Cheap Winter Date Ideas
8 Cheap Winter Dates to Melt Your Partner's Heart
Average winter temperatures in the continental United States range widely, from a low of 12.2(F) degrees in North Dakota to a high of 59.4(F) degrees in Florida, according to official statistics. Factor in the fickle implications of climate change and there's every reason to be flexible when planning a cheap winter date.
Photo by sxc.hu/steved_np3
Being thoughtful about a date shows care and consideration, and stands in contrast to the wearisome dinner and movie alternative. So here are eight out-of-the-box ideas that will keep you busy through the cold season and maybe even into warmer times.
1. Head to an Arcade.Game rooms appeal as a first date or an outing with a long-term companion. It's hard to lose at an arcade. Games offer nostalgia (Pac Man, Galactica, Street Fighter, air hockey, basketball), an air of flirtatious competition, and -- last resort -- a claw machine to win your date a cheap prize. Take some photos at the instant-picture booth and head over to the nearest pizza joint or bar; one or both may be attached to the facility.
2. Stop by a Driving Range.Regardless where you live, there's probably a golf course in close proximity. But forgo the expensive and time-consuming 18-hole investment in favor of a bucket of balls, which costs mere dollars. Many driving ranges are open year-round, especially in the less frigid parts of the country, and hit the spot for a winter date at any level of a relationship. Spice things up by helping your date with his or her swing. If your date gets bored, just leave the bucket behind.
3. Play in the Snow.Weather disrupting your plans? Don't cancel. Bundle up and invite your date over to enjoy the snowy landscape. Have a snowball fight, build a snowman, go sledding, make snow cones. Depending where you are in the relationship, there are ample opportunities to come in from the cold, from hot chocolate at a café to a warm bath at home.
4. Show off a Favorite Spot.Pack a backpack with snacks, a thermos of coffee or bottle of wine, and a blanket and head to a treasured local site. Whether you live in a big urban center or a small rural hamlet, there's surely a special spot for conversation, contemplation, and companionship. In New York City, this might be a particular bench in Central Park; in Los Angeles, a warm car parked outside the Santa Monica airport; in Childress, Texas, an abandoned hunter's shelter in a grassy field.
5. Volunteer Together.Bond over giving. There are countless ways to give back to the world, even on a cheap winter date. Seek out opportunities that generally aren't advertised, such as babysitting a friend's child, cooking meals for a new mother, or cleaning your elderly neighbor's house. Or, go to Volunteer Match to learn about structured volunteerism with various organizations. Even if the relationship cools off, you'll take comfort in knowing that your contribution doesn't.
6. Stay In and Snuggle.Put on some sweats, order a take-out (delivered, of course) treat, and download a classic movie. Re-enact a childhood pleasure by building a fort in the living room with sofa cushions and blankets, and snuggle. Being couch potatoes from this lower vantage point has its benefits.
Photo by sxc.hu/hisks
7. Tour a Brewery or Winery.There's at least one winery in every state. On this cheap winter date you can expect budget-friendly tastings, free tours, and personal education. But here's the catch: You don't want to take advantage of the offerings, so consider making a purchase of some sort.
8. Join Group Hangouts with Your Steady.Instead of letting all 587 of your closest friends know you're in a relationship (here's to you, Facebook), break the news gently. Make a winter date out of dropping in on group activities you're already involved in -- the billiards league, the weekly poker game, bowling night. Don't forget about the book club, Bible study, flag football, the office happy-hour, maybe even Friday night family dinner. Most of these gatherings are free or at least very inexpensive, but a meaningful way to forge a deeper connection.
Still stumped? Grab pencil and paper, smartphone or tablet, and jot down all the resources, places, and experiences available to you. Design your own cheap winter date and share it with us.