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When we got married earlier this year, everyone told us to make time for date nights.
I didn’t think much of the advice at the time. But we are almost 6 months in and this is how it’s going.
We both work regular hours and side hustles. Hubby is in school. House projects take priority when we have “free time.” Exercise is sporadic but still a must. Somewhere in all that we cook and clean and create and do our devotionals and sleep, hopefully.
I know I don’t need to ask you, dear reader, because I already know the answer.
You’re busy! We are all so, so busy.
Date night is important. And I don’t mean just a night out to eat, either.
Not that there is anything wrong with a nice dinner out, or even a Netflix-n-chill night in. Sometimes, though, you need to mix things up.
Variety is the spice of life, after all.
My husband and I have a broad spectrum of interests. We each like art, athletics, nature, good food, and trying new things. Doing these things together means double the fun.
Whether you’re looking for quality one-on-one time or a good time with friends, these inexpensive date night ideas are budget-friendly and sure to create lasting memories.
If you are an active couple who likes to get out and stay fit as much as possible, pickleball may be your new hobby.
This is a relatively new thing for us, too, but we are loving it.
We just so happen to live within walking distance of some outdoor courts. Even though it's an outdoor date, we go after dark so it isn't unbearable.
Once you purchase your paddle set, pickleball is usually free at your local park, unless you decide to play at an indoor center.
Let me also say that while there are similarities between pickleball and tennis, a pickleball court is smaller. AKA, it is not as taxing.
While playing doubles is fun for us extroverts, playing as a couple is a great way to hone your skill and, of course, get more exercise.
Can’t get much better than a free date night and a workout!
Pinspiration: Paint Splatter Room
Have you ever wanted to just carelessly throw paint around a room? I literally asked my parents if I could when I was 11 and of course received a hard “no.”
But now I’m an adult with a child’s dream and guess what? I’m not the only one.
We recently booked a splatter room experience at Pinspiration, located at Desert Ridge.
Our Groupon deal came with chocolates, champagne or fountain drinks, choice between two small or one large canvas, glow-up neon paint bonus, rain ponchos and booties, sole access to the Bluetooth speaker to play our own tunes, and a private 1-hour session in the paint splatter room to design our canvas.
This inexpensive date night idea was a great way to relieve tension and let our hair down a little bit. There was no pressure to make a perfect piece of art. We had zero expectations going into it.
Best yet, all the paint is washable. We got as splattered as we wanted, even painted on each other’s ponchos, then we simply washed off and changed into better clothes afterwards.
On our way home, we stopped at Paris Rendez-Vous in Desert Ridge. Their macarons are probably the best I’ve had. So flavorful, free of added colors and other chemicals, and gluten free!
Picnic in a Park
Apparently, July is National Picnic Month, so you still have time to celebrate the occasion on a date night this week!
There are too few beautiful, comfortable, and uncrowded places to picnic in Phoenix.
Luckily, The Farm at South Mountain is one such place. Featuring a lush lawn and tree grove that is free to enter during business hours, The Farm is an oasis from the desert and a romantic setting for a picnic date.
Their on-site restaurants begin opening August 12thbut the last to open will be The Farm Kitchen on September 15th, which is where you can purchase farm fresh picnic lunches to enjoy on the grounds.
Also, how cute is this picnic backpack?!
Way more practical than lugging a basket for a mile up a mountain trail, and extremely functional for a 4-person feast, this insulated kit comes with a picnic blanket, designated spaces for cutlery and glasses, and a bottle holder on the side.
Breaking out of an escape room for a date night is a great way to test IQs (and patience), improve a couple’s communication, and earn some bragging rights in the process.
Again, we were just getting to know each other when we did our first escape room with friends.
More recently, we participated in Anthem’s North Valley’s escape room, The Great Outdoors and Alcatraz. Both were extremely detailed, well-executed, and well-maintained.
