10 Cheap and Romantic Date Ideas that Will Light a Spark This Winter
In theory, the winter seems like the perfect time to fall in love.
Combine the romance of the holidays, the coziness of sweaters and fireplaces and your New Year’s Resolution to (finally) find something serious in 2018, and you have all the ingredients to do so.
The only problem is that dating and the early stages of a new relationship don’t exactly come cheap – especially in the dark depths of a Canadian winter. Gone are the easy, breezy and affordable dates involving beaches, picnics, parks and bike rides.
Don’t worry, there are many Toronto date ideas that won’t break the bank.
1. Take a Hike
Hiking is just as soul-soothing in the winter as it is in the summer, as long as you layer up and wear your warmest jacket. A thermos of spiked apple cider helps your staying warm cause as well. You can also be as ambitious you’d like – whether that means a trip to the stunning Scarborough Bluffs or one of the trails in the city core.
2. LOL at an Open Mic
While places like Second City and Yuk Yuks are always reliable when it comes to comic relief from reality, it can make for a pricey evening, especially when you add food and drinks to the tab, The good news is that there are more affordable options to catch a few LOLs, including open mics at 120 Diner, The Cameron House and The Ossington.
3. Roam Free at the AGO
We’re giving you more @RealGDT! At Home with Monsters will be open until 9 pm Tues Jan 2, Thurs Jan 4 & Sat Jan 6! During these additional late nights, only this special exhibition will be open. Get your tickets ahead of time! Also please note we’re open today (Dec. 31) until 4pm and Jan 1 from 10:30 to 4pm. #GDTAGO
The Art Gallery of Ontario is always a great date idea, thanks to all the talking points and the pace the environment forces you to slow down to (therefore making it easier to live in the moment). The best part is that admission to the famed art gallery is free on Wednesday nights from 6pm to 9pm.
4. Escape to a Winter Wonderland at Evergreen Brick Works
Today is day 2 of opening weekend! Join us 10-5 for street curling, @etsyca Holiday Market, delicious bites from our local food vendors and more. Do it all at Evergreen's Winter Village. ❄🎄 #Repost from @pdigidy ・・・ Christmas Market…its december. #evergreenbrickworks #wintervillageto #publicmarket #weekendsinTO #winter #christmasmarkets #holiday
A weekend day spent at the Evergreen Brick Works is just as enjoyable (and affordable) in the winter as it is in the warmer months. If you want to avoid the hoards at the Toronto Christmas Market, you’ll find an equally as Instagrammable winter wonderland at Brick Works during the month of December. Talking points include a campfire, games, Christmas trees for sale, food trucks and both the Evergreen Garden Market and the Etsy Holiday Market.
5. Get Competitive at Snakes and Lattes
In the early stages of dating, dates that are interactive in nature are always the best kind – especially if they’re affordable. Indulge in some friendly competition and quality caffeine (or drinks, but that tab will add up quickly) over board games at Snakes and Lattes.
6. Embrace the Winter Weather
Winter is going to stick around for a while; you may as well embrace it. Whether you choose to lace up your skates and hit one of the city’s outdoor skating rinks or tap into your inner child and borrow a toboggan (vs. buying one – then it’s no longer a cheap date) and hit one of Toronto’s hills, Toronto is filled with options.
7. Spend a Saturday Afternoon at St. Lawrence Market
Just because you hit the iconic St. Lawrence Market doesn’t mean you have to drop hundreds on a massive grocery run. Between sampling, all the goodness housed within its historic walls, browsing the vendors and buying just what you need to make a romantic dinner later, a trip to the market makes a fun and interactive date idea that won’t break the bank.
8. Have a Happy Hour Date
It doesn’t have to be hours after the sun has gone down to enjoy a cocktail date – especially on Fridays or during the holidays. Luckily, Toronto still has a soft spot for the happy hour at establishments of all kinds. Personal favourites include Pravda Vodka Bar (where $6 will get you some of the best martinis in town), Bar Fancy (where you can soak up the booze with $2 fried chicken) and Jump Restaurant.
9. See a Play in the Park
This December, we’re partnering with @commonbootstheatre to bring wonder to Christie Pits Park with The Story by Martha Ross. Experience outdoor winter theatre perfect for the entire family — admission by donation, advance tickets not required. #FamilyFestival . . #toronto #theatre #theaTO #christiepits #outdoortheatre
Taking in the city’s theatre scene doesn’t mean to have to drop dollars on a big, elaborate musical (though those are fun too). And, on that note, theatre in the park isn’t reserved for summer either. Layer up and hit Christie Pits Park to take in some quality theatre, as the award-winning production of The Story is performed December 11-30 as part of Soulpepper Theatre’s annual Family Festival. The best part? It will cost you as much as you wish to donate.
10. Indulge in Winterlicious
Comfort food like our vegetarian arancini. 👌 – Baked arborio rice balls filled with ricotta and spinach finished with grated pecorino, served with marinara sauce. – Our winter @liciousto menu is up for our King location! We start taking reservations for Winterlicuous on January 11th! 😋. . . . . . #ilfornello #liciousto #entertainmentdistrict #italiankitchen #pizzakitchen #pizza #winterlicious
If you overspent during the holiday season, the good news is that you can still enjoy the best of Toronto’s restaurants on a budget during Toronto’s annual Winterlicious event, which takes over restaurants in the city in January/February. For those in the dark, the occasion offers the chance to enjoy Toronto’s culinary scene through three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at more than 200 restaurants.
Do you know any other great cheap date ideas? Lets us know in the comments.
Featured image: Instagram/ @applejustine
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7 Awesome Friend Dates to Take with Your BFF this Winter
These Self-Care Practices Will help You Combat Winter Blues
Erin is a Toronto-based writer, actor and queen of the side hustle. When she’s not writing the day away in a face mask, she’s taking in the city’s vibrant arts scene, doing a red carpet interview or brunching with her leading ladies. Follow me: @erinnicoledavis