Summertime means evenings with warm breezes and light that lingers. To me, it also means enjoying some alternatives to the “dinner and movie” date night.
Personally, I love when the summer concerts start. That was true even when I wasn’t dating someone. My friends and I would head over to Bouchon for happy hour at the cafe/bar area which has a patio. The patio overlooks the park where the Concerts on Canon series is held. Good food, wine and music? There’s no beating it. Most of the summer night community concerts are free here in LA, so it feels like something I can indulge in without worrying about the cost (unless we go a little too crazy on the food/wine part, of course).
I’m also determined to figure out how to beat the crowds at LA’s famous Farmers’ Market. They have live music in one of the food courts every Thursday and Friday night. We made it the other night, but the tables had long been commandeered. So, we stood around enjoying the music for a bit before heading off to a cozier spot in the market to enjoy a wine and cheese pairing. Not a bad alternative! Still, we are going to have to be more strategic with our thinking and get there much earlier to stake out a spot so we can relax and enjoy the tunes.
On my list to try next? The concert series at the pier in Santa Monica. Those are on Thursdays, but I’ll still count it as a good way to kick off the weekend. And after spending yesterday working in the courtyard at The Getty, I might give the Saturday concert series, Saturdays Off the 405, another go. The concerts are free, the parking is not. But the performances, atmosphere and the views are all incredible.
In the midst of me pondering other alternatives for date night, I received an email from Kendal Perez from HassleFreeSavings.com. She shared a list of “7 Summer Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank,” and I thought I should share it with you. Because who isn’t looking for ways to enjoy an evening (either with a partner or with friends) that doesn’t cost a fortune?
7 Summer Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank
Munching on cheese and crackers, clinking glasses of wine and enjoying a serene spot in your community is a pretty romantic way to spend a summer evening. Google “picnic areas” in your city for location ideas, and check out The Date Report’s recommendations for 25 Romantic Little Foods to Bring on a Picnic Date.
2. Concerts & Festivals
Hitting up summer concerts is one of the best ways to spend time with your special someone. While events featuring big-name headliners can require deep pockets, summer concerts hosted by communities often have free admission. City festivals may require a $5 to $15 entrance fee, but provide such complimentary diversions as booth browsing, improv shows and people watching. Of course, splurging on a funnel cake or fried oreos won’t put you out, either.
3. Local Dining Specials
Most cities offer a lifestyle circular featuring local events, attractions and dining specials. Before you schedule your next date, peruse your city’s circular and plan an evening starting with happy hour, discount dinner fare and a free local activity. Exploring your city together can be a fun way to learn about one another’s interests and local knowledge.
4. City and Company Tours
The warm weather makes it easy to create a date on the fly just by exploring your city. Many communities offer First Friday Art Walks or some variation thereof, where local art galleries keep their doors open later for visitors to peruse their works and chat with artists. If your community has local breweries, distilleries or wineries, schedule a tour and enjoy learning about the process of making your favorite adult beverage.
5. Volunteer Opportunities
Doing something together in the service of others can make for a rewarding experience. Identify your shared passions and causes and look for opportunities through VolunteerMatch.org. In addition to visiting with seniors at your local nursing home or helping out at the soup kitchen, you can also help build walking and hiking trails or contribute to a Habitat for Humanity build. The options are endless and the rewards are limitless.
6. Movie Discount Days
Skip the Friday night openers in favor of midweek showtimes. Many theaters offer matinee pricing all day during off-peak days, typically Tuesday or Wednesday. Check your local theaters’ website for more details or call the box office for more information. Since concessions will likely eat up your ticket savings, download the free Coupon Sherpa mobile app to your smartphone for instant access to deals like $3 off popcorn from Regal Cinemas.
7. Kids Activities
When was the last time you played miniature golf or or did donuts in a go-kart? Sometimes the best dates are the simplest ones, so channel your inner child and challenge your date to a round of bumper cars or air hockey. Indulge in cheap pizza, hot dogs and ice cream and share your favorite memories of childhood. Complicated? No. Memorable? Definitely!
Kendal Perez is a frugal blogger who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. As the Marketing Manager for Kinoli Inc., site manager for a family of money-saving websites, Kendal has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as People StyleWatch, CNN Money, FOX, ABC, NPR and Kiplinger Personal Finance. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com.