I have four children. I love said children. But I also cherish my alone time with my husband. We’ll jump at any chance to have a date night. While we enjoy having nice dinners in swanky restaurants from time to time, we also look for relatively cheap date nights as well.
While wracking my brain recently for a cheap date night idea I started making a list and thought I’d share it with my readers. I hope you find some date night inspiration from this list, and if you have another idea I’d love to hear it in the comments section! I’m always on the lookout for Cheap Date Nights in Cincinnati & NKY. This list I wrote is a combination of places we’ve visited and places we’d like to visit.
Cheap Date Nights in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky ::
16 Bit Bar + Arcade ~ Head downtown and play some old school video games while sipping adult beverages. As long as you purchase drinks you can play the games for FREE! And it’s adult’s only (with the exception of one Sunday afternoon a month), so you don’t have to wait for kids to finish playing to get a turn.
Board Games at a Brewery ~ If you are a fan of beer then the Greater Cincinnati is a great place to live…we have no shortage of awesome craft breweries. One of our favorite things to do is to grab a board game and head to a local brewery and share a flight while we play a game.
Cincinnati Art Museum ~ This is one of my favorite “free” spots in Cincinnati. For the price of parking ($4) you can spend time looking at some amazing masterpieces. The Art Museum has free admission all the time, but donations are always welcome. My favorite piece at the museum is the Dale Chihuly Sculpture in the front hall. It’s mesmerizing! After the Art Museum you could stop by Mirror Lake in Eden Park for a picnic dinner.
Cincinnati Cyclones ~ If you are a couple that loves sports (or even if you are just looking for something new and fun to do) I recommend going to a Cyclones game. The games are quite an event! When we were in college we loved going to see the local hockey team for late night games. If you play your cards right you can hit a Cyclones game on a night when they offer awesome deals like dollar beer or dollar hot dogs/pizza.
Cincinnati Observatory ~ Gaze at the stars with your beloved! For a small price you can do some star gazing or attend events at the Cincinnati Observatory. Visit their website for details.
The City Flea ~ There’s no cost to attend the City Flea, but you’ll want to bring a bit of cash to stop at the food trucks, craft & vintage vendors and beer sellers. You can grab lunch and a brew and take in the sites. And the vendors don’t charge a high premium for their wares. I bought a few cool items last time I went and didn’t drop a bundle. Read more about the City Flea in this post.
Contemporary Arts Center ~ Admission to the CAC is FREE. And if you feel like splurging after you go to the CAC you can buy your date an ice cream cone at Graeter’s on Fountain Square! Contemporary Arts Center Website
Farmers Markets ~ You can find a farmers market in Cincinnati & NKY to visit any time of the year. It’s a great place to wander around tasting samples, talking to vendors, and picking up locally sourced products and foods and a decent price. For a date night you could go to the Farmers Market and pick up food to cook for dinner together or to pack in a picnic. Our favorite market is Findlay Market, where we can stop by Market Wines and have a drink and then wander around the various vendors.
Fountain Square ~ Through the summer months you can find all sorts of concerts on Fountain Square. Come for the music, stay for the fun and people watching. There’s music in the warmer months, and in the colder months you can take a spin on the ice skating rink. Check the Fountain Square website for a full list of events going on all year long! While you are downtown, be sure to stop at the Carew Tower and visit the Observation Deck. The views are breathtaking!
Go on a Geocache adventure! Not sure what Geocaching is? It’s a bit like going on a treasure hunt using GPS, only instead of gold you will find a log that you can sign and perhaps a little keepsake or memento that you can trade an item for. Google geocaching to learn more about this FREE fun activity!
Go for a Drive in the Country ~ Our favorite place to cruise is the beautiful, windy Route 8 in Kentucky. You could take Route 8 to the east and spend a day exploring Augusta and then take the ferry over to Cincinnati or take Route 8 it to the west and stop by McGlasson’s Farm, go for a bike ride at Giles Conrad Park and take a ferry ride across the Ohio River.
