If your love life is suffering thanks to a tight budget, take note: That doesn’t mean you have to lounge around the house watching Netflix all weekend. Trust us, that queue of yours can wait for a rainy day. We’re here to help bring a little spontaneity and excitement back to your dating scene. Take advantage of one (or all) of these fantastic cheap date nights in Louisville and soon your love life will be as hot as Louisville in July!
Yes, we’ve brought you this list before but we thought we’d kick it up a notch, offering even MORE great ways to enjoy a night out with your significant other in cost-effective ways that won’t break the bank. Check out these inexpensive — and even free — Louisville date night ideas.
Walk the Big Four Bridge.
This date night suggestion comes highly recommended because of its versatility. You and your sweetie can get in a workout together by lacing up your running shoes or hopping on a bike to cross the Ohio River to Indiana and back on the Big Four Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge. If you haven’t experienced the walking bridge at dusk when the lights turn on, you should — talk about setting the mood! (Read our article on walking the bridge to Jeffersonville here.) If you have the disposable income, upgrade from free status by making reservations at a restaurant along the river — Doc’s Cantina is a good selection — or cap off the night with some sweet treats at Schimpff’s Confectionery, located a block from the bridge on the Indiana side.
Take a DIY neighborhood tour.
Louisville is chock-full of history and intrigue, so much so that you are definitely missing out on a lot of things if you don’t live in certain neighborhoods. Take the time to sit down, pick a neighborhood and plan out an entire day exploring all it has to offer. Try Beechmont (shown below), a walking tour of Old Louisville, or Mount Washington.
Attend a Catholic summer picnic.
Summer picnics are the perfect idea for a date night. Ladies, wouldn’t you love to watch your man win a stuffed animal for you. Or better yet, a cake? These picnics are free to attend but make sure you bring a pocketful of change with you to play the booths. In addition to the booth games, you can grab a bite to eat, listen to the musical entertainment and bid on silent auction items. Did we forget to mention the copious amounts of cheap beer available to make the Catholic summer picnics that much more enjoyable? For the schedule and locations visit archlou.org.
Take a day trip.
It’s no secret we all love Louisville. After all, it is “where the living is easy and the leaving is not.” But, sometimes, it’s nice to escape for a day. We told you about 3 Great Day Trips from Louisville in May, which included Shaker Village, Kentucky’s Cave Country and French Lick, Indiana. But don’t forget about Bardstown, Paducah and New Albany, Indiana.
Check out 91.9 WFPK’s Waterfront Wednesday.
Better yet, plan your adventure across the Big Four Bridge on the last Wednesday of the month during the summer months and take in the sounds of Waterfront Wednesday, WFPK’s free concert series on the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park. Be sure to bring a lawn chair or blanket to settle in with your significant other and watch the sunset along the Ohio River. See the schedule of performances here, and heads up: The next one is July 27, and Brett Dennan will be performing for FREE.
Take in the Speed Art Museum.
Even if you don’t know a Dali from a Degas, you’ll enjoy looking at art in all forms at The Speed Art Museum. You’ll find fresh meaning and inspiration through modern architecture, expanded programming, interactive exhibits and inviting spaces. Visiting the Speed on a Sunday is even better because it’s free admission.
Spend the day outdoors.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Louisville is a beautiful city. Sure, the neighborhoods and downtown cityscape are fantastic but there also are fantastic greenways and numerous parks sprinkled throughout the city — all easy to access and with trails of varying difficulty. Make it a point to check out some of the area’s best local day hikes, too or, on a hot day, check out a nearby waterfall. For an added adventure, check out Cumberland Falls, located in Daniel Boone National Forest. It’s known for its moonbow, a rainbow that you can only see at night, only during a full moon and only under a clear sky. This phenomenon is not found anywhere else in the entire Western Hemisphere. This website lists the dates and specific times to see this rare occurrence — if Mother Nature cooperates.
$10 or Less
Bet on the ponies at Churchill Downs.
This list wouldn’t be complete without including Churchill Downs. I mean, we live in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, for crying out loud. Honestly, what’s not to love about Churchill Downs? (No comments from the peanut gallery, please.) You’ve got horse racing, booze, betting and a good-time atmosphere. Downs After Dark, the track’s night racing series, is popular with locals and something you must check off your list, if you haven’t already. Admission on these nights is $10. Not feeling the night racing? No problem. Take off a little early on a Thursday (Shhh! We won’t tell your boss.) and meet your date for some drinks and bets during the track’s Twilight Thursday evening races. Admission is $3 and beers are $1. These programs are only available during the Spring and September meets.
