20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Romantic Doesn't Have to Mean Expensive With These Date Ideas

When’s the last time you had a date night with your partner?

If you’re like most couples, chances are, it’s been a few months since you had some quality alone time.

That's not surprising as most typical dates can be expensive. Going out to eat after seeing a movie can easily result in $50 or more spent in one single night.

When you’re in the middle of saving for a down payment or for a baby, or paying off your student loans, you might not think you have the money for a date night.

These 20 romantic and cheap date ideas prove that wrong, and they focus on reconnecting with your partner so you can keep that spark alive. 

Take a Walk

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Sometimes simple is better. If you’re looking for a quick and super cheap escape, take a walk around a part of your neighborhood that you’ve never explored before, or make a trip into town and walk around Main Street.

You can either walk in silence, taking in the scenery, or you can catch up on each other’s lives while enjoying the weather.

Either way, you get fresh air, some light exercise, and you get to reconnect with your partner. If you don’t want any interruptions, leave your phones at home, or turn them off (in case you want to take pictures).

Bonus points: make this a routine! Go for walks after dinner, or make it a point to go for a walk at a time when someone can watch the kids on the weekend. Even if you’re out for an hour, that hour can do wonders for your relationship.

Go for a Hike

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

If you and your partner love nature, going for a hike together can be a relaxing — or challenging — experience, depending on the trail you take.

Hikes that include waterfalls or scenic overlooks can be the most romantic, but like walking, just getting out together can be enough. Stop and admire the beauty of nature, and leave the electronics behind.

Most hikes can be had for free, but if you want to have a better chance at a clean path, look to state parks, which often charge only for parking.

Have a Picnic in the Park

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

This is a tried-and-true romantic date idea that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Make food at home and bring some snacks and beverages.

Take a blanket or some chairs and go to your local park for lunch. Spend a few hours talking, enjoying the food, and people-watching.

Work on a Puzzle

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Puzzles aren’t that expensive — there are plenty to be found for around $10. Plus, you don’t need an extremely elaborate one unless you want to make “puzzle night” a regular thing. You can even do a digital puzzle.

The great thing about doing a puzzle together is that it’s a collaborative exercise. There’s nothing like searching for one particular piece for what seems like forever and finally discovering it, and the sense of accomplishment you feel when the puzzle is complete can be shared among both of you.

The bonus here is that you can glue the puzzle together and hang it on the wall as a picture! This has a little bit of an extra cost associated with it, but it’s probably more meaningful than a $100 painting you can purchase.

Get in Touch With Your Creative Side

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

While date nights fall by the wayside as life gets busier, so does getting in touch with your creative side. When is the last time you painted, drew, or colored something?

Introduce some playfulness into your life by getting your partner in on the fun. Buy a coloring book (there are a ton of adult coloring books out there) and pick an illustration to color in. Have fun drawing cartoon versions of yourselves together. Pick one of your favorite pictures together and paint it.

Dollar stores, places like Five Below, and Michael’s all have a great selection of arts and crafts for low budgets.

Play a Game Together

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Game night can be a lot of fun with friends, but it can be equally as enjoyable with two people. If all you have are regular cards, that’s even better; there are plenty of card games that only require two to play.

Do you and your partner already have a collection of board games? Look through and see if there are any you can play together. Games like Roll For It, Age of War, Love Letter, Onitama, and trivia games can work well.

Video games often make for good date nights, too. Check for those that have couch co-op, take turns (when one person dies, the other gets to play), or even try splitting the controller.

Have a Movie Marathon, or Binge Watch Seasons of Shows

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Is there a movie or show that you and your partner have been meaning to watch, but haven’t had time for? Mark a date on the calendar to go on a viewing marathon.

Since most people have a subscription to a streaming service, this should be close to free, but YouTube can come to the rescue if you don’t have a subscription. There are plenty of web series available for free online.

Optionally, you could go shopping for some candy, popcorn, and other movie staples to enjoy throughout the day.

Reconnect Over Your Future

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Has it been awhile since you and your partner discussed future goals and desires? While neglecting date nights is one thing, not having a clear direction on where the two of you are headed is another.

Carve out some time together to talk about your wishes for the future. What are you currently working toward? Should that change? How will you both get there?

Talk about it over some beer or wine and make a plan that gets you both on the same page again. In a time where everyone is too busy and their schedules are packed, it’s important to reconnect on a regular basis to make sure you and your partner are happy.

