Dating in college is fun and exciting but thinking of date ideas can be tricky, especially if you’re dating on a budget. University of Delaware has some awesome places close by that are cheap and cute for dates. Here is a list of my 15 favorite date ideas near UD:
The Main Event in Newark, DE – Monday Night Madness special!
The Main Event is a big arcade filled with games, bowling, laser tag, a skywalk and a bar with food and drinks (for the 21 year olds!). The Monday Night Madness special is $10.95 per person for unlimited arcade game OR unlimited bowling, laser tag and skywalk. For less than $11 each, you and your date can have a night full of fun together!
Axxiom Escape Rooms – in Newark down East Main St.
An escape room is a fun, adrenaline-filled experience that takes team work and creative thinking (much like a relationship). Going on a date to an escape room can be exciting and a great opportunity to work together! For students, the hour-long experience only cost $20 each and Axxiom offers several different room themes including “Pirate’s Cove”, “Sorcerers Quest”, “The Heist” and more. Axxiom is open till 9 pm on weeknights and 11 pm on weekends and is definitely a place you and your date should check out!
Main Street Movies 5 – Half Prices Tuesday Nights!
Main Street Movies 5 is right near campus in the Newark Shopping Center. On Tuesdays, movie tickets are half priced (whether you purchase online or in the theater) and for $6 each ticket, you’ll still have room in you budget for popcorn! Main Street Movies 5 offers several movies to choose from (I highly recommend A Star Is Born) and times all throughout the day- and they even have those comfy, reclining seats in the theaters. It’s never a bad idea to cuddle up with your date and a large popcorn (you deserve it), even on Tuesdays!
Smiley’s Diner- Breakfast With a Student Discount
Smiley’s Diner, on Christiana Road, is open 24/7 and offers all day breakfast, lunch and dinner. Smiley’s has an old fashioned feel and some of the best chocolate chip pancakes around, a great combo if you want a unique late night date. The meals are conveniently priced and if you show your UD student ID at the register, you’ll get 10% off of your bill!
Klondike Kate’s -Tuesdays Half Priced Nachos
Klondike Kate’s is a popular restaurant on Main Street in Newark, with great food and a rustic atmosphere. Every Tuesday, all nacho platters are half priced all day! Kate’s offers several types including: Kate’s Originals, BBQ Chicken Nachos, Buffalo Chicken Nachos, Inner Harbor or the Trash Can Nachos. All different types are filling and loaded with enough toppings for both you and your date! What better way to get to know someone than over a plate of nachos?
White Clay Creek – Get Fresh Air and Hike
White Clay Creek is a gorgeous state park with hiking trails and calming scenery, the perfect setting if you and your date are the low-key types. The park is less than a 10-minute drive from campus and has no admission fee to hike on any of their many trials. The beautiful outdoors and fresh air is a great opportunity to get to know your date’s adventurous side better, all while getting in some exercise!
Fred Rust Ice Arena – Weekend Open Skate Hours
Fred Rust Ice Arena is the UD ice rink on South Campus. The Arena offers open skating hours on Fridays from 8-10 pm, on Saturdays from 1-3 pm and 8-10 pm, and on Sundays from 1-3pm. All students receive free admission as long as they show their student ID and only have to pay the $4 skate rental fee. The Arena even has a snack bar with snacks and hot cocoa. An ice skating date can be fun, romantic and a great opportunity to hone your skating skills.
Caffé Gelato- $6 Paninis on Thursdays
Caffé Gelato, on Main Street, is a delicious Italian restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. If you and your date go to Caffé Gelato for lunch on any Thursday, all paninis on the menu are only $6. The meal includes an entire panini (my favorite is the Basil Pesto Chicken) with a side of mixed greens or roasted potatoes. The food is great and with such an awesome deal, you can even check out their house-made gelato for dessert!
Brewed Awakenings- Coffee and Free Games!
Another idea for you low-key couples, Brewed Awakenings is located near the end of East Main Street and is one of the cutest coffee shops I’ve ever been in. The tranquil environment and the smell of cookies and coffee makes Brewed Awakenings a unique, yet cozy place for a date. The menu has all of the basics for coffees and teas and also has fun creations for flavored beverages (including their amazing candy flavored lattes). The small coffee shop also has a small food menu and fresh bagels every day. And the best part of Brewed Awakenings is their three bookshelves filled with puzzles and board games that you and your date can play as you sip on your coffee. This one is perfect for those classic rainy days in Newark.
Vince’s Sports Center – Outdoor Mini Golf
Vince’s Sports Center is a family-owned establishment located just outside Newark, Delaware in Brookside. The Sports Center has several activities including a small arcade, a batting range and miniature golf. The mini golf adult price is only $6.50 each and there are two 17-hole mini golf courses to choose from- each with a skill shot at the end for a chance to win a free round! The mini golf courses are open on weekdays till 8 pm and weekends till 10 pm. Mini golf is a cool way of bringing some entertainment and a little friendly competition into your date night.
UDairy Creamery – Homemade Ice Cream
Every true UD student knows of the UDairy Creamery on South Campus, right by the football stadium. The UDairy Creamery has a variety of homemade flavors unique to campus, including Delaware River mud pie, 1923 and Peanut-Cocoa-Loco! The UDairy Creamery is close, tasty and cheap (you can even pay with Flex or points!). Heading over to the Creamery with your date for a sweet treat is a choice you wouldn’t regret.
Sante Fe – Karaoke Night on Thursdays
Alright, this one is for all you bold types! Sante Fe is a sit-down Mexican food restaurant on the corner of East Main Street and North Chapel Street. This place is great any time of day, but Thursdays after 9 pm the restaurant takes on karaoke nights where diners can sing their hearts out. A band plays the tune while gutsy volunteers sing at the microphone. The restaurant also offers a cheaper late night menu every night from 10 pm on so you can still enjoy yummy dishes. Even if you and your date aren’t huge singers, the karaoke night offers an opportunity to step out of your comfort-zone or sit back and watch the brave souls who sing for the establishment!
Picnic at the Newark Reservoir
The Newark Reservoir is conveniently located off of Old Paper Mill Road in Newark, Delaware. The Reservoir lake is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and walking trails and is especially eye-catching at sunset. Packing a homemade or take-out dinner and bringing a blanket is a simple, inexpensive and romantic set-up for a wonderful date night with a view!
Spend the day at an in-season UD sports game
For all University of Delaware students, entrance to any on-campus sporting event is free! You and your date can sit in the student’s section at the game and cheer on the UD team with all of the other student fans. From football, to hockey, to basketball or lacrosse, there is almost always an in-season sport that is entertaining and fast-paced. A sporting event is an awesome way to have fun with your date while supporting your school.
PetKare – Play With Puppies for Free!
PetKare is a pet store located in the Pencader Plaza in Newark, Delaware. The shop does pet grooming, sells pet essentials but most importantly allows you to go in and play with the puppies that are for sale for free! You, your date and an adorable puppy can play in the store, which is not only therapeutic, but a great way to bond over a love for animals.