First dates can put a ton of pressure on anyone, especially men. There are so many social expectations that we’ve been brainwashed into following. You know what these are: the man pays for the first date, etc. It’s one of the reasons why first dates tend to be a bit awkward. Worst of all, when it does, the lady feels iffy and loses interest.
Now, take a look at the “tradition” of making men pay for the first date. If you’re a frugal man, this doesn’t sit as well with you. But then, you still want to make your first date with an amazing woman memorable. So what do you do? As luck would have it, you now have this guide. Check out our list of free date ideas that don’t suck, and are actually enjoyable. Read on to sweep the woman of your dreams off her feet without breaking the bank.
First Date Basics
Before you start checking out free date ideas, you’ll have to know the basics of first dates. You can expect various situations to happen, but most of them depend on how you want to make an impression on her. Here’s what you need to know –
- A first date must be affordable. Women tend to be skittish when they feel like things are going too serious too fast. Spending too much on the first date sends the signal that this is already a huge commitment. The fact that you don’t know the lady too well yet doesn’t help either. Not spending too much indicates a sense of freewheeling and getting-to-know-each-other. This way, she won’t feel pressured to say yes and thus, be comfortable with you on the first day.
- There must be enough time to talk. This is why movie first dates suck. You’re going to focus on what’s happening on the screen and barely have enough time to talk. On a first date, you’re supposed to know each other more, beyond the details of your dating profiles. What’s more, when it comes to free date ideas, this rule only narrows your prospect venues further. No loud restaurants, no concerts, no stage plays, and no bungee jumping.
- Make sure you get to see each other face-to-face. A woman loves to feel appreciated. She wants to feel and see that you’re interested in her and what she has to say. Don’t fall for the typical guy trap of socializing side-by-side. That doesn’t fly here. But–and this is a big one–don’t stare at her eyes for too long. You wouldn’t want to seem like a creepy serial killer. On a first date, it’s safe to make eye contact about 50 percent of the time. By doing this, you’re making her work to get your attention and interest. This is Attraction 101.
- Pick a situation or place with enough things to talk about. There is an air of boredom in the getting-to-know-each-other phase, and everyone knows it. The usual questions “where do you live” and “what do you do for a living” don’t get the blood flowing enough. If there is enough action in the background on your first date, you won’t run out of things to talk about. For example, outdoor dining on a busy street has enough conversation fodder. You can talk about nearby street performers and all manner of people walking about.
Free Date Ideas: Great First Date Options
So enough of the first date lessons. It’s time to get down to business. From the common to the silly-but-fun, here are several free date ideas for the frugal romantic in you.
1. Write Poetry and Read Them at an Open Mic Night
Unleash your inner poet and reveal your artistic sensibilities. Open mic nights are a dime a dozen, so be sure to look for announcements. You can follow the pages of cafes online or check out the boards at your local watering hole. These open mic nights also tend to come in themes so pick one which could be fun for both of you. Is it Edgar Allan Poe night? Or time for lovestruck poems? Doesn’t matter. As long as you both enjoy yourselves participating in the arts, it’s a great first date idea.
2. Look For Free Concerts
Free concerts and music festivals do exist. You just have to know where to find them. You can try following music fest pages on social media and see whether they’re offering one. They often hold these free concerts in parks and other open spaces within the city. Be on the lookout for free concert tickets too, via promos and other giveaways. Who knows: maybe you can win free tickets to see some of the biggest bands in the world.
3. Visit a Record Store and Browse
If the apple of your eye is a music nerd, bring her to a record store. There’s something amazing about browsing vinyl records and talking about classics. No wonder they use this dating trope so much in romantic movies! Bring her to the nearest record store to browse an almost endless source of conversation topics. You can talk about almost anything in the backdrop of great music.
4. Awaken Your Inner Child With a Trip To The Playground
Ask yourself this: when was the last time you enjoyed a day at the playground? Even as adults, you can’t deny that there’s an innocent type of fun to it. There’s something great in slowing down your fast-paced life by partaking in an old childhood activity. Furthermore, if you do it with someone you deem special, it’s an amazing feeling. So find a local playground and wax nostalgic about good times.
5. Go Sample-Tasting at a Food Market
Since you can’t spend a mint on a fancy restaurant this early, this is an excellent option. Go find a reasonable-sized food market in the city and go sample-hunting. There are all manners of vendors out there that you’re unlikely to run out of options. You get to taste great food, and the best thing is that it’s free. It’s one of those free date ideas wherein you take her on an adventure that satisfies both her taste buds and her soul.
