Find Love With These Fun and Cheap First Date Ideas


You wouldn't be the first person to think that they're too poor to date. However, a killer first, second, or tenth date isn't about the money that you spend. It's about the time that you spend, both figuring out what to do and the time that you spend together. Let's face it: Even if you have the money, the old dinner and a movie standby is pretty boring. (See also: Date Ideas for Every Budget)

The best dates are ones that allow you to get to know one another without a lot of pressure.

The best dates are also the ones that are unique, and the good news is that unique and quirky dates generally don't cost a lot of money. Many of them are even free. Here's a list to get you going, but we'd also recommend that you make the Weekend section of your local daily your best friend, as well as the Calendar section of the local weekly. Until then, here are some ways to become the guy or gal with the killer date ideas that everyone is talking about.

Visit a Hookah Bar

Smoking is mostly out of fashion, but somehow the hookah bar has bucked this stigma. It's still a great place to get together and strikes a perfect balance between dinner (too much face-to-face talking, too much like a job interview) and a bar (too much noise to really get to know one another). Generally food and drink are available, but not necessary.

Go for a Walk

Whether you live in the woods, near the beach, or in the thick of the urban jungle, a walk is a great way to get your blood flowing and get to know someone. Amble around through an unfamiliar place or act as a tour guide. Either way, you're both going to have a great time. (See also: 25 Reasons to Take a Walk)

Visit an Arcade

You've probably got a few options here if you live in or near a city. You can go to the regular arcade with kids running around, the cool hipster arcade with vintage games (and generally speaking, vintage prices), or the nickel arcade with old-timey games.

Go to a Museum

The cool thing about museums is that they often have cheap days. And remember: There's more to a museum than just checking out paintings. For example, here in Los Angeles, we have both a Museum of Death and the Museum of Jurassic Technology, a throwback to the days of "cabinets of curiosity." Do a quick Google search and see what interesting museums are on offer in your area. (See also: Visiting Museums for Free)

Go Fly a Kite

It costs nothing, and it's a lot of fun. If you're someone with a bit of a whimsical side (or your date is) this can be a really memorable one —  there's a good chance that it's been decades since either of you did this.

Teach (or Learn) Something New

Do you have a skill that you'd like to share? If so, it can make a great date. For example, maybe your date has never learned how to drive stick or doesn't even know the first thing about cooking. Teaching dates show off your skills while also giving your date something to take home with them — something that they can potentially hold on to forever. (See also: Free Things to Learn Something New)

Shoot Pool

Pool halls are insanely cheap when you rent by the hour. Split the cost of a table, and the two of you are going to have a great time for under 10 bucks each.

Catch a Live Show

Theater exists outside of Broadway. In fact, most cities of any size have some kind of local theater scene. While this one doesn't offer a lot of "getting to know you" time (and thus, doesn't make for a very good first date), it does let you appreciate and support the local arts scene without spending a lot of money.

Browse a Bookstore

On the other hand, a great first date idea is hitting up a local bookstore. You can do a big box, but obviously supporting local business is better. A fun activity to do there is for each of you pick up three books — one of these should be a childhood favorite, another a teenage favorite, and another one that you've loved in adulthood. This is a great way to learn a lot about each other quickly without forcing it.

Go to the Park

Public parks are a treasure trove of killer dates. You can have a picnic, take a walk, feed the birds, or cut loose and play on the swings together.

Take a Tour

Driving around checking out Christmas lights or autumn leaves is something that everyone should do at least once a year. Why not have a partner in crime?

Head Out on Arts Night

Another thing that most cities of any size have? An arts night. Almost always free, these are events that take place throughout the arts district and allow you get involved in the local scene and learn more about one another.

Whatever Is on Special

If you're a single and don't have access to Living Social or Groupon, you need to get on that. In fact, this can quickly become your very own social secretary. (See also: How to Make Sure You Use Your Vouchers)

There you have it: A baker's dozen ways that you and that special someone can get out of the house and get to know each other.

How about you? Any other great date ideas?

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Guest's picture

When my partner and I were in college and have very limited budget, we used to go to the park with some packed lunch. This is our idea of a frugal yet very fun date.