50 Romantic and Free Date Ideas for Couples

The best free date ideas are simply quality time, can I get an ‘Amen’? We all know this, and yet we always reach for the movie tickets, the expensive dinner out, or the over-priced wine bar. 

Why do we do this? Is it easier? Say it isn’t so. I’m here to tell you, the best date nights are the ones that are (practically) free! 

With fun ideas ranging from goofy to romantic to out-of-the-box, you’ll be referencing this list often (so don’t forget to bookmark it), and that’s 100% why our team put it together. 

Put on your fluffy socks, your PJs, or your matching sweaters, and go to town! Well, hypothetically speaking, anyway. For most of these, you can skip the town altogether and just stay home!

We’re here for that idea. 

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn a commission when you click through the affiliate links on our website. See our privacy policy & disclosures for more information.

Tips for Budget-Friendly Date Nights

Date night ideas without any money at all? It can totally be done, and it can totally be a game-changer for your relationship. 

All it takes is a little planning, and you can skip the hefty price tag. What’s the main goal here? Having meaningful moments and making memories that will last a lifetime, naturally. It’s not impossible, we promise! 

The best part? We think you’ll have more fun than you would if you blew through half of your week’s grocery budget on a “real” date. 

Saving money is a great idea in any case; here are a few ways you can use these ideas:

  • Substitute one of these per week or month instead of dinner & a movie; this will save you $50 per week/month, easy.
  • Take advantage of these free date ideas for the month prior to birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas and use the savings to get a premium gift such as a vacation or big-ticket gift items.
  • Instead of a weekly date at a chain restaurant, go on free dates for 2-3 weeks then go to an upscale restaurant, good seats at the theater, or concert tickets.
  • Skip one $40 night out per month using one of these freebie ideas and use the savings to sponsor a child living in poverty.
  • Use these free dates instead of gifts for one year to save up for a down payment on a house, a remodel, a vacation, new furniture, or investments.

You get the idea! Gifts are great, but free dates for the money-saving couple, instead of gifts, means you have more funding for other goals.

Goals such as bigger and better gifts, more exciting experiences, travel and vacations, fun classes like art or ballroom dancing, a new car or house, giving to those in need, and more.

The Ultimate List of Free, At-Home Date Ideas

We’re keeping your bank account devoid of tears with these ideas that are 100% free or nearly free and only take a little bit of budgeting on your part.

Our editors have picked out their favorite at-home date night ideas to add to this ultimate list for you! So, if you are looking for something really unique to do at-home together, these are our top picks.

Indoor Picnics

Pack a basket full of goodies and throw down a checkered blanket, you can't go wrong with a classic like this.

More "Backyard" Date Ideas

When my kids were little it was only a real picnic if you packed it in a basket, and sat on a blanket on the ground or floor! We’re going to take inspiration from those little tykes and say you should do the same! 

Even if you’re only trekking to the backyard or the living room, pack it up nicely and do it right. 

Here are some things to consider having for your picnic: 

2. A Cozy Night of Reading

Reading out loud to one another in bed was something my husband and I used to do when we were newly married, and I think it needs to make a comeback in my house! 

It’s romantic and you can snuggle at the same time (bonus points). Take turns reading a classic you’ve both never read, try out all the voices, and just have fun with it! 

3. Candlelit Dinner at Home

You can have a fancy dinner for a special occasion (like next Wednesday), all without breaking the bank or making reservations at a stuffy restaurant. Just stay home and cook together! 

It can be as gourmet as you like, or a simple dinner of charcuterie fixings. All you have to do to make it special and memorable is to light some taper candles (available at the dollar store) and turn off the lights. Ooo la la! 

4. Movie Marathons

Have a movie night at home! Get out the cozy blankets, put on PJs, and turn on the surround sound! You can pick each of your childhood favorite flicks, the latest Marvel release, a classic black and white…whatever floats your boat!

Can’t decide on a movie? Our movie reviewing editor has put together a massive list of the best family-friendly movies to watch and we have a list of movie night activities to make your date a dream come true!

Open Mic Nights at Home

Who knows? This could be the start of a new career for one or both of you...

Great Jokes to Get Started

For the list of funny and free date ideas, just turn your living room into a comedy club! This is totally fun to do with friends or neighbors, or just invite your teenagers (they’re funnier than you think when given the shot!). 

It can even just be the two of you. Plan a little in advance for this idea as you’ll both want to come to the table with your best material.

6. Binge Watch Netflix While Working Out

Laughter burns calories, too, so do double duty while using your favorite streaming service and working out at the same time! The time will fly by much faster. 

You can even do silly things like make a game out of what you’re watching: every time Urkel says, “Did I do that?” you have to drop and do 10 push-ups!

Peggy Wang at Buzzfeed created a great list of television workouts you can try together.

