Coming up with unique yet affordable date ideas can be difficult. Often couples will find themselves in the rut of only doing dinner/movie dates, and getting bored of them. Maybe you can’t think of any other unique date ideas, or maybe you think fun and unique has to equal expensive. But it doesn’t! Summer is the perfect time to mix it up, head outside, and try something new with your significant other. Today I’m sharing some cheap and free summer date ideas that we should all be trying!
Enjoy a free outdoor concert
Every Wednesday night during the summer the city of Madison hosts a free outdoor concert on the Capitol square. People put out blankets and lawn chairs, bring wine, beer, and some snacks, and enjoy the music and the summer evening air. I know many other cities do something like this as well, and it’s the perfect summer date night! You can bring snacks you already have at home to avoid having to spend a dime!
Most bars that feature free live music have a cover charge, but many might not earlier in the night. One of my favorite bars to go dancing in Madison has live music every weekend, and they don’t start charging a cover until 9! Go out early allows you to avoid the cost and the crowd, especially in a college town like Madison. Drink water to make it a free night out, or have a cocktail and still keep it cheap!
Hit up a street market
Every Saturday morning for the most of the year Dane County puts on a huge Farmer’s Market, and an annual art fair. This is a great way to get outside, head downtown, and maybe pick up some delicious fresh snacks.
Have a picnic
This is such an easy one, and a classic one, yet so many people don’t think of it! Pack up some food, grab a blanket and a bottle of wine, and head to the nearest park. Madison has so many park spots on the lakes that are perfect for this. Letting the dog run around is just an extra bonus!
Find a carnival or county fair
I don’t know about other states, but Wisconsin is full of fairs during the summer! All of the counties have their own fair every summer (which means 72 fairs!), and they can be a great cheap date night. They’re free to get in. You can spend a little on games, rides, and snacks. Often they’ll even have a firework show!
Find a minor league baseball game
Instead of spending $20 to see your favorite pro team play, find a minor league team nearby and hit up a game for way cheaper! Often they’ll have lawn seating that is either free, or just a few dollars. Still the baseball game environment without the cost of an MLB game.
Have a campfire
Since we live in an apartment building now, we don’t have a space for fires. But in college when we had a house with a backyard, Dave and I LOVED to sit around the fire pit at night. We would sit out there several nights per week! We’re both anxious to be in our own house so we can enjoy nights like these again.
Find a trivia night at a local bar
Tons of bars around Madison are doing a weekly trivia night. It’s usually free to play, and often they have drink specials going on. Play just the two of you, or recruit a team to come with. We used to host trivia night at the Irish Pub I worked at in college and everyone had a blast!
Play a sport
If physical activity isn’t your thing, this probably wouldn’t be a date for you. But if you’re both active, find a nearby tennis court, soccer field, etc and play together. I’m certainly not a fan of exercise (I do it begrudgingly) but Dave and I enjoy playing tennis together!
Spend a day at the beach
Who doesn’t love the beach? Pack up your bathing suits, towels, sunscreen and some snacks and head to the beach. Spend some time laying on in the beach together and go for a dip.
Check your cities events calendar
You’d be amazed how many cheap and free events are put on in your city that you have no idea about! I know in Madison, there are tons of events going on every weekend in the summer! Even if you find some that aren’t the kind of activity you’d normally be into, try something new!
What are your favorite cheap and free summer date ideas?
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