6. Test Drive an Awesome Car
Pump up the excitement as you pump up the gas! Without having to buy an awesome car, of course. There’s likely a boutique car dealer in your city where they allow people to test drive amazing cars. For example, select Porsche dealers allow a test drive upon request. When you get the nod, strap her inside a Porsche 911 and get her adrenaline flowing. It’s an added bonus if you got superb driving skills, and another bonus if she’s a car nut. God, please let her be a car nut. If she is, boy you are in for an amazing ride.
7. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
If you’re dating an amazing woman, chances are she’s also an animal lover. Dog person, cat person, or exotic pet person, it doesn’t matter. Appeal to her love for her furry friends and invite her to volunteer at an animal shelter. Surrounding her with lovable animals would be an amazing experience. If you doubt that it would, come on man. There’s puppies, kitties, and even pot-bellied pigs!
8. Tour Expensive Homes For Sale
Everybody has a dream home and everybody also dreams of being somebody else at least once in a while. So why not do both? Dress up in your finest garb short of a ballgown and a tux, and tour expensive homes for sale in your city. That $15-million home on the hills? Or the $250-million megamansion on the waterfront? If there’s an open house for properties like that, book a viewing. Walk into the place like you own it but don’t get carried away. It’s like playing dress-up but more upscale.
9. Try Geocaching
Think of geocaching as a tiny modern treasure hunt. Go to geocaching.com, for a full list of geographical coordinates. You pick one and then find the object that those coordinates point to using GPS. You won’t know what you’ll find until you get there, but that’s the thrill in it! It’s a modern adventure accessible to anyone. Plus, you’ll get to know your date on a deeper level. Do you guys make a good team? Is she an easy person to work with when finding directions? You know she’ll be an awesome partner if she ticks those two boxes because you already have a travel buddy!
10. Eye-Bombing The City
What in the world is eye-bombing? Simple. Buy a big pack of googly eyes, go around your home or the city and stick them anywhere. Drinking fountains. Park benches. Lamp posts. Telephone poles. The hood of strangers’ cars. Your phones. Even your shoes. It’s one of those silly free date ideas that can leave you in stitches when it’s all said and done. It will be a super-fun memory of the two of you experiencing childlike glee as adults.
11. Visit a Museum Or an Art Gallery
Partake in some cultures and pick her brain on what she believes in. All while looking at interesting artwork and artefacts. The best thing is, you can do it for free! Most museums and galleries offer free admission on select days, often weekends at night. Find schedules and pick the best one for both of you. When inside the museum, discuss the exhibits with her and you will know her on a deeper level. All those nifty displays will give you something great to talk about. So don’t worry if your tour lasts well into the night until the doors close.
12. Karaoke Night With a Challenge
If you wonder if your dream girl has some serious pipes, this is one of the best free date ideas. Go on YouTube or install a karaoke app on your phones, then pick songs for each other. Challenge your date to sing something show-stopping like Sia’s Chandelier. Then be ready for her to challenge you to sing Livin’ On A Prayer. You can spice the game up too by adding challenges, like singing while chewing on something. Karaoke date nights are universally fun, though it doesn’t hurt to take it up a notch. Be wary about sleeping neighbors, though.
13. Go To The Beach and Have a Bonfire
Of course, swimming is the first thing that comes to mind when going to the beach. But this time, switch taking a dip for a bonfire. And instead of going during the day, go at night. This is perfect if you live near the coast as well. Get in your car, load it up with some firewood and some food to roast, and take your date on a little drive. When you arrive, set up the bonfire, roast some marshmallows, and tell ghost stories. Or if you’re the scaredy-cat type, you can just share fun stories and appreciate the great company.
14. Go For a Free Home DIY Class at a Local Hardware Store
Hardware stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot sometimes offer free home DIY classes. It could be fun to learn stuff like how to fix a broken pipe or replace the creaky door to your bathroom. Or maybe you could learn basic woodworking and make furniture. Take note that if these free classes are interesting enough, you may find a new hobby to start with your partner. At the end of the day, you’ll be proud to learn that you can do way more fix-ups and upgrades around the house.
15. Be Tourists In Your Own Neighborhood
If you live in a town you barely explore, it’s time to change that. Take your date on a ride and get off at a stop you’re unfamiliar with. Afterward, explore wherever you can. You can find clubs, diners, and other fun activities you never even knew existed. Take note that this works well if you live in a big city, where you might rarely go outside of the work-home commute. So get on that train or bus.
First dates. They’re full of amazing and awkward things. That’s what makes them memorable. You don’t need to spend a fortune to impress an amazing woman too. A well put-together outfit coupled with your spontaneous energy may be all you really need. So knock yourself out with these free date ideas and good luck on your next one!