When you are in a long-term, committed relationship, scheduling time to connect with your partner is so incredibly important. Regular date nights are a great way to step away from the stresses of day to day life so you can create fun experiences with the one you love.
While dinner and a movie may be your usual fall back date night, research shows that trying new things together can increase your overall relationship satisfaction and sense of connection to each other. It's worth it to get creative and try some new things together!
Your date nights don't have to break the bank, either! Even though a fancy meal and front row tickets to the hottest concert in town is a really great way to spend a Friday night, expensive date nights are not necessary to create the kind of love you want. By doing some research, getting creative, and being intentional about cultivating the love you share, you can enjoy dates together that won't break the bank.
For those of you in Houston (where Memorial Heights Counseling is located), here are 19 creative date ideas that won't break the bank. Have fun and enjoy each other!
1) Watch a free outdoor movie. So many different places in Houston offer free outdoor movies, like Discovery Green, Miller Outdoor Theater, Green Street, Whole Foods, and Market Square Park. You can Google "outdoor movies Houston" or check a list of current showings here.
2) Visit Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University. Free to visit, their periodic exhibits have included some incredible immersive and interactive art installations and Google's Tilt Brush. For more information, check out their website.
3) Take a walk along Buffalo Bayou. There are several wonderful parks along Buffalo Bayou as you approach downtown with great trails to explore, spots to picnic, fun activities, and views of the city. These include Buffalo Bayou Park, Eleanor Tinsley Park, Sam Houston Park, Tranquility Park, and Sesquicentennial Park.
4) Go to an Astros, Dynamo, or Rockets game. Depending on the event, you can get tickets to these professional teams' games either by purchasing the cheap seats, going on a weeknight, or perusing the resale market last minute.
5) Visit Smither Park. This park, full of mosaics like you've never seen, is an artist's haven. Feel inspired by the amount of creativity that went into this spot, and if you're lucky, you may even see some of the artists in action.
6) Visit a free museum. Houston is home to many museums, like the Contemporary Arts Museum, that offer admission free of charge. Others, like the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Natural Science, offer free admission at specific times on Thursdays. You can find the full list and schedule here.
7) Watch the bats emerge from their slumber at Waugh Bridge. Bonus: Since the bats tend to fly out at dusk, you'll get to watch a sunset together before the main event.
8) See EaDo's amazing murals. At the corner of St. Emmanuel and Leeland just east of downtown, you'll find several buildings whose walls are completely covered in spectacular murals by talented Houston artists.
9) Visit one of Houston's many craft breweries. Our local breweries, like St. Arnold's, Southern Star, 8th Wonder, and Buffalo Bayou, offer inexpensive brewery tours and great spots to spend an afternoon in conversation with each other.
10) Meditate at Rothko Chapel. As a big proponent of mindfulness meditation practice, I can't think of a better way to relax an clear your head than by spending some quiet moments together at Rothko Chapel.
11) Visit the Menil Collection. Next to Rothko Chapel you'll find an outstanding (and free) art collection in the heart of Montrose begging to be visited on a Saturday afternoon.
12) Visit the San Jacinto Monument. For you history buffs, take a 20-minute car ride out of town to the spot where Texans won their independence from Mexico. The museum and monument are free to visit; for a small fee you can visit the observation deck for the view.
13) Visit the Art Car Museum. Some artists create using oil on canvas; others create using whatever they can find and cars. This truly unique Houston original on Heights Boulevard is free to visit.
14) View James Turrell's famous Skyspace. This art installation is always viewable on Rice's campus, but features a special light show at sunrise and sunset. Reservations are required for the sunset light sequence. You can find out more here.
15) Play Bingo in the Heights. Lodge 88 hosts Bingo in the Heights every Thursday night. Bingo pads are $5 each and a portion of the proceeds supports local charities.
16) Attend Second Saturday at Sawyer Yards. Every second Saturday of the month, the artists at Sawyer Yards in the Washington Heights area open their gallery doors to the public. You and your partner can view some seriously incredible local art and some of the coolest (and largest) murals in town for free.
17) Visit Houston's Waterwall. Close to the Galleria is a small park featuring Houston's famous Waterwall, a favorite romantic spot for local couples (and a hotspot for proposals!).
18) Take a walk around Hermann Park. Hermann Park, Houston's largest public park, is a great place to walk hand in hand as you admire the beautiful gardens, ponds, and scenery. Pack a picnic for a romantic and affordable lunch option.
19) Attend a performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre. This outdoor theatre at Hermann Park constantly hosts musical performances, movies, dance troupes, plays, and more--all for free.
With so many affordable things to do in Houston, you and your partner can enjoy date nights together without breaking the bank. By intentionally setting aside time to try new things together, you can improve your overall relationship satisfaction--and feel closer and more connected to each other than ever before.