While Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the Groundhog saw his shadow, which not only means more chilly weather, but also cuffing season is still upon us! Let’s face it: while we all want to be wined and dined at a five-star restaurant, it’s pretty hard to impress your date with a college student budget. Fret not, friends! Monmouth is perfect because of it’s close proximity to the beach, and both Philly and NYC! So check out these fun and super affordable date ideas near Monmouth University that will impress your date AND keep your bank account from going negative!
1. Pier Village – $-$$$
If you’re an upperclassman, you may already have the luxury of living in one of these gorgeous apartments and Pier Village is also known as your backyard! For the rest of us though, Pier Village, a sort of boardwalk right by the ocean, it’s just a short drive away from campus and has tons of cute little shops to explore. You can even take your date to Red Mango for some fro-yo and voila!
2. The Inkwell – $
While this coffee joint is most popular amongst students for their late night hours, this is one of the most quaint and eclectic spots for a good cup o’ joe and for a date! With 90’s grunge music playing in the background and zombie posters hanging all around, order the Dutch Coffee and your date will surely be impressed with your hipster ways!
3. Earth Pizza – $$
Just a 15 minute drive from campus, Earth Pizza in Red Bank, NJ not only offers gluten free options, but it’s also organic! You can create your own personal pizza monster or choose many of the combinations they already have on the menu, such as the artichoke and spin-dip pie! And if your date doesn’t get down with pizza, tellem boy BYE!
4. Grounds for Sculpture – $
While this is a bit further from the Jersey Shore, Grounds For Sculpture, located in Hamilton, NJ, is a beautiful spot for a date! It’s a scenic place full of cool art and even has some eateries there, too! To get in with your student ID it’s just $10 a person, so you and your date can walk around on a nice day, explore the creative workings, and even have some sweet treats, too.
5. YESTERcades – $
Old school arcade games, new school vibes, and BYOB, what more can you ask for?! For those techy folks that have a soft spot for Pac Man and Street Fighter, YESTERcades is awesome for a date night out to play video games and bond while your virtual characters duel to the death! YESTERcades is located in Red Bank, NJ, about a 15 minute drive from campus.
6. The Showroom – $
Located in Asbury Park, The Showroom is a movie theater, but it doesn’t show films like “Bad Grandpa” or whatever else Miley Cyrus is starring in. If you’re looking for an alternative date, you can stop by and even catch live theater performances some nights! Student tickets are a whopping $8 and for that you can watch Oscar Nominated Shorts and some groundbreaking documentaries, too!
7. Monster Mini-Golf – $$
Located right in Eatontown, where Monmouth Mall is, Monster Mini golf has a glow in dark course plus arcade games and a DJ. Somewhat cheesy, active, and fun, your date is sure to enjoy taking a swing while avoiding the many monsters lurking!
8. Escape the Puzzle – $$
Escape Room games and murder mysteries are becoming increasingly popular! And now you can even take your date out on a fun clue-solving experience with a Gatsby Speakeasy theme. This spot, located 2 minutes from campus, is best for a group date. “The clock is ticking, do you have what it takes to solve all the riddles and puzzles?” Or, you know, if that’s not your thing you can always just make out in the dark too…
9. Hot Sand – $$-$$$
Jersey Shore’s glass blowing factory is a really cool spot for date night. You and your plus one can walk right in and blow your own glass bubble, candy dish, or an ornament with one of the glass artists. Depending on which item you chose, prices will vary. If your date doesn’t want to get creative, you can also explore the gallery of other pieces of glass-blown art they have for display.
10. Ciniello Bowling Center – $
This is actually right on campus of Monmouth University in Boylan Gym! Friday nights from 6-9 pm, the bowling lanes are open for student use and recreation. You can easily go with a group of friends for this one, especially if you met your date on Tinder and are scared of creepers!
11. Saturday Screenings – FREE
Saturday screenings are also held right on campus at Hesse Lounge and are totally free for students! If your date is more into mainstream movies, this would be so perfect! All you have to do is wear some clean sweats or yoga pants, your favorite Monmouth hoodie, popcorn is already served, and enjoy cuddling up together while watching Star Wars: Rouge One!
12. Pollak Theater -$
Another place to enjoy right on campus is Pollak Theater. With great auditorium seating, Pollak is often the number one spot for big Greek events. Otherwise, the university also opens it up to locals, especially when they have film festivals like The Black Maria, happening March 30th. College is all about new experiences, so why not check out some HD Opera or Ballet! Get some culture for you and your date. And if they fall asleep, go easy on them. College is hard!
13. Lauren K. Woods Theater – $
Also on campus, and a popular place for the theater majors as they can debut their performances. Again, this is also opened up to the public for live theater performances. Coming up in March, Woods Theater will host “Tuesday Night Record Club: The Beatles, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club.” It’s just like a book club, but with albums! Any music buff will surely enjoy this date!
14. Picnic at Wilson Hall – FREE
Whether you are in a relationship or not, this is something you must do before leaving MU! Wilson Hall, most popularly known as the “Annie Building” and formerly as President Woodrow Wilson’s summer mansion, the building is full of beautiful architecture. Weather permitting, you should have a date by having a picnic either on the steps outside Wilson Hall, overlooking the huge fountain, or in the Erlanger Gardens bordering the building.
15. Dorm Room – FREE*
Last but certainly not least, the most intimate and perhaps fun way to spend time with a significant other is simply to Netflix and Chill while cuddling up together, assuming your roommate is gone for the evening and you have an active Netflix subscription!