The Recession-Friendly Guide to Going Out: 23 Fun & Free Date Ideas


The dating scene is not an easy one. There are the usual quandaries – dinner or just drinks; sleep over or the token kiss on the cheek? Add to those basic issues the meltdown of all things economy-related, and the idea of going on a date might send even the most romantic Romeo & Juliet running for the hills, or a monastery.

Never fear, your resident cupid is here. And it isn’t my first time playing the part, I might add. I’ve encouraged you to have more sex (safely, please), taught you tips for lassoing yourself a green goddess girlfriend and researched how to eco your “toys”.

But since everyone’s handbag is hurting of late and doling out more dough for a date isn’t easy, why not try some simple serenading? Indoors or out, it’s easier than you’d expect to find fun for free. Here are a few suggestions:

twig-1Play board games. Add “strip” to the name if you’re feeling frisky.

twig-1Pick up a free weekly (i.e. LA Weekly) and peruse it for outdoor concerts. Free music is good for the soul and your solvency.

twig-1Volunteer at a pet rescue. The best filter for a good guy or gal is whether they play well with animals.


twig-1Visit a gallery and immerse yourselves in art for an afternoon.

twig-1Walk“¦without a destination. Just walk somewhere, anywhere; then turn around and walk back. Also a good excuse to hold hands.


twig-1Window shop. Tiffany & Co. is as good a place as any to get the juices flowing. Or maybe it’s just me that salivates at the sight of sparkly, shiny things.

twig-1Take a hike, but hike to the hike rather than drive, if possible. (Yes, hiking is somewhat similar to walking but give me a break, I’m making a long list here).


twig-1Skinny dip. What’s more freeing than a swim in your birthday suit?

twig-1People watch. There really isn’t an easier or more amusing activity, and it can happen anywhere at any time.


twig-1Stargaze. This one happens at night, in the dark, of course.

twig-1Go swinging. No, not that kind of swinging! I’m referring to the playground type of swing. Slides are fun too.


twig-1Read a book or magazine. Add cuddle and couch for the perfect recipe.

twig-1Play a sport. Any sport with a ball of some sort will do, like soccer, football, basketball or volleyball. A little healthy competition while working up a sweat is a good thing.


twig-1Spend Sunday morning cruising the neighborhood yard sales for free stuff.

twig-1Make a meal with what you find in the kitchen. No shopping allowed. Use your collective palettes to whip up something yummy out of nothing. Bon appetit.


twig-1Trade massages. Flip a coin to see who “gives” first because once you get rubbed it’s not as easy to summon up the strength to give.

twig-1Enjoy nature, which isn’t as easy as you might think. Whether you live in the mountains or by the beach, make a date to really experience your surroundings. Wiggle your toes in the sand or dirt. Dance with your bare feet in the water.


twig-1Take a bubble bath (note: suggested for a date other than the first).

twig-1Peruse a book store for an hour or two and make use of your hard-earned (unused) English B.A.


twig-1Go on a bike ride – short or long; rigorous or relaxing. Whatever works with your schedule and way of life.

twig-1House-hunt, even if you’re not in the market for a house. Walk through your neighborhood scoping homes and planning the design of your dream house.


twig-1Take turns telling each other stories – the imaginary kind, because creativity is a lovely way to lure you toward all sorts of fun activities.

twig-1Make out. Yes, I mean kissing. Try it in the car or living room; at the book store or while on a hike. But ignore the person who tells you to “get a room”, because…that’ll cost you.

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