Date Guide: 5 Budget Friendly Ideas



DC is both one of the most expensive cities in the country to live in AND home to a booming dating scene.

So to all you budget-conscious daters looking to find (or keep) love, here are some ideas for getting the most bang for your buck. Check out these 5 memorable dates that don’t break the bank!

(Now, obviously, there are a ton of free things to do in the city. Museums, monuments, and gardens abound as potential date spots, and we support all of them! This list is meant to be one step above free one step below dinner and drinks. The financial sweet spot, if you will. You’re welcome.)

1. Picnic on the Georgetown Waterfront

It’s still early and things are going well, but dinner and drinks have started to add up, what is a dater to do? A picnic! Honestly, let Trader Joe’s do all the work, assemble a nice charcuterie board, get some of their fancy sparkling water/lemonade to make it festive, and pick a shady spot to keep cool from this heatwave. Enjoy the people watching, earn bonus points for the effort,

#FrayLifeTip: If you’re up for it, and need a break from the heat,  pop into the best cupcake spot in DC and share a Baked and Wired cupcake.

2. Monopolize Fun with Board Room Game Night

If you don’t know what Board Room is, get it together! It’s a bar with board games that basically recreating the best parts of your dorm room, minus your messy roommate.  See how competitive your new beau is over a game of Connect Four, show them your sweet side with Candyland, or end the relationship right there with Risk, the options are endless!  Grab a pitcher and play games while you spit game. 

#FrayLife Tip:  If it’s going well, wind down the evening with a stroll to the Spanish Steps and marvel at the hidden gems all around this city.

3. Go Wild at The Zoo

Longer days mean more time to see all your furry (or scaly or leathery) friends at the zoo. Wander around and enjoy a nice stroll through the beautiful tree-lined paths to check out what your pals have been up to all summer. You and your date can bond over your childhood ambitions of being vets or marine biologists and how much you love Shark Week. Wind down with a cup of coffee at the Starbucks across from the zoo entrance, or pop down the road to Philz for a more local feel.

4. Brew with Your Brew

Getting a beer together, while cost-effective, is boring. Step your game up and plan around a free brewery tour. There are breweries all over this craft beer town, but 3 Stars is a great option. They have free tours on Saturday afternoons where you can learn about their process and check out their facility. Then sidle up to the bar and do a flight of tasting sizes and figure out which are your faves. It’s a super fun way to learn more about beer and each other. Hop to it!

#FrayLife Tip:  Don’t forget to drink water to hydrate especially in this scorching heatwave.

5. Yes AND a Nightcap

Photo credit: Washington Improv Theater

Head over to the Source Theater on 14th Street for one of their free Harold Night improv shows. There are two free shows every Tuesday night (8:00 and 9:00) where you can suss out your beau’s sense of humor and hope that they laugh at your jokes as much as they are laughing at these.

After an hour of improv, find a nightcap at any of the terrific bars on 14th (Black Cat is the most budget-friendly, has a super fun vibe, but is cash only so plan ahead.) and chat about the scariest thing you’ve ever done or your secret desire to be a stand up comedian! 

#FrayLife Tip:  Be super supportive of the improvisers, it’s way more fun when you go in rooting for them and get super into it.  They are MAKING IT UP AS THEY GO! What an art!


Which of these awesome budget-friendly date ideas are you most excited to steal next time you want to get out of your comfort zone, toss out the playbook and try something new? Make sure to tag us in all your date night adventures with #DCFray and #FrayLife on social.

Check out our guide of this month’s hottest activities!




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