by Maren Dougherty - 197 Reviews - 32 List
On TV, "The Bachelor" might take his dates on helicopter rides and weekend jaunts to Hawaii, but the best dates often require little more than warm hugs and a fun afternoon. These are some of our favorite fun and budget-friendly date spots around San Diego.
Updated: January 04, 2010
Once upon a time, dinner and a movie was a cheap date. These days, your wallet can be empty before you even get to the $4.50 Diet Coke. Our alternative? Dive-In movies at The Pearl Hotel. Various classic, independent, and mainstream films are shown on a poolside projection screen every Wednesday at 8pm. Food is served until 10pm.
For an afternoon of wine tasting, you don't need to go up to Napa or even as far as Temecula. Orfile Vineyards in Escondido has free daily tours and $8 tastings that include samples of 6 wines. The outdoor patio is a perfect spot for a post-tasting lunch (and maybe a little more wine!).
This grill-your-own steak place is a favorite first date spot for several reasons. One, it's cheap: an 8-ounce sirloin steak is about $8. Two, it minimizes awkwardness: if there's a lull in the conversation, go over to the grill to check on the food. Three, it's convenient: plenty of street parking and not far from downtown if you choose to continue the date at a Gaslamp bar or club.
On the third Thursday of each month, the galleries and shops along Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach stay open until at least 8pm. You'll also find live music, artist receptions, and other extras. For a sweet stop, go to Wild Note Cafe at the Belly Up Tavern to split some peanut butter cup pie or Jack Daniels pecan pie a la mode.