Nearly to Newlywed: Get Out There and Date [Each Other]

At the start of 2013 my fiancé and I sat down and created a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish during the year.  While we set personal goals for each other, relating to fitness, personal health, finances and career, we also wanted a set of goals that would make us stronger as a couple; goals that would better our relationship.

One of my favorite goals that we set [ok, that I recommended and he went along with], was having one date night a month.  After dating for 6 years and living together for almost 5 years, it’s easy to get in a routine of doing the same things over and over – and to take each other’s company for granted.  Because we aren’t even married yet, I don’t want us to fall into some trap where ordering a pizza and watching a movie at home is the extent of our date nights.  I want us to get out and try something new, learn something new about each other [I’m sure that’s possible, right?].

So with all of this in mind, I came up with a list of 15 date night ideas that we can do throughout the year.  I have come up with extra ideas because I don’t want to be tied down to one plan each month, because really, where’s the spontaneity in that?  I also wanted to provide activities of all price ranges, because with a wedding coming up in August, we definitely need to budget appropriately.  And who wants to start a marriage tied to tons and tons of debt?

Pricing Key:  $ = $0-25   $$ = $26-50   $$$ = $51-75   $$$$ = $76-100   $$$$$ = $101+

Paintball – I honestly have wanted to do this since I was in high school.  I remember my friends and I looking into this for our post-prom/Senior Skip Day but it just never came to fruition.  What’s better than a little friendly competition?  It would be good exercise, too!

Best Time to Go:  Year Round [if facility is indoor]

Price:  $$ [this is just for your first game, you could spend more if you play more than one]

Canoeing – Canoeing down the St. Croix in Taylors Falls.  A great way to explore the great outdoors, catch a tan and get some exercise.  Pack a cooler full of some beverages, a bag of snacks, a battery-operated radio, and plastics bags in case you tip – you’re in for a great day.  If you are from around the Twin Cities area, Taylors Falls is a must-see destination – especially if you’re looking to explore true Midwest beauty.

Best Time to Go:  Spring, Summer or Early Fall [Fall is a great time to check out all the leaves changing color – just make sure you’re dressed appropriately!]

Price: $

Snow Tubing/Sledding – Because you can’t get around the winter season here in Minnesota, take advantage of some fun snowy activities.  Snow tubing was a favorite of mine growing up, and it’s a cheap activity that you can spend hours doing!  Whether you are hitting up one of multiple hills that are maintained or buying your own tube and finding a big hill to take on, it’s a day that is packed full of fun in the snow.  Pack along a couple of thermoses with hot chocolate [spiked with a little peppermint schnapps is how I like it – but drink responsibly] and some bagged lunches and you are set for an afternoon of fun!

Best Time to Go:  Winter months, when the snow is fresh

Price: $ [free depending on hill or more if going to a paid location]

Garage Sale Hopping:  One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!  One of my favorite spring/summer activities is searching neighborhoods for thrifty finds at local garage sales.  Craigslist makes finding garage sales much easier, and give you a chance to map out your excursion prior to heading out for the day.   Pack your GPS and you’ll be set for a day of fun.   Plan your day out around local citywide garage sales – making it easy to park your car and hop from house to house to find your next treasure.

Best Time to Go: Spring, Summer or Fall seasons

Price: $ [price will depend on your purchases!]

Cliff Jumping – Test your fears by jumping of a tall cliff into deep waters to get an adrenaline rush and work on your tan.  Pack a fitted swimsuit [no skimpy bikini for an activity like this!], a pair of shoes, suntan lotion, a cooler of beverages, towels and a floatie and enjoy a cheap day out together [or with friends – this would be a great group date activity].

Best Time to Go: Summer months

Price: $

Open House Hopping – Take a look online or through the newspaper to find some open houses in your favorite neighborhoods to cruise through.  Take in the décor, make notes of what you would change, picture yourselves there.   There are two things you’ll want to remember though:  1. You are just looking, not buying [that is unless you are in the market to buy a new home] and 2.  You let the listing agent know you’re just looking, not interested in buying the property – no use in wasting their time [again, that is unless you are in the market for a new home – then by all means let them know what you like and don’t like about the home].  This is a fun activity for a couples who are looking to remodel or redecorate their current space by getting inspired by what other homeowners have done.  Also, check out the Parade of Homes – with each house professionally decorated, you are bound to come up with some great ideas for your own space. Warning:  this could be a dangerous activity for those of you who are not in the market for a new home – you may just find one you love and can’t stop thinking about.  Make sure you set these expectations with each other prior to looking.

