6 Fun, Budget-Friendly Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas
If you’re on the hunt for some great date night ideas, but you can’t leave the house (whether you’re stuck at home because, well, it’s 2020… or you have small children and can’t get a sitter), look no further! I’ve compiled a list of SIX different themed “date nights” to inspire you to spend some time together.
Even better, these are all budget-friendly dates… you might need to get some supplies, but I promise you all of these dates will cost less than a night on the town.
FUN FACT: all of these “date nights” are 100% PG and it’s up to you to make them as sexy or risqué as your marriage or relationship wants/needs! So that means that you can do these perfectly-platonic get-togethers with your roommates, siblings, girlfriend, boyfriend, mom, cousin… you name it.
#1. THE GREAT INDOORS
Mason and I love camping, but not everybody gets a thrill out of sleeping on the ground or cooking over an open fire. Plus, for many of us, it’s the dead of winter and the idea of waking up to a fresh, fluffy blanket of SNOW on your face just doesn’t seem like the most comfortable thing in the entire world. So bring the outdoors inside (or at least to the back yard) with these simple ideas!
- Toast marshmallows for s’mores (even if you don’t have a fireplace, there are several fun, safe ways to toast marshamllows indoors: in the oven or on the stove). For extra brownie points, get creative with a s’mores charcuterie board! Some of our favorite s’mores hacks: sub Oreos for graham crackers, then add peanut butter or Nutella. MMM.
- Watch the sunset. It may not be a perfect, glowy-mountain sunset while you’re all alone in the woods, but take a “hike” around your neighborhood as the sun goes down to get some nature-y vibes if you can.
- Stargazing: either head out to your back patio or use this site to see what the sky looks like above you in real time (even if it’s cloudy!). Then look up some history/legends on the naming of some of the currently-visible constellations.
- There are several fun National Park games out there for those of you who are board game fans; so far I’ve only played National Park Monopoly (poorly, haha) but these others are on my list!
ON THE MENU
- hot dogs (of course!!) or sausages with gourmet mustard (because when else are you going to get fancy mustard on a “camping” trip??)
- homemade baked beans
- sweet potato fries (we love the frozen ones from Alexia Foods)
- cider or beer from a local brewery (my Spokane-area favorites are One Tree and No-Li)
FOR EXTRA FUN:
- No furniture allowed! You’re camping, remember? So bust out the camp chairs and blankets and sit on the floor (ok, fine, you can have pillows).
- If you have a fireplace, light it up!
- Camp in the backyard – set up a tent and actually sleep in the yard if you really want the experience!
#2. SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH
It is no secret that I LOVE THE OCEAN. The beach. The sand. The sun. EVERYTHING. But it’s not always accessible, seeing as I live in the Inland Northwest (ha). Here are some fun ways to bring at least a hint of that salty goodness right into your living room.
- Mix it up – try your hand at beachside bartending with some summery cocktails. I’m no mixologist, but these look easy and amazing: Tropical Mermaid Cocktail, Bay Breeze Cocktail, Malibu Sunset. OR, if you prefer the non-alcoholic options… this Virgin Pina Colada or Hawaiian Blue Mocktail would hit the spot.
- If it’s warm enough, take some towels out to the yard, pour on the suntan oil, and get some Vitamin D! (who cares what the neighbors think of you lounging in a patio chair in a swimsuit… I do it all the time…)
- As a HUGE fan of word games, I was stoked to find out about Bananagrams; not only is it a word game, but it’s tropical-themed! (But I got too good at it any no nobody will play with me, ha.)
- Yard games aren’t quite as much fun as beach games, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Some of our favorites are corn hole and oversized Jenga — and we want to build ourselves a Yardzee set this summer! A smaller bottle ring-toss would be a good option for indoors if the weather doesn’t cooperate with any outdoor games.
- Watch the sunset – and then try to recreate it from memory with crayons or colored pencils.
ON THE MENU
- a fruity, summery cheese board (like this one) filled with special fruits/meats/cheeese
- hummus and veggies
- potato chips (the saltier, the better!)
- iced tea
- and of course… ice cream cones!
FOR EXTRA FUN:
- Play ocean sounds on a separate device as you stream a playlist of beach music (a good mix, some classic Beach Boys, country beach music, or a chill oceanside playlist) to get the full effect.
- Wear flip-flops; even if it’s cold outside and you’re staying indoors!
- Break out the tropical shirt (or head to the thrift store and find the brightest, most oversized tropical shirts you can get!)
#3. BELLA NOTTE
Italy is very near the top when it comes to places I want/need to go someday (and yes, the title is a Lady and the Tramp reference!). BUT it’s difficult to just jet across the Atlantic for date night, so tuck that passport away, and make your own Italian experience come to life…
- Make pasta together. Even as I type that, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Caveat: IF you’re into pasta-making, make pasta together. Otherwise…
- Make pizza together! It’s not actually that difficult (hint, you can actually cheat and BUY pizza dough, but my fave pizza dough recipe is this sourdough one). Get as creative as you want with the toppings… buy some fancy sausage and cheese to make it even more tasty.
- Whip out the classic red-checkered tablecloth and make sure to light some tall candles for the full romantic-Italian-cafe vibe.
- Watch a movie set in Italy (preferably a classic like Roman Holiday; but if you want more options, check out this great list).
ON THE MENU
- the pizza/pasta creation you just made (yummm)
- ceasar salad
- tiramisu (if you want to get fancy and make it, this recipe looks good: otherwise support your local Italian restaurant/bakery and just order it to-go!)
