50 Cheap (Maybe Free) Dates You'll Thoroughly Enjoy

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Couples who spend regular time together on "date nights" are happier and less likely to divorce says a University of Virginia marriage study. In fact, the study recommends couples make date night a habit. But with dinner and a movie easily hitting a C-note (don't forget that babysitter) many couples forego this simple pleasure. Never fear, here are 50 cheap or even free date night ideas for couples of every age to keep that spark going throughout the year.

Have an Adventure Together
  1. Check on deal sites like Groupon (GRPN) for unusual adventures at deep discounts. Just don't use coupons on a first date.
  2. Stay up and watch the stars together somewhere away from city lights. Or visit a planetarium.
  3. Organize a scavenger hunt with each of you listing items to find.
  4. Go roller skating or ice skating, depending on the season.
  5. When there's snow, go sledding on a nearby hill on a cheap sled from a toy store.
  6. Take a subway or bus ride with no definite destination.
  7. Go for a drive -- keep a GPS or map handy -- with no particular place in mind.
  8. All you need for grave-rubbing are pencils, paper and interesting old headstones.
  9. Rent bikes or even better, a tandem bike, for an afternoon's amusement and exercise.
  10. Try geocaching or metal detecting.
Learn Something New Together
  1. Lululemon (LULU) stores offer free yoga classes. Or try introductory classes at a local yoga studio.
  2. Large sporting goods stores like Cabela's (CAB) offer free classes in archery or other outdoorsy activities.
  3. Your government recreation department may offer very inexpensive classes in all manner of interests. Seniors and students often get discounts.
  4. Whole Foods (WFM) and Williams-Sonoma (WSM) stores offer free or cheap cooking classes and demonstrations.
  5. Enlist a mutual friend to teach you both something. Or teach your partner something.
  6. Parks, libraries and museums often hold free lectures on subjects from archeology to zoology.
  7. Check out a free, ungraded online course on Coursera.org.
  8. Respectfully check out a different faith's religious service.
  9. Visit YouTube for tutorials on juggling, dancing, whatever -- it's up to you two.
Explore the Great Outdoors Together
  1. Set up a tent outside and rough it together.
  2. Sign up for a zombie run or mud run.
  3. Participate in a themed walk at a park. Or just make up your own.
  4. Head to a watering hole and tube, raft, swim or splash.
  5. A picnic is always a romantic way to spend a date night or afternoon.
  6. Visit a farm and enjoy the animals and fresh air.
  7. Pick-your-own farms and orchards are cheap(ish). But they can be messy, so dress down.
  8. Visit a petting zoo. You don't have to have kids in tow to enjoy it.
  9. In the fall, corn mazes and haunted house tours outside can be great fun.
  10. Wineries are wonderful for walking and tasting.
  11. Summers are for catching fireflies and watching fireworks together.
Explore the Great Indoors Together
  1. Set up a play fort or tent inside and just pretend you are camping.
  2. Light some candles and play board games.
  3. Together, cook up a special meal of something you both have always wanted to try.
  4. Have a nostalgia night, poring through yearbooks and old photos, in whatever format you use.
  5. Make a fun craft or artwork together. Try doing portraits of each other.
  6. Pajama party, anyone? Get cozy and talk the night away.
  7. Indoor picnics are just as much fun as the al fresco version.
  8. Binge-watch movies together as you binge on ice cream or your favorite snacks.
  9. Hire a massage therapist to work the two of you at home. Or make it a DIY project.
  10. Try creating a dance routine for the two of you. "Dancing With the Stars" has nothing on you.
Get Creative Together
  1. Attend a high school play or community theater performance. Some will let you attend a dress rehearsal for even less.
  2. Towns and cities all over have monthly events with art, music and samplings, and they are even throwing their own date night events. Just check online -- often they're called First Friday, Second Saturday or something like that.
  3. Visit art gallery openings. Wear black and enjoy the free wine and cheese.
  4. Go to a fish market or famers market and buy the makings for a great dinner.
  5. Story night is a chance to read to each other your favorite children's stories or create your own.
  6. Dream of your future together as you look for the perfect dream house.
  7. Watch a kids' softball or baseball game together. To make it interesting, root for opposing teams.
  8. Find the dustiest, mustiest bookstore you can and search for the perfect book for your partner.
  9. Make music, listen to music or dance to the music. Free concerts are available almost everywhere.
  10. Think of ways the two of you can reach out to others -- such as helping out at soup kitchens or volunteering at senior centers.
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