7. Living Room Dance Parties

For a good time, turn your living room into a dance party! Pump up that ‘90s hip hop or whatever genre floats your boat and get jiggy with it. Too much fun! Invite your friends, the kids, the dog, or just the two of you. You won’t be sorry you tried this one.

8. Listen to Audiobooks Together

Your local library is a great place to start this new tradition! Forget the bright screens at bedtime (who else says, “Ok, time to turn off the TV?” only to watch something on your phone instead? So crazy). 

Use Amazon Audiobooks or simply download an app like Libby (check with your library to see which one they use), put any and every book on hold that looks interesting, and cuddle up with your sweetie. Also great for road trips together! 

9. Cuddle Up Around the Firepit

This is one of our favorite free date ideas for outdoor!

There’s nothing that provides more ambiance than a roaring fire! Using an outdoor stove is such a fun and simple way to really connect with one another, all in the privacy of your own backyard. Or the living room, if you have a fireplace! 

Don’t have either option? Try gathering up some candles, turning out the lights, then get to snuggling! 

Write Each Other a Poem

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Fun Quotes to Get You Started

I’ll help get you started —

In moonlight’s glow, our love takes flight,

Free date nights, a pure delight.

Underneath the stars so bright,

Our hearts connect, like a sweet dream’s light.

Cassie Reynoso

Maybe it’s not your style, but you get the idea! Pour yourselves each a glass of wine, turn off that big light, and pen some heartfelt, beautiful words.

11. Charades

A classic game of charades is always going to end up with a lot of laughing and bonding! Use this fun generator and make up your own rules or buy the original board game. Either way, you’ll be spending some quality time together.

12. Watch Sunrise or Sunset

Morning person or night owl? Well, typically one type marries the other, right? Well, one of you can make a little sacrifice for this great idea of watching the sunrise or the sunset together! 

We recently tried this one in Hawaii, so take it from me: don’t underestimate the drive time to get to the perfect beach. A’hem. Falling down a mountainside in the dark is less romantic. 

13. Trivia Quiz

Pub trivia nights are fun, or you can download your own! Pick categories that each of you are good at (they don’t have to be the same ones), so you don’t end up breaking up… 

Just joking. You’re both good sports, right? 

We recently bought a really fun trivia game at the thrift store, only to discover it was British based. That unexpectedly evened the playing field which was great!

14. Video Game Night

Game together! Challenge one another to each other’s favorite games or buy a new one to try together. The point is, you’re having a blast with one another at the same time. 

Here are our favorites to play together:

15. Backyard Camp Out

Here’s a fun date idea: how about a backyard campout? It’s not just for the little ones anymore! Turn your backyard into a glamping paradise complete with a tent with fairy lights, a charcuterie board, wine, warm blankets, and soft music! 

Or, go old school and just throw some sleeping bags on the grass (extra points for zipping them together…wink-wink).

16. Yoga in the Park

Find out which parks offer yoga classes and sign up! This is a fun way to try something new together. Can’t find any classes offered where you’re at? Learn enough at home to take your new moves to a serene park. 

17. Themed Dinner Night

You can watch and discuss inspiring TED Talks, dress like characters from The Godfather, or cook epic grilled cheese sammies after watching Chef. 

Alternatively, base your dinner around your shared favorite books. You’d be surprised at how many cookbooks are out there based on your favorite themes!

18. TED Talks Night

Find new favorites or rewatch old ones with this fun idea! Skip the silly reality shows or the reruns of Friends you’ve watched a million times. Instead, learn something, feel smarter and better about yourselves, and have new things to discuss. 

19. Karaoke Fun

If you have a karaoke machine you’re already set for a fun night, but you can also do it without one. Just look up karaoke channels on YouTube, and pick a favorite genre. Or if you have a little bit of spending cash, go out for some fun on the town. Great for epic double dates, too! 

20. Couples Spa Night

Run a bubble bath for two, massage one another’s feet or shoulders with essential oils, or pamper one another with gold face masks! Don’t forget a glass of something bubbly and some nice soothing music! 

Games and Activities for an Engaging Date Night

For couples with a competitive side, games and activities are the best date nights! It’s so easy to come up with some fun options together, but if you’re fresh out of new ideas, here are some to get you started.

Cooking together
  • Hundreds of Recipes to Choose From
  • Find Any Recipe with the Ingredients You Have
  • Easy to Use
Find Recipes

Free date ideas and cooking go hand-in-hand!

Cook together using one of the nine million online tutorials out there, or crack open a fun cookbook! The best part of this is being together and messing up the kitchen. Or maybe it’s the eating part? The washing up together after? 

Well, it’s all fun! Don’t really love cooking? Try baking instead! 

22. Memory Lane Scrapbooking

Take a trip down memory lane with old photos and reminiscing together! This is a fun one for the newly empty nesters (if you can handle the happy tears!), or for parents of a new high school graduate. 

