Being strapped for cash doesn’t have to put the kibosh on your romantic life. Check out these creative date ideas within each budget that will fill your hearts but not empty your wallet in Westchester.
Hey, big spender! It’s the end of the week and you and your sweetie are looking for something fun to do but — hey, now — you’re not looking to get crazy here. What’s fun but not expensive fun?
Volunteering together is actually a great early date idea. It lets you get to know the other person a bit, and you both earn brownie points for being concerned and caring human beings. That said, you don’t need to wait for oil-slick penguins or a natural disaster to get more involved. For an incredible evening, try something like the Wolf Conservation Center. Located at the northern edge of Westchester County in South Salem, the WCC offers plenty of educational courses for all ages detailing the importance of wolves in our forests. For a one-night event, though, there’s no beating a holiday or Evening Howl. For as little as $15 per person, you and your date can snack on wine and cheese while learning all about North American wolf species, followed by a brief walk outside to literally meet and howl with wolves. Petting is obviously off the table and, while you can’t take one home with you, you can make a donation or even symbolically adopt a wolf pup (or seven), which is probably where most of your money will go on this date.
*On-site programming is currently limited due to health risks, but the center is predominantly outdoors. Check the online calendar for the latest options.
Dinner and a movie? Who are we, Daddy Warbucks? Why spend your money on two separate events when you can take in a new release or genre classic while eating from specially crafted menus? Basic adult admissions here start at $15 after 2 p.m., while the menu includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, shakes, desserts, and plenty of beer and cocktail choices, being a drafthouse and all. You should also definitely check out the rotating special menu paired to current showings. Even after tickets, dining, and drinks for two, you’ll probably still have enough left over to buy one of the signature Mondo pint glasses.
What’s that? You don’t feel like driving or taking mass transit all the way into NYC for a private pandemic movie theater experience? (Starting at $150 before tickets and food, this is well outside the realm of a “budget” date.) Well, lucky for you, even though the Alamo Yonkers is currently closed, you can still enjoy the brand’s large curated movie selection to buy or rent right from the comfort and safety of your own living room. You can even purchase some traditional Mondo tie-in merchandise to go with it!
We live in a capitalist economy and accept that most things are going to cost money. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of it to have a good time. Try one of these cute ideas guaranteed to end with a lovely evening and minimal banks broken.
Art galleries are widely known for their wine-and-cheese nights, but, if that’s not your thing, try a local history museum. The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, for example, has a lovely collection of art – chiefly from its namesake style of painting – as well as educational activities and its own planetarium. Admission to the museum is only $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, while the planetarium is only an extra $5 or $4, respectively. (Planetarium is currently closed due to COVID-19.)
For dinner, take whatever you’ve got left in your pockets and head a short distance to The Pizza Barn, where one “Superslice” should be more than sufficient to feed even the hungriest of couples.
These wonderful hotbeds of fresh, local produce and goods from friendly vendors have become more and more popular, but they don’t need to just satisfy your weekly handcrafted croissant fix. Farmers’ markets are also a fantastic place to enjoy yourselves on a date. Many feature live music and activities, areas to sit and dine, and are generally animal-friendly, which — according to every romantic comedy ever — pretty much ensures love is in the air. A select few in the county are even open year-round! Plenty of vendors will offer you free samples, but, let’s be honest, you’re going to end up spending at least $20-25 on some delicious snacks no matter how full you are. Most of Westchester’s markets tend to shut down for the winter or pare down to a smaller indoor affair, so maybe save this idea for the warmer months.
For under $25? Yes, for under $25! Here’s what you do: Head on down to the Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. Complimentary valet parking is available, but you should still tip the valet because you’re a good person. The beer hall offers 5 oz. samples in a reusable glass for $3-$5, so that’s a solid five to eight beers of varying ABV split between two people. Our recommendation? Grab a couple apiece, use the excess to tip your servers, and then hit up a few games of corn hole outside. If you’ve got a little extra cash to burn, you can also hit up the new beer hall for some seriously tasty eats.
Here’s where things get creative. There’s actually plenty you can do for a date that doesn’t cost anything besides the prep time. The more prep you put in, however, the better your date is going to be.
Hiking is beautiful. But if you’re getting tired of aimlessly walking through nature’s majesty, consider adding in an objective. Geocaching is a pastime where hobbyists hide “caches,” sometimes a small lockbox, other times little more than a token or marker, at geographical coordinates and then encourage or dare others to find them. While some are nearly impossible to get to, plenty are available and easily accessible to newbies. Take a hike, find a thing, post about it online. Basically, it’s a more fulfilling, slightly nerdier version of FourSquare, and it’s 100% socially distant!
Let me be clear on this: It is disingenuous and frankly rude to go to a car dealership and test drive an expensive vehicle you have no intention or ability to purchase. That said, hybrid and fully-electric cars are the responsible and cost-efficient future everyone should adopt sooner rather than later. Charging stations are popping up more reliably, and prices are coming down into a reasonable commercial range. If you’ve been wanting to see what all the fuss is about, Tesla is happy to schedule a touch-less test drive and show off one of its futuristic models. With showrooms in Mount Kisco and White Plains, consider taking your date on a nice romantic drive around town.
This one is a classic with a twist. Pack a nice boxed lunch, something you both love, or mix-and-match a few of your favorites — anything that makes you both happy. Maybe bring some books or a card game and grab a Frisbee. Head down to any one of Westchester’s idyllic local parks, throw out an old blanket, and just hang out in the sunshine for the afternoon. If it’s colder out, build a snowman! Oh, and don’t forget to stuff your pockets full of dog treats (maybe hide some under the blanket as well). The only thing better than taking your dog to the park is taking yourself to the park to play with other people’s dogs. This is also a fantastic way to make new friends and meet your neighbors — or singles for that matter, if you’ve just been optimistically perusing this article for the last seven minutes.