10 Budget-Friendly Dates in NOLA



It’s easy to overspend on extravagant dates, but there are plenty of cheap or free options that won’t break your budget. Plus, that special someone is sure to stick around after you go the extra (affordable) mile. Check out our ideas below!

1. Search for NOLA’s best beignet

Beignets are a dime a dozen in New Orleans (well, not really, but they’re pretty cheap), and most of them claim to be the best in the city. But which is the actual winner? Take your date on an adventure to find the best beignet by sharing a few from NOLA’s best. We recommend sampling from favorites like Cafe Beignet, The Vintage and Cafe Du Monde.

2. Explore the Couturie Forest

Surprise your date with an ‘escape’ from the city. The Couturie Forest is a nature haven hidden in the heart of our bustling city, and the beautiful scenery is sure to strike up some romance. You and your date can wander down trails, picnic and spy for turtles from atop the picturesque bridge near the entrance on Harrison Avenue. 

3. Movie night along the Mississippi River

There are a lot of free date options around NOLA if you’re willing to get creative. A walk along the Mississippi River, for example, can transform into a romantic date night if you pack a picnic and a blanket, turn on your hotspot and do dinner and a movie by the water. If you really want to impress your date, bring some battery-powered string lights to set the mood.

4. Visit a used book store

Imagine wandering through tight shelves of used books with that special someone, picking out stories for each other and having sweet conversations about your favorite reads. This is a great date for bookish and frugal couples looking to spark some meaningful conversation! We recommend checking out Dauphine Street Books for a chill outing or Beckham’s BookShop for a pet-friendly option.

5. Go to a happy hour

Keep a night out on the town cheap by choosing your bar wisely. Always opt for a happy hour special or a budget-friendly pub like Le Bon Temps Roule (HH is Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Trivia Night is every Tuesday) or Cafe Lafitte in Exile (HH is Monday-Friday 5 a.m.-9p.m. and Sundays feature $12 bottomless mimosas).

6. Check out an art museum

Strolling through an art museum is an easy way to strike up conversation, and lucky for us, NOLA is home to many free options. The New Orleans Museum of Art, for example, is free to Louisiana residents every Wednesday, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is free to Louisiana residents every Thursday.

7. Buy a plant together 

If you’ve ever seen How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, then you’ll know that buying a plant together is the next big step. Visit a nearby grocery store, search for the perfect plant, and let things get serious. 

8. Build a fort

Surprise your date by building a fort together and enjoying each other’s company with dinner or a movie inside your newly-created hideaway. This night in only requires a few blankets and is about as costless as dates get! 

9. Have a game night

If you and your special someone enjoy video games, try out something new together. There are plenty of free online games, or you can break out a classic board game like Life or a dice game like Yahtzee.

10. Explore the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

We already mentioned the New Orleans Museum of Art, but tickets are only free on Wednesdays. If you can’t make it out in the middle of the week, the Sculpture Garden is located near the Museum of Art and is open and free to everyone. 

You can get romantic any day of the week with one of these free or cheap date ideas. We’re rooting for you at Fray, so tag us at #NOLAFray #FrayLife to share the love! 

Keeping it friendly? Check out our guide to impressing your pals with a tour through NOLA. 

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