Going on dates is extremely important to growing in a relationship and a marriage, but often times due to the busyness of life or being short on funds it can be really difficult to come up with good ideas. We hope the ideas below will help.
Thanks to everyone who sent along suggestions! If you have something you think should be added, please feel free to send them along to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) Home Theme Night*
Example: The theme is Mexican. Make tacos for dinner, rent a Mexican/American movie (such as "Like Water for Chocolate") and then youtube salsa dance lessons and learn some routines.
2) Kid Theme*
Go to a nice restaurant and eat dessert for dinner (bonus: it's cheaper anyways!) then go and find a playground and swing the night away.
3) Progressive Dinner*
I always thought it would be fun to pick 3 restaurants you have been wanting to try, and go to all three in one night. This could get expensive...but you could order an appetizer at one, another appetizer at another and a dessert for the last. It still could be less expensive than a dinner...but it would be fun. Plus you'd be more full by the end because you'd have longer breaks between eating.
4) Drive-In Movie*
There are still many of these around, and they are much cheaper than the real movies and much cozier, too!
5) Scavenger Hunt*
Ask a friend to create a scavenger hunt list, and then go around your town and snap photos of everything on the list as you find it.
6) McDonald's and Arcade Night (this was one of our favorites)
Get dressed up and head out for a nice dinner at McDonald's (or any other fast food joint) and then go and hit up a local arcade for some air hockey and video games.
Make some dinner that is easy to travel and head out to a local beach or park with a blanket. *Reader Suggestion: Trader Joe's is a cheap and fun place to get picnic food.
8) Playing with Puppies at Your Local Pet Store
Who needs to buy a puppy when you can just play with them? Head over to your local pet store and spend some time playing with the puppies. Most stores appreciate when you play with them because it gets the dogs out of their cages and gets them some exercise and some live. Leave your credit cards at home before you go though!
9) Long Drive
Jump in the car and go for a long drive. Listen to some music or just talk. We, at times, have also listened to a sermon together driving one way and then talk about it on the way home.
10) GPS a Restaurant
Jump in your car and set up your GPS. Pick a location nearby (or far) and simply pick a random restaurant you want to try. Make sure you are in a flexible mood though on the off chance the restaurant is really expensive or if it's not even where the GPS says it is.
11) Paint Your Own Pottery
There are a number of these stores still around and most aren't that expensive, depending on what you decide to paint.
12) New Recipe Night
Search online or dig through an old cookbook and find something neither of you have tried. Head to the grocery store to get the ingredients and then head home to cook together.
13) Winter Picnic in Your Living Room
If you live somewhere that is called for 6+ months of the year, that doesn't mean you can't have picnics. Take the coffee table out of the living room or shove it to the side, put a blanket down and enjoy a picnic inside.
14) Go to a Sport's Bar
A lot of dates tend to market to the ladies, but guys enjoy a good night out too. Pick an upcoming big game or sporting event and head out to a Sport's Bar and watch the game together.
15) S'mores on an Outdoor Fire Place
This is a great investment if you have the outdoor space to fit it. You can find a simply outdoor fireplace for $50 and it will provide you a number of great cool evenings outside, by the fire making S'mores. You could also do dinner and roast hot dogs too.
16) Hiking at a Local State Park
Look up a local State park and go for a hike.
17) Book Store Date
Head over to your local book store and grab a few magazines or books together. Grab a cup of coffee and just relax, read and share what you're reading.
18) Ice Skating
Find a local rink, rent some skates (if you don't own a pair) and enjoy some time together on the ice. Make sure you call before heading over because most rinks have very specific free skate times.
19) Get a Hotel...with a Pool or Hot Tub
Find a local hotel that has a pool or hot tub (bonus points for a hotel that has a hot tub in the room) and rent a room for the night.
20) Try Something New
Instead of just going to the same restaurants you always go to, pick a new restaurant or, better yet, pick an ethnic style of food neither of you have tried before (i.e. Indian, Ethiopian and Thia are some of our favorites).
21) Pull an All Nighter
Just stay up all night...or as late as you can. Watch movies or TV, play cards, go for a walk at midnight or to see the sunset.
22) Rock Climbing
Find a local gym and go climbing for a night. Some will even train you on how to belay yourselves.