Check out the University of Louisville Observatory.
There’s nothing more romantic than star gazing with someone special. In case the weather isn’t on your side for this one, head to the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium on the University of Louisville‘s campus and view one of their shows on the screens surrounding the entire circumference of the building. Tickets start at $8 per person.
Attend a Louisville Bats game.
If you haven’t make it to see Louisville Slugger Field for a Louisville Bats game, consider date night the perfect opportunity — especially during the summer months when they shoot fireworks after select games. Tickets start at $10 for lawn seating. Pack a blanket and enjoy America’s favorite pastime with your date. Peanuts, Cracker Jacks and cold beer not included but strongly recommended.
$20 or Less
Catch a Louisville City FC game.
The Louisville City FC soccer team finished their inaugural 2015 season strong and they are back in full force this year, taking the United Soccer League by storm. The team is currently sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference and on a red hot winning streak. Tickets start at $15. If you haven’t seen the team play, you should. The hype is real!
Take a Bernheim Forest Moon Tour.
Every month Bernheim Forest hosts a full moon night hike. With a nature guide to lead you, walk the open trails and roads without flashlights and experience stories about night ecology, moon lore, history and nature. Registration and payment is due by 4 p.m. the day prior to the start of the program. Cost is $10 for members; $12 for non-members.
$30 or Less
Play an escape game.
Test your leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills (and compatibility) as you solve a puzzle to get yourself out of the room in which you’ve been locked. There are several different options of puzzles from which to choose but all offer a great challenge and the opportunity for you and your date to work together — a great test for any relationship. Whether you choose Breakout Louisville ($24 per person) or Locked In: The Louisville Escape Game ($27 per person), you will need to book your room in advance.
Climb aboard the Thirsty Pedaler.
We don’t condone drinking and biking, except in this instance. The Thirsty Pedaler offers two-hour tours of Downtown Louisville — jamming to your favorite tunes and stopping at two or three of your favorite bars. If that doesn’t sound like a good time, we don’t know what does. Individual tickets range from $20 to $30 a seat.
Disclaimer: You will be sore the next day. Your head and your body — both sore.
$50 or Less
Ride the Louisville Horse Tram through downtown.
Take your date downtown for dinner and follow it up with a horse tram ride through the streets of Louisville. The cost varies depending on the number of people and the length of the ride. A 30-minute downtown ride starts at $50 for two to three people. Reservations are recommended but not mandatory.
Affordable but Varying Prices
Take a brewery tour.
Louisville is known for its bourbon but why don’t you take a break from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Urban Bourbon Trail and get to know the other industry that’s booming in town: craft beer. Local breweries offer many events and tours that educate their guests on the history of the brewery and the different styles of beer they brew. Against the Grain, Goodwood, Great Flood Brewing Company and Falls City Brewing Company are just a few breweries in town worth checking out. These are also great options for Happy Hour specials after work.
Visit Hubers Orchard, Winery and Vineyards.
Most people think to pay a visit to Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards in the fall but the farm is open year-round and is just as magical in the warmer months. During the summer, take a trip up to Starlight, Indiana, to pay a visit to the distillery and winery. Sample the wine of the month, sit down to a warm, family style meal, finish off the meal with something sweet from the bakery, and pick the freshest fruits and vegetables from the Farm Market. Here is the harvest schedule — but we recommend calling ahead to confirm picking conditions, as all dates are approximate. Trust us, it’s worth the drive.
Attend a University of Louisville sporting event.
No matter what time of the year, it’s always a good idea to take in a University of Louisville athletic event. Whether your screaming your head off in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium cheering the Cardinal football team to victory, blaming the referees inside the KFC Yum! Center at a Louisville basketball game or distracting the batter inside Jim Patterson Stadium at a Louisville baseball game, you and your date are sure to have a good time. Depending on which sport you two choose to cheer on, ticket prices vary.
Try some of these options next time you have date night and be sure to tell us how it goes! And if you have more affordable date night ideas, definitely let us know.
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