20 Great Free (and Cheap) Date Ideas

Dating can be expensive… restaurants, movies, activities – they all add up to an expensive day out. If you’re trying to impress your partner and show them a good time, not every date needs to be so difficult on your pocket. With that in mind, below is a list of fun, free ideas that you can take advantage of on your next date!

1) Romantic walk in the park or beach

It may seem like an obvious choice, but it can be extremely romantic and sweet. It allows you the time to focus on getting to know each other and provides a comfortable, natural setting. Afraid of awkward silences? Try to learn a little about the foliage and show off your brilliance.


2) Picnic in the park

Make sandwiches, take a refreshing drink and some fruit for dessert. Not only is it romantic, it shows that you make an effort. Plus, it’s so much cheaper than heading to a restaurant.

3) Head to local art shows

Often, cities have local art shows and exhibitions with absolutely free entrance. Even if art isn’t your top interest, it can bring up some interesting conversations and be a change in your dating routine.  There are usually websites showing the dates and locations. I usually find mine in the city’s official website.

4) Free outdoor concerts

These tend to happen only during the summer but when they do, they are a wonderful and frugal option. Artists can range from well-known celebrities to lesser known aspiring singers. Pick your concert and head out for a good time!

5) Hiking through a scenic area

Feeling physically fit? Hiking is a fun way to spend a few hours and can be even better if you schedule it in time to view the sunrise or sunset. What’s more romantic than climbing a hill and hugging on top while watching the sunset?

6) Bike rides around town

Go on a bike ride around your town or on the outskirts. It’s more interesting if you organize some stops on the way like historic monuments, art sculptures and so on. You can also go to a park or ride around the beach.

7) Give each other a massage

When was the last time you spoiled your partner? Beyond being free, this sort of date will be one of the most appreciated you can provide. Set the atmosphere with a few candles, dim the light, play some soft music and help your partner relax!

8) Free days at art & history museums

At times, museums can offer free entry –especially to residents of the area. This can be a weekly, monthly or yearly event but most museums will offer this free entrance every so often. Do your research and go to a museum that could be of interest or curiosity to you and your partner.  Be adventurous and try interesting options like music museums, gold museums or stamp museums.

art museum date

9) Explore IKEA

It seems ironic that a store could be such a great spot for a date, but IKEA can be a fun experience for a couple. Their already-built living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens can be exciting to explore. It feels like you’re walking into someone else’s home! Plus, you can discuss your likes and dislikes, and form an idea on how you two match up.

10) Volunteer for a good cause

Want to impress your partner?  Show your altruistic side and go on a date you will never forget. Build a house, serve food to the homeless, spend a day playing with kids in an orphanage – these experiences are not only wonderful for the soul, they can do wonders for your relationship.

11)  Cook and bake together at home

Cooking & baking can be really enjoyable between two people. Try out new, interesting recipes you haven’t tried before and go on a small adventure to see if you can both manage to work well together. The results can either be absolutely horrible and hilarious or delicious and enjoyable. Be laid back and fun about the whole process – don’t take the cooking too seriously!

12) Solve a puzzle together

It may sound like a dull activity, but it’s actually quite fun. It gives you the chance to talk while keeping yourselves busy and challenged. Serve some drinks and small snacks on the side, and puzzle away. I’ve had dates like this myself and the challenge of getting the puzzle solved made the conversation and date flow smoothly.

13) Watch a fascinating documentary

I personally love documentaries and tend to watch them over sitcoms or drama. However, most people don’t and when they do – it’s not as a couple. Pick a theme and a documentary that sounds interesting to you both. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a depressing, war-torn country theme. There are plenty of documentaries out there including some fascinating ones on Viking history, physics of time, the universe, and other topics that will blow your mind. Make some popcorn and enjoy!

14) Go star gazing

Step away from the city, bring a sheet and lie down to watch the beauty of the cosmos. The further away you are from the city, the more stunning the stargazing becomes. I’ve been in locations where you could easily see the Milky Way and shooting stars. The romance left me madly in love!

star gazing

15) Sports day out

Take a Frisbee to the park, shoot some hoops with your love, or kick a hacky sack – there are so many great options for a fun and active sports day. If you have the equipment, then you are set. If you don’t, at times parks and courts rent them out in exchange for leaving your ID or for a very low cost.

16) Play like kids in a playground

There’s nothing like hanging down the monkey bars like you did back in your childhood! It’s still great fun at our age and can give you a glimpse into your partner’s childhood. For an added touch of fun, challenge yourselves on who can go through the monkey bars faster or swing the highest.

17) Enjoy a scenic drive

Drive away from your town and head towards a scenic area to enjoy the views and the quiet environment. Play some music, take a few snacks and pick some spots to stop and relax by.  Moving away from routine and the busy life of the city can be just the date that you and your partner need!

18) Fly a kite

I tried this once and it made for a really amusing date. You can make the kit yourselves (which adds extra excitement to your date as you get to test your creation) or buy an already made kite, which tend to go for very cheap. Pick a spot where you can run and there is good wind. You can also both fly kites and try to get the other person’s kite down – this is a sport in itself in some countries.

kite flying

19) Water balloon fights

Ah! This is a huge Carnival tradition back home and so great for those especially hot days. Fill up some water balloons, prepare your water guns,  hide in different corners, and the water fight commences!  It’s a lot of fun and the balloons are very cheap.

20) Go fruit picking

Picking fruits is really fun (not veggies though! Veggies are tiring). Orange picking can be a really entertaining and unique date. Some farms let you volunteer to pick oranges during the weekends, and the majority let you take some of your pickings home. On my date, we made fresh orange juice with our pickings and took a box-full of oranges home. Yum!

What great free and cheap date ideas do you have?

About Ronnie E.

Ronnie is the frugal Latina of the group. Hailing from the beautiful Andes Mountains in Bolivia, she lives and breathes frugality. She loves to figure out how to spend less money and takes on the challenge of finding great deals and cheaper options every day.

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