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75 College Date Ideas (That Won’t Break the Bank)

Dating can be fun and exciting, especially in college. These college date ideas are perfect for any budget and any interest level.

College is the best time of lots of people’s life for good reason. For many, it’s the first time they’re living away from home, on their own, getting a taste of what it’s like to be an adult…which includes having new relationships.

Sure, you probably dated in high school. You may even still be with your high school sweetheart (and if you are, good for you!). But whether you are dating for the first time while in college or you’ve already gone on dates, dating in college is different.

You’re older, you may now be legal, you may be away from your parents or from the town where everyone knows who you are — there are different dates you can go on now and different things you can do.

Honestly, the world really is your oyster and planning dates while in college is fun because there’s so much you can do, but can also be overwhelming because there’s too much for you to choose from!

You don’t want to plan a high school level date, but you don’t want to plan something boring, either.

Plus, you likely aren’t in a position where you want to be breaking the bank, either.

That’s why having date ideas in your back pocket is a good idea, so bookmark this page, as these college date ideas are sure to bring the fun and (hopefully) get you a second date — which you can also use one of these ideas for!

75 College Date Ideas

Try a new restaurant, off campus.

There’s sure to be loads of places to eat on campus. There’s probably also a ton of go-to spots right off campus.

But look and see if there’s a new restaurant, or a restaurant that’s not totally frequented by your fellow college students for you to try something new.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner, but some place you can have a good time and spend quality time together.

Try a recipe you’ve never made before.

If your dorm has a kitchen, use it! Try a new recipe and cook for your potential boo — or if they love cooking, cook together! It can get real romantic.

This is a great way to enjoy a meal together without spending a lot of money.

Volunteer at an animal shelter.

Most colleges don’t let you keep pets on campus while dorming, so get your pet fix in and date night in while volunteering at an animal shelter. This can be a great first date idea, just make sure your boo is an animal lover, too!

Go stargazing.

Is there a quad on campus? Is there somewhere you can drive to off campus where you can look at the stars? Pack blankets, something to drink, and some snacks and go stargazing on a clear night.

Go to an open mic.

Whether it’s on campus or off campus, there’s bound to be some sort of local comedy show or open mic for you to go and get some laughs in together. If you’re dating, sign up for it and impress your boo!

Attend a sporting event.

Are athletics big at your school? Go to a sports game together! If your teams are nothing to get too excited about, see if there’s a local sporting team in town you can go to a game too — even if it’s a minor league team.

Go for a hike.

Hiking has become so popular recently, and it can make for a fun date. If you don’t have any good hiking areas near your school, take a walk through the local town or downtown area. If your college campus is big enough, stroll around campus! You don’t need to go to a national park to enjoy a walk in nature.

Go to trivia night.

If you’re legal and can go to trivia night at your local bar, go! Or if trivia is offered on campus, go! Getting competitive with each other, or teaming up against others to win, can be super flirty and always so much fun.

Go to a fair or carnival.

Lots of colleges will bring fairs or carnivals or some kind of celebration to campus. When they do, go with your boo! Or keep a look and see if any types of fairs or carnivals are being brought to an area near campus. This is a fun date idea for thrill-seekers and kids-at-heart.

Have a movie night.

No, don’t call it Netflix and chill. Instead pick a theme and have a movie night where you watch those movies from a streaming service.

Themes can be anything from “worst movies ever” to “scary movies” to you both picking your fav movies and watching them together.

If you miss the movie theater vibe, pop popcorn and have candy at the ready!

Watch the sunrise or sunset together.

A classic and simple date idea, but for good reason.

Wake up early or stay up late and drive to scenic area near campus and watch the sunrise or sunset together. Make sure it’s a clear day so you really get the full effect!

Have a game night.

It doesn’t matter if it’s card games or board games — have a game night in your dorm or in a local shared space! This is a good idea too if you want to have a double date or group date.

Go to a free museum.

Tons of local museums have a day of the week (or a day during the month) where they offer free admission and with a college schedule, it can be easy to make work. Or if you have a museum or super cool library on campus, go there! This is a great date idea for curious minds and great conversation.

See a play.

Most colleges have some sort of theater group. Check out what your school’s putting on and go support, together! Or if you have a show coming to the town your college is in, snag tickets to go with your crush. This is a perfect way to enjoy the arts in your town.

Go on a food crawl.

Have you really tried all of the food spots close to campus? You likely haven’t, so create your own food crawl and enjoy it together, sampling from each place!

Find the best sushi, donuts, or ice cream on a really fun date night.

Sing karaoke.

Singing karaoke may not be for everyone, but enjoying others singing karaoke can be a unique date idea! Go to a karaoke night whether on campus or at a local bar or restaurant, even if you don’t plan on singing.

Go bowling or mini golfing.

Two classic date nights, but two super fun ones that’ll have you still feeling like a kid — and get competitive, too! You’ll have a great time moving around and trash-talking, even if you aren’t actually good at either sport.

Go to an arcade.

