(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

The sweetest dates with just the two of you don’t have to mean shelling out impressive amounts of money. Your special someone deserves to be treated like royalty, but downturns in your finances are not making it easy to make dating affordable. Don’t let lack of money hold you back from asking that special someone out. Put some thought and creativity into your date and go beyond the typical dinner and a movie. Enjoy a romantic afternoon or evening with one of these top five free date ideas in St. Louis.

St. Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 721-0072

Stroll through the art gallery exhibits hand in hand while gazing at works of art from a variety of periods and styles. Explore the romanticism paintings of Europe, or be her knight in shining armor at the arms and armor exhibit. Travel through works of art that take you back in time and into the modern world. Admission is free every day, and on Friday you will even be able to visit the featured exhibitions at no additional charge.

Pere Marquette State Park
Illinois Route 100
13653 Lodge Boulevard
Grafton, IL 62037
(618) 786-2331

Bring your bikes and ride through the park after a trip up the Great River Road. Hike the miles of trails together year round. Drive through the park for a beautiful scenic drive no matter what time of year. Watch the leaves change in the fall, or bring your binoculars and snuggle up for some great eagle watching in the winter. Stop in at the lodge to sit back and get to know each other better with a talk by the fireplace or with a little friendly competition in a game with giant chess pieces.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
4431 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 373-8200

Why travel across the ocean to see the Sistine Chapel when there is one of the largest collection of mosaics right in your own hometown, and it’s free to tour. Besides, mama always told you that all the good girls are found at church, so what better place to enjoy a date than at a place appreciating your spiritual side. Start your self-guided tour with majestic ceiling artwork and end with the handiwork of Tiffany and Company at a rose window. Tours are free during weekdays when you first call for a reservation to view at your own pace or on Sundays after the noon mass with a guide and without the need to call ahead.

Saint Louis Zoo
1 Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 781-0900

Take in the charm and history as two love birds underneath the 1904 World’s Fair bird cage exhibit located on the zoo’s grounds. Wallow in the romantic adventure of your own private safari without leaving the Midwest by visiting giraffes, elephants and monkeys. Touted as being the best zoo in the nation, two of the best features of this local hot spot are that it does not charge admission and it’s open year round. Casually walk around while enjoying the company of your date, or come for a special event open to the public.

St. Louis County Library
1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
(314) 994-3300

It may not be the first place that comes to mind for spending a romantic evening, but there’s more than meets the eye at your local library. From concerts to art events, cooking nights or meet an author event; the library hosts events free to the public that are a far cry from childhood story times. Catch a movie or join in a club where the two of you can share your interests together. With approximately 20 branches throughout the county, you’re bound to find a special event that you and your date are interested in attending.


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Tere Scott is a freelance writer and author of e-books and two educational blogs. She loves to research information to share. She currently resides in St. Louis. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.