If you’re new to the scrapbooking game, using a beginner’s guide with this journaling kit are great ways to get started!

23. Couple’s Questions

Print out these couple’s questions quickly and easily, and you won’t be bored when you finally have time to talk. 

We’ve all done it: you finally get a night away and you’re determined to not talk about work or the children, and then…you can’t think of anything else to talk about! Now that problem is solved, and it’s fun too! 

24. Romantic Treasure Hunts

For a romantic date night that is sure to be remembered fondly for years to come, try a scavenger hunt! These ideas are easy to implement and so much fun to play! 

25. Video Game Tournaments 

For an at-home date night idea with your boyfriend or girlfriend, try a video game tournament! Don’t forget the snacks and drinks, of course. Invite your favorite gamer couple friends, or just play the night away with the two of you. 

26. Minute to Win It Games

You’ll learn a new skill with this fun date night idea! This ultimate collection will have you hook, line, and sinker in no time at all. Great for the competitive couple. 

27. Building a Time Capsule

Building a DIY time capsule is fun for the whole family, or just for the two of you! 

Hint: you don’t have to bury the capsule. Instead, leave it somewhere you can easily access it later. In the box of baby supplies in the garage, on the back shelf of the home office, hidden inside the Christmas decorations…the ideas are endless! 

28. Online Dance Classes

Learn something fun together by taking a dance class! This is coming from a former professional dancer and teacher — it’s uber-romantic to learn to dance. You don’t have to be good at it, either. The laughter is its own aphrodisiac! 

Start a Book Club

From classic novels to the latest sci-fi thrillers, start a book club with your hunny and grow closer via some fantastic reads.

Best Books to Start With

This is an easy and fun date night idea. Start your own book club! Invite your friends or just keep it to the two of you. Simply agree on your first book, set a date for the “meeting,” and come prepared to have a fun discussion. 

30. Competitive Board Games

For some friendly competition, play a few classic board games together. Get out Sorry! or Uno, Monopoly, or Chess. You’re guaranteed to have a great time — don’t forget to bring your good sportsmanship, though. No sore losers allowed!

These are fun options to add to your collection:

31. Do a DIY Project Together

How fun is this idea for the crafty couple! Spend quality time together refinishing a dresser or cabinet, building a table, or — to add a touch of romance — making your own special headboard for your bed.

32. Scenic Virtual Tours

Go on an adventure with Google Earth! Take a scenic virtual tour and let your imagination take flight. You can plan your dream home in your dream place, or just learn new things about the world around you. 

33. Build a Fort Blanket

Such a cute idea! One of our favorite episodes of Community is the one where they build a blanket fort and it takes over the whole campus.

Or have you seen the Indie film, Dave Made a Maze? Well, you can watch both from inside your own epic blanket fort. And don’t forget to spend the night in it!

34. Pictionary

Have fun with a classic game of Pictionary! You can look for the board game at a thrift shop (or your parent’s house), or just print this easy-to-download option. It’s a fun way to get creative and not watch television! 

35. Plant a Botanical Garden

For the outdoor lovers, why not plant a botanical garden? Then you can enjoy the fruit of your labors for years to come! 

Free Date Nights Out On the Town

You can have the most charming of times together without spending money, even if you don’t want to stay home! 

Go out on the town with these fun ideas that won’t break the bank. In fact, they’re totally free. You’ll get fresh air, and serenity, and will love spending time with one another. Also great for first dates! 

Stargazing and Storytelling at the Park

This date idea has probably been around as long as civilization, and for good reason.

Best Places to Stargaze

For outdoor activities, head to a nearby park and do some stargazing or storytelling! Bring your coziest of blankets and snuggle up under the cool night sky! How romantic is that? Have a telescope? Bring it along! 

37. Find the Scenic Route

Take the tiniest of road trips or go on a romantic stroll together! Holding hands and talking (or not talking!) leads to romance and bonding with this fun idea. Or take the bikes out together? Rollerblading? Horseback riding (assuming you have horses)? Window shopping through downtown? The sky’s the limit! 

38. Go Geocaching

An adventurous date idea is geocaching! Discover a new and addictive hobby together and make some fun memories, all while being outside in nature. What’s not to love about that? You can find local clubs to join or take up the hobby together, just the two of you. 

39. Christmas Caroling

A great double date idea — going Christmas caroling! You don’t have to be the world’s best singer; it’s all about the heart behind it. Learn some new carols or stick to the classics, pack along some hot cocoa in a thermos, and sing, sing, sing! You can dress up for this one to make it even more fun.

Hint: your own neighborhood is great fun, but also consider retirement homes or nursing homes to bring some holiday cheer to the elderly. 

40. Go to a Free Event

There are usually free events scheduled in your area no matter where you live! All you have to do is dig a little or ask around. 

