Looking for a beautiful, intimate setting for your next date night, but don’t want to break the bank or look cheap?
You’re not alone.
With the most common default date being dinner and drinks at a restaurant, it’s hard to think of fresh ideas. Plus, you could be looking at over $50 for a simple dinner for two—and that adds up.
Heading to the movie theatre can be pricey too, especially if you purchase snacks and beverages.
So what are some creative ideas that will impress your date and keep you within budget?
Luckily, there are plenty of romantic date ideas that require little to no money (or planning).
Here are 12 date ideas that will save you some cash and make you look like a romantic.
1. Take a walk in a botanical garden or park
Stroll through a botanical garden or park on an afternoon or evening date.
As you walk beside each other, you can talk and explore all of the dynamic colours and blooms around you.
Many communities and universities have botanical gardens that are free of charge or require only a small entrance fee.
Botanical gardens often have fountains and architecture that can spur conversation and inspire intimacy.
2. Check out the best sunset-watching spot
What’s the best place to watch the sunset within one hour’s drive of where you live?
Maybe it’s the ocean, on a small mountain, or at a remote part of town. If you’re not sure, ask some friends in the area or look online.
Head to your chosen destination on your next date—which will hopefully be on a clear night without many clouds in the sky. Make sure you look up the time the sun will set and plan to be there at least 30 minutes prior.
Pack a blanket to sit or lay on, and throw in a bottle of wine or champagne with a couple of glasses.
You can snuggle up while you watch one of the most breathtaking views.
We’re guessing your date will have a hard time forgetting this night.
3. Pack a picnic for a park or beach
For a weekday evening or Saturday date, load up a basket with a delicious array, like sandwiches, cut vegetables, fruit, and dessert. Throw in a few beers or a bottle of wine, along with a blanket and even some pillows.
At your leisure, enjoy the food and beverages, along with being in a beautiful place, like a local park or beach.
The energy and peacefulness of being outdoors sets a romantic tone for the whole event.
4. Cook a dinner in—with candles and music
Create an intimate atmosphere right at home by cooking a meal in. Have everything prepared ahead of time, so when your date arrives, it’s stress-free.
Set the stage by lighting candles, adding flowers, and playing music in the background.
It will feel like a romantic restaurant—minus the cost, plus an extra side of intimacy.
5. Head to a local ice cream joint
Make it a fun, casual night by visiting a local ice cream shop.
Diverge from the beaten path by going to a smaller shop with outdoor seating. Encourage your date to order their favourite cone or sundae, and talk about summer memories.
Afterward, go for a drive or take a walk to soak in more fresh air.
For a more active date, consider riding bikes to the ice cream shop.
6. Attend a community concert
Check your community’s schedule for free or discounted concerts and events.
Find one that matches the genre of music your date might like and head out for a night of good beats.
Many local concerts are at beautiful, outside venues.
7. Check out a local fair or festival
Your community or neighbouring city probably hosts festivals and fairs throughout the year.
Watch community websites and newspapers for upcoming:
- Carnivals and fairs
- Cultural festivities
- Street fairs
- Art galleries
- Free museum days
- Flea markets
- And more
Local events are a fun way to experience something new, meet interesting people, and build chemistry with your date.
8. Go to the beach
On both warm or cool days, being near the water is romantic.
With the waves crashing the shore and the sand beneath your toes, the beach has a serene and calming atmosphere.
Bring a bottle of wine and a few snacks, along with a camera to capture some of the beautiful moments.
9. Take a hike
Nature is an intimate setting with plenty to explore: from the scenery, to the sounds to the animals.
Research hiking trails within an hour’s drive of where you live and plan for the most gorgeous route.
Pick a trail with an overlook so you can stop there for rest and refreshments while taking in the view. Be sure your backpack has trail snacks, water, and a bottle of wine.
Different than a standard dinner and a movie night, a stunning hike will stand out in their mind and make them feel special.
10. Enjoy a glass of wine in the empty office where you work
If you won’t be caught or penalised, prepare two empty glasses and a bottle of wine in your office.
Bring your date in after hours and share a glass with no one around.
You’ll feel secretive and seductive, without breaking any rules.
11. Go for test drives
Have fun driving fancy cars together by heading to a local car dealership.
Tell the salesmen you’re looking for a new set of wheels.
Test drive high-end cars like BMWs and Jaguars—all with your date in the passenger seat.
You’ll be revved up after this date.
12. Paint canvas artwork
If your date has an artsy side, this idea is right for you.
Head to the craft store and buy blank white canvases along with a few colours of paint. Buy brushes that correspond with the paint type you’re using.
When your date comes over, enjoy painting and designing your artwork while you talk and share a glass of your favourite beverage. You both will love the energy and creativity of such a unique date. And, you’ll have something new to hang in your home!