Dating is an important part of being not quite an adult and is a really big part of your 20s and 30s. Going on dates and meeting new people is an essential part to a balanced and happy life.

However, dating can be extremely expensive. Like, really expensive. Dinners are ridiculous and add on drinks? You can spend upwards of $100 on a single meal without really trying.

Of course you want to plan the perfect date night for you and your significant other, or maybe you’re trying to plan a first date to show that you aren’t like everyone else.

Spending a ton of money just to impress someone doesn’t need to happen and there are a ton of free date ideas out there that can impress someone way easier than spending a few (too many) bucks.

Free Date Ideas You Need to Try

1. Go on a Hike

Going on a hike may not sound like the most romantic thing to do, but it can be a really fun way to get some endorphins flowing and mix your daily workout with your couple time.

You can see some beautiful trails and hills around your town that you may otherwise not go see and have some great conversation in the process.

2. Have a Nerf War

Let’s be honest here, this is not quite an adult, I’m not writing this list for people who are all grown up and settled. Anyone who is reading this must love the idea of something like a nerf gun war around your home.

First step, find some nerf guns. You can buy them (but ow, expensive) or borrow some from a friend or family member. Then you can choose to either have a war inside your home or at a local park but make sure you clean up the bullets for the animals.

3. Turn off the Lights and Chat

This is genuinely my favourite thing to do when spending time with my significant other. You can light some candles and set the mood and then just see where the conversations goes.

You can start the conversation with simple questions like “what is your favourite colour” and honestly, it’ll probably end in you both talking about your hopes and dreams which is one of the best ways to get to know someone. A great date every time.

4. Watch a Documentary

One of my favourite things to do as an adult is to learn about topics that I’m not normally exposed to in my day to day life, and watching documentaries are a really great way to learn! You can pick a documentary on netflix or amazon prime that both of you are interested in.

You can even take some time afterward and have a nice discussion about what you just watched!

5. Cook a Meal Together

We’ve all gotta eat! Cooking a meal together as a date night idea is a much, much cheaper alternative to going out to buy dinner. The ingredients are going to cost a bit of money, but you’ll need to buy them anyway!

You can take turns chopping and stirring and maybe even learn some new skills in the kitchen.

An image of two people on a date sitting at a cafe with a carousel in the background

6. Have a Spa Day

All of our lives are stressful and we could all use a bit of pampering once in a while, even if it is just at home. You can get some face masks and do an at home manicure as a nice way to have a self care date night.

It may be hard to get a male significant other to agree to this, which is an experience I have had in the past, but they will definitely enjoy it if you do!

7. Have a Movie Night

In every relationships there are movies that one person loves that the other person hasn’t yet seen, and that can create a really awesome date night. Grab some snacks and maybe some age appropriate drinks, fun!

8. Make a Blanket Fort

I’m a huge fan of making an epic blanket fort in my living room. This goes to the point where I’ve screwed things into my ceiling so I can watch TV while also in the fort. Building a blanket fort as a surprise for your significant other is a really cute date night.

You can fill it with candles (just don’t burn it down) and have some fun snacks to eat while you watch a movie. It’s a seriously fun and cheap way to spend time together.

9. Get Lost, on Purpose

A really fun thing to do is drive to an area that you’ve never been before and just get lost. You can do this in a car or on foot and just explore an area where neither of you have been.

You may discover cute stores or restaurants that you’ve never seen, or find a cute park that you can come back to. Just make sure you have your phone on you for GPS if you get too lost.

10. Play Video Games

Video gaming is a really fun thing to do together, especially if neither of you are hard core gamers. Some fun ways to do this is to find a game that neither of you have played before so you can get completely immersed into the game together.

11. Get Free Samples at Costco

If one of you has a costco membership, you should definitely turn walking around costco into a really cheap lunch date. If you take a lap around the store you can find at least 5 free samples to try and get a weird meal completely for free.

12. Play Board Games

Board games are a quality way to have fun and have been for decades! You can play fun games like monopoly, the game of life, or sorry and have tons of doing it. However, I’ve learned from personal experience that this can cause fights if one of you are a little too competitive (me).

13. Pet Sit Together

If you don’t have a dog of your own, you can turn watching a pet for a friend or family member into a fun date day. You can play with the pup and go for walks, maybe even teach them a new trick!

You can learn a ton about a new partner based on how they treat animals, especially if the animal is being bad for whatever reason, so you can use this as a bit of a test.

14. Go to the Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets are a really great low-pressure situation for a date on a Sunday morning. You can get a ton of really delicious free samples and go for a nice morning stroll while chatting and learning more about each other.

15. Hang Out by a Pool

In the summer there are a lot of free public pools that are around that can be a fun date day. You can lounge by the pool and talk, or go for a nice dip to cool off. You’ll get some vitamin D which will help you feel more positive and also spend some time moving your body which can make you feel happier too! That way you’re in the best possible mood for the date.

16. Volunteer Together

Suggesting a date where you go and volunteer can really be a nice test to see how nice a person is that you’re just getting to know. Some people just don’t want to go and do good, and that may be someone you want to avoid.

You can go on a date to an animal shelter or a soup kitchen and bring some happy into the world while also spending some quality time with your date.

17. Go Backyard Camping

If you own a tent and are willing to sleep outside, you can definitely go backyard camping. Grab some flash lights and sleeping bags and have a night outside.

Please don’t do this if your neighborhood isn’t safe, we don’t want you getting hurt for any reason.

18. Do a Puzzle

If you’re reading this article, chances are you aren’t 90. However, people who are under the age of 90 can enjoy a puzzle too! I’ll be honest, I get made fun of a lot for my complete love of puzzles.

