Because money is usually tight for college students, dating can be difficult. Going out on dates is a much more fun and effective way of getting to know someone than just “Netflix and Chilling,” but the cost of dates can be limiting. Luckily for us, the Twin Cities are full of great places to take your date out that are either free or extremely cheap. Here are 7 date ideas that won’t bust the bank:
1. Stone Arch Bridge & Ice Cream at Izzy’s
No matter how many times you go to the Stone Arch Bridge, it’s still stunningly beautiful. When the weather is nice, go for a walk or a bike ride with your date across the Stone Arch Bridge and enjoy the beautiful city views. Take some Instagrammable pictures, then head over to Izzy’s Ice Cream and grab a cone. Be sure to make it back to the bridge in time to watch the sunset. It’ll be a quiet, relaxed night out that allows for good conversation to get to know your date better, and it will only cost you a couple bucks!
2. Pretend to shop at IKEA
This one may seem odd, but stay with me. IKEA is full of quirky and creative things to look at. Take the lightrail over to the Mall of America and walk over to IKEA to look through the neatly displayed showrooms. You’ll learn a ton about each other’s tastes, but won’t have to go through the grueling process of actually assembling IKEA furniture. When you’re done, make a pit stop at the IKEA food court to split one of their DELICIOUS desserts for super cheap. Or, if you’re hungry for dinner, I recommend the Swedish Meatballs. This is a creative date that you’ll be sure to remember!
3. Movie Night
Ah, the classic “take your date to a movie.” Movies these days can be pretty pricey, but there are a few theaters around the area that are fairly affordable. St. Anthony’s on Main has a great atmosphere and is just about a mile away from the west side of campus. Tickets are always only $6 with a student ID and $5 on Tuesdays. Another one to check out is the Riverview Theater; though it’s a little out of the way, it’s fun to explore a new place. Tickets are only $3 normally and $2 on Tuesday’s.
4. Wander around the Mill City Farmers Market
While the weather’s still nice and the best produce is still in season, visit the Mill City Farmers Market. Even if you don’t buy anything, there’s samples, things to see, and it would be a great morning date to start your day. It runs on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the end of October. If you find some good ingredients, make a healthy lunch together when you get home!
5. Get Fit
If you’re a sporty couple or looking to get fit, try a class at CorePower Yoga in Stadium Village. Classes are free for a week if you sign up here. Yoga not your thing? Hit up the rec or go for a bike ride by the river!
6. Get Artsy
There’s something romantic about art museums, and there’s quite a few right in our own backyard. The Weisman Art Museum on East Bank is free to everyone and doesn’t take too long to explore. Or, visit the Walker Art Center to see contemporary art; admission is free on Thursday evenings and the first Saturday of every month. Another great option is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It has an outstanding collection and general admission is free.
7. Twin Cities Brewery Tours
If you’re of age, take a tour of one of the Twin Cities’ awesome breweries. Most of them offer cheap, if not free, tours, plus free samples of their beer! Check out Summit Brewery, but make sure to schedule a reservation ahead of time because tours fill up quickly. Insight Brewery on East Hennepin also offers free tours every Saturday at noon. Other great local breweries to visit are Bauhaus Brew Labs and Surly Brewery. These breweries also offer special events with food trucks and music, so be sure to check out their events calendars.
These simple dates will definitely be memorable and won’t make your bank account cringe. Less expensive dates mean you can go on more days and nights out! So get off your couch, stop calling using your roommate’s Netflix “romantic,” and take that person you’ve had your eye on out for a great date.