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Thursday, July 8, 2010

List: FREE Summer Date Ideas

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I was putting together a list of FREE things to do this summer in Orange County and Los Angeles for myself since my future in-laws are coming to visit. I figured that I'd share this with y'all too! This list includes previous date ideas (numbered) plus some new ideas (un-numbered). I did throw in a few items that are $10 or less (AKA cheap). Click on each for more info.

Huntington Beach Pier
Originally uploaded by
365 Cheap Dates
Since I am not posting regularly at the moment, this "master list" will be a living document to which I'll add. Feel free to kiss and tell me when you find something free and cheap to do too! Use the comment section below, or submit the Contact Me Form (see at the top menu bar of my blog), or send me a tweet @365CheapDates. Have fun whatever you do!

Friday, June 18, 2010

365 Cheap Dates is on hold

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As you may have noticed, I've been MIA in the blogosphere. For the time being, I am taking a break from blogging in order to focus on a few important things in my life (wedding planning and job hunting). For those curious, the big day is set for 10.10.10 and hopefully I'll be back in the corporate world before then.

365CheapDates.com Icon
Originally uploaded
by 365 Cheap Dates

This is only temporary and I promise to make it up to y'all. I sincerely miss blogging about a new cheap date idea every day (yes, I'm a blogaholic). For upcoming and ongoing date ideas, frequent updates and reminders will still be sent out via Twitter. Please do keep in touch with me in the twitosphere (follow me @365CheapDates). In the meanwhile, feel free to peruse my blog for ongoing date ideas (see dating categories in the right menu bar). Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

193. AVP Beach Volleyball Tourney

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Do you need a reason to hit the beach?
As much as I love living by the beach, I'm not a volleyball fan. With that said, I do make a point to partake in the annual AVP Tour. Why? It's the beach scene that makes it a great day date idea, especially for a group date. Game tickets are not free, but walking around the vendor booths is! Some cool freebies include tote bags, frisbees, drinks, snacks and more. Afterward, hit the beach and/or local bars (do it early before everything gets packed).

AVP Hermosa Beach
Originally uploaded by 365 Cheap Dates

For those who do enjoy professional volleyball tournament games, general admission is $20. For the upcoming game in Huntington Beach, buy tickets online now: (a) save 50% for Friday, June 4th, with a discount code AVPBOGO, so it'd be $10 each -OR- (b) save $5 for the rest of the weekend, $15 pp. More discounts may pop up closer to the other tour dates. By the way, sometimes you can watch the warm-up games for free (just look and ask).

The games bounce across the US beaches during summer, but here's the AVP tournament schedule for Southern California:
  • June 3-6 Huntington Beach
  • July 16-18 Hermosa Beach
  • July 24-25 Malibu
  • August 19-22 Manhattan Beach
  • September 17-19 Hermosa Beach (finals)
However, if you don't like crowds, then you may want to avoid this event. Parking will not be easy, so carpool and come early. In my opinion, the AVP is worth checking out at least once this summer. As always, don't forget your sunblock, towel, hat, sunglasses, camera and whatever you need for fun in the sun. Click HERE for other free and cheap things to do this weekend, June 3-6th.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

List: Weekend Things to Do 6/3-6

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Here are some free and cheap activities in LA and OC for this upcoming weekend, June 3rd - 6th.

Nature's Evening Show
Originally uploaded by

Thursday, June 3rd:

Friday, June 4th:

Saturday, June 5th:

Sunday, June 6th:

List: Date Ideas for May

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For easy reference, here's an outline of the free AND cheap things to do that I posted last month in May. Or feel free to check out my online calendar of dating ideas for any day of the year!

Originally uploaded by brandonplumplums

192. Free Yacht Party

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Set sail and party at sea under the stars!
Why party at a bar, when you can party on a 3-story yacht in Newport Beach Harbor! This free weekly boat party offers not only a cool venue but also a DJ spinning while you rock out on the dance floor. There is no cover charge, but the parking structure is $10 unless you find a spot on PCH. Drinks on the yacht range $5-9 each, which is comparable to those on land. Please note: 21+ only, sorry not family-friendly. The next yacht party is tomorrow 6/2 and continues every Wednesday night through summer.

Originally uploaded by LuthaaaLuthaaa!

If you don't want to be stuck at sea for 2 hours, this is a good option because the boat docks 3 times within the same night. You can stay on board to continue the fun or hop off and go bar hopping elsewhere in Newport Beach. The boat schedule involves 3 rounds of 30-min boarding (AKA party at the dockside) and 45-min sailing (AKA party at sea). Sail times are 8:45, 10:00 and 11:15 PM, but the best time to get on is 8 PM for pre-boarding partying (avoid the lines). Click HERE for directions and more info.

