Save the neighborhood go-to where the bartender knows your order for your friends. This is a date, after all. Take advantage of the cooler temps and head somewhere you can get some quality one-on-one time at a steampunk-themed indoor putt-putt course or while learning to swing dance. These Denver date options are all winners, and so easy on your wallet that you can afford to impress that special someone on your second, third, and maybe even fourth date, too.
This Restaurant Sells 20+ Types of Poutine
Get competitive with a game of putt-putt
Central Business District Putt-putt in the Mile High just got a major makeover thanks to the addition of Urban Putt. Now you can go for that hole in one all year long, no matter the weather, ‘cause this steampunk-themed course is totally indoors. Bonus: they’ve also got a full bar and serve dinner. Just don’t get too competitive with your plus one, chief.
Test your axe-throwing skills
North Denver Wanna feel like a badass on date night? Head to Bad Axe Throwing. I don’t know, but there’s just something about hurling large, sharp objects at a target that really ups the stakes on your bonding time. PLUS you can get some serious insight into that special someone’s ability to defend you in a zombie apocalypse situation.
Put your problem solving skills to the test at an escape room
Five Points Role playing takes on a whole new meaning at Solutions Lounge where you’ll have to work together to get out of some sticky situations. Can your skills as a team help you find the killer on the Budapest Express train, or stop a deadly virus from being unleashed on the world? Only time will tell, and there’s not a lot of it. But one thing’s for sure, afterwards you’ll probably need a drink -- which they happily offer along with a full menu (don’t miss the bacon mac & cheese).
Learn how to properly swing the night away
Five Points Get close with a night of swing dancing at the Mercury Cafe. Beginner classes happen Sunday and Thursday nights and cost $10. Pick from classic dances like the Lindy Hop or Charleston, and find out fast how in sync you really are.
Take a budget-friendly trip to Golden
Golden Not quite ready for that much car time one-on-one? Take a 15-minute jaunt to Golden where plenty of low-cost options await. Start with a tour of the Coors Brewery (which just so happens to include several beers for a small fee of $5 if you’re a Colorado resident). Then hit up Golden’s first food hall, Tributary, for some oysters or a $5 gelato float, among other options. On your way back to Denver, make a pit stop at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum where you can get a glimpse of meteorites, fossils, gemstones, and even Miss Colorado’s crown.
Let your inner nerd out with some 8-bit nostalgia
LoDo, North Capitol Hill, and Greenwood Village This is your chance to put that change jar to good use. The 1up’s three locations are arcades, all grown up with plenty of cheap booze to fuel your date night antics. Grab a couple beverages and make your way through dozens of classic games from pinball and Skee-Ball to Donkey Kong and Asteroids.
Check out some art and see if your tastes match up
Union Station The MCA Denver is smaller than the Denver Art Museum, making it perfect for date night exploration. The art changes regularly, and the rousing exhibits are guaranteed to be conversation starters. Plus, there’s a rooftop bar, and admission is cheap -- only $8 anytime, $5 after 5pm Tuesday-Friday, and a penny on the first Saturday of every month.
Indulge your taste buds with Champagne and caviar
Five Points If you need to show some class on a budget, head to Bar Helix. The menu is filled with nods to all things sex and sexy (think drinks with names like Safe Word and An Interesting Single Man). But there’s also the ideal date night order: the Bump + Bubbles, aka caviar and Champagne, for just $20.
Go behind the scenes at a couple of Denver's most iconic businesses
Chaffee Park, Boulder Winter is the ideal time to get a glimpse inside some of the area’s best-known businesses. In Denver, Hammond’s Candies offers free factory tours all day during business hours and you’ll get a sweet treat to take home. In Boulder, Celestial Seasonings has free daily tea tours that will take you through their manufacturing facility including a stop in the famous, sinus-clearing Mint Room.
See the universe like you've never seen it before
Boulder, University Park Behold the night sky through powerful telescopes at the Chamberlin Observatory or the Sommers-Bausch Observatory, both of which hold regular open houses with astronomers on hand to make you look good when you ask deep questions.
Take them to Grandma's House, obviously
Platt Park If you don’t want to scare your date off, you should probably save the trip to your actual grandma’s house for later in the relationship. Grandma’s House brewery is a totally acceptable option, however. Their schedule is packed with cheap events like foul-mouthed cross-stitching, bingo night, and Crafty Mondays.
Get some cheap laughs
DTC, Central Business District Bond over your love (or hate) of the nightly comedy options at both metro Comedy Works locations. As long as you’re not trying to score tickets for the big name acts, tickets here usually $10-$20.
Take them on a delicious dim sum date
Athmar Park It’s not just a feast, it’s a social experiment. By the time the check comes, you’ll know whether 1) you share similar tastes and 2) you’re comfortable unbuttoning your pants for all the wrong reasons together. Plus dim sum is easy on the wallet. Plan on about $20/person for a serious feast. Test this theory at Star Kitchen.
Test your limits with indoor rock climbing
Multiple locations Most area rock-climbing gyms offer day passes, which is a fine step when you’re ready to work up a sweat together, but not yet ready for an outing that could theoretically require calling in a rescue team. Bonus: Your jokes about the relationship hitting a wall are going to kill.
Skip the brewery and take a whiskey tour
Overland, Baker Denver’s known for beer, but there are plenty of high-quality local distilleries. And two of the best also happen to offer tours to the whiskey-loving public. Head to Law’s Whiskey House and schedule a tour for $10 a person (and then get that $10 back in the form of whiskey in the tasting room). Law’s also offers flight nights on Thursday with three pours for just $10. Tours of Stranahan’s Whiskey are also available for $10 (reimbursed with a $10 credit toward purchasing a bottle after the tour).
Catch a midnight screening at Esquire Theatre
Country Club A movie is a classic, no-brainer. Give it a new twist with tickets to a late night show at the Esquire. Its art deco style will make you look classy, and the Friday and Saturday midnight offerings include cult classics and quirky, offbeat selections like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Neverending Story. All for just $9.50 a ticket.
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Molly Martin is a freelance writer in Denver, Colorado who would never turn down a date that involves whiskey. Follow her Mile High adventures @mollydbu on Twitter and Instagram.