Note that for most escape rooms, regardless of location, at least four people need to participate. But more friends mean a cheaper date. So why not get a few couples together?
Did you know Arizona has the most dark sky communities in the world?
Technically, stargazing in and of itself is a free date night activity.
If you have an open truck bed and can stay up past 9 PM, pack some blankets and head out to a dark sky spot during a New Moon phase sometime this fall.
Andrew and I have tried several times to visit the planetarium in Flagstaff and have yet to succeed. If you get there before we do, know that both reservations and face masks are required at this time to experience Lowell Observatory.
I am so grateful I married a man who loves plays and musicals as much as I do! Thanks to some deals (you know me and coupons), we’ve been able to make live theatre a fairly inexpensive date night.
Hear me out: it doesn’t matter if one of you “gets bored” by live theatre. Date nights are all about trying something new with your significant other.
Don’t judge before you try it. You might still find yourself entertained if you watch a performance at one of these recommended theatres below.
We also love to attend Grand Canyon University’s Ethington Theatre to support my alma mater. Their shows are expected to be back up and running again this fall!
Hale Centre Theatre – Gilbert, AZ
Located right across from the Gilbert water tower, this little theatre is the perfect size and shape for any performance. The main stage area is in the center, so there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
We got lucky last winter when we scored standby tickets for A Christmas Carol. This was the first play we attended at Hale and the first after COVID and it did not disappoint!
Adult ticket prices are only $40. At this time, masks are still required in the theatre, but this policy will cease after August 20th.
Steel Magnolias and Freaky Friday are playing currently. The upcoming season looks promising, with big hits like Mary Poppins and The Addams Family and lesser known shows like Brigadoon and an Agatha Christie mystery next spring.
There are many places to eat within walking distance, like Liberty Market and Postinos.
However, if you’re in search of dessert after the show, head 14 minutes north to Novel Ice Cream in Mesa. Follow the hazy-lit passageway to the tiny shop and taste test their award winning ice cream flavors.
I highly recommend going all out because it’s date night after all. Whatever ice cream you choose, get it stuffed inside a glazed donut and top it with Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
I’m just mad I didn’t think about ice cream donut sandwiches first.
The Phoenix Theatre Company – Downtown Phoenix, AZ
Until last week, I don’t think I’d seen a show at the Phoenix Theatre before.
But after my friends raved repeatedly that I had to see Daddy Long Legs, I hopped onto Goldstar. We found upper row tickets for $22, but when we arrived, they gave us seats in the second row!
Like Groupon, Goldstar is a free site that finds deals specifically in live entertainment.
If you’re up to spend a little extra for your date night out, eat your weight in tacos at the Taco Guild. Then, head to Melt ice cream when the show is over. The theatre lobby does have a bar with various beverages and snacks to order as well.
Arizona Broadway Theatre – Peoria, AZ
AZ Broadway used to be my go-to for live performances, especially since it is a dinner theatre. Like many donation-supported businesses, they struggled during the 2020 pandemic, and this is reflected in the slight price increase.
For a salad, entrée, and live performance, it is $75 per person, or $53 for the show only. But I have to say, the food has always been delicious. If you plan to eat out anyway, might as well #supportlocal, right?
Their 2021-2022 season is filled with a few cult classics, like Chicago, Elf, Flashdance, and Spongebob the musical.
Phoenix Art Museum
The last time Andrew and I visited the Phoenix Art Museum, we were in our early dating stages.
Whether you are an art enthusiast, admirer from a distance, or really don’t get it, visiting the museum with your person gives it an entirely new perspective. If nothing else, it will give you something to talk about!
Our favorite art installation was the Fireflies exhibit, which is now a permanent feature. Click here to see the full list of current, upcoming, or past art exhibits and collections.
Adults pay $23, unless you have a museum membership. For an even cheaper date night, head to the museum any Wednesday between 3 PM and 7 PM for free (donations only) entrance. Be prepared for a few more people than normal if you do.
