Last month I challenged my husband to join me in a game of $20 date nights once a week. As newlyweds, it’s a game that honors where we are in life with a focus on saving money, staying social and strategically spending time together.
Otherwise, it’s easy to end up on the couch like this every night:
It’s not about big fancy nights out. It’s about prioritizing time together and making it fun. And since we trade off planning duties every other week, it’s exciting to see what the other person will come up with within the budget constraint.
While it certainly requires some creativity to date under $20 in a city where one cocktail can eat up more than half the budget, it can be done.
Here’s where to have a $20 pizza and ice cream date night in South End and NoDa. It’s nothing fancy but that’s kind of the point.
In South End you’re heading to Blaze Pizza (hear me out) and Golden Cow Creamery.
I have my doubts about all these “Chipotle-style” fast food pizza chains popping up around town so I only recently made my first exploratory trip to Blaze. I know you want me to say it’s terrible and you should go to some nearby local joint instead but I’m not going to because it’s as incredible as everyone says it is and I am now a believer and an evangelist.
Plus, a plain cheese pizza is just five bucks so you can both get your own without breaking the bank.
(If you’re dead set on all local everything on your $20 date night in South End, you could grab cheap slices at Fuel Pizza just down the street.)
Pizza subtotal: $5 pizza x 2 + tax/tip = ~$13
Local craft ice cream does not come cheap, and a single scoop at Golden Cow is a hefty $4. For something more fun and shareable go for their ice cream flight — four flavors for $5.25.
I was hoping the ice cream flight would be some extravagant display rolled out on a tray with a line of four adorable dishes, but it’s actually just a giant tub with all four of your flavors plopped in. Efficiency also works for me.
Ice cream subtotal: $5.25 ice cream flight + tax/tip = ~$6.50
Activity subtotal: Rail Trail walk = FREE
South End date night total: ~$19.50
Your NoDa date night starts at Benny Pennello’s where you’ll find monster slices bigger than your head for just $4. If you want something more than plain cheese, the single topping and specialty slices are still only $5. And trust me, one slice is enough.
This is one of my absolute favorite ways to wrap up a late night, but it’s good enough to eat clear-eyed in the light of day too.
Pizza subtotal: $4 slice x 2 + tax/tip = ~$10
I bet you never remember to get dessert at Sabor because you’re too distracted eating an entire plate of nachos by yourself. Now is your moment.
Sabor has churros for $3.95. And guess what else? You can top your sticks of fried dough sprinkled in cinnamon and sugar with, you got it, ice cream. The a la mode upgrade is just $1.
(If you want to blow all your arcade money on a more expensive dessert, head to PopBar. Their frozen gelato, sorbetto and yogurt pops start at $3.49 – $3.99 each with an additional $0.50 for unlimited toppings, which you’re going to want. This would put you at $10 and leave nothing for game night. YOLO.)
Ice cream subtotal: $5 churros with ice cream + tax/tip = ~$6
Take your remaining $4 to Abari Game Bar just down the street in Optimist Park and go nuts with your 16 quarters. They’ve got pinball, arcades and old school home game systems.
Activity subtotal: Abari game change = $4
NoDa date night total = ~$20