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Outside of the typical hiking, cooking in and having a Netflix marathon there are other options for dates when money is tight. Or perhaps money is not an issue, you and your date are just looking for something new.  Indulge below!

1) The balcony/patio/backyard picnic: The key here is extras. You need to make sure to get a bottle of wine, a small candle, cuttable cheese (no slices and a block of Velveeta does not count), maybe some pickles and a blanket or tablecloth. Extra points for fancy chocolate, Prosciutto and fruit.

Tips for success: Get a bottle of wine. I’m not talking about Arbor Mist, Sutter Home or anything that comes in a box. March yourself over to World Market or Trader Joes and pick out a nice bottle of $3.99 or $4.99 wine. (Pro tip: don’t buy anything that was made in this year, you’re in the juice aisle.)

2) Concert or Museum: You would be surprised at how many local galleries there are with free admission. A lot of the bigger museums also offer free days which you can check out. If doing a search for local free concerts doesn’t return anything check your city/town website, a lot of them post the local events. Also local colleges and universities have low-cost or free shows and museums.

3) Visit a local haunted spot: Maybe this sounds a little too much like high school to you, but studies say fear and danger can bring you closer together. Check out this website for local haunts. Be sure to take numerous photos and spend afterward contemplating if that was dust or light orbs in the pictures.  Tips: bring flashlights, take pictures and record the sounds. Don’t forget the snacks, something large and crunchy always does the trick.

4) Complimentary Wine/Beer Tastings: You don’t have to live near Napa or Sonoma to attend a wine tasting. I have attended plenty all across the U.S., most are complimentary or very low cost.  Find a few close to each other and you can call it a tour. I always use Yelp to find my local wineries or breweries.

5) Play Old School Video Games Online: I’m not really into playing video games, but Mario Kart from Nintendo 64? Sign me up. Get out the Chex Mix and some brewskies and have an age old battle of skill with your date.  Bonus points for having a song playlist in the background while you play.  Searches online can get you your favorite games right there in the browser.

Mario Kart, anyone? Here and here.

These are my top 5 favorite things to do, but there are hundreds more ideas out there. Check out our Pinterest board for more hot tips for dates. Or share your favorites below!

Top Five Free Romantic Date Ideas
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Written by Danielle