Dates cost money. Babies cost money. So when the two come together, funds previously spent on romantic weekend getaways get reallocated to diapers and formula. And those hours of couple time? Make that a few quiet moments stolen after little ones are sleep. While Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t trade their precious bundle for all the riches in the world, adult time is necessary, especially for new parents. Three hours of focusing on each other can do wonders when you’ve been constantly listening for the baby monitor. But where does a night out fit into the budget? On a typical weekend at any sit-down chain restaurant, you can easily drop $40 on dinner and drinks for two. Head to the movies where tickets cost $9.50 a piece, tack on $10 for popcorn and soda, add the sitter’s fee, and there goes a Benjamin. While there’s nothing wrong with a classic dinner date, we have a few ideas that will keep love alive without breaking the bank.
Skate Night $45
Mississippi Riverkings Hockey and Ice Skating — Tickets start at $11 for an evening of action on the ice. A hotdog combo for two at the concession stand costs $16. After select home games at Desoto Civic Center (Friday, March 18th and 25th), the Zamboni clears the rink for ticket holders to skate. Skate rentals are $5 per person. Wear long pants and tall socks, and hold onto the edge if it’s been a while. Nothing says love like a pair of sore bums.
Shimmy Shimmy $40
Salsa Night at the Rumba Room — On Friday nights, ladies get in free before 10 p.m., guys pay a $10 cover. Enjoy a Cuban sandwich; entrees average $10 per plate. After the meal settles, salsa lessons begin at 9:30 p.m. Women are led by a female instructor (line dance style) on one side of the floor, men on the other. Then couples come together when the hot salsa music kicks up at 10. It’s a fun night for all ages.
Target Practice $39
Date Night at the Gun Range — Range USA in Bartlett offers a special every Friday and Saturday night. A couple can dine in the 1776 Café, with surprisingly good deli sandwiches and soups, while watching through the gallery window as shooters fire off rounds. The deal comes with dinner, one lane, two targets, and two boxes of ammunition. Guns are available for rent starting at $10. Safety glasses and earplugs are provided.
Picnic Plans $32
Fried Chicken Picnic at the Ornamental Metal Museum — As the weather gets warmer, toss a blanket
in the trunk and grab take-out from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken on Front Street, plenty of sweet tea, and napkins. Picnic on the grounds in the sculpture garden, tour the museum, and watch the sunset on the Mississippi River.
Feel the Beat $25
Coffee and Drum Circle — Those who work odd hours in hubs and hospitals around town can get the rhythm going in the morning. Java Cabana in Cooper-Young offers a hot cup of Joe for less than $2 (first refill is free). Beginner bongo lessons at the Memphis Drum Shop start at 11 a.m. Saturday mornings. $10 per player, $5 bongo rentals.
Art Tour Free
South Main Trolley Tour — On the last Friday of every month, the galleries and shops that line historic South Main Street downtown open their doors for an evening of cultural fun. Most offer free wine and hors d’oeuvres while you browse. Outdoors, you’ll find street artists set up with easels on the sidewalk. Ride the trolley for $1, then taste-test dessert samplings at Flight; these include small portions of dishes like the Elvis, petit French toast with peanut butter fluff and warm bourbon banana sauce. Thank you, thank you very much.