31 Free Date Ideas You’ll Actually Want to Try

Free date ideas
Photo: STYLECASTER/Getty Images

Scroll To See More Images

Dating can be a lot of things: exciting, fun, nerve-wracking… and also pretty expensive. Everyone can appreciate a cheap date—and if a date is free, well, that’s even better. But coming up with inexpensive date ideas that aren’t super lame can be rough.

That’s why we did the work for you. From hiking to hosting an at-home movie marathons, great dates don’t have to cost a fortune—or anything at all.

Here, our 30 top free date ideas that are actually pretty cool.

1. Go On a Hike

Head to the closest trail and go on a hiking date. If you and your date happen to be morning people, make it a sunrise hike—you’ll get some killer Instagram shots.

2. Explore a Neighborhood

Be a tourist in your own city! Take the subway or bus, get off at a random stop you are unfamiliar with, and explore. It’ll feel great to spend a day with no inhibitions and hey, the date practically plans itself!

3. Find A Free Concert

No matter where you live, there’s usually a good, free summer concert going on. Plan a date around it, and soak in both the music and the summer rays.

4. Eat Samples At a Food Market

Feeling hungry but don’t want to splurge on a restaurant date? Head over to a local food market or food festival with your date and snack on some delicious samples.

5. Try Geocaching

This modern-day real-world treasure hunt is the perfect adventure. Visit geocaching.com to begin your active escapade. Who knows what you’ll find!

e7389 13774742 644363849055875 30730099 n 31 Free Date Ideas Youll Actually Want to Try


MORE: 101 Love Quotes That Are Totally True

6. Plan a Game Night

This is the perfect group date activity. Split up into teams and let the dice (and the good times) roll. A little tip to make it extra fun and a little saucy? Cards Against Humanity is always a hit!

7. Spend a Night At The Museum

Look online for times that local museums offer free admission (it’s usually in the evening) and roam around with that special someone.

8. Make It a Beach Day

Take a dip, make a sandcastle, play a game of beach volleyball, or just totally chill out together while soaking up some sun this summer.

9. Go Roller Skating

Strap on some roller skates and roll around town or a nearby park with your date. In the winter you can swap out the roller skates and go ice skating at a park rink.

10. Build a Slip ‘N Slide

Set up a Slip ‘N Slide in your backyard. Not only is this silly date a sure-fire hit, but it’s refreshing way for the two of you to cool off in the summer heat.

72a37 12940812 1585865551704574 1342143179 n 31 Free Date Ideas Youll Actually Want to Try


MORE: The Relationship Advice No One Ever Tells You—But Should

11. Volunteer Together

Whether you want to play with the puppies at an animal shelter or help out at a soup kitchen, volunteering with your date is not only super fulfilling, but you’ll make some awesome memories in the process.

12. Have a Movie Marathon

Pop some popcorn, cuddle up together on the couch, and start up a movie marathon, a.k.a. Netflix and chill. Take turns watching picking what to watch.

13. Go to Expensive Open Houses

Toss on a cocktail dress, grab a tie, and become whoever you’d like to be for the day! Check local listings of open houses and take a look around a dream home that you and your date could never afford. Tip: Walk in like you own the place (just don’t get carried away and try to actually own the place).

14. Go Camping in Your Backyard

Pitch a tent in the backyard for the night. Make a bonfire, roast a marshmallow (or two, or three) and end off the evening with some stargazing—there’s nothing more romantic than that!

15. Play a Messy Game of Twister

Take it to the backyard and play game of messy Twister. The same rules apply, but put coordinated paint colors on the Twister circles and let the games begin!

20840 13712386 829244377209785 1074772265 n 31 Free Date Ideas Youll Actually Want to Try


16. Find a Movie Screening in the Park

This is the classic dinner and a movie date with a (free) twist! Instead of heading out to a pricey restaurant, plan a picnic followed by a free movie screening in the park. It will be way more romantic than a stuffy movie theater, anyway.

17. Shoot some hoops

There’s nothing better than letting your competitive spirit out now and then, so head to the local basketball court and challenge that special someone to a one-on-one showdown.

18. Download a Karaoke App

Whether you sound like Beyoncé or William Hung from “American Idol,” karaoke is always a great way to loosen up and have some fun! A no-cost way to do it: Troll the app store for free apps you can download and sing along to.

19. Host an At-Home Poker Night

Can you keep a poker face? Find out by playing a game of poker with your date, waging with anything other than money.

20. Test Drive Your Dream Car

Rev up the car and the relationship by getting behind the wheel and test driving your dream car with your date.

dd1fa 12751614 1396398360667589 1348973629 n 31 Free Date Ideas Youll Actually Want to Try


MORE: 9 Effective Ways to Prevent Yourself from Obsessing Over a Crush

21. Go On a Free Brewery Tour

Many brewery tours are free, so take advantage of this when planning a date. If beer isn’t your thing many wineries offer free tours as well.

22. Go to a Trivia Night at a Bar

There’s nothing more attractive than intelligence! Channel your inner nerd and impress your date at a local trivia night. Hopefully they’ll impress you too!

23. Play Truth or Dare

Revisit the infamous childhood game of Truth or Dare by walking around town taking turns asking each other the age-old question. You’ll learn tons about each other and have a total blast!

24. Share Embarrassing Photos

Headgear, frizzy hair, and some freaky looking sweaters? Check! Collect some old photos, be it baby photos or high school grad pics, and share them with your date. Not only will it provide some good laughs but it will keep the conversation flowing.

25. Play Old-School Video Games

Dust off the old controllers and turn on that Nintendo 64! Be Mario, Princess Peach, or Toad for the night and have an old school face-off playing Mario Kart, Mario Party and all of the classics.

1ec58 13774663 827738600695044 475334380 n 31 Free Date Ideas Youll Actually Want to Try


26. Have an Instagram Date

Juice up your phones and head out and about on any one of these 30 dates, and then see where the day takes you based on what you see that’s most ‘grammable. You might find yourselves drawn to a park you never noticed before, or a gritty part of the city where the graffiti is super-photogenic. Take tons of selfies so that you have your own Instagram trail of the date.

27. Go on a Scenic Landmark Crawl

Be a tourist in your own city, but only hit up landmarks that don’t charge an entrance fee, like statues, museums, or other places that you’d go if you were only in town for a day.

28. Go For a Swim

If it’s summertime, hit up a public pool, lake, or ocean and sunbathe and swim with your S.O.

29. Wander Art Galleries

Check out local and up-and-coming artists on display at galleries in your area. You’re not there to shop, but you might spot your new favorite talent. Also, if you go at the right time, some galleries will offer snacks or free drinks to people wandering in and out, so Google first to see if there’s a good time to go.

30. Give Each Other Massages

Light some candles, break out the lotion or oil, and give each other a nice long back-rub. You’ll both get a chance to unwind (while knowing that you’re not on the clock and paying for every minute of enjoyment), plus, who knows where it will lead.

31. Go to an author reading

Bookstores and libraries regularly host author readings and they’re almost always free. It’s a fun way spend and afternoon and be on the pulse of the literary community. Plus, it’ll likely give you something to talk about later.

STYLECASTER | date night | date night ideas | date ideas | free date ideas | cheap date ideas | unique date ideas

A version of this article was originally published in September 2016. 

Free date ideas that are actually fun | @StyleCaster