23) Babysit for Friends
For some this may not seem like a date night but for us it's some of the most fun we've had. You get to hang out with the kids while your friends, who usually have the kids, get a night out on their own as well.
24) Take a Class
Whether it's dancing, cooking or something else this can be a fun way to discover a new hobby you can do together.
25) Paint a Picture
Get a cheap canvas and some paint supplies and have fun painting a picture together. Maybe one of you will discover talents you never knew you had.
26) Breakfast for Dinner
Instead of just saving those things for the morning, have pancakes, eggs, French toast or whatever for dinner.
27) Stay in Bed All Day
When you both have a day off from work, just stay in bed all day. Eat breakfast in bed, cuddle, nap, fool around, etc. Just chill.
28) Refinish Old Furniture
Head to a antique store or a used furniture store and find something that is older, beat-up and cheap. Bring it home and sand it or paint it, whatever it takes to make it new again.
29) Redecorate a Room
Pick a room and change it up. Paint it a different color, move the furniture or switch two rooms entirely.
30) Video Game Night
Again with an appeal to the men, pick some games that you could both enjoy and have fun playing some video games together.
31) Shoot Pool
Head to a pool hall to shoot some pool and talk.
32) Try a New Outdoor Sport/Game
Decide on a new outdoor sport or game to try and give it a whirl. Badminton, horse shoes, lawn darts, tennis, etc.
33) Play Cards
Look up some new cards games online and enjoy an evening in just playing some cards.
34) Naked Dinner (for married couples)
Enjoy dinner with a twist. Some find it awkward others think it's fun. You won't know which you are until you try it!
35) Movie Marathon
Pick a great series of movies and watch them in one sittings. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Rocky, etc.
36) Go to a Local Film Festival
Check your local library or art centers for an upcoming film festival. It's a great opportunity to see some fantastic works and it supports the local arts. Short Film festivals are really great in particular.
37) Get a Meal at a Farmer's Market
Head to a local Farmer's Market and get some stuff to have for lunch or dinner.
38) Lunch Date in the Middle of the Day
Surprise your significant other by coming home for lunch or meeting up for a date in the middle of the day.
39) Go out for Breakfast and Go To Work Late
Instead of leaving your time to the end of the day after a long day of work, go in to the office late and put your significant other first.
40) Wine Tastings
Find a wine tasting in your area and go an enjoy some wine and cheese at a cheap price.
41) Attend a Local Art Show
Find a local gallery in your area and go an check out an opening night.
42) Go to the Zoo/Aquarium/Etc.
Enjoy some time exploring really cool animals and sea creatures together.
43) Visit an Open House
Find a showing of a home in your area and go and check it out. Many have free wood and drinks if you show up. Who cares if you can't afford to buy...have fun window shopping.
44) Go for a Bike Ride
Find some local trails and go for a nice long ride. If you don't own bikes, some local shops will rent them for a decent price.
45) Rent Kayaks or a Canoe
Enjoy some time on the water going up and down a river or off onto a lake or pond.
46) Board Game Night
Pull out some games good for two and have fun playing Stratego, Checkers, Chess, Battleship, Chutes and Ladders and more.
47) Make Homemade Ice Cream
Normally a craft for kids but it's fun for adults too. Look up some recipes on line and make some ice cream at home.
48) Take a Bubble Bath (for married couples)
Light some candles, put on some music and take a bubble bath together.
49) Go Lingerie Shopping and Pick Out an Outfit (for married couples)
Go shopping together for an outfit to be worn later once you're home.
50) Read a book or short story together*
My boyfriend and I went to the library and asked a librarian to make some short story suggestions.
51) Hanging Out Night*
Sometimes it's nice to spend time doing normal, relaxing things together. One of you likes to read, listen to music, cook, write...do them individually according to tase but try to do them in the same room. You can run ideas or thoughts by each other while both relaxing and enjoying each other's company.
52) Check out events at local bookstores*
There is a reader's favorite in Chicago that is a combo bookstore and wine cellar. They have author signings and presentations all the time, which are always unique and are also free. The only money involved is the cost of gas into the city; everything else (wine, a copy of the book) is optional.
53) Roller Derby*
Google your local area to find a team near you and get ready for an action packed night.
If you have something you think should be added, please feel free to send them along to us at email@example.com.