FOR EXTRA FUN:
- Learn some Italian words/phrases (Duolingo is my go-to for language skills!) and use them throughout your night.
- Stock up on some new gelato flavors (I looooove Talenti gelato when we can’t get fresh stuff!) and do a taste-test or flavor-guessing game.
- Spotify even has an official playlist dedicated to “The Perfect Italian Dinner.” Grab that bluetooth speaker and turn it up.
#4. BED AND BREAKFAST
Mason and I LOVE brunch. Neither of us are especially good morning people, so I’ve designed a great “morning brunch” date night that doesn’t need much morning prep! Plus, not all of us have spouses or girlfriends/boyfriends that work normal schedules, and sometimes a “date morning” is a necessity. Might as well make it special!
- Wake up right with a quick morning walk or a YouTube yoga or pilates video (our fave pilates YouTuber is Jessica Valant… even Mason doesn’t mind doing her workouts once in awhile!). Just try and get in enough movement to wake your body up, but not enough that you get all sweaty.
- Make coffee together or for each other, and try a new method (or one you haven’t used lately). We love our Chemex but also enjoy making coffee with a French press or Bialetti.
- If you want to get REAL fancy with the coffee, try the previously-popular whipped coffee phenomenon, Dalgona coffee (my favorite recipe is here).
- Do devotions. We like to start the day off right by studying the Word together whenever we can and spending time in prayer. Right now we’re enjoying the James study from Daily Grace.
ON THE MENU
- cinnamon rolls (you can prep these the night before and pop them in the oven while you do your pilates! Best sourdough cinnamon rolls recipe here, frosting recipe here)
- bacon (it’s a cinch in the oven)
- scrambled eggs
- OR try this make-ahead quiche, straight from freezer to oven to your tummy.
- rose grapefruit mimosas (if you want to get real fancy and don’t have to go to work afterwards!)
- Take a post-brunch bike ride to enjoy the fresh air and work off some of that sugar.
- After breakfast, sit down separately to write a quick note of encouragement for your partner to read later in the day.
- Try your hand at making homemade donuts.
- Now that you’re a baking expert… watch some of the Great British Baking Show. Even Mason got hooked.
#5. THE FINER THINGS CLUB
Yes, this is a nod to The Office, so maybe watch some Office to kick things off on your Finer Things Club date… oh wait. That’s not the right vibe at ALL.
- “Wine tasting.” Head to your local budget grocery store or Walmart and get a handful of cheap wines to “sample.” Neither Mason nor I are wine aficionados, so this activity would definitely be more along the lines of a good laugh for us… BUT if you’re a wine person, go ahead and splurge on some NICE wine for your date.
- Try your hand at a YouTube art class. You know, like a paint-and-sip, but it’s just the two of you. Gather art supplies from a local craft store first! Most videos have a list of what you will need. Here are some I found as the result of a quick google search…
- After dinner, bust out another YouTube tutorial and teach yourself some ballroom dance steps! These instructors are super easy to follow.
ON THE MENU
- wine from your tasting (duh)
- first course: salad (yes you have to use salad plates)
- second course: rotisserie chicken, scalloped potatoes, steamed veggies
- dessert: mini chocolate lava cakes
- hint: make sure to use a tablecloth, and “don’t forget the flatware”!
FOR EXTRA FUN:
- Make sure to get dressed. Shoes and everything. This is a date, after all.
- Check out an E. M. Forster book from the library and read/discuss sections of it (this is the author they’re “discussing” in the Office, haha! I’ve never actually read any of his literature… but I feel like now that I’ve posted this, I’ll need to get on that….)
#6. MERRY & BRIGHT
I originally started brainstorming this post over the summer, but now it’s CHRISTMAS so how can I *not* include a cheery, Christmassy stay-at-home date?! Here are some fun ideas for one night of holiday cheer… keep your eyes peeled for a later post on ANYTHING fun to do with your significant other during the holiday season!
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights. I KNOW that technically this isn’t a “stay-at-home” activity, but it’s one that requires zero dressing up and “going out” and seeing other humans. If you don’t want to drive, take a walk! We’ve discovered that the best time to see lights is around dinnertime when most people are home from work, but before they’ve turned them off for the night.
- Make hot cocoa from scratch. This is my go-to hot cocoa recipe, but I’ve made this one with honey before when we want to feel a little bit healthier about it.
- Decorate cookies together (cliche but fun).
- Watch the Christmas episodes from your favorite TV show. Personal favorite shows with Christmas episodes: Friends, Downton Abbey, Parks & Rec, and The Office (of course!). Yes, Christmas movies are 100% fun, but so is revisiting the best Christmas moments from your fave shows!
- Make ornaments together (just google “DIY Christmas ornaments” – there are literally THOUSANDS of project options).
ON THE MENU (no, I’m not going to suggest yet another charcuterie board… but it’s not a BAD idea)
- instead of a traditional turkey dinner… turkey sandwiches!
- load the sandwiches up with veggies; green (lettuce, cucumbers, banana peppers) and red (bell peppers, tomatoes)
- serve with crackers and cheese
FOR EXTRA FUN:
- If you’re a good baking team, make some treats for the neighbors and hand-deliver them.
- Wrap some presents together (obviously not the gifts you’re giving to each other!)
- Read the Christmas story or do an Advent bible study.
- Look up a Christmassy coffee recipe (eggnog latte, peppermint mocha), and try your hand at being a barista!
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These are all AMAZING ideas! I cannot wait to try them. I’m thinking I’m gonna print out this list and hang it up in the house – see if the husband takes a hint;)