Berkeley date ideas that won’t break the bank

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Living on a college student budget can be tough — so going on expensive dates can be close to impossible. Thankfully being romantic doesn’t equate to being wealthy. Don’t believe us? Here’s a list of some great places to take your Berkeley date that will not only keep your money in your wallet but will show you a great time, too.

1. UC Botanical Garden

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The garden offers a beautiful and romantic date setting that is absolutely free. Have a romantic picnic, go on a tour to learn about the diverse plant life or just enjoy each other’s company in the beautiful scenery. The Botanical Garden was established in 1890 and contains more than 10,000 different species of plant life. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day except on the first Tuesday of every month and major holidays.  Admission is free for UC Berkeley students as long as they provide their campus ID. There is parking available in the lot across the gardens and a shuttle running from the main campus to the gardens. This is a link to the website.

2. Hiking

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Hopi Hernandez/Staff

If you enjoy the outdoors, this might be the option for you! Even though Berkeley is a major city, it still offers great hiking trails and escapes to nature. Being outdoors in the sun while looking at beautiful views of the city might be the perfect date for you, and as a plus, it is completely free!

  • Hiking trails/locations:
    • Berkeley Fire Trails
    • Inspiration Point
    • Tilden Regional Park
    • More here…

3. Coffee shops

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Who doesn’t love a cute coffee shop date? Coffee shops offer a great opportunity to get to know one another while enjoying a great atmosphere and a warm cup of coffee.

  • Here are some of our favorites:
  • Tips for keeping cost down:
    1. It is customary to buy something before sitting down, but restricting yourself to buy only one item shouldn’t put too much strain on your wallet. One cup of coffee on average can cost between $1.50 to $5 at most.
    2. Eating before you go to a coffee shop can keep you from buying all of their delicious pastries and help keep your expenditures low.

4. Movies

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Most people would agree that going to the movie theaters is a great place to have a date. Tickets on average cost around $8 to $10 each.

  • Some movie theaters in Berkeley:
    • Shattuck Cinema
    • Rialto Cinemas Elmwood
    • United Artists Berkeley 7
    • Pacific Film Archive Theater
  • Unfortunately, going to the movie theaters too often can put a strain on your wallet. Ways to save:
    1. Try eating before going to the movies. Movie theaters make most of their profits from the concession stands, and it could be where most of your money is going.
    2. Instead of going to the movie theaters, rent movies to watch at home instead. Cuddling on the couch or bed can also be more intimate and romantic then going to the theaters.
    3. RedBox is available for people to rent movies for about $1.20 per day. This is much cheaper than a movie ticket and offers a wider variety of movies.
    4. A monthly membership plan for Netflix starts at about $7.99 per month, but it allows unlimited access to all of Netflix’s movies and TV shows.

5. Restaurants

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Restaurants are a great place to have a date. There can be great atmosphere, food and even live music depending on where you go. Sadly, going out to eat can be a big burden on your budget.

  • Some of our favorite restaurants:
  • Some good ways on how to save money at a restaurant include:
    1. Try only ordering water — the $7.00 drink and refills can add up on your bill. As a plus, water is good for you!
    2. Consider splitting a meal with your partner. This tip works best at restaurants that give out big portions.
    3. You can take home the leftovers and eat them for tomorrow’s meal in order to maximize your money.
    4. Try having a homemade meal. Lighting some candles and eating a delicious homemade meal can set the perfect mood for you and your date as well as help you save your money.

Image Sources: Guian Bolisayjosh s jacksonMFer Photography, Robyn Lee,  when i was a bird,  Cheryl, under Creative Commons

Contact Hopi Hernandez at [email protected].