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10 Fun, Affordable, and Non-Basic Dates for Valentine’s Day


Sun, February 04

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, being a teenager on a budget doesn't mean you can't have a fantastic celebration with your special someone. Finding the perfect way to celebrate may seem hard, but there are tons of simple and budget-friendly date ideas that aren't only special and exciting, but also easy on the wallet. After all, you don't need elaborate gift-giving or overpriced dinners to create lasting memories!

1. Drive-in/Outdoor Movie

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Spend your Valentine's Day at a drive in or outdoor movie theater and enjoy a romantic movie date under the stars. Go watch one of your favorite movies while snuggled up in your car or on a cozy blanket spread out on the grass. Pack some delicious snacks like popcorn, candy, and your favorite drinks to enhance the cinema delight. Whether it's a classic love story or a film that holds special meaning to you and your partner, the enjoyment of a movie night can make your Valentine's Day exciting.

2. Local Carnival/Fair

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Step right up to a lively local carnival or fair date that promises a whirlwind of excitement and shared memories with your special someone. Spending Valentine’s at a local fair is a unique and exciting way to celebrate your love. Immerse yourselves in the vibrant atmosphere as you challenge each other to carnival games, indulge in mouthwatering treats, and take on thrilling rides together.

Whether you're both thrill-seekers or simply looking for a good time, a local fair offers a blend of excitement and fun that makes an unforgettable date. Embrace your inner child as you relish the joy of a local fair or carnival date, capture the moment with a whimsical Ferris wheel ride, steal a kiss at the top, and make this date a chapter in your book of shared adventures.

3. Pottery Painting

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Embark on a delightful date by exploring the world of pottery, a perfect avenue to express your creativity alongside your special someone on V-day. Numerous pottery studios allow you to either hand-make or pick out what you want to paint, and offer a variety of options of things to paint.

You can design pottery shapes that symbolize inside jokes or special memories, or simply just create a cute bowl for your partner’s favorite dish. Let your creativity run free during this exciting outing, turning it into a memorable and artistic experience.

4. Thrift Store Shopping

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If you and your partner share a passion for fashion, thrifting would be the perfect opportunity to explore your unique styles and find clothes just for you. Make your thrifting experience a fun adventure by picking clothes out for each other for your next date or engaging in a friendly competition to see who can create the wackiest outfits.

Thrift stores usually have an abundance of clothing and aren’t very pricey, so it’s a great way to spend Valentine’s without overspending at the mall on an expensive dinner. Dive into the racks, uncover hidden gems, and turn this budget-friendly exploration of style into a shared experience filled with excitement and unexpected discoveries this Valentine’s Day.

5. Bowling

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Bowling dates will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was not only my very first date but remains one of my all-time favorites. Whether you're a seasoned pro or the self-proclaimed worst bowler in existence, the joy lies in the shared experience of watching you and your partner fail to hit the pins and get gutterball after gutterball. For those with a competitive streak, the excitement is amped up, setting the stage for playful banter, a touch of rivalry, and an abundance of "I can't believe you got a strike!" moments. Brace yourselves for an unforgettable bowling date filled with lighthearted fun and the thrill of friendly competition to celebrate the day of love.

6. Visit a Museum

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Embark on a heartfelt Valentine’s museum date, a journey that sparks the curiosity and knowledge of both you and your special someone. Wander hand-in-hand through captivating exhibits, letting the wonders of art, history, or science unfold before you. Get lost in conversations about beautiful paintings, crazy historical facts, or mind-bending scientific discoveries.

Whether you're art enthusiasts or history buffs, a museum date offers both intellectual stimulation and cherished memories. It's not just about impressing each other with knowledge and learning more about the world; it's about creating memories, sharing laughs, and making your date an engaging experience filled with cultural richness and romantic connection.

7. Arcade Day

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Going on an arcade date offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane, allowing you and your special someone to play iconic games like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, or Pinball. Share laughter and create new memories on Valentine’s as you compete for high scores in a variety of games to add excitement to your date. Challenge each other to see who can rack up the highest score or pull off the coolest moves.

If video games aren’t for you, there are also other games such as air hockey, claw machines, bowling, ski ball, and many others that are just as exciting. Friendly competition adds a whole new level of fun to your date, with moments of victory and playful teasing making it all the more exciting. So, grab those controllers and let the arcade be the ultimate victory of your awesome dates.

8. Go to the Beach

If you're lucky enough to have a beach nearby, seize the opportunity to soak up the sun and enjoy the ocean's beauty with your significant other to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A beach date is the perfect way for you and your partner to relax and enjoy the outdoors together. Feel the joy of splashing in the water, engage in some beach painting, or just lay in the sun to get tanned.

Pack a picnic with your favorite snacks, find a cozy spot, and share a meal with your love. If you like a bit of adventure, give surfing a shot or channel your inner architect with a sandcastle competition. The possibilities are endless. Gather your sunscreen, towels, and your special someone, and spend the day creating a beautiful memory at the beach.

9. Have a Picnic

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Savor the sweetness of Cupid’s arrow with a charming and simple picnic date! Find a cozy spot in a nearby park or your favorite outdoor setting, and enjoy a nice meal with your special someone under the open sky. Pack a basket filled with your favorite snacks, drinks, and candies to create a personal menu you both love.

Spread out a comfortable blanket, and take the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations, play a game, or simply enjoy each other's company surrounded by nature's beauty. A picnic date offers a delightful and intimate way to celebrate love, creating a genuine and memorable Valentine's Day experience.

10. Stroll through a Park/Botanical Garden

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Celebrate the magic of love this Valentine's Day with a leisurely stroll through a park or enchanting botanical gardens. Immerse yourselves in the beauty of nature as you take in the vibrant colors and fragrant flowers with your partner. Walk through the beautiful paths where you can enjoy peaceful moments together.

The beautiful blossoms create a romantic atmosphere that is perfect for a special date. Don’t forget to take pictures with your special someone in front of the beautiful natural scenery to capture the memory. Whether it's enjoying the vibrant colors of flowers or simply just the peacefulness and beauty of it all, a stroll through a park or garden would be the perfect Valentine's Day adventure.

As you venture into these fun and affordable plans, do the things that will make this Valentine's unique and special for you and your partner. Dive into unique experiences with your special someone and make it a day to remember. Happy Valentine's Day!

Kaila Hu
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Kaila Hu is a junior in high school from Fairfax, Virginia. She currently holds the position of Editor-in-Chief for her school newspaper and Editor for The Teen Magazine.