Best Time to Go: Year Round – there’s always houses on the market

Price: $

Dinner and a Movie – A great standby for any night of the week, especially for those weeks that have been exceptionally stressful or long.  It’s also a great way to get out of the house for a few hours.  Make a reservation at a local restaurant you have both been wanting to try and find a movie that you can both agree on and will enjoy [ladies – that means no romantic chick flicks, guys, that means no gory blood movies].  Want to save some cash?  Try catching a matinee show and save roughly half of what you would spend at an evening show.

Best Time to Go: Year Round

Price: $$ -$$$ [will depend on restaurant and movie time]

Create a Traveling Wish List – This activity takes no money upfront, but can be spendy for the future!  Sit down at a local coffee shop or diner with a notebook and pen write down both of your wish lists of places to travel.  Combine your list and start planning your next vacation together.  Write lists of what you want to do at each of those places and get creative!  Maybe you are both baseball lovers and want to take a roadtrip to other teams’ stadiums; maybe you love nature and want to hike some of the best mountains [nationwide or internationally]; maybe you are both food lovers and you want to plan a trip around the countries most famous restaurants – whatever it is, make it about the both of you.  Set goals of when you want to see these and make a plan to start saving for these trips!

Best Time to Go:  Year Round

Price: $

Indoor Arcade and Amusement Parks – Remember laser tag as a kid?  Remember the days at the roller rink, showing off your moves on your sweet rollerblades [or roller skates]? How about ski ball, basketball free throw competitions and whack a mole?  And mini-golf – ah, mini golf.  Those were the days, weren’t they?  Well why not relive the excitement again? Take a day or night and spend it together reliving you “glory days” and get some exercise while you do it!  Or if rides are more your fancy, hit up a local amusement park or county/city carnival.

Best Time to Go: Year round for indoor facilities; spring, summer or fall for outdoor parks

Price: $$

Explore the Farmer’s Market and Cook a Meal Together – Nothing tastes better than fresh produce from a local farmer’s market.  It’s also rewarding to know that you’re helping support area farmers and small businesses instead of national retailer chains.  Start your morning perusing recipes online or in your recipe box [or reach out to a parent, grandparent, other family member or friend for one of their favs] and write down the ingredients you need and make your way to the farmers market.  Grab the essentials and treat yourselves to something extra!

Best Time to Go:  Late spring, summer and fall seasons [some markets are open in the winter, too]

Price: $-$$ [will depend on purchases]

Take a Cooking Class – This is a fun way to get out of the house and learn something new – something that can benefit you both.  I’m signed up for the local Living Social and Groupon deals, and you can usually find a discount on cooking classes every month or two.  These classes are usually posted online, and you need to register, so make sure to plan ahead for the night you choose!

Best Time to Go:  Year Round [better yet – focus on classes each season to broaden your knowledge]

Price: $$$-$$$$$ [remember to look at Groupon and Living Social deals!]

Attend a Comedy Club – Get those bellies aching with a night out at a local comedy club.  Whether it’s an improv show and standup, you are sure to enjoy a night of laughs.

Best Time to Go: Year Round

Price: $$

Bowling – What’s better than a little friendly competition over drinks, bowling and bad shoes?  Contact area bowling alleys to find out when their specials are – most places with have an “all you can” bowl special which includes a lane and shoe rental.

Best Time to Go: Year Round

Price: $$

Attend a Sporting Event – Whether you are a fan or not, it is always a good time to get decked out and support your area team – whether that’s a high school, college or professional team, you and your sweetie are sure to bond over some beers and hot dogs.

Best Time to Go:  Depends on sport

Price: $$-$$$$ [will depend on sport/league/area/time of year]

Take an Art Class – Get creative with some art making, be it painting, mosaic tiling or pottery [create or paint].  Many local art shops offer a date night package, and SOME of those even include a couple of cocktails to enjoy!  Keep an eye out on Groupon and Living Social deals and save money on the class for post dinner and drinks.

Best Time to Go:  Year Round

Price: $$$-$$$$$ [will depend on type of class.  Again, look for Groupon and Living Social deals]

I hope this list inspires you to get out and try something new with your sweetie.  Remember to get out there and enjoy each other’s company, try new things and keep your relationship fun!  If money is tight, there are always activities that have little to no cost – get out and enjoy your city, go for a walk, snowshoeing, take photos in the park – just do something!

What fun date nights have been enjoyable for you in the past?  I would love to add to my list!



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