Doing a puzzle with your significant other is a really fun way to turn a boring night of just a movie or tv binge into something more fun. You can talk and chat and enjoy your puzzle building!

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19. Walk Your Dog (Or Someone Else’s)

A really simple and fun date is just to go to a nice park or a nice trail and take a dog for a walk. It doesn’t have to be your dog, you can borrow a dog from your friend or family and take them for a walk.

You’ll have some fun chatting while also getting to giggle at all the cute things the dog will do.

20. Go to Open Houses

If you feel like you’re in a place in your relationship where this could be a forever thing, start house hunting. Even if you have no plans to purchase a house even in the next 5 years!

Going to open houses can help you figure out what kind of house you’ll eventually want to live in together and can start conversations about future plans which can really help you get to know someone.

21. Have a Photo Shoot

A really silly way to have a free date is to bring some funny props to a park or somewhere else where you can take photos and take silly photos of each other. You can bring a feather boa, some funny hats and sunglasses, and more.

You don’t need a high quality camera for this either, your cell phones can take great photos that you might even show your kids someday.

22. Watch the Game at a Local Bar

Most small bars have sporting events on the TV every single night and a great way to spend time together if you enjoy sports is to bond over sports. You can get an inexpensive drink or just get a water and watch the game together, maybe even wear matching jerseys!

23. Act Like Tourists

If you live in a city, chances are there are hundreds of super touristy things that you have never even seen. Seriously! Living somewhere makes you kind of avoid those types of areas because you’re just living your life and maybe you’ll get to them someday.

You can create a tourist itinerary and go see all the weird things that someone would see if they were only in your city for a few hours or days.

24. Go Ghost Hunting

Pretty much every town in the world has at least one place that you can go look at that is haunted. It may just be a house, or a hotel, but there is definitely something.

You can grab your significant other and go to the various haunted places around and try and get each other freaked out by the ghosts!

25. Find a Free Yoga Class

A lot of towns will have a free yoga class somewhere on a Saturday morning and you can get a nice relaxing workout in together as a cute way to spend time together. You may not get to chat much, but if one of you is bad at yoga you can (and will) get some giggles in when they completely fail the poses.

26. Go for a Bike Ride

Riding bikes on a trail or in a park is a really fun thing to do, you can even stop half way through your ride and sit on a bench and chat for a bit. Your body will be feeling nice and you’ll get some good quality time in.

27. Make Your Own Pizza

Making DIY pizza at home is a really fun meal to cook together because you can customize your toppings and shred cheese together! You can have a pizza and movie night and really enjoy some delicious food.

28. Go Roller Skating

Roller skating is a really fun thing to do in parks or just down your street. A lot of people don’t actually know how to roller skate, so you could find a place to rent a pair which is really inexpensive and learn together.

An image of two people holding coffee cups with a dog on the woman's lap

29. Create a Scavenger Hunt

Creating a simple scavenger hunt for your significant other is a fun way to show that you care and a good use of an afternoon. It could lead to something simple, like a nice meal, or something more exciting like tickets to their favourite concert!

30. Play in the Snow

If you’re living in a cold climate that has snow, you can go outside and have a snowball fight or build a snow fort. This can be really fun, but very cold so make sure you are dressed appropriately.

31. Attend a Poetry Reading

There are often poetry readings at different libraries or book stores and sometimes even at bars. It can be a fun way to get out of the house while not having to spend any money.

32. Go to a Free Museum Exhibition

A lot of museums or art galleries will have days where you can go for free, usually during the day, so you can enjoy the knowledge without the cost. If you and your date both have a weekday off you should be able to find somewhere cool to go for free.

33. Teach Each other a Skill

Chances are you and your significant other both have really unique talents and skills that the other person doesn’t have but can be learned. Why not turn that into a date?

You could learn how to play guitar, or piano, or maybe learn a new card game that you’ve never played before. Random things are always fun to learn especially after you’ve graduated school.

34. Have a Picnic

Having a picnic of your favourite simple snacks and sandwiches is a really romantic way to show someone you care. You can go to your favourite park, or a beach, and hangout with some good eats!

35. Go Star Gazing

Star gazing is a simple thing that can be extremely romantic. You can drive out somewhere where there are no city lights and just lay down and stare at the sky. It’s really beautiful and you can bond over trying to find constellations.

36. Go Tobogganing

If you’re living in a place with lots of snow, you can enjoy a nice afternoon going tobogganing. As a Canadian born and bred, I absolutely love going tobogganing as a fun date or time with friends. You can really get some good laughs when you inevitably fall, too.

37. Wander Through the Park

Parks are one of the best free places to hangout and can be an awesome place to go on a date. You can play with kites, sit on a bench and people watch, or just go for a walk. It’s a really great place to chat.

38. Go on a Graffiti Tour

Most cities (and even some small towns) have some really awesome graffiti painted all around that isn’t just people signing their names. There are hundreds of really talented graffiti artists and many are commissioned to create beautiful art work for big cities that you and your partner can go view.

You can usually search graffiti in xyz and find the best graffiti locations in your city or town and go looking. You could even get some cool photos of each other to share on your social media accounts.

39. Wander Through a Flea Market

Flea markets can be a really interesting place to wander since you’re bound to find some weird treasures at different booths. You’ll see all sorts of interesting people and the different items can spark some really fun conversations.

Final Thoughts

Dating doesn’t always have to be expensive, seriously! You can use these free date ideas to have a great time with your significant other and not have to spend an arm and leg to do it.

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