Dates are exciting and add a breath of fresh air to a seasoned relationship or a brand new one just kicking off. If emptying your pockets for date night every time is getting quite old, get creative and save some money while still having fun and impressing your date.
Below are some money-saving tips for a successful, budget-friendly rendezvous with your special someone.
- Bigger isn’t always better. Although you want to make an impression in a grand way, the date itself doesn’t have to be over the top. Some of the best dates stem from thinking outside of the box and spending time together in good conversation. A simple walk through a park can often be more intimate than an expensive candlelit dinner.
- Show your range of interests. One of the biggest reasons for dating is to get to know each other better. Share your interests in a date setting by going on an art walk and discussing each piece, attending a free high school sporting event and talking athletics, or teaching the other person how to play your favorite card game.
- Keep up with local events. Many cities host seasonal festivals or concerts at no cost. Keep an eye out for these local events and plan an outing for your next date. It might be the best time you’ve spent together yet.
- Show your culinary skills. Have a date night in and show your special someone how well you can make your way around the kitchen. The ability to cook is one of the most attractive qualities in a partner.
Whether you are getting to know someone new or spending time with your favorite beau, dating can be an expensive proposition. The cost of things such as meals, movies, event or theater tickets or cocktails add up quickly, leaving you with a heavy heart and light wallet. Luckily, there are many other ways in the Sacramento region to have an enjoyable time without breaking the bank. The mild weather, thriving arts community and other cultural opportunities make it easy to date without spending a dime.
California State Capitol and Museum
1315 10th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
The State Capitol is more than just the busy seat of California government; the building is an architectural work of art and home to the State Capitol Museum. Bring a date and enjoy free access to wander through both with no-cost tours and self-guided tours available if desired. The Capitol, built in the 1874, includes antiques, a Renaissance and Victorian-style dome, murals, stained glass and an inlaid marble mosaic of golden poppies. An extensive collection of California art, artifacts and antiquities make the museum a beautiful way to enjoy the day with your date.
Scribner Bend Vineyards
9051 River Road
Sacramento, CA 95832
Although Napa and Sonoma are widely known for vino, Scribner Bend is a premier winery located on the Delta right here in Sacramento. You and your date will appreciate the lush gardens, bubbling fountains and vineyard and enjoy complimentary tastes of award-winning wines Fridays through Sundays. The tasting room is inside a renovated barn built in 1893, which has features including chandeliers and a Tuscan-style fireplace. Bring a picnic to enjoy; you can even reserve one of the free-use picnic tables in advance to make sure you have a spot. The vintners donate generously to local charities, and the winery is a gorgeous wedding venue if you and your date eventually get serious.
The Streets of Sacramento
Hit the streets with that special someone for a walk or drive through some of Sacramento’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Large Mediterranean-style and European-style houses are in the area surrounding 166-acre Land Park. The “Fabulous Forties,” from 38th to 46th Streets between J Street and Folsom Boulevard, has an eclectic collection of craftsman homes, cottages and villas under a canopy of mature trees. Be sure to check out then-governor Ronald Reagan’s home at 1341 45th Street and gorgeous Victorians from Seventh to 16th Street, between E and I. Particularly stunning when decorated for the holidays, all of these neighborhoods are cool to check out.
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
752 County Road 99W
Willows, CA 95988
If you are spending time with a nature lover, the nearly 11,000-acre refuge is the ideal spot for a walk or drive. Majestic peregrine falcons and bald eagles, songbirds, shorebirds and waterfowl are among the 250-plus bird species, and up to 950,000 ducks and geese spend the winter on the marshes and natural waterways. Deer and other mammals abound, and the visitor center can suggest the best seasonal spots to visit. A $6 day use fee is requested, but no other costs are involved.
Give back to the community with charities that match the interests you share with your date. Whether helping at a one-time event or volunteering more regularly, opportunities abound with organizations including the City and County animal shelters, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento, the Sacramento Tree Foundation, public libraries and groups concerning issues like health, veterans, art, history and ecology. Many local opportunities can be found on VolunteerMatch.org.
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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.