With the economy as crazy as it currently is, I'm sure Anthony and I are not the only couple looking for cheap and creative date nights. None of these are particularly glorious, but they are things we enjoy doing and that keep us from falling into a rut.
1. Dinner and a movie, economy class.
We take turns cooking for each other and then catching a flick on the big ol' living room screen. The standard, moved home. This is a lot of fun for me since I love cooking, so trading off meals is a great thing...we're definitely doing a lot more of that than going out these days. And I have to say, having him cook for me while I sit on the sidelines is kind of a nice thing too :0)
2. Taking advantage of the natural beauty around us
Who knew exercise could be romantic? I'm lucky enough to live about 5 minutes from the part of the greenway that crosses the Cumberland. The other night we crossed the bridge right at sunset. It was gorgeous!
Greenways and state/national parks are great places. Or anywhere with a good walking trail. Even a neighborhood with nice big houses.
3. The zoo
This was an initial cost--it was $55 each. For a year. So we visit the zoo quite often these days--it's free for us now, and we can bring along another couple for a double date if we want since we each get a free guest.
(plus our zoo encourages people who want to run to come in the last hour or so, since the crowd dies down between 4:30 and 5. We have plans to run the zoo together soon)
4. Revisit childhood
When we were visiting his aunt in Atlanta the four of us (A and I, his aunt and little sister) walked down to a playground in her neighborhood. A and I both made a beeline for the swings, and competed to see who could swing higher the fastest, etc. We're both slightly competitive...
Anyway, what's stopping you from visiting a local playground together? I would suggest that you wait until most of the actual kids are gone...
Have I mentioned we're competitive? Games we often attempt to slaughter the other in include Scrabble and Uno Attack. Games that we play with other couples or his family include Apples to Apples and (our favorite) hand & foot. We have discovered, however, that we enjoy competing as a team nearly as much as against each other. We were a force to be reckoned with the last time we played hand and foot as a team! Guess that dating ESP comes in handy :0)
6. Historical Landmarks
We're also both big history buffs, so the fact that we live amid such history is a positive. We're planning to go to the battlefield at Shiloh sometime later this summer, and of course in this area there's TONS of other historical stuff to see. One of our favorites (although not necessarily cheap) was the Ghost Tour in Nashville last fall. Fun stories mixed in with a bunch of history.
7. Video game nights
I've had a lot of fun on the nights that we sit with little controllers in our hand and escape to a world of...something. Anthony is still shocked and amazed that I enjoy playing Halo. I also love Little Big Planet, Flower and Infamous. And of course, there's always a little Rock Band action thrown in!
It's important that you don't do TOO much of this I think. But everything in balance, right honey? Speaking of...we need to do a video game night soon!
8. Live music
Nashville has a plethora of concerts and ticketed events to attend on a weekly basis. However, there are probably 10 small shows to every 1 large event. Covers range from 0-$15 a head, most falling in the $5 range. Supporting local musicians and the establishments they play in is a bonus.
(this brings in my favorite--the pub. Free live Irish music all weekend, Sundays is $3 pint night. Lovely. I can get a pint of woodchuck and a side potato salad and tip at 100% for $10).
9. Putt-putt or bowling
Sometimes more fun as a group activity, sometimes better enjoyed as a couple. You gotta love the prices, and if you eat before you go (dinner at your place or mine) it's even better.
10. Local wineries
Often free or very cheap, and one that's fairly close to us even encourages you to bring a picnic and enjoy the grounds for as long as you like. They're usually gorgeous, and they have good samples...
(of course in the land of Jack Daniels I should also mention that a trip to the distillery is in our near future as well)
Bonus: Just be
We've discovered that even the mundane is more fun when we're together. Hence our date nights often include a "honey? do you mind if we run to Target for a minute?" Anthony has suggested that once the humidity dies down we take blankets to a nearby grassy area and just read together. Possibly pack a picnic lunch, maybe play a game or something. We just enjoy spending time together, so at this point anything we do seems fun. Are we mushy-gushy or what? :P