Birmingham dates around $20 for couples on a budget

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I’m not crying, you’re crying. Marketing Coordinator Lexie Dillard soaking up a Birmingham sunset with boyfriend Chase Williams. Photo via Lexie Dillard.

I’ve never been the type of person who can sit at home on date night, but those Italian dinners and trips to the movies start to add up QUICK. Birmingham is the perfect city for an inexpensive date that’s just as fun, if not more, than a $100 one.

For the couple who met studying abroad

Just because you want an inexpensive date doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. If you’d love to fly your significant other to Paris, but the closet you can afford to Europe is a single macaron—check out these spots.

Morris Avenue

Enjoy a Monday happy hour sitting on the patio of The Essential. Bottles of wine are half off and you can have a light snack of their fresh sourdough bread—which is what makes up 90% of European meals anyway.

Stroll down Morris Avenue’s cobblestone streets and admire the murals or do a little window shopping. (Heidi Elenora is on that street—hint, hint)

Average cost: Under $30

Art galleries + Birmingham Museum of Art

You can do a quick walk over to the highly-rated Canary Gallery on 2nd Ave. Check out their social media for special gallery showings, which often include wine, music and hors d’oeuvres.

  • Average cost: $0

The artsy duo that’s obsessed with all things local

Birmingham dates
Lexie looks at Chase the same way I look at a gin and tonic during happy hour. Photo via Lexie Dillard.

Third Friday in Forest Park

Third Friday in Forest Park is a true dream for anyone that loves art, live music, wine and supporting local business (so, all of Birmingham.) General features amazing live music and a beautiful spread of charcuterie boards, along with drinks.

Have an adorable rom-com montage of trying on different outfits at Zoe’s Vintage or walk through Shoppe and pick out a house plant or two—for those of us not ready to commit to a pet together.

Average cost: Technically $0, but put that $20 toward supporting local business and buy a succulent from Shoppe, handmade potholders from General or some matching jewelry at Zoe’s.

Mural Scavenger Hunt

The entire city is like an art museum when you count all the fantastic murals scattered throughout. We have a guide to nearly a lot of them, and there’s no doubt you’ll find more as you’re searching the city.

  • Average cost: $0, not including gas

Catch an underground show

Live out your “500 Days of Summer” fantasy-before we realized how depressing the movie is-and browse through Seasick Records during one of their listening parties or live shows.

You can also catch a dreamy underground show put on by Sofar Sounds. Venues include Redemptive Cycles, TJ Tower and other lowkey spots.

  • Average cost: $0-$10

To the early risers that are usually asleep by 9PM

Birmingham dates
Don’t text, don’t call. Photo via Lexie Dillard.

Calling myself out here! I may be 21, but my partying days are pretty much limited to a few drinks after work. Some call it sad, I call it having two friends. That being said, early morning dates are my JAM.

Farmer’s Market + Pepper Place

Start out with an inexpensive breakfast from The Market at Pepper Place on Saturday—it’ll be the most costly part of your day. You can choose from quiche, fresh bread, pastries and more along with coffee.

After scouring the markets pop into a few stores like YellowHammer Creative or Stone Hollow Farmstead.

Alabama Farmer’s market

  • Average cost: $10-$25

Cozy up at a bookstore + coffee shop

My parents’ first date was at a coffee shop in Minneapolis and they’ll be married for 29 years on March 15. Bandit Pâtisserie, Saturn, Urban Standard—I could go on and on about aesthetically pleasing coffee shops in Birmingham that make for the perfect date.

My boyfriend and I usually each get a cup of coffee and split several pastries (I’m horrible at decisions), leaving the bill to fall just around $20.

If you’re on the hunt for that sugar rush, split a break-up cookie from Church Street Coffee and Books. Despite the name of the cookie, it’s so good it could bring even the two most opposing people together. Browse the bookstore or bring your own and settle into the cozy atmosphere with a cup of coffee.

Average cost: 10-$25

Beat the crowds at popular city favorites

Since you’re already up, why don’t you beat the Saturday crowds take a spin through the Birmingham Museum of Art or Birmingham Botanical Gardens—they’re free!

Average cost: $0

A low-key night for the couple who’d rather be binging a Netflix series

cats
I spot a mirror just waiting to have a selfie taken in it. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

When date-night falls on a Friday after a long week of work, sometimes all you’re in the mood to do is start a new show and order takeout. However, if your roommate just invited over his entire fraternity and you’ve already made it through your list, you can still go out without going all out.

Dive bars

The best part about dive bars? There’s always live music, good drink specials, a cheap place to eat nearby and usually no or inexpensive cover. Catch a live band at Birmingham’s legendary Upsidedown Plaza or embarrass your partner by singing off-key karaoke at The Brown Derby.

  • Average cost: $15-$30

Movies for less than a small coffee at AMC Classic Lorna Ridge 10

If you’re anything like me you NEVER see movies when they first come out and you love a good snack with your flick. The AMC Classic on Lorna Road screens DVD released movies for $1.99 via its website—that’s enough to afford a ticket and some Milk Duds.

It’s actually less to see a movie here than renting some movies off Amazon. Plus, you get the chance to see them on the big screen.

  • Average cost: $5, not including snacks

Gatos and Beans Cat Café

There’s nothing more chill yet equally as fun as Alabama’s only cat cafe in Avondale. It’s only $10 to hang out with the kittens for an hour, so grab a cup of coffee or some wine while you’re at it.

  • Average cost: $25-$35

That one couple who likes to work out together

You know, the ones who go to the gym as a “date” and share one protein shake with two straws. I’m totally kidding, we’re all just low-key jealous. When you’re looking to trade in those sweaty gym benches for picnic ones, Birmingham has AMAZING hiking trails.

While some have a small fee to get into the park, there are many that are free as well.

  • Average cost: $0-$10

For the pair who are both new to the city

Explore a new neighborhood

Birmingham is made up of 23 communities that contain 99 neighborhoods. Wow—it’s pretty hard to check out all of them when you work full-time. So for the next date consider exploring one you haven’t seen before.

  • Average cost: $0, not including gas

Birmingham’s most popular museums

Did you know tickets to Birmingham’s state-of-the-art museums are as low as $6? We have an entire guide dedicated to them—check it out!

  • Average cost: $0-$30. For the free museums, consider making a $3 donation.

Volunteer at a local nonprofit

There’s no better way to get to know the city than by volunteering at one of the hundreds of nonprofits that make Birmingham so amazing. Plus we all know the famous saying: a couple who gives back to the community together, stays together (ok, I made that up, but it should definitely be a thing.)

Here are a few suggestions:

When your boyfriend/girlfriend is a self-proclaimed foodie

I pretty much insist on trying a new restaurant every time we go on a date, but unfortunately, my wallet insists on stopping. There are so many awesome ways to eat on the cheap in Birmingham.

Try taste-testing

Did you know taste testings allow you to try the food…or free?

  • Average cost: Technically $0, but it’s a good idea to buy a little something as a thanks for the free tasting.

Get in on those deals, deals, deals

Possibly a deal too good to be real, Zaza’s extended its most famous happy hour to 5-7PM every day. You can get 2 slices of pizza, a salad and a can of beer for only $10. Have you ever tastes Zaza’s pizza? Yeah, this is an incredible deal.

Looking for a lunch date? Head over to Mile End Deli on Thursday to get a hot dog for only $6.99, including golden Flake chips and Grapico. Bonus tip: get your lunch to-go and head across the street to Railroad Park for a hassle-free picnic.

  • Average cost: $20-$35

What’s your idea of an inexpensive Birmingham date? Let us know on social @bhamnow!

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Irene Richardson
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