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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

What should I wear? What will we talk about? What will we do? We all know dating can be stressful and riddled with uncertainty. This is especially true when dating on a budget, like most of us college students. But fear not, because I can help answer at least one of those questions and ease the mental strain that is dating. Here are seven fun but not bank-breaking dates you and your partner can enjoy.

Drawing session

As I believe many college students have, all you need is a pencil and some paper. Find a location based on your preferences for dating scenes and get creative! You can draw some surrounding background, the objects around you, or even each other. It’s a light-hearted setting that allows for the start of a conversation, like talking about what you’re drawing and why, which can lead into deeper topics.

Roller/ Ice Skating

Here at UMass, the Mullins Center public ice skating is free for all students with a valid UMass student ID (or $7 without) and rental skates are $5 if you don’t already own a pair. This equates to a total of $12 max for a fun date filled with movement and the potential to show off some of your skills. 

At the Interskate 91 roller skating rink (located in the Hampshire Mall in Hadley, MA), admissions are $10, and skate rentals are at just around $5. Overall, that’s a max of $15 for the date and allows you a couple of hours of fun away from campus. 

With each of these dates, you can let the activity speak for you and enjoy your time together without the stress of having to make small talk. They’re good places when you want to be somewhere loud and surrounded by people that can take the attention off the date itself. Linked below are the skate schedules and pricing for you to plan your perfect date.

Roller Skating at Interskate 91

Ice Skating at the Mullins Center

Go to a comedy show

As they always say “laughter is the BEST medicine.” It reduces stress which allows you to loosen up and enjoy the time you’re spending with your partner. The show will entertain you both and you’ll have something to talk about after. Happier Valley Comedy Club is a close, easy-access comedy club with many unique shows for you to decide on. Each show’s ticket price is $13 at the door or online, so there’s no pressure to plan your date too early in advance. You’ll both have a shared memory of this unique experience that will hopefully stick with you throughout your time together.

Pumpkin carving

Fall is in full swing now, and what better way to celebrate it than with some classic fall activities with your date? Relax and let yourself have fun with this activity, carving anything you can think of. There are plenty of pumpkin patches around the Amherst area, including Patterson Farms, Rytuba Pumpkin Farm, and Malinowski Farms. But, if the pumpkin patch isn’t your scene or it’s too long of a drive, you can also pick up a pumpkin at your local grocery store. For tools, if you don’t already have a knife, you can buy a pumpkin carving kit from stores like Walmart or Target that cost around $5. You can reuse these tools if you decide to carve pumpkins again. Pumpkins can cost around $5 during the holiday seasons and added with the cost of the tools if needed, the max total spending is $10. 

go for a walk or hike

Amherst is an ideal area to take your date on a nice scenic walk or hike. You can take a quick trip downtown and enjoy the people watching and small city life, or enjoy some time in the woods walking around Puffers Pond. If you’re really interested in getting to know your date more by having long conversations with them then this is the perfect date for that because it’s all about spending quality time together.

grab some dessert

Dessert is the cheap and age-inclusive alternative to grabbing drinks together during a late-night setting and there are plenty of places to pick up a sweet treat. Ice cream, cookies, chocolate and candy, gelato and cake, the options are endless and the prices can range from $2.50 for a cookie or gelato to $16.00 for a box of chocolate. Sugar releases dopamine, which makes us feel happy, improving the overall mood of the date.

visit a museum

You can dress up and have a cultured date at a museum while learning something. The Emily Dickinson Museum has great scenery with admissions free to Five College students (or $16 for non-students). The Beneski Museum of Natural History is student-run and free for all. Or support our University Museum of Contemporary Art, also completely free, and explore some rising artists.

Enjoy your future date endeavors and don’t be afraid to try something new!

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Isabella Tisdale

U Mass Amherst '23

I love to read, dance, and have great conversations with great people.