Inexpensive dating in Boston
February 25, 2008 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Looking for dating ideas that meet three simple criteria: 1. Inexpensive. 2. In Boston/Camberville and T-accessible. 3. Doable in this weather.

I've been on a lot of dates over the past couple of weeks, and I've started getting worried as my credit card balance just keeps climbing. I've had a couple of windfalls this month, so I'm fine for now, but I can't fit this in my usual monthly budget. My new boyfriend wants to scale back a bit too.

I'm already looking forward to spring, when we can just spend time in the Public Garden or hike around Middlesex Fells. But what can we do in the meantime? Cooking for each other would be a good start. What else? I'm happy to hear recommendations for restaurants that are less costly but still good sit-down places, as well as other activities that would normally run, say, $20 or less for both of us. Nothing's too obvious or off-the-wall to suggest.

We're both carless, so it has to be T-accessible. Please share your secrets with me, hive mind!
posted by brett to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if you have a set time for the date but I have two restaurant options.

1) Saturday lunch at JP Seafood in JP on the 39 bus route (not technically T accessible) or a quick walk from Green Street Stop on the Orange line. It's probably a little more pricey than you were hoping, but I've found it's a great way to get JP Seafood's menu without paying dinner prices is to go there at lunch and order the bento boxes.

2) Take the Orange line up to Malden and walk over to Pleasant street, which is the main drag for the town. There's an Italian restaurant there called Massimo's. It's worth it just for the cheesy Italian restaurant factor, if you're ever in the mood for that.

I also suggest checking out the movies playing in Harvard at the Brattle Theater or the Harvard Film archive, if you want the obvious.

The out of the ordinary, check out Atlantic Works Gallery in East Boston for upcoming shows.
posted by rodz at 6:57 PM on February 25, 2008

Museum of Science. Great place to take someone on a Fri. night when the exhibit hall is open; you can wander the halls and then take in the OmniMax movie.

Museum of Fine Arts.

Quincy Market's a bit crowded, and preferable in warmer weather.

Fire & Ice restaurant in Harvard Square is a tad over your budget, tho not by much, and is a neat place--it's make your own stir-fry, and you get to watch them cook it. Good drinks too.
posted by Melismata at 6:58 PM on February 25, 2008

You should check out different university listings for free lectures and exhibits open to the public. There's often some pretty cool stuff going on thats pretty cheap, but you should tailor your search to your interests. The Harvard Museum of Natural History is free Wednesday afternoons and Sunday afternoons. It has a really cool glass flower exhibit. The Museum of Fine Arts is free one day a week I believe. Ice skating at the Frog Pond can be very sweet and romantic, if slightly more than 20 dollars if you need rentals. Have fun!
posted by fermezporte at 7:05 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I second the MFA, or any place you can both take a sketchbook and sit together, providing you're both into sketching. If you are, then Dr.Sketchy's Anti-Art School is the second Sunday of every month at the Great Scott, which is a pretty great icebreaker in itself.

Staying in and making (or learning to make) veggie sushi or spring rolls takes care of activity and meal in one go, too.
posted by evalenza at 7:10 PM on February 25, 2008

Skating on the Frog Pond was fun. I think it cost $12 per person when we went last year, but you could stay an unlimited amount of time.

This could be really goofy or could be goofy cool - I haven't gone yet - but the interactive adventure Tomb looks innovative at the very least. I can't wait to try it.

The Omni movie at the MoS is a good time.
posted by Miko at 7:38 PM on February 25, 2008

anchovies on columbus ave in the south end. food is cheap and good.
posted by brandz at 7:45 PM on February 25, 2008

My standard Cambridge recommendation is Club Passim. Tickets for shows range from $10-20.
posted by danb at 7:49 PM on February 25, 2008

The Kotobukiya sushi bar in Porter Square Exchange (Porter, Red Line) is a great place to sit down and have really good sushi on the cheap, and the tiny mall also has other asian food stalls, and a great supermarket (also run by Kotobukiya).

If you take the Red Line to Harvard, and take the 71 or 73 trolley/bus out, you can go to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery (Aberdeen Ave. stop) and see some beautiful trees and sculptures/monuments/tombs, and there's a tower you can climb there for a great view of Boston.

The Commuter Rail also runs to Gloucester and to Plymouth... and a bus from south station to a ferry in Woods Hole can get you to Martha's Vineyard for pretty cheap.