Jungle Jim’s ~ Why would a grocery store be on a date night list? Because as a mother of four there’s nothing better than going to the grocery store without the kids. Even on a date night! You could visit Cincinnati’s coolest grocery store and pick up ingredients to make a candlelit dinner at home! Jungle Jim’s Website
Kentucky Bourbon Trail ~ If you can get away for the day and you enjoy bourbon I encourage you to try to make it to one of the stops on the Bourbon Trail. We have been to many of the distilleries, and enjoyed the tours we took. This isn’t too cheap of a date since you have to pay for gas, but the tours are reasonably priced anywhere from $5 to $10. And you could cut costs of your day trip by packing a picnic lunch. If you want to stay in our area but learn more about how bourbon is made, then visit the newly opened New Riff Distillery at the Party Source in Newport. We had a great date night on our FREE tour of this distillery. Visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Website for details.
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is having free concerts in Devou Park this summer. Visit the KSO Website for dates & details.
Krohn Conservatory ~ Get back to nature in any season! Enjoy the beautiful plant life at the Krohn and then you could take a walk around Eden Park. You could even pack a picnic! Krohn Conservatory’s prices change periodically, but are always quite reasonable, and the displays change seasonally. Check out the Krohn website for more details.
Movies ~ Our go-to cheap movies come from Netflix Streaming and our local Redbox, but sometimes we really just want to see a movie in an actual movie theater. When we do go to the theater to see a movie my favorite places to go are three locally owned theaters, The Esquire in Clifton, The Mariemont and The Kenwood Theatre. These theaters offer cheaper ticket prices than most of the theaters in town, and they also have a bar at the theater and offer desserts and cheese plates. And my favorite thing about these three theaters is that if you pay just a little bit extra you can get real butter on your popcorn! You can also join their Critic’s Club and get free perks and discounts (like BOGO tickets), which is always a nice added bonus to save a little money.
Party Source ~ That’s right, I’m suggesting you visit a liquor store for date night. If you like tasting craft beers or are interested in how bourbon is born, then you should spend some time at Party Source! New Riff Distilling and Braxton Labs Brewing are two places worth checking out! Take a tour of the distillery for FREE and then have a few craft brews over at Braxton, it’s a different sort of date night…right up our alley! Here’s a post about New Riff Distilling and Ei8ht Ball that I wrote about our visit there.
Picnic in the Park ~ It’s the quintessential cheap date…pack some food from the fridge and hit a park! My favorite place to do this would be George Rogers Clark Park on Riverside Drive in Covington because of the great view of the Ohio River. And then after your picnic you can stroll around the neighborhood and check out all of the beautiful old homes, or walk down by the flood wall to see the murals depicting the history of Northern Kentucky.
Restaurants ~ If you do want to go out to eat but go easy on the budget then consider these tips: hit a restaurant during happy hour and nosh on half price appetizers & half price cocktails, share a meal, eat at home & just go out for dessert and a cocktail.
Taft Museum of Art ~ The museum is FREE to the public on Sundays
Take a Hike ~ A nice quiet walk in the woods is a great way to have some time to talk to each other, or to just enjoy the peace and quiet together. The fall months are my favorite time of year to walk in the woods but it really is a year-round activity, and there are some great trails in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The book 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cincinnati is a great help in finding new and interesting places to take hikes. You could make a challenge out of completing as many of the hikes in the book as you can
Washington Park ~ During the summer months you can find FREE Jazz, Bluegrass & RB Concerts during the week, FREE Date Night Movies on certain Saturdays, and a myriad of other fun events. Washington Park also offers events in the cooler months, such as caroling in December and old horror flick in October. Check the Washington Park Website for an Events Calendar.
SIDE NOTE ~ Babysitting :: Some of you may be asking how we manage to escape so often for date nights, and truth be told we are blessed because both sets of our parents live just minutes away from our house and they always seem happy to keep the munchkins. If you are in a spot wherein you don’t have family members to lend a hand there’s always the option of paying a neighborhood babysitter (ask other parents for recommendations, that’s how I’ve come to find the best babysitters) or you could start a childcare swap with friends. Offer to watch your friend’s kids on Friday night if she’ll return the favor on Saturday. Then your kids are gifted with a playdate two nights in a row and the end result is two sets of happy parents. Another way to have a date night is simply to put the kids in bed early and then enjoy a candlelit dinner in the kitchen, a romantic movie on the DVD player, or sit by the fire pit in the back yard and talk. You don’t have to leave the house to have a date night!
So there you have it, some great places to be a cheapskate on your date. Where’s your favorite place to have a cheap date?!
***Disclaimer #1 :: When I wrote this post I checked into each of the ideas above to make I had my facts straight, but things change sometimes and events/activities get cancelled so be sure to double check if you are going to any of the places I list above to be sure it’s still happening.