Valentine’s day. Cynics say it’s a holiday invented by Hallmark and Hershey’s to sell greeting cards and chocolate. Others say it is a holiday full of love and romance. If you are in a relationship, it really only means one thing: date night.
But this is college, and most people can’t afford to break the bank in order to sweep their valentine off his or her feet. Fear not! I have compiled a list of unique dates to accommodate different price ranges, so everyone can enjoy a day with their bae (sorry for that rhyme).
$25 or less:
Just because a date is cheap doesn’t mean it has to be any less thoughtful. In fact, there are some really easy and inexpensive ways for you and your honey to spend romantic time together without spending much money (sorry for another rhyme).
1. Hop on Pinterest and find a recipe that makes you drool, like this avocado pasta. Then, pull a Kroger run with your date to get all the ingredients and make it together. This is fun and personal, and could easily be under $20.
2. Drop by the local craft store, grab a canvas and any medium you want (paint, crayons, glitter). Then, create a personal piece of art together that you could keep forever and ever. You could also burn it if the relationship goes south, but we will stick to the more optimistic idea.
3. Go to Target, and try not to get distracted and/or lost on the way to the game aisle. Find a board game or card game neither of you has played before and give it a go.
4. Half Priced Books has a few shelves dedicated to mystery movies. They basically just take their favorite films, wrap them up and then write a generalized and vague summary of the movie, so you really aren’t sure what you will get. Each mystery movie is only $3, so it’s a great and cheap way for spontaneity.
The best thing about these cheap dates is that they really revolve around you and your S.O. The meal could turn out terrible, your art could look like it was made by a 4-year-old on a sugar rush and the movies could be awful, but at least you spent the time with the person you care about. These dates are something you could do anytime, not just on Valentine’s Day.
Let’s say you and your boo have been dating for a little while, and you guys are ready for something a little more adventurous and are able to put in a little more financial effort. Here are some good investment dates that an 8-hour work shift at a minimum wage job would cover.
1. You won’t strike out if you go to Bowling Green’s Southern Lanes Bowling. This date actually could fall under $10 if you just stick to bowling since a game is only $4 per person, but why stop there? You could also try your hand at laser tag, bumper cars, mini-golf, arcade games and more. All of this is still relatively cheap. A game of bowling and all the above mentioned would only dent your wallet around 35 bucks.
2. You could feed your wanderlust side by packing up your bae (not literally — just have them sit in the car normally) for a little road-trip to Nashville to ice skate or sightsee and grab dinner. This date is a little basic, but a road-trip, even a small one, is a classic and easy way to spend unfiltered time with someone, and the memories usually mean more anyway. The road trip aspect is also the reason this date could fall for $50 dollars with the gas money you’d need to put into it.
3. Finally, you could check out the new rock climbing gym right here in BG. Vertical Excape offers an all-day intro and training class from $25 a person. Rock climbing is a great way to spend time with someone you care about while working toward personal goals. It requires a lot of trust from the other person, but it’s still a fun and active way to test yourself and try something new. 10/10 would recommend.
Most of the dates in this category are only in this price range if you want them to be. They are malleable for the most part and can be budgeted down or up, making them the perfect middle ground date for you and your valentine.
Over $50 (the big bucks):
If you have the means and want to really impress your S.O. or you just have a higher budget to spend on Valentine’s Day, then here are a few options for you. Be warned: these dates are not for that Tinder “super like.” These are the real deal.
1. Stop by Bowling Green’s very own Rockn B Horse Carriage Farm for a carriage ride with your love. This date night is about $95, but it includes dinner, roses and chocolates. This place basically does all the work for you. What is more romantic than that?
2. Ever dream about flying through the forest with the one you hold dearest? Well, now you can. Just imagine soaring through the trees with your valentine on a gnarly zip line in Nashville. A sure-fire way to add a little adrenaline to your date. This is only $65 dollars a couple, a fair price for this mile high club.
3. Another cool thing you could do while you are in Nashville is paint and pizza. You have probably heard of those painting and wine classes where your mom and her gal pals have all gotten a little tipsy while trying to color match a beach sunset. This is a little different. This time, you and your special valentine can enjoy a night full of carbs and colors. At Dabble Studio in Nashville, they have a V-Day class in which you and your date will first make your own artisan pizza. Then, you’ll paint a personal work of art as your other personal work of art bakes its way to perfection.
4. After all this excitement, you and your S.O. will probably be too tired to drive all the way home, but why take an Uber when you could take a helicopter instead? That’s right folks. You could enjoy a nice romantic helicopter ride for two over the city of Nashville and back home to Bowling Green for the low price of $560* thanks to Rush Cube. (*This estimate is based on of other RushCube prices. It may vary depending on the route and length you wish to fly.)
Now, at least one of these dates is sure to knock the socks off your valentine while being much more creative and thoughtful than the Netflix and chill date you may have been thinking of.
If none of these options work out for you, I suggest burning a mixtape and standing in front of their window in a trench coat with a boombox blaring said mixtape. Or you could ride over on your lawnmower and sweep them off their feet, fist raised in victory. But those may only work in ’80s romcoms.