Dating in college can be hard for many reasons, but one of the main ones is college students are typically tight on money. It’s hard enough paying for textbooks, rent, a meal plan and the multitude of other expenses college students face, let alone trying to pay for a fancy dinner to impress your date. Here are 15 cheap and fun date ideas near University of Florida that will help you avoid breaking the bank.
1. Picnic at Lake Alice
Students can take advantage of a beautiful day outside by bringing a blanket, some food, and drinks to Lake Alice for a cute date sitting by the water and enjoying nice weather.
Unleash your inner kid at Funworks, which has roller skating, bounce-house, rock climbing, miniature golf, batting cages, Go-karts and an arcade to choose from. There’s something for everyone here, and everything is guaranteed to be a fun time.
3. Adventure together
There are so many outdoor activities in the Gainesville area that are free to enjoy. Go Canoeing at Lake Wauburg, take a hike at Paines Prarie, or tube down the Ichnetucknee river. Many state parks are either free or charge a small fee for entry, making it an affordable option to spend the day exploring with someone special.
4. Test your knowledge at Trivia Nights
Local restaurants like Swamp, Gator’s Dockside, Mother’s, OAK, Brass Tap, and Lucky’s all have trivia nights with various themes testing your knowledge like The Office, Friends, and Parks and Recreation. Show off your brains in this twist on a classic dinner date.
5. See a local play
There are many options for different plays to see. Local, original shows are shown at the Hippodrome Theater in Gainesville, or The Phillips Center sometimes has traveling Broadway shows and offers student discounts on tickets.
6. Go to a concert at The High Dive
The High Dive is the hub for all up and coming musicians in the Gainesville area and is synonymous with cool. High Dive’s small venue size guarantees an intimate and unique show for a cheap price for you and your date. Who knows, you may even discover your new favorite artist.
7. Tour a Museum
Give your date some culture while visiting The Harn and The Florida Natural History Museum, both located on the UF campus and free for all students.
8. Santa Fe Learning Zoo
Show off your wild side at the Santa Fe Learning Zoo. This 10-acre learning facility has a quarter mile trail you and your date can walk down to see Bald Eagles, White-throated Capuchin monkeys, Galapagos tortoises, Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo, and Asian small-clawed otters and many other mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The best part is admission is $5 for all UF students and $6 for adults.
9. Venture Downtown
Downtown Gainesville is full of unique bars, breweries, clubs, and restaurants for you to take your date. This seems like more of a traditional first date, but with the arcade and karaoke bars downtown, your date will be anything but ordinary.
10. Walk around Union Street Farmers Market
The Union Street Farmers Market in Bo Diddley Plaza happens every Wednesday from 4-7pm all year and in all weather. This is a fun and free way to spend time with your date while looking at all of the organic foods the Market has to offer. You can even buy food there to eat with your date.
11. Dance the Night Away
Try a dance class with your date for a cheap and fun date idea near the University of Florida. Reitz Union offers Salsa, Swing and Jazz dance classes. This is a fun way to show off your best moves, learn something new and get very close to your dance partner. What’s more romantic than dancing together?
12. Midnight Cookies & A Movie
Sometimes all you wanna do is have a relaxing date night in. A fun twist on your average Netflix-and-chill is to order Midnight Cookies delivered straight to your dorm or apartment for you and your date to share while you watch a movie. This is the perfect cheap and fun date idea.
13. Show off your artistic side
Gainesville has many different art-related activities, with businesses like Painting With a Twist and Corks & Colors Studio offering painting classes while you drink wine. This is a fun, relaxing way to show off your creativity and artistic side.
14. Sporting Events
What’s great about being a UF student is you get free tickets to all sporting events, excluding football games, which make for the perfect cheap and fun date night. Take your date to a basketball, baseball or soccer game depending on the season for a free night of fun and excitement while cheering on the Gators to victory.
15. Gaze at the stars
The UF Observatory has public nights that are perfect for a cheap and fun date night. This event is open to anyone to come to look through their world-class telescopes at the night sky year round for free. If the skies are too cloudy, don’t worry. The Santa Fe Planetarium has presentations on topics from astronomy to ancient cultures, meteorology, geology, health sciences and beyond that allows you to still explore the galaxies and have an out of this world date night.