Free or Cheap Date Ideas Around Grand Rapids
Dates can get expensive once you factor in dinner. Add in potential babysitter costs and a night out with your favorite person can be spendy.
Ready to think outside the box of the traditional dinner-and-a-movie?
We have 18 interesting date ideas to get you out for a date for under $20.
Still want to grab a bite at some point? Check out our handy Date Night Restaurant Map to pick the perfect spot!
18 Date Ideas Under $20
Play (Pin)Ball at the Pyramid Scheme on Commerce
Grab your quarters and get ready for some competitive fun! The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids offers 24 different pinball machines. You could play a lot of pinball for $20!
Cost: Starts at just 25 cents.
Pro-tip: The first Sunday of the month you can play the machines for free! If this sounds like a better date to take you kiddos on, they also offer all-ages pinball on Saturdays from 4:00 – 8:00 PM.
Tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Meyer May House
I was able to attend a private dinner event here once–and it’s so cool. I’m kind of an architecture nerd, but touring the Meyer May house would be fun for anyone!
Details: Only open Sunday (12:00-3:00 PM), Tuesday & Thursdays (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM), and Thursday (10:00 AM – 1:00 PM). Plan on about 90 minutes to complete the full tour and watch the accompanying informational film.
Explore Grand Rapids Art Museum
It’s no secret that you can check out all the amazing art at the GRAM on Tuesdays for free, but did you know you can visit on a Thursday night for free too?! It’s true! This is a great way to visit without any pressure to stay for a long time. Enjoy the beautiful building, take in some art, learn something new, and be on your way.
Details: Admission is free on Tuesdays (Noon – 6:00 PM) and Thursday evenings (Noon – 9:00 PM).
Go to the Movies for Less Than $20
Catch a movie at Celebration Cinema on a Tuesday for just $6! T.A.C.O. Tuesday is a great way to see a movie on the big screen while saving some of your date night budget for popcorn–yum!
Details: Doesn’t include all movies. Be sure to check their website before making your plans.
Take a Hike Together
I hike frequently with my kids, but it’s a totally different experience to hike without them. The peace! The quiet! Nobody strapped to your back! We have a surprising number of awesome hiking trails in and around Grand Rapids.
Cost: FREE (potentially a small parking fee)
Pro-tip: Pack some bug spray and sunscreen! Maybe even pack a picnic!
Get Cozy Over a Locallly-Brewed Coffee
Grab your favorite game or a deck of cards and head to a local coffee shop. Get cozy with a latte and chat the afternoon away.
Pro-Tip: Lyon St Cafe is open till 9 PM most days and The Sparrows on Wealthy is often open till 8 PM.
Hit the Driving Range or Try Mini Golf
When weather allows, practicing your swing a local driving range can be a fun way to spend time together. It’s like a grown-up version of putt-putt golf (which is totally an acceptable date idea, too).
Cost: Varies, but most places you can hit a lot of balls for $20!
Head to Lake Michigan
Ditch the kids, grab a book, and head to the big lake! While a trip to a Lake Michigan beach is fun with your kids, a trip without them is downright relaxing. Stay for the sunset and seal the deal as the most romantic, affordable date ever.
Cost: A small parking fee possible
Bonus Idea: Stop for ice cream on the way home–you won’t even have to share or wipe sticky fingers and faces. If you’re in Grand Haven, you have to stop at Temptations–and if you’re closer to Holland, Captain Sundae gets my pick (team Pirate’s Booty Sundae forever).
Do a Little Wine Tasting
Places around greater Grand Rapids like Robinette’s, Cascade Winery, and Kayla Rae Cellars all offer tastings for a small fee. If you’re up for a drive, Saugatuck is a treasure trove of tasting rooms. Grand Haven also has a Lemon Creek and 12 Corners tasting room.
Cost: Varies, usually around $5 a person
Kick it Old School With Open Skate
Roll down memory lane in some roller skates! Terry Hall offers adult skate on Thursdays, 8:30 – 11 PM. Anyone else hearing I Saw the Sign playing in their head from elementary school skating parties?!
Cost: $8 to skate and $2 for roller skate rental or $3 for rollerblades.
Experience the Classic Yesterdog in Eastown
Can you really call yourself a Grand Rapidian if you’ve never had a Yesterdog? Probably not. Stop at this iconic GR restaurant for hot dog or two. While you’re in Eastown, you may as well stay awhile and stroll about to enjoy its brick road beauty.
Cost: Hot dogs start around $2.60
Outdoor Movies: Drive-In or Movie in the Park
Summertime outdoor movies are super fun.
There are several drive-ins around West Michigan where you can score a double feature for less than $20/couple.
Local parks also feature FREE movies in the park throughout the season. Pack a cooler with snacks and drinks (even beer and wine are okay!) and grab a couple chairs.
Cost: FREE or less than $20/couple
Take a Brewery Tour
On hold till 2022: Tour New Holland’s Knickerbocker facility to learn all about how the beer gets to your glass along with a little history about New Holland Brewing. The tour takes about one hour and includes samples and a pint glass to take home.
Details: Sign up in advance to reserve your spot and wear closed-toe shoes as it’s a working production area!
Take an Insta-Worthy Photo Tour of GR
Follow our guide to 20+ Instagram-Worthy Pics in Grand Rapids…or go on a mural tour.
Pro-Tip: Make it a day-date so you have great lighting for all your photos! Don’t hesitate to ask someone to take a photo for you or prop-up your phone and set the self-timer.
Learn to Swing Dance Downtown
Try your hand at swing dancing at Rosa Parks Circle! The first Tuesday of the month features a live band for an extra layer of fun, but you can practice your moves most Tuesday evenings at Rosa Parks Circle or Ah-Nab-Awen Park. The energy is contagious and it might be your new spring and summer date night staple!
Peruse the Farmer’s Market
Greater Grand Rapids is filled with quality Farmers Markets in the summer season. Challenge yourselves to pick out all the ingredients you need for a locally sourced dinner for under $20.
Cost: under $20
Pro-Tip: Fulton Street Farmers Market tends to have the most options and excitement–but Holland is hot on its heels!
Do a little good with your date night and volunteer together. This might require some advanced planning as some volunteer opportunities require training, but it’s sure to be worth it! Not sure where to start? This list of places around Grand Rapids that welcome volunteer power is sure to help.