53 Fun Nights Out for $10 or Less
You can have a fun, entertaining, and relaxing night out without spending much — or anything. The secret is to do what you truly enjoy and take advantage of what your area has to offer. (See also: Classy Dating on a Budget)
Here are 53 ideas to get you started.
Enjoy Arts and Entertainment
Your city's local arts and entertainment scene can offer a variety of experiences. Whether you are interested in sophisticated, popular, or down-home culture, you should be able to find something fun to do.
- Listen to a live band at a local bar or restaurant
- Laugh at a comedy show featuring amateur or aspiring professional comedians
- Enjoy an outdoor concert sponsored by a local arts group
- Absorb goings-on at a street festival
- Dance at a local club
- View an art exhibit at a gallery or community venue
- Watch a movie screening at an independently owned cinema or film festival
- See a theatrical production staged by a local college or community arts organization
- Visit an art museum during one of its free nights
Get Back to Nature
Early evenings, full-moon nights, and more can be excellent occasions to get back to nature for a fun yet frugal night out. Bring a friend (and a flashlight) to a familiar place or accompany a group on an outdoor adventure.
- Hike in the early evening before darkness falls
- Walk or cycle on trails when the moon is full
- Canoe at twilight with a group on a familiar route (such trips may be offered at state parks)
- View nocturnal wildlife during events hosted by park rangers
- Gaze at stars during astronomy sessions sponsored by planetariums or find a secluded place and make your own observations
- Stroll at sunset
- Fish on a pier or quiet lake
- Listen to campfire presentations led by park rangers on topics you find fascinating
- Wander through a corn maze (farms tend to offer these in autumn)
Do Something With Friends
Mixing with large crowds can be exhilarating. But sometimes you crave a more intimate evening with a small group of friends. Join an event or plan your own gathering.
- Discuss a favorite book at an informal get-together or book club meeting at a coffee shop or restaurant
- Talk at a small party hosted by a friend
- View and discuss an independent film or classic favorite
- Listen to a community lecture in a subject that truly interests you
- Participate in an evening volunteer activity
- Taste samples at a local winery or brewery
- Develop conversational skills in Spanish, French, etc. at a language meetup
- Take a cooking class or art lesson offered through a deals site or the community college
Watch or Participate in Sports
Sports lovers can find plenty to keep them busy without spending a bundle. Catch a game that is likely to feature rising stars, unpredictable finishes, and interesting entertainment. Or, participate in an activity that gets you moving.
- Attend a minor league baseball game or hockey game
- Catch a college game
- Watch a high school game, which often includes band or dance performances
- Join friends to watch a game at a sports bar
- See action at the auto races
- Participate in an evening run with a local running club
- Go bowling
- Go skating
- Play tennis under the lights
- Play a round of golf on an illuminated par three course (or miniature golf course)
- Drive golf balls on a driving range
Locate cheap eateries or partake of just one course (like dessert!) to control expenses.
- Eat at an inexpensive restaurant with great food
- Grab a bite at your favorite burger place
- Go to a fundraising dinner at a civic club or church
- Take part in a potluck dinner at a friend’s house
- Fill up with pasta at a community dinner on the evening before a big running race
- Have a picnic with homemade food or takeout
- Visit an ice cream parlor or yogurt shop
- Enjoy a delicacy from a bakery
- Dine on a meal provided by a culinary school
Be With Family
Find family- and wallet-friendly activities. Community events are a great way to have a fun evening outside of your home.
- Watch a free movie sponsored by a library or community group
- See a high school play, dance performance, or marching band competition
- Observe (or participate in) a holiday parade
- Celebrate with members of your community on days like the 4th of July
- Wander around the county fair (watch for discount tickets and promotions)
- Let your kids interact with exhibits during one of the free nights at the children’s museum
- Participate in activities at a festival hosted by the school or community center
Enjoy the nightlife or wildlife, get together with friends, or meet new people with mutual interests. Check on prices before you head out and find the frugal alternative to the pricey one, choosing the free concert rather than the ticketed one, for example. Just know that you can have loads of fun without spending tons on evenings away from home.
How do you have a fun evening for $10 or less?