While at University you can expect to learn and discover so many new things! Like new subjects, skills for your job, how to live alone and not die, and for 28% of students, you will find your future spouse. With that in mind, you’ll want to take extra care to show your date a whole new world, but I understand magic carpets don’t go for cheap. Whether you’re looking to find the one, or just want to have a fantastic first date, here are some low-budget date ideas near UW!
1. Stroll along Waterloo Park.
Just a short walk from campus, this surprisingly large park is tucked behind the University of Waterloo Place Residences and is the perfect spot for a romantic stroll. It features a bevy of cute animals for you and the boo to admire, plus the perfect garden for that on point Instagram to brag about how hot your date is! Plus- if you want to be a bit extra why not plan a picnic. Just imagine it; good food, good people, a blanket to nap on. You can’t go wrong!
2. Go swimming at the Physical Activities Complex.
Nothing beats seeing your date in a swimsuit, and nothing also beats a completely free date. Check out the pool on campus and head over there during one of the free swim periods offered. Relax and bring out your inner child as you jump from the diving board!
3. Grab tea or coffee at Cafe 1842.
Impress your date by stepping up your coffee shop game. This uptown treasure is no Starbucks or Coffee Culture. It’s located in the beautiful Heuther Inn and has a relaxed atmosphere that will inspire the romantic conversations of your dreams!
4. The Ultimate Escape.
Learn how you guys work together to solve problems and riddles all while having the time of your lives. The Ultimate Escape is one of several Escape Rooms offered in the region and is located on Lexington. This date is also perfect if you’re thinking of including another couple, as more minds to solve the riddles, the better! For just two people it’s $25 each but if you can get others to join you it’s only $21. Still I understand if you may want to go Dutch on this bill, no shame in that!
5. Brunch at the Bomber.
Support student run services, plus feed you and your date without breaking the bank… score! Head to the Student Life Centre and get yourself some delicious brunch worthy of, at the very least, a snap to your story.
6. You’ll be in my dreams at Sweet Dreams.
This adorable tea shop offers both hot teas and the stuff of the heavens above, Bubble Tea. You can pull out one of their many board games to enjoy with your boo. Plus, bonus points from moi if you can manage to split just one bubble tea amongst yourselves (It’s honestly difficult not to order two for yourself!)
7. Catch a flick at the Twin Princess.
Treat your royal date with an outing to this small and cute theatre. The tickets are cheaper than your run of the mill Landmark or Cineplex, and while they offer less films than bigger theatres, they often carry one of a kind treasures you won’t find anywhere else! Plus, attached is a cute cafe for post-movie discussion and feels.
8. Stargaze on campus.
If you don’t have the space back at your place to host bae and catch a blanket of stars why not try on campus?! Bring your cozy blankets to snuggle on the V1 Green or head over to Columbia Ice Fields (Just make sure you check to see if any events are going on first!) and enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Trust me, the stars will twinkle in your date’s eyes.
9. Take in some art at the Canadian Clay and Glass Museum.
Feeling artsy? Feeling broke? Check out this fantastic Museum free of charge, ( although donations are welcome and appreciated.) They change their exhibits every so often, so you can check it out every time a new one is installed!
10. Walk or ride along the Iron Horse Trail.
This 5 1/2 kilometer trail links the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. Along it, you will see breathtaking sites, and you will get to explore more of your home away from home! If walking isn’t your speed, you can look into renting a bicycle! Feds offers bicycle rentals for the term. If you and your boo want to get fit together, this is a great way to explore K-W while getting in shape. If you just need a bike for this date, check out Waterloo Bicycle Works!
11. Take a trip through time with Mel’s Diner.
Just beside UW in the University Plaza, this happening spot has got more personality than your average eatery. Check out their all-day breakfast or try one of their other delicious options. My personal fav is the Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese, it warms the soul with every cheesy bite. You and your date can fulfill your Riverdale inspired fantasy by bonding over delicious milkshakes!
12. A surprise adventure.
For those adventurous souls, and those with really empty pockets, why not try something a bit out there for a date? With your Watcard, you have access to all the buses, why not hop on one you’ve never been to before? Take the chance to explore the Twin City area with your date and who knows you may even find some place cool! (Just make sure you note how to get back!)
13. Learn a little at the Brubacher House.
This property is connected with Conrad Grebel University College and is a great place to learn more about the cultural history of the area. The house is a restored German Mennonite Farm House, but is filled with authentic furnishings. You’ll definitely learn a thing or two. It’s not too far from campus at all! In fact, it’s tucked into Columbia Ice Fields, you can meet your date on campus and walk up together for a tour. Admission is by donation so give what you can!
14. Enjoy some fine music at Conrad Grebel’s Noon Hour Concert Series.
Perfect for a mid-day date, this free (that’s right-free) concert series will delight your ear drums. The college hosts these mini concerts nearly every wednesday during the term and each time a new performer has come to share their talents with us all. Not only will you save big on this date but you’re date will be impressed with your refined taste in music!
15. Go old school and check out bowling.
Get to know your date while either impressing them with your mad bowling skills or making a fool of yourself. If they’re the right person, it won’t matter to them if you get a strike or not! I recommend checking out Kingpin Bowling, it’s a bit far but it’s pretty snazzy. An hour for two people is around $10 so you won’t be breaking the bank on this one.
Can you think of any more cheap and fun date ideas near UW? Let us know in the comments!
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A current student a the University of Waterloo and a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, Sierra's passionate about her major Peace and Conflict Studies, her school, and of course cute animals.