The Revelry - Virtual Shooting Lounge
There is currently a Groupon available for this virtual shooting lounge, offering two hours to two people for only $35!
This is not your typical arcade.
Each lounge is spacious, private, and equipped with tasteful, high-end furnishings. The menu is not only punny but full of delicious and fairly nutritious options.
And, most importantly, the gaming menu is extensive as well. You would not be able to try each one in a two hour session.
The Revelry is located in Mesa, which boasts the largest outdoor patio, complete with minigolf!
What’s date night without a little jiving and maybe a bit of teamwork, too?
Maybe it's raining. Maybe you're just trying to save some cash.
Whatever your reason, hosting your own game night for two or making it a double date is a fun indoor date night idea.
- For strategy gamers, Ticket to Ride is $15 off at Amazon right now. Best for ages 10+ and with 2-5 players.
- Word lovers like yours truly won’t ever get bored of good ole Scrabble. But if you’re traveling or out camping, Quiddleris a similar word game that’s a little easier to pack up.
- For a fast game, Sushi-Gois adorable and currently 50% off.
- Card games Monopoly Deal and Monopoly Bid make for healthy competition. Neither take half as long as the regular game, because nobody got time for that.
For group game nights we recommend:
- Blank Slate is a perfect ice breaker game that’s also super low maintenance and easy for everyone to participate.
- Relative Insanity (4-12 players) – Like Apples to Apples, except you choose a phrase or punchline to guess what some crazy relative might have said. Results usually involve side-aches and frozen cheeks!
- Old school Balderdash has always been a family favorite in my house. Make up clever, creative, or hilarious definitions for real-ish words and let the silliness ensue.
Or, for a cozy night in that is rich with conversation, check out Uncommon Questions, specifically designed for couples.
No matter how well you think you know your partner, these questions are intended to strengthen your understanding and connection through deep discussion topics.
At-Home Spa Night
Craving a trip to the spa but can’t justify the cash it drains from your savings? Chances are you already have everything you need to make it happen at home.
You can either use basic skincare products you already own, purchase some inexpensive peels or masques from Walgreens, or find some DIY facial recipes on Pinterest.
Totally optional but definitely a bonus: if you are lucky enough to own a massage gun (wedding registry win!), take turns working out your spouse’s weeks-worth of tension knots.
Light some candles. Turn on your favorite Spotify playlist. Take a bubble bath. Wear your comfiest PJ’s or robes. Then apply each other’s face masks and relax.
While a spa session is something many girls are familiar with, not many men have had such an experience. But they’ll probably be pleasantly surprised how much they enjoy it, too!
Tip: if your husband has facial hair like mine, it's best to avoid applying a mud mask to this area :P
Here’s a few items you might need for a DIY spa date night:
Depending on your passion, there are many opportunities for this date night experience.
Together you could serve meals at St. Vincent de Paul, paint a home with Habitat for Humanity, or reach out to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital for current volunteer needs.
Andrew and I always have a great time packing meals at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC).
Permanent meal-packing sites are only located in Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas. It’s definitely a commitment to drive all the way to the Mesa location from where we live, but always worthwhile.
Staff keeps the energy high with fun tunes and healthy competition between packing stations. At the end of every session, volunteers are welcome to pray over the pallets to ensure safe delivery and good nourishment to the receivers.
While it isn’t a typical date night, volunteering together brings my husband and I closer and leaves us feeling more appreciative for all God’s blessed us with.
Which date night idea will you try?
Watching your significant other step out of his element, become a unique extension of himself, is so rewarding.
Learning to be real while also growing into the best version of ourselves is kind of a major theme of marriage.
There's always more facets to learn about each other. Date nights help us to understand and thus love each other better.
So, which of these inexpensive date night ideas will you surprise your spouse with for your next date?
Also, if you're lucky enough to get away for a full day together, check out these 11 day trips to take from Phoenix.