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Valentine’s Day Dates on a Budget

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and there is nothing better than having a romantic night out with your loved one on the 14th. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of us in college, our wallets simply can’t support our “Romantic Night Out” dreams. Just because sushi or steak isn’t on the menu for the 14th, dates can still be adorable, romantic, memorable, and best of all – cheap!

1) Many UCI students don’t know this, but Irvine has a cheap movie theater! Starplex Cinema Woodbridge 5 is only a ten-minute drive from campus, and while the movies are a few weeks old, the matinee (before 6 p.m.) is only $2 and every movie after 6 p.m. is $3! That means two people can go see a movie at night for only $6, which is half the price of one ticket at any other theater. As a bonus, Starplex Cinema Woodbridge 5 is in an adorable little shopping complex that has a bridge to Woodbridge Lake. There are paved sidewalks around the lake that are peaceful and nice to walk around which can be a romantic thing to do before or after the movie. A movie and a romantic walk for $6 = a perfect Valentine’s Day evening.

2) Luckily for UCI, students live remarkably close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Corona del Mar, for example, is a ten-minute drive and has bonfire pits. For anyone that has never had a bonfire on the beach, it is extremely fun and can be very romantic! Fire logs that stay burning for multiple hours are only a few dollars at Albertsons (don’t forget a lighter!). You may need to go early (slightly before sunset) to ensure that you get a fire pit for the night. For a few extra dollars, you can buy marshmallows, chocolate bars, graham crackers, and skewers to make s’mores while snuggling on the beach next to the sounds of crashing waves. Don’t forget to bring blankets or towels to sit on and plenty of warm clothes because the breeze on the coast can get extremely cold once the sun goes down!

3) Boomers in Irvine is a five-minute drive from campus and has an awesome miniature golf course. For $10 per person, you and your loved one can spend a few hours being competitive on the mini-golf course. Being playful on the mini-golf course can be very entertaining and there’s no better way to get to really know your loved one (especially if it’s a first date or a new relationship) than to get slightly competitive. For couples that have just started dating, this is also a really good Valentine’s Day date because it is fun and romantic but not too serious.

4) Balboa Island is an awesome place in Newport Beach, just a short drive from campus. Taking the ferry to Balboa Island is romantic, fun, and best of all – $1 per person! Once on the island, there are cool boutiques and shops, delicious desserts, and a Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel costs $4 per person and provides the perfect clichéd moment for a Valentine’s Day kiss. Exploring the island is a great way to spend the day and is a totally unique place to visit.

Happy Valentine’s Day!