Best Dates On A Budget
8 delightful — yet frugal — dates in Westchester.
Being strapped for cash doesn't have to put the kibosh on your romantic life. Check out these creative date ideas within each budget that will fill your hearts but not empty your wallet.
Hey, big spender! It’s the end of the week and you and your sweetie are looking for something fun to do but — hey, now — you’re not looking to get crazy here. What’s fun but not expensive fun?
The Alamo Drafthouse
Dinner and a movie? Who are we, Daddy Warbucks? Why waste your money on two separate events when you can take in a new release or genre classic while eating from specially crafted menus? Basic adult admissions are $13.75 after 2 p.m., or $17.25 for 3D screenings. The menu includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, shakes, desserts, and plenty of beer and cocktail choices, being a drafthouse and all. You should also definitely check out their rotating special menu paired to current showings. Even after tickets, dining, and drinks for two, you’ll probably still have enough left over to buy one of their signature Mondo pint glasses.
Brenda Timmermans | Pexels
Volunteering together is actually a great early date idea. It lets you get to know the other person a bit, and you both earn brownie points for being concerned and caring human beings. That said, you don’t need to wait for oil-slick penguins or a natural disaster to get more involved. For an incredible evening, try something like the Wolf Conservation Center. Located at the Northern edge of Westchester County in South Salem, the WCC offers plenty of educational courses for all ages detailing the importance of wolves in our forests. For a one-night event, though, there’s no beating the Evening Howl. For $20 per person, you and your date can snack on wine and cheese while learning all about North American wolf species, followed by a brief walk outside to literally meet and howl with wolves. Petting is obviously off the table, and while you can’t take one home with you, you can make a donation or even symbolically adopt a wolf pup (or seven), which is probably where most of your money will go on this date.
We live in a capitalist economy and you accept that most things are still going to cost money. That’s doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of it to have a good time. Try one of these cute ideas guaranteed to end with a lovely evening and minimal banks broken.
Arts and Culture
Art galleries are widely known for their wine-and-cheese nights, but if that’s not your thing try a local history museum. The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers has a lovely collection of art–chiefly from its namesake style of painting–as well as educational activities and its own planetarium. Admission to the museum is only $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors, while the planetarium is only $4 or $3 respectively. Between July 7 and September 2 however, there is a special 7 p.m. showing of their “The Sky Tonight” star show that is free of charge entirely.
For dinner, take whatever you've got left in your pockets and head a short distance to The Pizza Barn, where one "Superslice" should be more than sufficient to feed even the hungriest of couples.
These wonderful hotbeds of fresh, local produce and goods from friendly vendors have become more and more popular, but they don’t need to just satisfy your weekly handcrafted croissants fix. Farmers' markets are also a fantastic place to enjoy yourselves on a date. Many feature live music and activities, areas to sit and dine, and are generally animal-friendly which, according to every romantic comedy ever, pretty much ensures love is in the air. Plenty of vendors will offer you free samples, but let's be honest, you're going to end up spending at least $20-25 on some delicious snacks no matter how full you are.
For under $25? Yes, for under $25. Here's what you do: Head on down to the Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. They now offer complimentary valet parking, but you should still tip the valet because you're not a bad person. Let's say that leaves you $24. (You're not that good of a person.) The beer hall offers 5oz. samples in a reusable glass for $2, however you can purchase sample tokens at 5 for $5 or go even savvier and grab the 12 for $10 deal. That still leaves you $4 to tip your bartender throughout the evening, which is a solid 20% gratuity on a $20 transaction. Tokens never expire, so don't feel too inclined to drink nearly two gallons of beer between the two of you. Save a few in your glasses and make next week's date night even more economical.
Here’s where things get creative. There's actually plenty you can do for a date that doesn't cost anything besides the prep time. The more prep you put in, however, the better you date’s going to be.
Hiking is beautiful. But if you’re getting tired of aimlessly walking through nature’s majesty, consider adding in an objective. Geocaching is a pastime where hobbyists hide "caches," sometimes a small lockbox, other times little more than a token or marker, at geographical coordinates and then encourage or dare others to find them. While some are nearly impossible to get to, plenty are available and easily accessible to newbies. Take a hike, find a thing, post about it online. Basically, it's a more fulfilling, slightly nerdier version of FourSquare.
Take a Nice Long (Test) Drive
Let me be clear on this: it is disingenuous and frankly rude to go to a dealership and test drive an expensive vehicle you have no intention or ability to purchase. That said, hybrid and fully-electric cars are the responsible and cost-efficient future everyone should adopt sooner rather than later. Charging stations are popping up more reliably, and prices are coming down into a reasonable commercial range. If you've been wanting to see what all the fuss is about, Tesla is happy to schedule you a test drive and show off one of their futuristic models. With showrooms in Mount Kisco and White Plains, consider taking your date (and the sales rep) on a nice romantic drive around town.
Picnic in the Park
This one is a classic with a twist. Pack a nice boxed lunch, something you both love or mix-and-match a few of your favorites, anything that makes you both happy. Maybe bring some books or a card game, grab a Frisbee or something. Head down to a local park, throw out an old blanket, and just hang out in the sunshine for the afternoon. Oh, and don't forget to stuff your pockets full of dog treats (maybe hide some under the blanket as well). The only thing better than taking your dog to the park is taking yourself to the park to play with other people's dogs. This is also a fantastic way to make new friends, meet your neighbors, or singles for that matter if you’ve just been optimistically perusing this article for the last seven minutes.