Summer Dating on the Cheap

happy couple

With summer come so many of life’s great pleasures: the warm sun on your back; scantily clad babes on the sidewalk; and perhaps best of all, the ability to woo your girl in fun and creative ways -- without breaking the bank. The possibilities are endless, but to help get you started, we give you our top six picks for summer lovin’ on a shoestring budget.

Date No. 1: Park It Here
Whether it’s your first date or your 50th, your local park is ground zero for easy and inexpensive outings. “On the first date, play Frisbee and go grab an ice cream. That’s enough time to figure out if you want to have a second date,” says Arthur Malov, senior dating coach at Other options include taking a stroll in the park at sunset or renting paddleboats by day if your park has a lake or pond. Throw some bread in your pack for the ducks and score bonus points with your girl for being kind to animals.

Date No. 2: Get Your Groove On
Free concerts are a summer mainstay in most every American city and town. This is your chance to check out new sounds -- without the download fee. If it’s a small show and the venue allows, bring a blanket and pack a picnic. If you’re going to see a major artist for free (or a pittance), expect big crowds and forego the picnic. But do bring water for both of you to stay hydrated; she’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and you’ll appreciate her not passing out.

Date No. 3: Raise the Roof
When the warm weather hits, restaurants with an outdoor roof deck are a brilliant way to wow your girl. A view equals romance in the minds of most women, even if the chow on offer is burgers and Buffalo wings. Skip the weekend crowds and go on a Tuesday: You and your sweetie will have the place to yourself. No roof restaurants in your hood? Check out patios overlooking a marina or a garden -- there’s gotta be something worth looking at in your town!

Date No. 4: Fairs and Fests
Summer fairs and festivals are the ultimate date venue because there’s so much to see and do, mostly for little or no money. Buy a pair of corndogs and check out the demolition derby. Win something for her from the arcade. (Hint: Nobody loses at the Duck Pond game.) Ride the Ferris wheel and kiss her when you’re stuck at the top. You get the idea.

Date No. 5: Set the Stage
Nothing says you’re a classy dude like Shakespeare, and almost all cities (and many towns) offer some kind of free or inexpensive theatre during the summer. Check your local paper for details, then prepare to bring out your smoothest moves. Pack a picnic of olives, bread and cheese to enjoy before the show (or during, if allowed). Check Wikipedia, and then impress her with insight into the play. Hate the theater? Usually the venue is outside, so pick a cloudy night -- if the show is cut short by rain, you get the culture points without the pain!

Date No. 6: Life’s a Beach
Whether by bus, train, car or a bicycle-built-for-two, get yourself to a beach. It’s the date with the best dollar-to-eye-candy ratio. Bring a blanket, Frisbee, chips and beverages. Offer to help put sunscreen on her back. The rest we’ll leave up to you.

by Jody Orshal Carty