1. Probably the easiest way to replicate the romance of a nice restaurant but not break the bank is to cook a nice dinner at home. I would recommend an easy Italian dish like this one-pot tomato-basil or something simple like lemon rosemary chicken. With this plan you will both protect your wallet and impress your date with your cooking skills. Light some candles, turn on some music and you have a romantic restaurant in your own home.
2. The Soda Parlor in East Nashville is as cute as it sounds. Since they don’t serve food, you can be sure to save money. Enjoy one of their adorable floats or other specialty drinks while perusing the clothes they sell or – best of all – playing one of their many free arcade games. The Soda Parlor is the perfect combination of fun and cool and gives you and your date a chance to let out your inner children.
3. Bowling is always a fun night out and is an especially good option for a double date. Oak Valley Lanes is about half an hour away and, depending on the day, costs around $5 per person for both the lane and bowling shoes. Even better, you’ll have money leftover for pizza or other bowling snacks. Hopefully at the end of this fun adventure, your date won’t “strike” out.
4. Two adult tickets to the Nashville Zoo cost exactly $30. This is a lovely day plan, especially for a new couple, as it’s not too serious, and there is plenty around to talk about if the conversation runs dry. You and your date can visit kangaroos, tigers, red pandas, Caribbean flamingos, a komodo dragon and many more.
5. A Valentine’s brunch date is a great way to start the day, and Biscuit Love is the perfect place. While they have many great food options for a reasonable price, like the East Nasty or Southern Benny for $10, the main attraction is their Bonuts. Made of fried biscuit dough on top of blueberry compote, these $7 mouthwatering delicacies are perfect to share with your date.
6. What could be a better date idea in “Music City” than going to a show? Many venues hold shows for smaller artists for between $5 and $15 –or even for free. Try Third and Lindsley Exit/In, The Listening Room, Mercy Lounge or any other venue to bond over dancing and great music.
7. While Nashville’s relative lack of hills makes this a slightly more difficult endeavor, watching the sunset together is one of the most romantic free things you can do. Head up to Love Circle with a blanket and some hot chocolate from your favorite coffee shop and snuggle up for a beautiful sunset.
8. Since we are in the South, try a barbecue joint. Since this can be a slightly messier endeavor, it may be best for newer couples to go somewhere with less barbecue sauce. However, for a more seasoned couple, this is a great way to hit the town on a budget. There are so many places in Nashville to choose from like Edley’s, the Peg Leg Porker, Jack’s Bar-B-Que or Hattie B’s and at all of them you will get great Southern food for an even better price.
9. Nashville has lots of hidden outdoor gems perfect for a free romantic date. Whether it’s a hike around Radnor Lake, a walk through Percy Warner Park or an adventure at Narrows of the Harpeth State Park, this is a beautiful and cost-saving date option. Go experience nature together and you can invest your $30 in snacks or a small picnic to really add some romance to your outdoor adventure.
10. If all else fails, go for the classic: pizza. It’s a timeless food and will never let you down, despite being beautifully cheap. Head to Five Points Pizza, Mellow Mushroom, Soulshine Pizza Factory or really any other pizza place for a chill date with consistently good food.
This article was written by Sara Scannell.