Take a Scenic Drive

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

If hiking isn’t your thing, then taking a scenic drive can be the next best option. Search for scenic drives around your area and see what you can find.

Scenic drives may differ with season. Almost anything is scenic during autumn if you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the leaves change colors, and most highways near coasts are beautiful in the spring and summer. During the holidays, it can be fun to go for a drive to see houses lit up.

Drive Down Memory Lane Instead

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Didn’t find anything especially scenic around you? Take a drive down memory lane instead. Go back the furthest you can. If you live in the same place where you started dating, you might have a long trip ahead of you!

The point is to drive to places that hold special memories for each of you and reminisce about the past. Maybe it’s where you had your first kiss, where your proposal took place, or where your first apartment together was. Craft a timeline of events and places and go visit them.

Have a Fun Photoshoot

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Nowadays, smartphones come equipped with fairly decent cameras, so you shouldn’t need any extra equipment for this other than an optional tripod or selfie-stick.

This could pair nicely with a drive down memory lane or park scenery. You can also have a fun double date with another couple and take pictures of each other!

Go on a Day Trip

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

If you live close to a major city or some nice attractions, you can easily do a day trip for the cost of gas if you bring your own food.

Scout out some areas nearby or run a search on Google to see what fun things are around. Maybe you can do a hike, a day at the beach, a day in a neighboring city, or ride bicycles around.

Look for Specials

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Want to go the “traditional” route for a date night and catch a movie with dinner afterward? Or do you want to have fun outside of the house and go bowling or to an arcade? Look around for specials.

Many movie theaters often have half-price days (or you can see a matinee), and if you search hard enough, you’ll find quite a few local restaurants offering great deals on happy hour or after-hour food and drink.

The same goes for bowling alleys and arcades. Take a look around their social media pages and see if you can find the days on which discounts are offered.

Go to a Museum

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Are you and your partner history buffs, or do you just enjoy learning more about your local area? You can choose the price of admission at a lot of museums, or you might be able to go for free on a certain day of the month.

Not all museums need to be grand buildings, either. You might run across educational centers in parks or other “tourist” attractions in your town that offer a bit of insight into its past.

Note: if you or your partner are students, you might be eligible for a student discount if you have your student ID on you.

Reminisce Over Old Photos

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

These photos don’t have to involve you and your significant other. Do either of you have pictures from when you were much younger? Get them out of storage (or borrow them from a relative) and have fun going through them. This is a great sentimental way of sharing your pre-relationship life with each other.

Once you’re done with that, then move onto reminiscing over old photos taken of you together!

Grab Dessert, Tea, or Coffee

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

These three are often much cheaper than going out to get a full meal, and you won’t be so consumed with stuffing your face that you forget to talk.

Plus, if you’re willing to splurge just a little, you can try new flavors or specialties that you normally wouldn’t bother with.

Intimate coffee and tea shops or bakeries make for great low-key dates.

Go to the Zoo

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Do museums put you to sleep? Going to a zoo might be a little more interesting, especially if it includes exotic animals.

The price of admission varies greatly, but many larger cities have small zoos that might be free or cost less than $30 a couple. Just make sure to pack your own snacks as anything purchased in a zoo is usually pricey.

Cook a Meal or Bake Together

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Not everyone enjoys the culinary arts, but if you and your partner love experimenting in the kitchen, take some time to create a meal or prepare a special dessert together.

Then dine in candlelight — without having to wait to be served, and without the $60-$100 price tag.

Visit a Botanical Garden

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

Botanical gardens are usually set in picturesque locations that lend themselves well to a romantic day or evening.

Some are even free, though they might offer a tour or admission to a historical landmark on-site for a few dollars.

If All Else Fails, Look on Groupon

20 Romantic and Cheap Date Ideas

It might sound uninspiring, but if you’re tired of trying to find interesting date ideas, let someone else do the work for you. That “someone else” is Groupon, a site where you can find deals on adventures that you haven’t thought about.

Who knows, maybe you’ll find an amazing price on horseback riding, bungee jumping, medieval times, or rock climbing!

Keep It Simple

At the end of the day, there's no reason to go all-out on a date night that you don't have the budget for. Keep your date simple with the goal of reconnecting with your partner in mind, and you'll find enjoyment in the little things.