26 Cheap, Last Minute Date Ideas

26 Cheap, Last Minute Date Ideas

Whether it's your first time out together or you're looking to infuse your long term relationship with a little spontaneity, these fun and funky date ideas will ensure that you'll have a great time creating unique memories together tonight or any 'ol night of the week.  Never fear if you're SOI (Significant Other-Impaired) these ideas will work equally well with your pals.

26 Fun, Creative Last-Minute Date Ideas:

  1. Indoor or Backyard Camping. Make a fire and roast hotdogs, s'mores and take turns reading ghost stories or watch a REALLY scary movie.
  2. Make moonshine. Sites like this one will help you figure out how to whip up your own brew.
  3. Go to a comedy club. This can get a little pricy, especially if booze is involved, but amateur nights are often free and there's no better aphrodisiac than laughing.
  4. Bake a giant batch of cookies, homemade lollipops, or pea (Nutella), wrap them beautifully and give them away to neighbors with a homemade card.
  5. Take turns being street photographers. Give yourself a list of assignments (a couple kissing or fighting, a cop giving someone a ticket, a child crying, etc.) and troll the streets taking shots of interesting street scenes. Finish off the way the old pros did, sharing trench stories from your time on the beat, drinking Manhattans or Old Fashions at a dive bar.
  6. Tie Dye socks together. This is so fun and inexpensive and although you might be too embarrassed to wear a t-shirt, socks are discreet enough to enjoy on the sly, even at work.
  7. Spend $8 picking out an outfit for each other at a thrift store and wear whatever you bought bowling.  This is a very good opportunity to try out influencing your partner's sense of style.
  8. See a belly dancer perform. This age old ritual of wiggling, shaking and jangling is another potent aphrodisiac.
  9. Visit a museum at night for a romantic stroll amongst the masterpieces (usually one night a week is free or "pay what you wish") and finish with a glass of wine at the museum cafe.
  10. Skating anyone? Particularly at rinks that have disco or 80s music, you'll have the time of your lives without risk of serious injury.  For those of us who are snow-centric, an ice skating rink is just as fun.
  11. Check out the cheap eats and budget restaurant picks in your local Time Out guide and pick a cuisine you've never tried before.  Ethnic takeaway restaurants are usually a super-savvy find (when's the last time you had an arepa or congee??) and if it's a nice night, dine alfresco in a local park.
  12. Have a "mealiday" (meal holiday): fire up some Enrico Caruso arias on Pandora while you whip up spaghetti and homemade red sauce, then sit back with a glass of chianti, a viewing of La Dolce Vita and let yourselves be transported to La Bella Italia.
  13. Raid a 7-11 for your favorite 90s snacks (slurpies and junior mints-- holla!) and rent a 90s emo flick like Benny and Joon or Some Kind of Wonderful.
  14. Find arcade games near you and play them (our local museum has a vintage Pac Man machine and our fave dive bar has Skee ball).  You've never known sweet joy until you've whipped your partner at Skee ball.
  15. Go to a playground and hit the swings, trying to best each other on height.
  16. Dress like famous retro-senior citizens (Betty White? Don Knotts?) and head out to your fave restaurant for their early bird special
  17. Strip poker, anyone?
  18. Get a spa pedicure together during budget hours at a local beauty parlor. Even if your partner doesn't "do" polish, the massage and soak experience is a wonderful aphrodisiac.
  19. Learn a new Olympic sport together...yes, ping pong and badminton count.  See if you can pick up the necessary supplies on eBay or at a thrift store.
  20. Plan your dream trip, by picking out a destination, grabbing travel guides at your local library and creating an itinerary.  You may not be able to afford going right away, but having a place in mind might help you start saving.
  21. Get a couples massage at a budget-friendly Chinese Qigong parlor.
  22. Volunteer together. Working with animals in particular is a wonderful way to create a sense of closeness.
  23. Hit up a local bar that has free live jazz.
  24. Play tour guide by giving each other a tour of your favorite haunts in your town and give your partner the dirty dish on where you did what with whom.  Especially if you've been living there a long time, it will be neat to see your home through new eyes.
  25. Go junking. Either at a thrift store, antique store or straight out of the trash, find something you'd like to restore and do it together.  It could be a lamp, a picture frame, a screen, a bunch of bottles to paint, whatever you want!
  26. Find a local farmer's market or street fair, nibble on free samples and pick up an ingredient you've never seen/used before.  Make something out of it for dinner together.
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