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Fun and Cost-Effective Date Night Ideas

Whether you’ve been together a few months or several decades, keeping the spark alive in your relationship takes work. But spending on regular date nights can quickly add up.

Before you think about putting your next evening out on your credit card or worrying about your personal finances, check out some of the more affordable date ideas that could help to keep your money in line. In this post, we’ll give you a few tips for date night on a budget to inspire your next evening (or day!) of romance with your significant other.

At-Home Date Night Ideas

Movie Night

We all know how pricey movie tickets and concessions are these days, so save some cash for your next big home project and turn your living room into an at-home movie theater. Load up your streaming service or rent the latest blockbuster and settle in for a cozy night on the couch together. You could even string up a white sheet in the backyard with a projector for a romantic movie night under the stars.

Happy couple man and woman in kitchen smiling for a photo.

“Fancy” Wine Tasting

Instead of heading out to a winery or upscale restaurant, bring the wine tasting to your home! Visit a few local wineries ahead of time to grab a few bottles and this can easily become one of the most luxurious-feeling inexpensive date ideas! There are many excellent vineyards in Northern New Mexico to choose from, like:

  • Ponderosa Valley Vineyards and Winery
  • Casa Abril Vineyards and Winery
  • Nueve Ninas Winery
  • Jaramillo Vineyards

Game Night

Board games don’t only have to be a family affair – they’re perfect for couples looking for date ideas on a budget too! Settle in for an evening of competition with your partner or invite some friends over for a double or triple date night of board game fun.

Virtual Dance Lessons

Thanks to YouTube and online skills platforms, you can easily learn how to dance from the comfort of your own home. Pair your evening with a bottle of wine and some good music before you fire up the virtual instructor and learn a few new moves with your partner.

Spa Day

Taking some time to relax as a couple can be a good way to reconnect with each other. Transform your home into a spa with a few scented candles, comfy robes and slippers, and a face mask or bath bomb. You’ll both be feeling rejuvenated in no time.

Man and woman on date at restaurant smiling at each other.

Cook Off Challenge

Do you and your partner love to cook? Spice things up on your next date night with a little friendly competition in the kitchen. Pick a theme or ingredient, set the timer, and then start whipping up your dishes. Once the alarms go off, spend the rest of your evening enjoying each other’s creations.

Outdoor Date Ideas

Visit Public Gardens or State Parks

From Albuquerque to White Rock, there are hundreds of beautiful public gardens and state parks that you can visit for free. A leisurely stroll through their natural beauty is an ideal way to manage your money when you’re after cheap date night ideas in New Mexico. The Santa Fe Botanical Gardens are open year-round and are one of the most romantic spots in the city.

Go On a Picnic

There are hundreds of spots around the region for a scenic brunch, cuddled together on a blanket. Looking for an urban gem on your doorstep? The Amelia E. White Park on Santa Fe’s Eastside is perfect for a daytime picnic or a romantic evening of snacks and stargazing. It’s also the perfect place if you feel inspired to pop the question among the flowers.

Man and woman on a date in the park having a picnic, smiling and laughing, picnic basket on blanket.

Enjoy a Hike or Nature Walk

Pulling on your hiking boots and heading out into the mountains is one of the most affordable dates that you can go on. There’s nothing better than working up a sweat while enjoying your partner’s company. The Cibola National Forest covers over one million acres of stunning New Mexico landscape, while the La Luz Trail up to Sandia Peak is popular with both locals and visitors to the area.

Camping

Finish off your hike by spending a night together in the great outdoors! The Gila National Forest is perfect for a weekend getaway of snuggling among the shady trees, while the Lincoln National Forest is the best place to camp out if you’re hoping to spot some of the local wildlife like elk, deer, wild horses, and hundreds of species of birds.

Take In Some Views

There’s no doubt that you’ll see some incredible views if you spend time hiking or camping around Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, or Albuquerque. But if walking isn’t for you, there are still plenty of ways that you can take in the vistas that this part of the world has to offer.

The Sandia Peak Tramway is North America’s longest aerial tram ride and is a unique way to take a look at the Sandia Mountains. Make this date even more special by getting tickets for the late evening and enjoying the sunset high above the valley.

Man and woman on a date camping sitting outside tent looking at smartphones together.

Stroll Through the Farmers Market

For couples who would prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, taking a few hours to wander through a local farmers market can be incredibly romantic. When you’re looking for affordable date night ideas, the Santa Fe Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with more than 150 farmers and artisanal creators to buy from. There’s even a cafe for you and your partner to grab a bite to eat or a coffee, made with ingredients from the market’s own vendors.

Out-On-The-Town Date Ideas

Free or Inexpensive Museums and Exhibits

Many museums and exhibitions have one day of the week where admission is free or has a suggested $5-10 donation. Make the most of these more affordable days when you’re planning a date, especially if you follow up your visit with a coffee or ice cream.

The Albuquerque Museum is only $6 for entry, while the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is $10 and a great way to learn about the history and culture of the area’s indigenous peoples. For art lovers, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe is open throughout the week for $18 per ticket.

If science and technology are more your thing, The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is only $1, or spend a day at the New Mexico Museum of National History and Science for only $8.

Mini-Golf

Pick up your clubs and head out for a round of putt-putt or mini golf! Most venues charge less than $25 for a game or two, which makes it a fun and affordable night out. Grab a few friends and make it a double date, followed up by ice cream or stargazing in a local park.

Man and woman on a date at a lake sitting on the dock in the sunshine laughing.

Trivia Night at a Restaurant or Brewery

Impress your significant other with your knowledge on a trivia night at a local brewery or restaurant. This is a perfect first or second date idea and helps to keep costs lower than going out for dinner.

Many restaurants and breweries offer specials during their trivia nights, like The Dragon Room Bar, Lizard Trail Brewing, and Desert Dogs Brewery and Cidery Taproom. Set aside some funds to pay for your drinks before you head out on the town. DNCU has some of the best certificate of deposit rates in NM and is a great way to make your date night money work better.

Attend Free and Local Concerts

In a state with such great weather, venues often hold outdoor concerts and performances throughout the summer and fall months that are free or low-cost to attend. The Santa Fe Plaza Concert Series runs throughout the summer and is free to attend, while the Isleta Amphitheater in Albuquerque hosts some of the world’s biggest acts on their outdoor stage.

Cocktails At The Bar

Take your partner out for happy hour drinks at one of Santa Fe or Albuquerque’s best bars. Meow Wolf is an incredible experience for any couple, opened as a permanent art collective installation on Santa Fe’s south side. The Matador is great if you prefer to be out later, with this bar closing at 2am.

The Copper Lounge is frequently topping the list of best cocktail bars in Albuquerque, while The Apothecary Lounge is famous for serving up unique craft cocktails to its patrons.

Go Dancing All Night

If you decided to open a savings account and stash away the pennies with your at-home dance lessons, taking your partner out to dance club to show off your new moves is the perfect date night idea. Stop in at Albuquerque’s The Dirty Bourbon Dance Hall & Saloon for a spot of line dancing or take in an open-air performance to dance among the revelers at the Santa Fe Bandstand.

Start Saving For Your Date Nights Today

Treating your significant other to a great date requires advanced planning. At Del Norte Credit Union, we’ll help you make the most of your money and save for your next date night. We have some of the best CD savings rates in New Mexico, so now is the time to think about opening a new savings account and setting aside some extra cash. Contact our team today to get started.