15 Cheap And Fun Date Ideas Near Mizzou

If you are in a relationship and are attending Mizzou, this post is for you!  Going on dates as a college student can be tough.  You don’t have a lot of money to begin with, and there’s limited spots near campus that are actually fun, unless you want to fork up some extra cash.  Well, here is a list of fun date ideas near Mizzou that won’t empty your bank account!  Pick out a few to try out with your S.O.!

1. Roller Blade together at Empire Roller Rink.

If you want a unique date idea, flashback to the 80s and take your date to the Empire Roller Rink. It’s about $5 to get in on weekdays, $7 on the weekends, and $1.50 to rent a pair of quad roller skates. This is the perfect place to hold hands and skate around the rink (hopefully without falling)!

2. Dinner Date Night at Noodles and Co. (if you use PocketPoints)

For this dinner-date to be cheap, you need to use PocketPoints. If you don’t have the app, download it now. You can use points at a variety of places near Mizzou’s campus to save money, but the best deal, by far, is the Buy One Get One Free regular entrée at Noodles and Co. It’s perfect for couples. There is a Noodles and Co. downtown, right next to campus off of Ninth Street, so you and your date can walk there!

3. Picnic at Stephen’s Lake Park.

Pack up your favorite sandwich ingredients and a blanket and head to Stephen’s Lake Park for a picnic! There’s plenty of grassy areas near the water and even picnic tables. Sit back and relax with your significant other or walk along the path that surrounds the lake. It’s peaceful (and free).

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picnic @ the park

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4. Breakfast at Harold’s Doughnuts (forget about Tiffany’s!).

Harold’s Doughnuts is located downtown, just a short walk from the edge of Mizzou’s campus. They make fresh doughnuts daily, and you can smell them from the street! Classic doughnuts are just $1, and their specialty doughnuts are $2-$3. So treat your “bae” to breakfast without emptying your wallet.

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5. Stargaze on The Quad.

Pick a spot on the grass next to the columns, lay down with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and look up at the stars. (Mizzou won’t make you pay for Quad access, either. Bingo!)


6. Go to the top of Virginia Ave parking garage to watch the sunset.

The Virginia Ave parking garage is the tallest garage on campus, so take you’re your boo up to the top and watch the sun set over the entire city! This is one of the easiest date spots to admire the beauty of Columbia…And romantic, too!

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A rosy end to the day. 📷@nicholasbenner

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7. Go to the Central Missouri Humane Society and look at cute puppies.

There’s no better way to make a girl’s heart melt than to take her to see puppies. You can look at all the animals just by walking in the building. But in order to hold some puppies, the workers may make you fill out a foster-care application. It’s free and there’s no harm in filling it out if it means you can hold a cute puppy!

8. Sneak into Faurot Field (and kiss the 50).

Are you an adventurous and daring couple? Make your date night risky and sneak into Faurot Field! (Hint: there’s a spot on the west end of the stadium where you can get around the fence, just don’t get caught!). Once you’re in, you can also check “Kiss the 50” off the Mizzou bucket list!

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"I came to Mizzou because I aspire to be something greater. I want to do great things for the world and its people, and it starts here. It started with my very own show on @kcou881. Then to participating in @MizzouThon, the 13.1-hour dance marathon which raises money #ForTheKids. And then on to working with and teaching students as a Peer Advisor with @mizzoureslife.official. And now being selected as one of 35 of “Mizzou’s Finest” as a Summer Welcome Leader for the freshman orientation…not to mention studying in the world’s finest School of Journalism. Mizzou has given me more than I ever thought possible, but the work was not easy. It took dedication, but my leadership at Mizzou has helped me to make sense of the world around me. It has helped me to grow as a human being, as one who serves his community and who commits to others in need. It has helped me to make once-in-a-lifetime connections and gather experience in the professional field. It has helped me to find my place in the world, and be confident in the future ahead of me. Mizzou has taught me to lead others, because that’s what it means to be #MizzouMade." – Anthony Holtschlag, journalism

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9. Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner at the Broadway Diner.

The Broadway Diner is a small little breakfast place downtown perfect for a secluded date night. The two of you can order breakfast food at any time of the day, or split a milkshake together, and it’s pretty cheap!

10. Go to a concert at the Blue Note.

The Blue Note hosts concerts for a variety of singers. Some of the less popular singers will have fairly cheap tickets, some even under $25 each. So save up a few more dollars extra and head to the Blue Note downtown for a music-filled date!


11. Take pictures with the beautiful scenery of Shelter Gardens.

Shelter Gardens is a botanical garden near the Columbia Mall. It provides a beautiful backdrop for pictures with your loved one, so don’t be afraid to snap away! Stroll through the flowers here, take lots of pictures, and admire the relaxing scenery. It’s worth it. (maybe even pick a few flowers out to show your love)

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12. Go swimming at the Tiger Grotto.

No matter the weather, grab your swimsuit with your S.O. and head to Mizzou’s Grotto where you can swim in a heated pool year-round. There’s also a lazy river and a giant hot tub that can both be pretty romantic, but you do have to share.


13. Go on a climbing adventure to the Pinnacles.

Climb to the top of the rocks at the Pinnacles in Columbia (also called Pinnacles Youth Park) and see the world from a different view. This is the perfect date spot for adventurous couples. (But don’t look down if you’re afraid of heights)!


14. Take a quirky snack break at Strange Donuts.

Ever wanted to try a bacon donut or Fruity Pebbles donut? Head downtown to Strange Donuts and pick out the craziest donuts you can find. The “Strangers” donuts are the strangest and also cost $5 each. But they also have Classics and Creations which range from $1-$2, pretty cheap for a fun date!

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Birfday Cake

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15. Watch a movie at Hollywood Theaters (with a student discount).

When you think date night, you can’t help but think of the movies!  It’s a classic romantic date and everyone loves a good movie with their S.O.  Well, Hollywood Theaters/Regal Columbia Stadium 14, located off of Stadium Road, has discounted ticket prices if you show your student ID!


What are your favorite date ideas near Mizzou? Comment below!
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Claire Harman

Claire is a college student studying journalism at a major Midwestern university. She enjoys free-writing, listening to music, and traveling.