Author | Photo Becca Lemire

Great Budget Date Ideas in Toronto

Dating is exxxxpensive. There are only so many movie date nights at home two people can have together before the urge to step out on the town as a couple takes over. Whether you’re looking to woo a new beau or need to inject some fun into a comfortable long-term union, these are eight awesome, affordable options for a romantic time on a budget.

Allan Gardens Conservatory (19 Horticultural Ave.)

Walk hand in hand among the outdoor Botanical gardens, or remind yourselves of happier weather within the walls of the greenhouses in the winter. There are six different greenhouses, home to various climates and plant species, and several places for lovers to sit and snuggle up to one another in between the shrubbery. Go to learn something new about plant life, or to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for some quiet privacy.

Outdoor Movie Screenings

Pack a blanket, some snacks and a sneaky box of wine and head out to one of Toronto’s various outdoor movie screenings during the summer months. You’ve still got a few weeks left!

Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester St.)

Forget the two of you are even in the city as you wander along the scenic pathways of this woodland oasis. Whether you pack a picnic on a warm day, or stroll, leisurely, hand-in-hand on a crisp autumn afternoon, you’ll fall in love with the feeling of being lost in nature (without the feeling of actually, you know, being lost in nature). Stop in at the farm to visit the animals, they’re adorable!

Toronto Public Library’s Museum & Arts Pass

“Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card!” Beloved childhood cartoon hero Arthur was right. With your Toronto Public Library card, you can sign out a pass for you and your special someone to visit a selection of Toronto Museums/Arts/Cultural venues for FREE. Check out the list of participating places here!

Live Music at The Cameron House (408 Queen Street West)

Put on your dancing shoes and head out to the Cameron House any night of the week to see some of Toronto’s killer local talent rip it up in the mainspace of the bar. Ideal for an impromptu date on a budget, oftentimes offering 6pm, 8pm and 10pm shows with minimal to no cover (although it’d be mighty nice of you to put some money into the bucket bands will pass around in between sets—they’re working pretty hard to entertain you). A list of their nightly shows in the front and back stages can be found here.

Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market

On the last Sunday of each month, Kensington Market vendors take to the sidewalks as the road is closed to all vehicular traffic. This is a perfect weekend date, as you can grab drinks on a patio, get lost in Blue Banana, buy your groceries at extremely affordable prices, or indulge in some delicious treats!

Go see some comedy!

How many of us are easily dissuaded from seeing plays and musicals by the inaccessible prices of commercial theatre? Raise your hands and say “holla!” (I’ve gotten carried away). A really fun and positive way to spend an evening out is to support local comedians. Toronto has so many of them, and their shows are all very affordable! Check out the listings for Comedy Bar  and Bad Dog Theatre to see sketch comedy, improv, stand up, and more!

Toronto Poetry Slam (Drake Hotel Underground, 1150 Queen Street West)

This is a new-found love of mine. If you don’t know what spoken word poetry is, it’s time to find out. The Toronto Poetry slam hosts a bunch of events throughout the year that are not only extremely within your budget ($5 cover, per person at most events), but are inspiring artistic feats that are sure to entertain and spark worthwhile discussions about this passionate poetry. It’s so fun! Check out the schedule of upcoming slams here.

Not everything in Toronto has to bleed your wallet dry. Take advantage of these affordable date spots, save on cash, and expose yourselves…to fun you never knew you could have.

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