credit: Thinkstock

credit: Thinkstock

Dates are exciting and add a breath of fresh air to a seasoned relationship or a brand new one just kicking off. If emptying your pockets for date night every time is getting quite old, get creative and save some money while still having fun and impressing your date.

Let’s Save

Below are some money-saving tips for a successful, budget-friendly rendezvous with your special someone.

  • Bigger isn’t always better. Although you want to make an impression in a grand way, the date itself doesn’t have to be over the top. Some of the best dates stem from thinking outside of the box and spending time together in good conversation. A simple walk through a park can often be more intimate than an expensive candlelit dinner.
  • Show your range of interests. One of the biggest reasons for dating is to get to know each other better. Share your interests in a date setting by going on an art walk and discussing each piece, attending a free high school sporting event and talking athletics, or teaching the other person how to play your favorite card game.
  • Keep up with local events. Many cities host seasonal festivals or concerts at no cost. Keep an eye out for these local events and plan an outing for your next date. It might be the best time you’ve spent together yet.
  • Show your culinary skills. Have a date night in and show your special someone how well you can make your way around the kitchen. The ability to cook is one of the most attractive qualities in a partner.

Let’s Date

Dating in a major city like Los Angeles has its advantages and drawbacks. The good part is that there are some fantastic places to go and things to do, but the negative is how expensive just one night out can be. After some digging and investigating, here are five free date ideas in Los Angeles that run the gamut from culture to music to enjoying the local views.

W Hotel Hollywood
6250 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 798-1300

Concert tickets for you and a date can easily set you back hundreds of dollars. Check out the W Hotel in Hollywood on Tuesday nights for Station Unplugged in its hipster outdoor space Station Hollywood. Up-and-coming musicians and artists are featured in this outdoor living room from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The vibe is cool as guests mingle and kick back to acoustic music. A beverages and light fare menu from Delphine is also available.

Hammer Museum at UCLA
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 443-7000

Visit the Hammer Museum for an afternoon on any Thursday at no cost. This public arts unit of the University of California, Los Angeles houses the Armand Hammer collection of old paintings in the impressionist and post-impressionist style, along with the Armand Hammer Daumier and contemporaries collection. The exhibits span the classic to the cutting-edge in art, architecture and design and offer a whole list of things to talk about on your date. Afterwards, head over to the UCLA campus down the way and spend the rest of your time together collegiate style.

Los Angeles Public Library – Central Library
630 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-7000

Not just for brainiacs, the Central Los Angeles Public Library downtown is not only a piece of Los Angeles history, but also an excellent resource for engaging culture. The library’s ALOUD lecture series program appeals to a wide audience presenting a range of authors, scientists, thinkers and artists and inspires life-long learning. Guests have included author Margaret Atwood, anthropologist, primatologist and Darwinian feminist Dr. Amy Parish, poet and playwright Brighde Mullins and New York Times bestselling novelist Alice McDermott, to name a few. The lectures are free and open to the public offering a Q&A and book signing. Check the library’s website for the calendar of speakers and to reserve your spots.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
6300 Hetzler Road
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-5547

If outdoor adventure is your thing, plan a date hiking up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (511 ft.) in Culver City. The views (a panoramic view of the entire Los Angeles basin, the Pacific Ocean and surrounding mountains) are breathtaking amidst this stunning urban park. A beautiful way to spend time together over the weekend, the 228 steps to the overlook are open Friday to Monday from 8 a.m. to sunset. The visitor center features an exhibit that tells the story of L.A.’s restored native habitat. Be sure to pack a water and snack for you and your date.

Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(213) 403-3000

The intimate environment at the Annenberg Space for Photography provides an excellent venue for a date. Featuring state-of-the-art, high-definition digital technology, as well as traditional prints by some of the world’s most renowned and emerging photographers, the Annenberg Space is the first solely photographic destination in the Los Angeles area. Admission is free daily, and parking is only $1 on the weekends. The exhibits change every three to six months and have included works from Helmut Newton, rock-n-roll photographers Ed Clover and Jill Furmanovsky and images from National Geographic.


View more great budgeting advice and Create Your Financial Plan today!

Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at