Here are popular places that have free events:

  • Local Museums
  • Local Landmarks
  • Community Centers
  • Art Galleries

41. Go on a Hike, a Stroll in the Park, or Wander Around Downtown

Lace up your hiking boots and get outdoors! Just like your mom used to bellow across the house when you were young, “GO PLAY OUTSIDE!” 

She’s always right, you know. If the mountains aren’t available where you live, that’s okay: wander around downtown, go for a stroll in the park, or find a fun flea market. Maybe top the day off with some ice cream or coffee. 

42. Go Swimming

We love going to these locations for free swim days:

  • Beaches
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Community Centers

Live more rurally or don’t like a bunch of strangers sharing your water? Put up one of those kiddy pools and relax in your own yard!

43. People-Watch

Go people-watching at the mall, the farmer’s market, or Costco (and fill up on those free samples!). Have fun making up stories about the people you see to keep each other laughing. 

Other great places to people-watch: parks, grocery stores, basketball courts, soccer fields, boardwalks, greenways, bike paths, Walmart (perfect for Halloween since it can get scary), or your own neighborhood!

Watch the Fireworks Show

Watching the fireworks in each others eyes is great and all, but taking in some real ones is super fun, too.

Best Firework Shows in USA

Find a local fireworks show around your city! It’s the perfect free outdoor date night during special events like the 4th of July or New Year’s.

45. Take Up Birdwatching

Go out together and see what birds live in your local area! It’s actually pretty fun, and there are tons of groups and clubs that love to help out newbies.

46. Take On A Selfie Challenge

It’s like a scavenger hunt — but with your smartphone! Take selfies with streets that have names A-Z, and business names that have names A-Z, and count down your favorite date night places. You make the rules! 

47. Bike Ride

When it comes to cheap days out for couples, why not consider a bike ride? You’ll get some exercise in and have a blast. Don’t forget to pack some water and maybe a little picnic! Feeling competitive? Why not have a race? Just make sure to wear your helmet.

48. Fishing

On the hunt for active date ideas? Try your hand at fishing at a local pond or lake! It’s so much fun and hey, you might even catch dinner! If you’re already an advanced fisherman or woman, try fly-tying together or help organize each other’s tackle boxes. 

49. Holiday Lights Tour

Drive around to see the holiday lights for a romantic date! If your neighborhood has great ones, you might not even have to drive — just take a stroll! Most communities have a list of the greatest light displays in your town, just give it a quick Google search. Pack some hot cocoa and go in your pajamas (weather permitting) for the most fun ever! 

50. Beach Day

Spend a day at the beach during the summer. If you are more of a “cold weather fan”— the beach can still be a fun way to relax and soak up the sun! You may even see a marine fog if you’re early enough.

More Free Date Ideas

Haven’t found what you are looking for, yet? We have some more fun date ideas to check out!

  • Check local universities for free admission nights at sporting events, concerts, or theater productions. Sometimes these are available for a donation of a canned food item for the needy. This is a great way to catch a baseball game, classical music, or a little Shakespeare.
  • Look at your region’s Parks & Rec department, libraries, and community centers for free activities. These can include free concerts in the park, movies in the park, classes, swimming, and more.
  • Visit a local arboretum or botanical garden
  • Check out a local thrift store
  • Walk through a farmer’s market or craft fair
  • Outdoor workout at a public park
  • Go window shopping downtown

How to Add a Touch of Romance At Home

Romantic date ideas…well, the list goes on and on, don’t you think? Still hungry for more ideas? Here are a few more details that can really take your date over the top:

  • Plan a surprise element for your partner
  • Write a heartfelt note or old-fashioned love letter
  • Recreate your first date
  • Make a homemade meal from scratch
  • Add candles to any and each idea!
  • Make sure to complement your partner
  • Take quizzes or personality tests online together
  • Write a short story together (you can each add a paragraph)
  • Play strip Poker! (or Memory or Checkers or Hearts)

Whatever you decide for this week’s date, remember you don’t have to spend a lot of dough to make a memorable time together! Embrace the idea of free date nights, and know that they are every bit as romantic. 

What matters the most in your love life, after all? Over-priced restaurants, movies you could have lived without seeing (don’t get me started on the price of theater snacks!), or spending quality time with the one you love? 

Well, I know you know the answer to that… 

What’s the best romantic date that was free or nearly free that you’ve ever been on? Share it with us in the comments and let’s keep this list going on and on and on…much like your love! 

Read Next: Romantic Things to Do on Your Anniversary

free date ideas - PIN IT
Photo of author

Melyssa Williams

Melyssa Williams has been writing since she could hold a pen (or a quill, as she was an odd little duck).

Sadly, she was born to two loving parents who fed her broccoli, taught her manners, and raised her with...

... read more