Dates are exciting and add a breath of fresh air to a seasoned relationship or a brand new one just kicking off. If emptying your pockets for date night every time is getting quite old, get creative and save some money while still having fun and impressing your date.
Below are some money-saving tips for a successful, budget-friendly rendezvous with your special someone.
- Bigger isn’t always better. Although you want to make an impression in a grand way, the date itself doesn’t have to be over the top. Some of the best dates stem from thinking outside of the box and spending time together in good conversation. A simple walk through a park can often be more intimate than an expensive candlelit dinner.
- Show your range of interests. One of the biggest reasons for dating is to get to know each other better. Share your interests in a date setting by going on an art walk and discussing each piece, attending a free high school sporting event and talking athletics, or teaching the other person how to play your favorite card game.
- Keep up with local events. Many cities host seasonal festivals or concerts at no cost. Keep an eye out for these local events and plan an outing for your next date. It might be the best time you’ve spent together yet.
- Show your culinary skills. Have a date night in and show your special someone how well you can make your way around the kitchen. The ability to cook is one of the most attractive qualities in a partner.
Think you need to splurge with your hard-earned cash in order to treat your special someone to a night out on the town? Think again. Whether you are a nature lover or love to shake what your momma gave you, there are plenty of fun and free things to do. Add some new ideas to your date night repertoire and check out one of these ideas for free date nights in the District.
US National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and spend the day strolling along flowers and trees as they change colors from summer to fall. The National Arboretum features beautiful fall foliage and fall-blooming plants such as camellias, toad-lilies, chrysanthemums, herbs and ornamental grass. Enjoy a picnic among the National Grove of State Trees or hop on the tram and see the sites of the 446-acre park. The 35-minute ride features an informative, taped narrative about the arboretum including its history, mission and the various gardens and natural displays. The National Arboretum also offers educational lectures, plant sales, interesting exhibits and full moon hikes throughout the year.
Rock Creek Park
5200 Glover Road N.W.
Washington, DC 20015
What’s more romantic than sitting close with your sweetie and gazing at the stars? If you’re not quite sure what to look out for, then head over to Rock Creek Park where you will find free tours of the nighttime sky at the Rock Creek Park Planetarium. The program features an educational presentation about the brightest stars, planets and constellations that are visible in our view of the sky. Sit back and enjoy some quiet time with your better half as you learn why the Big Dipper got its name and other interesting stories and facts. The planetarium also offers educational presentations about our solar system, the Milky Way and deep space as well as evening stargazing sessions. Tickets are available through the Nature Center at the park.
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Bring out your inner kid and set up a date at the National Zoo where you will find interactive exhibits, daily programs, the Speedwell Conservation Carousel and, not to mention, tons of cute, cuddly and creepy animals. The National Zoo features more than 160 acres and more than 2,000 animals from 400 different species including birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, mammals and invertebrates. Watch animals like fish, lemurs, great cats and elephants get fed, learn about the complex and fascinating world of crabs, sloth bears, orangutans and seals or simply walk from exhibit to exhibit and enjoy the view. The National Zoo also features a variety of programs throughout the year including an autumn conservation festival, behind-the-scenes experiences and the ever-popular Boo at the Zoo and Zoo Lights.
1343 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Add some spice to your love life. Bring your babe to Cafe Citron and sign up for free salsa lessons. Beginner lessons start at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and intermediate lessons start immediately afterwards. Free salsa lessons are also available on Friday nights. After you have danced your way to each other’s hearts, enjoy late-night happy hour food and drink specials, a fun and laid-back atmosphere and a multi-cultural vibe. Tasty menu items include Venezuelan empanadas, Bolivian potato cake and Lomo Soltado, a Peruvian specialty. Cafe Citron also offers fun annual events, like its Nightmare on M Street Bar Crawl, as well as an open bar for Absolut, Dos Equis beer and rail drinks on Wednesday nights.
950 15th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
Forget your traditional happy hour hot spot. Georgia Brown’s, a popular restaurant and bar that features delicious Southern foods and traditional Southern hospitality, offers free live jazz music every Wednesday night starting at 6 p.m. Each week features a performance from local and/or nationally known jazz artists including the Firm Roots Trio. Enjoy Southern Comfort Hours, a special food and drink menu at discounted prices, available Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Although you might need a little cash for beer and appetizers, the free live jazz is hard to beat.
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Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.