We’re not saying we’d ever say “no” to a steak dinner at Truluck’s for date night, but everyone appreciates a little creativity and a little extra cash in their pockets when it comes to taking your beau out. Impressing your partner or crush without breaking the bank is totally doable in Dallas. Because “let’s meet up at the bars this weekend” does not constitute a date, we’ve done the legwork for you. (Pssst: picking up a bundle of $3.99 flowers at Trader Joe’s never hurts.)
Channel your inner hipster at the Dallas Farmers Market
Do your part as a local duo and scope out the stands of fresh food and goodies at the Dallas Farmers Market. Make your way through the open space lined with locals selling everything from hand-made pasta to personalized perfumes to good ol' fruits and veggies. The samples are free, and the $4 roasted corn is a great investment. Pick up some ingredients for a romantic dinner in, or spend the rest of the day exploring The Market’s additional mini-restaurants and boutiques including Scardello, Bullzerk, Mudhen Meat & Greens and Rex’s Seafood.
Drive back in time to the Coyote Drive-In
Take a short drive to our neighboring city, Fort Worth, for a classic date night straight out of Grease. Drive-in movie theaters seem to be a lost art, but the Coyote Drive-In offers locals a simple place to escape the chaos and admire the stars up above and on the big screen. For eight bucks a ticket, you can watch two full-length movies and spend the extra cash on snacks and drinks from the Coyote Canteen.
LOOK what we have here! A cheap movie date!
If you prefer the silver screen indoors, LOOK Cinemas is one of our favorite theaters around. I know we all strive to avoid cliché movie theater dates, but sometimes there’s nothing better than a good movie, good wine, and (hopefully) good company. Although movies can be a pricey date these days (hey there, $12 popcorn), LOOK should be your go-to spot on Wednesdays when they offer half-price tickets AND half-price bottles of wine after 5pm. This upscale cinema makes a cheap date feel not so cheap.
Opt for a laid-back, outdoorsy date
For those who enjoy long, romantic walks on the... lake? Don your athleisure attire, grab a quick breakfast and coffee from Cultivar and set out on a stroll around White Rock Lake. Here’s the perfect opportunity to share your love of lattes and breakfast tacos and spend some QT on a sunny weekend morning. Also a great opportunity to see if this potential is a morning person.
Enjoy a boozy brunch with your BF/GF
Y’all know we couldn’t curate a Dallas list without a solid brunch option. The Standard Pour has become a mainstay in our brunch rotation in large part due to the too-good-to-be-true boozy brunch deals. Every Saturday and Sunday TSP pours $5 mimosa carafes and $1 mimosas by the glass, and the OJ to bubbles ratio is just about perfect. You and your date can split a carafe or splurge on one each while chowing down on delicious and affordable breakfast plates. The cozy décor, complete with couches indoors and a fireplace on the patio, makes TSP an ideal brunch date spot away from the “Sunday Funday” crowds.
Free brews at Four Corners
Dallas’ craft beer scene is strengthening, and there’s no better way to explore it than with free tours at one of our favorites, Four Corners, in Trinity Groves. The tours are on Saturdays and limited to 50 people, so plan ahead and book online. Tours include free samples of Four Corners’ delicious brews, and when the tour concludes, you can continue your day drinking with more beers at the onsite All Day Alehouse.
Get your tacos and tequila on
Nibble and sip on two of the most important food groups, tacos, and tequila, (um, they’re definitely both food groups in Dallas) at La Ventana in Downtown. The tasty street tacos and burritos are reasonably priced, and the margaritas are not only easy to drink, they’re easy on the wallet. The sugar skull decor and Downtown views don’t hurt, either.
Sip on your favorite wine while sharing one of Dallas’ best pizzas
Dine on arguably the city’s best pizza and wash it down with wine... that you brought yourself at Cane Rosso. The Deep Ellum location is BYOB on Wednesday nights, which can seriously save you a buck or two when dining out. Avoid those insane restaurant mark-ups and impress your date at the same time.
Bring your own wine... to a wine bar
If you’re looking for a more intimate wine night, head to Bodega in Lakewood. The cozy wine bar not only has good deals on wines by the glass and bottle, it’s also BYOB. The $15 corkage fee is definitely cheaper than that $40 bottle. Plus, you can bring in outside food from nearby restaurants, including Olivella’s or Taco Joint.
Appreciate fine art, then appreciate the fine art of food trucks
Get in touch with your finer side by taking your date to explore one of Dallas’ best art museums, the Dallas Museum of Art. Admission is free, making it one of the best free options in the city. After you’ve worked up an appetite wandering around the museum, head across the street to Klyde Warren Park to grab a (cheap) bite from one of the many food trucks, and discuss which part of the museum was your favorite.
Say 'olive you' with wine tastings and meatball subs
Unfortunately, Dallas does not have a Little Italy. Fortunately, we do have Jimmy’s Food Store, which is just as good. Check out Jimmy’s on a Saturday for free wine tastings, and while you’re tasting wines, scope out the menu and decide which 'wich sounds best. Hint: get the meatball sub or the muffuletta, and don’t forget a cannoli (or two) on the way out.
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Kelsie and Lexi Aziz are the sisters behind the blog Pizza and Champagne. Disclaimer: they’re very single, so they do not claim to be dating experts -- just eating and drinking experts. Follow their adventures, whether they’re in the kitchen or another country, on Twitter and Instagram.