Dating shouldn’t be about the money. Unfortunately though, sometimes it is. But true love isn’t based on Gucci belts and whether or not he can afford to get the surf n’ turf at dinner. Reality is, if you enjoy spending time with someone without it resulting in a pricey bill, they’re more likely to get a second date, and a third and a fourth.
So how do you date on a budget? Where do you go and what do you do? Disclaimer: While all the date ideas listed below are centered in Los Angeles, plenty of cities around the country offer similar opportunities for fun free dates.
Visit the Griffith Observatory
Los Angeles’s Griffith Observatory is a great spot for a date, not only because it’s free but because it’s actually pretty romantic. It offers amazing views of LA, nighttime star shows, telescopes for stargazing, and sweet look-out spots to share kisses. It’s up in the Hollywood hills, so you have a view of the Hollywood sign, making it a perfect photo op waiting to happen. Just imagine how serene and romantic sunset would be, perfect for a couple who’ve just started dating.
Visit a Museum
Museums aren’t only for art snobs anymore. LA offers a lot of free museums, and even the ones that aren’t free usually offer one or two days a week that are free of charge. If that’s not the case, your student ID should get you a nice little discount. The Broad, the Getty Center, and the Hammer Museum are all free.
And the LACMA, Huntington Library, and the Natural History Museum all offer fee-free days. Museums are a fun date idea because they spark conversation, and interactive museums mean plenty of playtime with your partner. And obviously, the light post exhibit outside of the LACMA is one of the most Instagrammable places in LA.
Visit the Beach
Los Angeles offers some of the best beaches around. Obviously, beaches are free, and they’re a perfect way to both catch a tan and cool off from the heat. Beaches can be busy so plan accordingly. But really, is there anything sexier than being hot and wet and…half-naked?
Both Santa Monica Pier and Venice beach not only have beaches but also provides the opportunity for yummy food, arcade games, and plenty of people watching.
Take a Hike
Ew, hiking. Am I right? While initially, hiking doesn’t seem like a very alluring date, there are a couple reasons why it’s actually perfect. Hiking can be a way to challenge yourself and, with the encouragement of your partner, maybe you’re more likely to reach your goal of completing a five-mile hike or whatever it may be. Plus, exercising releases endorphins and endorphins put you in a good mood (Thank you, Elle Woods).
Hiking together could be the beginning of a mutual love of working out, setting the precedent for a healthy relationship. Los Angeles offers some great trails to hike, including Paradise Falls and Eaton Canyon Falls.
Take a Walk
Los Angeles has some pretty iconic streets like West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. A simple walkthrough LA means the opportunity for sightseeing and people watching. Along Sunset Strip are some of Hollywood’s most legendary spots: The Viper Room, Whiskey a Go-Go, the Laugh Factory, and the Roxy.
Maybe grab a drink at one of these historic spots and a bacon-wrapped hotdog from the vendors that line the streets. It may not be five-star dining, but who needs that, anyway?
See a Show
Because of its rich music industry, LA has bars and other venues that offer free shows throughout the week. Venues like the Echo and the Satellite offer residencies to local bands, and they’re free. The Echo even hosts a free music festival of sorts called Echo Park Rising.
It spans three days and includes endless talent. This year it’s from August 15th to the 18th. Even if you two have just started dating, going to shows together could potentially tell you a lot about each other, starting with their taste in music and how well they dance.