Another great date to have you still feeling like a kid — see if there’s classic arcade near you (or even if your campus have any games on campus) or if there’s a Dave & Busters close by. There are so many games to be played and they are always a fun activity.

Go ice skating.

Ice skating is mostly available in the winter months but it’s not just a Christmas activity! Go for a skate and warm up with some hot chocolate after.

Go on a bike ride.

This is a cute date idea for any fitness level or any location. Live on the coast? Take a ride along the beach…maybe pack a picnic! Live in the mountains? Go on an adventure.

Go to a thrift store.

Take turns picking an outfit for each other or pick a theme and choose your own outfits. Then grab your favorite takeout or head to dinner!

Go to a botanical garden.

Doesn’t walking through beautiful plants sound like a romantic date? Botanical gardens are awesome and are open year-round. If you don’t have one, take a stroll in your favorite local park.

Go to a farmers market.

Farmers markets are incredibly fun and a great way to spend time together. Sample the food, talk to the vendors, pick out your favorite fruits and veggies or other goodies to take home. This is a great activity for any season!

Play ultimate frisbee.

Go out on the field and play some ultimate frisbee! Take a break in between rounds to sit back and talk. It’s a great way to be active together while also having some fun

Have a picnic in the park.

If you are looking for a classic date idea, it doesn’t get much more classic than a picnic in the park! Bring your favorite snacks and drinks, find a spot to lay out your blanket, and enjoy some quality time together.

50 More College Date Ideas:

1. Cook a meal together

2. Take a walk in nature

3. Go stargazing

4. Have a movie night at home

5. Visit an animal shelter

6. Explore your town/city

7. Spend time playing video games/board games

8. Watch the sun set or rise

9. Listen to a podcast together

10. Have a picnic in a park or garden.

11. Attend free events (concerts, art exhibitions, lectures etc.)

12. Create something together (e.g. build furniture or paint)

13. Take a class at a local community college/community center

14. Have a game night with friends

15. Go for a hike and take pictures of the scenery

16. Visit a local museum or art gallery

17. Attend an outdoor movie screening in summer

18. Take part in tourist activities in your city (e.g. historical tours)

19. Visit a local park and go for a bike ride

20. Have an at-home spa day

21. Go window shopping together

22. Try geocaching around town

23. Take part in organized sports (e.g. beach volleyball, soccer)

24. Visit local markets or flea markets

25. Have a romantic picnic at the beach

26. Take a cultural cooking class

27. Go for a late-night drive and explore the city

28. Do some volunteer work in your community

29. Visit an amusement park and go on rides together

30. Make a photo album of your time together

31. Go to a free outdoor concert or music festival

32. Visit the local library and read books together

33. Take your pet on a walk in the park

34. Play mini golf or putt-putt golf

35. Explore a nearby town you’ve never been to before

36. Go camping in a nearby state park

37. Visit your local zoo or aquarium

38. Take a cooking class online

39. Have a picnic and watch the sunset at the beach

40. Host a potluck dinner with friends

41. Make homemade ice cream and have an ice cream social

42. Go for a walk and collect leaves or stones

43. Take a yoga class together

44. Play tourist in your city

45. Visit an art museum or gallery

46. Have a game night with friends (board games, video games etc.)

47. Try rollerblading/skating together

48. Go wine or beer tasting

49. Watch a free outdoor movie screening at night

50. Take part in outdoor activities like kayaking, biking etc.

Make your date even more special with these extra tips:

Surprise each other with a thoughtful gift or gesture.

Create a special playlist of music to listen to during your date. You can set the mood with candles, dim lighting and comfortable blankets.

Schedule the date for a special occasion like anniversaries or birthdays.

Birthday dates are more meaningful because they show your significant other how much you care about them and the importance of their special day.

Taking the time to plan something special for your partner’s birthday can make it a truly unforgettable experience.

Plan something unique and creative that you both will enjoy.

Even if the relationship doesn’t last, the memories from the date can.

Make sure to give each other enough time for conversation

Add an element of surprise to the date by taking a detour or going somewhere unexpected.

Have fun!

Dates should be a time to relax, enjoy each other’s company and get to know one another better.

At the end of the day, your date should leave you feeling energized and connected with your partner.

In Summary: College Date Ideas

There is no shortage of fun activities to do on college dates. From outdoor activities like hiking or biking, to indoor activities like game nights and cooking classes, there’s something for everyone.

Whether it be spontaneous or planned, going on a date with your significant other can always be an enjoyable experience.

Some of the best college date ideas include going for a picnic, taking a cooking class together, playing tourist in your city, exploring a nearby town you’ve never been to before, visiting local markets or flea markets, attending an outdoor movie screening in the summer and having a romantic picnic at the beach.

No matter which activity you decide to do together, make sure to take the time to appreciate and enjoy each other’s company.

Surprise your partner with thoughtful gifts or gestures, create a special playlist for the night and don’t forget to add an element of surprise!

Have fun and make unforgettable memories on your college dates!

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About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.