10 Best Dates for College Students
by Kat Richter

Couple kissing on a college campus
Love is in the air. You're meeting new people, trying new things and even though it may not feel like it at the time, your college years are actually amongst the easiest of your adult life. Sure you've got papers to write and exams to take but if you're living on campus, you know exactly where your next meal is coming from and there's a good chance Mom and Dad are still helping with your rent.

As such, college is a great time to give your love life a boost. No one needs to know that you weren't the most popular kid in your high school, and with a little creativity you can come up with some great date ideas that will impress your crush without breaking your budget.

  1. Play Tourist

    Chances are you're both new in town so invite your crush to join you for an afternoon of sightseeing. You can plan a day trip to a nearby beach, reservoir, or scenic trail. Some schools even let you rent mountain bikes from the sports and recreation department (oftentimes for free!) so take advantage of what your school has to offer.
  2. A Cheesy Walk

    It sounds simple but going for a walk can be a great way to get to know your date (and to ward off the Freshman Fifteen). Take a walk around campus and snap off pictures of each other at your favorite spots so you can send them to your parents and friends back home. You won't have to spend a penny and you'll still have plenty of fun.
  3. Stargazing

    Pack some hot chocolate, a blanket and an extra sweater, then invite your crush to join you for an evening of stargazing. Do some research beforehand so you know what you're looking at, this way you can dazzle your date with your knowledge of all things astronomical. You won't have to spend a fortune and you'll have the perfect excuse to snuggle as the sun sets.
  4. Cook Dinner Together

    Going out to dinner can be off-limits for the budget-conscious college student but there's nothing saying you can't cook dinner together, especially if you're tired of the dining hall. Head to the grocery store or your local farmer's market to pick up supplies, then make your way back to your dorm and get to work! If it goes well, you've got yourself a new Sunday night activity.
  5. Be a Sport

    Pack some snacks and join your date at the stadium to cheer on your favorite college team. If low-key is more your speed, take in an intramural softball, rugby, lacrosse, or ultimate Frisbee match and bring an old blanket so you can get comfy in your very own cheering section.

  6. College Night

    You're a college student - take advantage of it! Many businesses and religious organizations cater to college students with free or low-cost activities. Invite your crush to a barbeque at your church, synagogue or mosque or head downtown and show your college ID for discounts and freebies. Some chains, including Whole Foods, have specials days for college students so keep an eye out for free samples!
  7. Pet Therapy

    If you're animal lover, it can be hard to say goodbye to the family dog when you head off to college. So ask your date to join you for an afternoon at the local animal shelter. Rescue centers are often in need of volunteers to lend a helping hand, whether it's walking the dogs or simply playing catch - a win/win situation!
  8. Bowling or Mini Golf

    Invite your date for a round of bowling or mini golf. Some bowling allies are BYOB so you can stock up beforehand to save money. While most mini golf courses don't allow alcoholic beverages, you can always fill your Nalgene bottle with a little something special. As long as you're discreet, you should be just fine.
  9. Get Some Culture

    Grab your student ID and hit the museum. Most non-profits, including museums, zoos and performing arts venues, offer discounts to students. Check your local paper for free events, festivals or pay-what-you-can days. And ask around; some colleges even offer free shuttle services to help their students take advantage of what their cities have to offer so don't let your lack of wheels stop you.
  10. Hit the Playground

    We know: you're a grown up now. But that doesn't mean that you're too old to enjoy an afternoon of monkey bars and seesaws. Head to your local playground after hours (you don't want to look creepy now) and challenge your date to see who can climb the highest, slide the farthest and swing the fastest.   You (and your crush) will be feeling better about next week's exam in no time.

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