The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Affordable dates

By Mark Bauer and Chris Webb/editor-in-chief and nw news editor

Short on ideas and money this Valentine’s? Not to worry. A little bit of thoughtfulness and romance have the potential to top any expensive gift.

While roses and candy are a standard must, try your hand at any of these five affordable dates around the Metroplex—and don’t be afraid to customize them to fit your own individual needs.

The home-cooked meal
On the surface, this date idea might seem like the epitome of cheap dates. But, aside from the picnic, this one might actually have the highest “aww” factor of them all. Keep in mind there are a couple of variables that make this one a bit difficult to pull off. Those variables include, but are not limited to, being able to cook. Not only do you have to have a decent recipe that you are familiar with throwing together, but also you must have a pretty kosher place to bring your date as living with the parents will definitely make this Valentine’s date a bust. If you aren’t the greatest chef and can’t lay down the skills in the kitchen, opt for something simple, yet romantic. Spaghetti will run you only a few bucks and is easy to prepare. Finally, top it off with some nice French bread and a decent bottle of wine. If you are underage or prefer not to drink, substitute the wine with ice tea. If done correctly, a home-cooked meal can guarantee your place among the most memorable Valentine’s your date has experienced.

Café, creamery and coffee—the triple “C”
What’s romantic about a $6 deli sandwich? Absolutely nothing. But it’s the setting that will work to score you the most points in the long run. At COWamongus off Highway 121 in Grapevine, the quaint intimate setting will leave your date thinking, “how thoughtful.” After you order your sandwich and coffee, make your way into one of the booths and, if you so choose, shut the curtain. There will be a television hanging on the wall—but if it isn’t already turned off, pull the plug on it. A surefire way to douse the flames of any fling is if your date finds you are investing more attention in the latest Maverick’s stats than the story of Fido—the cutest dog in the universe. If you or your date is a person of few words, avoid this date choice during the first phase of your relationship. Since you are inside a booth, no outside, environmental ice breakers will save you from a lull in conversation. You can only mention the wobble of the table so many times before your date realizes you don’t have much to say. But if the chemistry is high, the conversation will be close behind. For directions, go to www.cowamongus.com.

Picnic at Botanical Gardens
Picnics are a classic. No matter how cheesy guys think they are, women love them like a homemade card or jewelry. But if there is one dating staple more popular than picnics, it’s flowers. Combine these two, and you can’t lose. So this Valentine’s Day, why not take your date on a picnic at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens? You’ll have a number of gardens to choose from, but the Rose Garden or the Japanese Garden will probably provide the best atmosphere. The grounds are usually pretty peaceful, and if you pack a good enough picnic, your date won’t even notice that it only cost $3 to get in. But, bring your own flowers, saving a few bucks by getting creative is one thing, but come on, if your date catches you pulling her bouquet out of the ground, it’s going to be ugly. Plus, it could cost you a fine or a trip to jail. Located near the Intersection of I-30 and University drive, this one is tough to miss.

Champagne and wine tasting
If you’re not a roses and PB&J, lover then maybe chocolates and champagne will peak your interest. Wow your date with your sophistication by taking her to a champagne tasting. Do your homework, and you can set yourself up to impress. Besides that, conversation topics are practically handed to you on a cheat sheet. The atmosphere couldn’t be better wherever you choose. Champagne tastings are among the coziest dating hot spots around, and they aren’t too pricey either. On average, a tasting (usually five glasses) is about $15 and the waiters are some of the most educated around (good luck getting them to shut up about where the drink in your hand came from). This isn’t the cheapest choice on the list, but it’s still pretty serious bang for your buck. Just don’t forget to tip well! Two great locations in the area include Brut and Grand Tastings. Grand Tastings is located off McKinney Avenue and serves wine, champagne and cheese. It’s probably the less expensive choice of the two, but Brut is fast becoming one of the trendiest hot spots in Dallas. Located off Mockingbird Lane near Central Expressway, Brut is the only bar in the nation devoted entirely to champagne and has only been open for a few months. One last note, I know its inexpensive, but don’t forget this is a tasting. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the great champagnes, but any date where the girl has to drive your car home isn’t headed toward “Coffee” at her place.

Swan paddle boats at Fair Park
Paddle your way into your Valentine’s heart without dealing waves of debt by going to the Leonhardt Lagoon at Fair Park. Paddleboats dressed up like Swans are available to rent. It’s not a gondola in Venice, but it’s certainly more romantic than dinner and a movie. Packing a picnic for the ride and grabbing some flowers on the way isn’t a bad idea either. If you start getting seasick, you and your date can run ashore to frequent one of the seven museums located a short walk away. If you think museums are lame, Fair Park also has a number of gardens to stroll through. Swan boats are $10 a rental and scattered across the lake from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Seriously guys, aside from weather, it’s tough to mess this one up. Fair Park is located off exit 47 on Interstate-30 East next to Second Avenue. Watch out because some serious construction is going on near the parks, and it will affect traffic.

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