Cheap Dates
March 15, 2013 7:25 AM   Subscribe

What are some free and/or cheap date ideas? We like being social, being alone, art, music, outdoors, sexy stuff, weird stuff, books, etc. We're fairly adventurous, but also happy being mellow and watching a movie. We're queer and in the SF Bay Area if you have specific suggestions for us and for around here, but more general ideas welcome.

[asking anon so my girlfriend doesn't search for this and find out what awesome free dates I'm going to take her on!]
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
columbarium! wave organ!
posted by liketitanic at 7:38 AM on March 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Backgammon over coffee or beers on a sidewalk table somewhere, loser must get up and kiss the winner, if losing by backgammon must also perform a silly dance.
posted by Tom-B at 7:42 AM on March 15, 2013

How cheap and what kind of music? San Francisco Bay Queer Contra Dance.
posted by jvilter at 7:46 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Offbeat Films! Main library has so many cool nooks and crannies to explore. GG Park adventures--go in hunt of the fly fishing pools or lawn bowling or rollerdisco on Sundays or any one of the many weirder little areas in the park. Once a month there is free shanty sing nights aboard the Balaclutha in Hyde St Pier (Hyde St Pier is fantastic at any time though.) Dollar store browsing on Clement St. Picnic at the Sunnyside Conservatory.

SF is such a fantastic walking city that you can't go wrong just picking a neighborhood and wandering. If you need more structure, my beau once presented me with a shot list (think "picture with an orange flower", "picture with something more than 50 years old") and a cheap disposable camera and we went and hunted down the shots--so much fun!
posted by kelseyq at 7:52 AM on March 15, 2013

My all-time favourite date involved just a six-pack and a really stunning secluded spot by the water. Since I'm not 19 anymore I would totally remember to bring a bottle opener and would also bring snacks, but the basic idea is quite sound.
posted by kmennie at 8:18 AM on March 15, 2013 [7 favorites]

Head to the beach for brunch with a huge sack of dim sum and a bottle of cheap champagne.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:11 AM on March 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Lake Anza in Tilden Park in Berkeley for a swim on a hot day or a picnic on a nice evening.

Drive down Hw 1 south of SF (with gas the way it is, not sure how cheap this will be) to any of the stunning beaches along that route.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:45 AM on March 15, 2013

I always post some links from TheSimpleDollar for these questions. Lots of ideas in here:

100 Things to do on a Money-free weekend

A do it yourself guide to a Romantic and Frugal date night
posted by CathyG at 11:04 AM on March 15, 2013

You can check out the Do List and Community Calendar from KQED. The Do List always includes at least one "cheap thrill," and the CC often does, too.

Cantor Arts Museum at Stanford always has free admission. They have a great collection of Rodin sculptures, a good permanent collection, and many of the rotating exhibits are pretty interesting. There's a good cafe in the museum, or you could pair it with a visit to a restaurant/bar/ice cream shop in Palo Alto. (For cheap, spicy, and delicious, I love Da Sichuan).

A fun extended date is a trip to the farmers market and then cooking dinner together.

If you have bikes, biking to a good brunch/lunch location can be fun.

I also like food-related walking tours. I have a friend who loves cupcakes, and when he comes to visit, we walk around SF to lots of different bakeries and try cupcakes from each one. Another friend once organized a "bacon crawl" of the Mission: bacon donuts from Dynamo, bacon latte at Pirate Cat radio, BLT at St. Francis fountain, and attempted bacon ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe (they didn't have bacon ice cream that day, but we substituted bacon peanut brittle). You could do a comparative dumpling tasting around the Richmond, or tacos in the Mission.
posted by pompelmo at 12:27 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go for a tour of the distillery and museum at Takara Sake in Berkeley, and visit their tasting room. Not expensive the last time I went, and they sell their wares for cheaps!
posted by Specklet at 1:40 PM on March 15, 2013

Also check out Fun Cheap SF for various.... fun and cheap things to do.
posted by grapesaresour at 4:05 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Save up and get a parks membership -- EBRPD if you don't mind leaving SF (gets you access to "Little Yosemite" in Sunol, Ardenwood Historic Farm, the lovely Coyote Hills park, etc.).

Walk around Japantown; have mitarashi dango (cheap) at the place downstairs of Kinokuniya. (The Cherry Blossom festival is coming up, and it's free -- one weekend has lots of indoor performances; check the website.) If you go there during lunch, you shouldn't have to pay too much for a meal. I like On the Bridge.

The Cartoon Art Museum is $5 if you're students; otherwise $7. (The Alternative Press Expo isn't till October, but it's totally worth the few dollars it costs.) Most of the big museums have free days if you don't mind the crowds. (Cross the bay for the Oakland Museum of California!)

Go to author events (also see here and here and here, plus libraries' websites).

I keep meaning to take one of these free walking tours.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe (comedy, not mime!) often has free/pay as you like/donation events. So does SF in SF (I'll be going to one sometime this month).

And sorry for the obvious suggestion, but has tons of SF-based meetups. I second Fun Cheap SF as well. Goldstar periodically has nearly-free tickets, as well. OneBrick also lists volunteering+socializing events.

Have fun!
posted by wintersweet at 5:01 PM on March 15, 2013

My favorite of the past couple of years: while your SO is away, build a fort out of couch cushions, sheets hanging from bookshelves, etc. A well-placed flashlight or tap light helps to set the mood, so you can turn off other room lighting. Depending on your preferences, this could be a picnic/movie/sex fort.

(If you choose sex fort, line floor of fort with couch cushions/pillows/mattress.)

(We chose sex fort.)
posted by crunchysalty at 8:12 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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