Share them with us in the comments. 

Photo: Wyatt Fisher

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