Have fun!
posted by not_on_display at 8:22 PM on February 25, 2008

Regarding the museums, the MFA is free on Wednesday nights, and the fancy new ICA is free on Thursdays. There are always shows and odd events going on--be sure to check the Weekly Dig on Wednesdays and the Boston Phoenix on Thursdays. Also, Universal Hub is a pretty good aggregator-blog that tries to keep an eye on what is going on around town.
posted by zachxman at 8:29 PM on February 25, 2008

Backtracking slightly: The tower at Mt. Auburn is probably closed until spring (although the hill that the tower is on still affords a great view).

And no, Gloucester and Plymouth are not in Somerbridge, I know... and Mt. Auburn's outdoors, since it is a cemetery and all, but it was a nice day today, no?
posted by not_on_display at 8:32 PM on February 25, 2008

Gloucester's awesome - that's a good daytrip.
posted by Miko at 8:36 PM on February 25, 2008

seconding the science museum, but for the laser shows. i caught a radiohead one and it was tiiiight.

also seconding the brattle theatre for good movies, including the occasional double feature.

thirdly, seconding Dig magazine to find out what's going on - shows and junk. you can find them at any T station.

i'm not sure when they stop/start giving tours of fenway, but that's a fun thing to do.

there are quite a few places in the north end (italian) that meet your budget. you'd have to take the red line over there and walk a bit, but there are some great finds if you can hoof it a little. a couple of suggestions: one place (whose name i cannot recall), has a dinner for 2 for, like, $20. it's a limited menu, but a good one, and you get a bottle of wine with it. also, pizzeria regina is awesome and affordable.

you could make it a mission to find the best clam chowder in town. there are zillions of places in boston and cambridge that claim to have the "best in town," so there'd be plenty of places to try out, and a bowl or 2 is generally pretty cheap. it could be fun to document your findings as you go.

finally, my favorite thing to do in boston: the sam adams brewery tour. it's free as in beer (and in this case, free beer).
posted by ncc1701d at 9:08 PM on February 25, 2008

New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory and BU have great free or cheap recitals, faculty performances, etc.
posted by sophie at 4:54 AM on February 26, 2008

When the weather is nicer go to Castle Island in Southie. Either get (super cheap) food at Sullys or bring a picnic.

Someone else mentioned Mt Auburn Cemetery. An amazing place and the tower makes it even more so.

Take the $10 ferry to George's Island which is a great spot. Once there you can take the free water taxi to the other, small islands. Ok these were all outdoor suggestiosn.

For indoor stuff: I love going to Ole in Inman, sitting at the bar and drinking Corona and eating chips and the guacamole that they make in front of you.

The Pour House has a half-price burgers night on Saturday and they're pretty good.
posted by jdl at 6:33 AM on February 26, 2008

Free ice-skating behind the Harvard Law School. They even have skates there to use.

Sledding in Mayor Danehy Park (a bit of a walk from Porter -- but only 20 minutes or so) followed by a meal at Jose's mexican restaurant.

Buy some interesting teas at Tea Zone. Go home, bake cookies, and watch a movie while drinking the tea + eating the cookies.

Eat dinner at Ali Baba, Cambridge's other (and much cheaper) Afghan restaurant.
posted by wyzewoman at 6:53 AM on February 26, 2008

I signed up for an email newsletter called Goldstar and they have pretty good discounts for theater/comedy/music shows around Boston many for around $10/person. (I am not affiliated with them.)

Keep an eye out for the next free tour of the Taza Chocolate Factory in Inman Square.

The weather has been on and off... if it is nice, you can check out the Arnold Arboretum that is right by the Forest Hills T stop (Orange Line).
posted by jerryg99 at 7:33 AM on February 26, 2008

Danehy park is closer to Alewife station.
The Blue Hills Weather station often has free programs. You'll probably need to take a bus to get there.
There are tons of College sporting events that are really cheap. Really really cheap if you attend women's events.
The Boston Bruins sell tickets as low as $10.00 (so do the Celtics, but most likely sold out). Also the Bruins offer 2 for 1 deals to students.
posted by Gungho at 8:46 AM on February 26, 2008

The Museum of Science's Gilliland Observatory is open and free (weather-permitting) every Friday night 8:30-10pm. They have a hotline you should call on Friday that has a quick recording about the weather forecast and a description of what they'll be viewing that night. (It's unheated, though, so this might be something you want to wait until April or May to try out.)

I subscribe to the RSS feed with What's Happening around Massachusetts, too, which often has a lot of free or cheap and off-the-beaten-path events.
posted by Plutor at 12:33 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

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