College is a place you’re bound to meet tons of new people. And if you meet a special someone, even better! Going to a university is an exciting time of your life, but seeing as how expensive college is, it can also be one of the most frugal times in your life. With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of 10 cute date ideas you can do around Northern Illinois University, all for little or no money.
1. Go bowling.
NIU’s Huskie Den is an amazing place to hang out; there are game consoles, pool, billiards, and a 16 lane bowling alley. If you’re a student, you can bowl a game, rent your shoes, and probably get a snack for under $5. If you and your S.O. want to take this bowling thing even further, you can sing up for a bowling class together!
2. Picnic on campus.
NIU is a beautiful campus. There are so many attractions, specifically around the Art Building, The Music Building, and Montgomery Hall. Usually, you’ll see lots of pictures being taken around this area, specifically at the beginning and at the end of every school year. Pack yourself a nice lunch, some drinks, and a blanket and head on over there! (Hint: Go around 6-7 PM. The sun may be setting, there are less people on campus, and the mood is much more romantic.)
3. Go to dinner and the theater.
As a Theater major, this suggestion may also include me shamelessly plugging NIU’s Theater and Dance department, but it’s still a great idea! Maybe after going to one of the various restaurants around campus, seeing a live theater performance can be just the thing to add to a perfect date. All Mainstage shows are held at Huntley Middle School, and Studio shows are held in the Diversions Lounge at the Holmes Student Center. Students also get discount prices on tickets.
4. Attend a concert.
During the course of the year, NIU’s Convocation Center will host a ton of events. Occasionally, those events consists of concerts that are usually at a discount price to students. Wiz Khalifa, Drake, and Tyga have all performed at NIU in the past. Seeing someone you both enjoy together could be a date idea that you won’t forget.
5. Have a coffee date!
If you want to go for something a bit more simplistic than a concert, but don’t want to stay locked up in your dorm room, a coffee date could be a great idea. The great thing about NIU is that you can find coffee in just about every single building on campus if you look hard enough. My favorite coffee place is the College Grind. Occasionally, they have open mic night or other events held there as well. It’s an awesome coffee shop where you can feel both productive and relaxed.
6. Visit the Davis Observatory.
NIU’s Davis Observatory is a great date night idea for those who love to stargaze. It’s also free and open to the public. Just head over to Davis Hall, room 703 with your S.O. You won’t regret it.
7. Go to a NIU sporting event!
NIU sporting events are always a fun, chill and laid back date idea. Though it’s custom to go to sporting events with a group of friends, it can be an incredibly special events for couples who are also avid sports fans. (Go Huskies!)
8. See some campus films.
Every now and then, NIU will host events where they invite students to hang out on campus and watch a movie. Sometimes, this is held in Central Park (located near Stevenson Towers) and sometimes it’s at the Student Center. Granted, you could always go to a movie theater to watch a film, but remember that “frugal college student” statement I made at the beginning of this article? You’re really going to skip out on a free movie? I didn’t think so. I’ve seen a few on campus and it’s always a ton of fun.
9. Visit the campus museum.
NIU is home to some amazing artists. If you and your S.O. are in the mood for an artsy date night, check out NIU’s Art Museum as a start. NIU also has an Anthropology museum and a Historic Scenic Collection (put on by the School of Theatre & Dance. I know… I had to, though.)
10. Netflix & Chill?
Of course, if you’re in the mood for a lazy binge watching date, here you go. Chances are that after a long week of classes, you’re probably going to be doing this anyway. For even more film options for a lazy date day, NIU offers Channel 8, a 24 hour movie channel for students who live on campus. NIU takes requests of residence on campus and plays those movies all day every day. If you and your S.O. decide to request a movie, you may see it playing!