Cheap Date Ideas

Here's a problem for you: too many hotties blowing up your phone. You've got enough love to go around but not enough cash. We've come up with some ways to cut back on spending without missing out on any of the romance. Between the good meals and creative fun, that special someone won't even notice how little you spent. And, if she does, we hope she'll be impressed.

Updated: February 11, 2010


Polovina Italian Cafe (formerly Raia's)

4500 Washington Ave Ste 200, Houston, TX 77007

Ever since Lady and the Tramp shared a kiss over a strand of spaghetti, Italian restaurants have become romantic date spot number one. This Italian joint off of Washington has the lace curtains, warm lighting and red plaid tablecloths perfect for hand holding, and the affordable pasta is our favorite in the entire city. Thanks to the BYOB policy, you and your cutie can share a bottle of wine, too.

Empire Cafe

1732 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098

If the lady in your life has a sweet tooth, then dessert is a must. Discuss your hopes and dreams over a huge slice of cake and lattes at half-priced cake night on Mondays, when an order of chocolate peanut butter or carrot cake hovers around $3. Enjoy the breeze and people-watching on the patio or choose an intimate table in the dimly lit interior.

Santong Snack

9938 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

You may be aware that meals in Chinatown are often cheap, but perhaps you weren't aware of the excellent date potential there. First, snag some of Houston's best dumplings or pork and mustard green noodle soup at this tiny restaurant (some pointing and gesturing at the menu may be necessary). Then, head over to one of the nearby grocery stores or shave ice shops and try to discover something new. It'll be an adventure.

The Tasting Room River Oaks

2409 W. Alabama, Houston, TX 77098

As Christian from "Clueless" once pointed out, wine "makes people feel, like, sexy." On Sunday and Monday nights, purchase a bottle of wine to enjoy in the bar and get any pizza on the menu for free. The special is available at the River Oaks location only.


Hermann Park

6001 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030

For some afternoon fun, Hermann Park is a great place to take a date. Between the paddle boats, ice-cream trucks, walking paths, hungry ducks and shaded park benches, you're looking at a photo album's worth of Kodak moments. Check the events calendar at the Miller Outdoor Theatre and catch a free play.

Domy Books

1709 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098

Movies are a popular date option for a reason--they give you something to talk about. Since multiplex tickets are definitely not cheap, we recommend the free movie screenings at Domy. Every Monday through Friday at 8:30pm, a different movie--usually of the cult-classic or art-house persuasion--plays on the patio that the bookstore shares with Brasil.

Alley Theatre

615 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002

Just because you are short on dollars doesn't mean you and your date have to forgo culture. Tickets to all Sunday and Tuesday evening Hubbard Stage performances can be as low as $21, thanks to the Alley's "Cheap Thrills" program. Tickets to the first Saturday matinee of each Hubbard Stage play are $10 if you bring in the donation requested by the associated charity.