It seemed like the day might never come, but spring has finally arrived and summer is just around the corner. Along with the warm weather comes new opportunities for evening dates and weekend outings that you might have forgotten about while you were catching up on Netflix during the dead of winter.
Here are a few fun and affordable outdoor date ideas to take advantage of the sunshine:
- A night at the ballpark
- Go for a ride
- Find a festival and support your community
While there’s nothing quite like a summer evening at Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, MLB games can be expensive, and with just 30 teams, most are located in major cities. On the other hand, there are 160 Minor League Baseball teams, from the Portland Sea Dogs in southern Maine to the Eugene Emeralds in western Oregon, and everywhere in between.
Compared to their MLB counterparts, minor league baseball tickets nearly always cost much less. According to a 2015 press release, the average cost for two people to attend a minor league game was between $34–38, including food, drinks, and parking. For an MLB game, even two cheap tickets will likely cost you twice that, and there’s a good chance you’ll be sitting in the upper deck.
Of course there’s always a possibility you’ll see the next MLB star in the making, but many minor league teams have become more well known for their outside-the-box marketing than for the actual game on the field. From Saved By The Bell themed uniforms to donut bacon cheeseburgers to post-game fireworks, the minor league experience has something for everyone. You and your significant other can have an enjoyable and entertaining evening, whether or not you are both baseball aficionados.
A simple walk and picnic in the park is a timeless date idea, but if you want to cover more ground and get a little more exercise together, riding bikes is another a great option. If you do not own bikes, find out if your city or town has a bike-sharing service. These types of bike rentals are growing in popularity around the country, do not cost much, and are easy to activate from your smartphone.
While biking is fun, it’s not always conducive to good conversation, depending on where you are riding. If you are able, I’d suggest mixing in a well-earned pitstop for ice cream or a drink somewhere along your route.
As an alternative to biking, canoeing is another perfect activity to spend quality time together and soak in the beauty of summertime. This is obviously much easier if you live close to a lake or river, but don’t be surprised what you may find through a simple Google search.
You can paddle as fast or as leisurely as you would like and your success (moving forward rather than sideways) is dependent upon working together to row the boat. In short, canoeing can be a good opportunity to exercise those teamwork and communication skills, which we all know are essential in every relationship.
While visitors come from far and wide to attend events like Bonnaroo, Taste of Chicago, and Austin City Limits, not every summer festival needs to be a costly destination getaway with tens of thousands of people. Whether it’s food, music, movies, or art, there’s a good chance something fun is being planned right in your own backyard this summer.
Visit your city’s tourism website or pick up the newspaper (especially on Thursdays or Fridays) to find out what’s going on. Choose an event or activity where you and your date, significant other, or spouse can have a great time and learn about your town’s history or your community. Many cities host “First Fridays” events each month. Restaurants feature special deals, small businesses extend their hours, and live music and other entertainment are performed in various locations throughout the evening.
There is no shortage of ways to spend your time together this summer, so don’t feel like you need to plan a big elaborate evening for every date. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous, and try an event or activity that might be new for both of you. It will take you out of your comfort zone and might help you discover something about one another, whether it’s your third date or you’ve already been married for years.