If you're able to pull yourself from your air-conditioned apartment and weather the, well, weather, summer is the perfect time for fun dates that won't cost you a thing. Seriously; not one penny. Although things like going to the beach or having a picnic are fun and free, except for the expensive cheese you bought for the picnic, if you do a little research, you'll find that there's a plethora of other things, more creative things, that you can do on your date and still be able to go home with that $20 you had in your wallet before you went out.
Free dates are the best dates. Whether you're broke, rent is due next week, or you're trying to save up for retirement, there's no shame in wanting to have fun and wanting to do so without spending a dime. This isn't about being cheap; it's about being fiscally responsible, or as my mother calls, "adulting."
And if you happen to live in New York City or are visiting summer, you're in luck. Although all of these free dates take place in New York City, it doesn't mean other cities doesn't have its fair share free dates too. From free dance lessons, to free movies, to free concerts, summer and freebies go hand in hand.
If you're the type of person who thinks a great date should involve being outdoors and getting sweaty, then Sweat Sessions on the West Side is exactly where you need to go. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., you and your partner can take a free boutique fitness class — or three free classes — in Hudson River Park’s 14th Street Park just before sunset. Whether you're into yoga, bootcamp, or dance classes, you'll probably find that one of the three 45-minute classes on the lineup each Tuesday is up your alley. Just make sure you RSVP before you go.
When: Every Tuesday until September 4; 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: Hudson River Park's 14th Street Park
2Shakespeare In The Park
Whether you're a wannabe thespian or just have a love for Shakespeare — especially when it's free — Shakespeare in the Park will forever be a perfect summer date. And, now that we've reached mid-summer, the play set in New York's Central Park is Twelfth Night.
When: Almost every night (except Mondays) at 8 p.m.
Where: Delacorte Theater on the southwest corner of the Great Lawn
If you're more of a music person and think that's what a great date requires, then Celebrate Brooklyn is the where you need to go. Although some of the concerts do cost a pretty penny (I'm looking at you, The Decemberists), the majority are free and every weekend until the end of the summer.
When: Various nights and times
Where: Prospect Park Bandshell
4Brooklyn Bridge Pop-Up Pool
Perhaps not as trendy as those Brooklyn dumpster pools from a few years ago, the Brooklyn Bridge Pop-Up Pool does just the trick on hot, sweltering days in the city. While it's free — which is great! — you only get 45 minutes in the pool which, honestly, is fine. There's only so many screaming kids and, "Mom, watch me!" over and over again that one person can stand in a short amount of time. It's first-come, first-serve.
When: Daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park
5Stargazing At The Highline
No matter how many times you've been to the Highline, there's always a reason to go again. From free concerts to family-friendly events, there's a never a shortage of things to see and do. But if you're looking to do something that's both free and romantic, then Stargazing at the Highline is what you need.
When: Every Tuesday, dusk to 30 minutes before the park closes (11 p.m. in the summer)
Where: High Line at Little West 12th St.
Even if you claim to have two left feet, a dance class can still be a really fun date. All summer long, at various parks across the city, there are so many free dance classes from which to choose. From Tango, to West African, to Salsa, to everything in between, you can finally get rid of those two left feet and make one hell of an impression at all those weddings you're bound to be invited to this fall.
When: Various times
Where: Various locations
7Movie Nights In Bryant Park
It doesn't get more quintessential New York than Movie Nights in Bryant Park. Totally free, all you need to bring is some snacks, a blanket, and perhaps a bottle of wine that you've conspicuously hidden at the bottom of your bag (yes, they check all bags), and you're ready to enjoy the movie. Although there's only five weeks left of movies at the park, the list is fantastic including When Harry Met Sally and The Princess Bride.
When: Every Monday night. Lawn opens at 4 p.m. and the film starts at sunset — in between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. this time of year.
Where: Bryant Park
A kayaking date?! Yes, please! Just because you live in the city, doesn't mean you shouldn't occasionally get to pretend that you're in the wilderness somewhere, although the beautiful Manhattan skyline won't let you forget too long, so kayaking is a fantastic way to fill that need. Organized by the Manhattan Community Boathouse, this fun date idea is first-come, first serve.
When: Saturday to Sunday, 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.; Monday to Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m.
Where: Hudson River Park’s Pier 96
9Food And Wine Tasting
Because it doesn't really count as a date if you're not having something to eat, if you hop over to Eventbrite, you'll see a whole slew of free food and wine tasting events (Rosé All Day Tasting Event on July 19, anyone?). And the best part is that while the tasting is free, if you do feel so inclined to spend money, you'll get discounts on the goodies you just tasted, in case you need to bring some home for later.
When: Various times
Where: Various locations
New York may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but you really can go on a date, not spend a thing, and still have so much fun.