Another similar date idea is the $13 Sunset Cruise with an option for unlimited drinks (see Cheap Date Idea #188). At least, the total cost of that date is fixed (as we all know, alcohol can add up, AKA not a cheap date). For a free day cruise that's not a booze cruise, see Cheap Date Idea #145 in Long Beach (reservations required). Bon voyage!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free Admission + $10 Parking + $5-9 Drinks.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Free.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @callmemochelle & @lafreebee

Monday, May 31, 2010

191. Free Bands in the Sand

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FREE summer concerts are back in Newport Beach!
With the summer here, how do you decide which beach to hit? Well, the FREE concerts up and down the coast may sway you in one direction or another. Newport Dunes offer not only a wide range of water sport activities but also FREE musical entertainment. The Bands in the Sand Series run every Saturday between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend.

Originally uploaded by The FoxBox

The line up of bands includes 80's covers, California surfing and much more (click HERE for the weekly concert schedule). The live band plays 6-8 PM, which is just perfect timing right before sunset. Bring blanket or beach towels to claim a spot at least an hour in advance. Food and drink will be available for sale there but bring a picnic and make it romantic (and more affordable). Sunblock, sunglasses, hat are routine must-haves for outdoor activities. Admission is free but on-site parking is $10.

This Waterfront Resort and Marina does offer an Aquatic Park and other things to do, such as wind surfing, pedal boats and kayaking. The park's day pass is $25 pp, not cheap but it does look like fun. Personally, I am not sure if I'd really want to get in the water and then sit for 2 hours during an outdoor concert. Lastly, this is a great idea for a family-friendly date or a group date. Stay tuned for more free fun date ideas...

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free + $10 Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @NewportBeach

Sunday, May 30, 2010

190. Free Jazz Concerts

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Listening to jazz and wine tasting = Classy & romantic!
Hollywood & Highland is offering their 7th Annual Wine, Jazz & Moonlight Series. On every Tuesday evening this summer (June 9th - August 31st), the band starts playing at 7 PM. While the musical entertainment is free to the public, the wine tasting is optional. By the way, 100% of the proceeds do benefit a good cause. The $10 donation in Hollywood seems quite reasonable for 2 glasses and an assortment of gourmet cheeses, crackers and fruit. Overall, this is a classy (yet cheap) date idea, especially for jazz music lovers. These free jazz concerts can work as a group date, first date, family-friendly date, whatever you want it to be.

Miles Davis
Originally uploaded by mwgrinnell

As with all free events, I'd arrive earlier to find parking and claim a spot in the Central Courtyard on the 2nd Level. Until the weather gets warmer, bundle up to enjoy this outdoor event for a minimum of 2 hours (7-9 PM). Bring a picnic and have dinner during the concert or eat at courtyard there (there's a crepe restaurant if my memory serves me right). Parking at H&H Center is only $2 for 4 hours with validation. Click HERE for the weekly concert schedule and more info.

If you can get into Hollywood in the afternoon, double the fun by stopping by Madame Tussauds, which is walking distance away (see Cheap Date Idea #54).

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $10 pp + $2 Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $22 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @_LosAngeles

189. Home Beer Brewing Class

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How many people can say that they've brewed their own beer?
Well, now you can!! For 3 hours of fun, the cost is a mere $5! If you decide to continue the fun at home (hint hint: secure a second date with your brewing partner), this may be applied toward the purchase of a starter's kit. After brewing your own, one may discover a newfound appreciation for beer. Heck, make it a group date and then host a party with a friendly competition for the best home made brew. Just a thought for a DIY date idea and perhaps a new shared hobby. Learning something new can be a bonding experience.

Baby bottle of beer
Originally uploaded
by 365 Cheap Dates

Home Brewing Supply Company offers a Beginner's Home Brewing Class bi-weekly on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays (next one is June 3rd). Classes run 6:30-9:30 PM, so make sure to eat beforehand. Let's just say that you will be tasting more than $5 worth of their already made brews. Pretzels and nuts are a good pairing with beer, no? Just another idea. To reserve a seat, call in advance. Click HERE for class details and directions.

This is a personal recommendation by @LightsSoundLA (click HERE to read his blog post). Plus several Yelpers gave CCHBS a whopping 5-stars! Click HERE to read Yelp reviews. For another learning experience, check out the FREE cooking technique classes (see Cheap Date Idea #112). Cheers!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $5 Per Person.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @LightsSoundsLA

Friday, May 28, 2010

188. Summer Sunset Cruise

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Setting sail at sunset sounds soooooo romantic!
This might get my vote for top romantic yet cheap date idea! At 50% off (like a BOGO deal), you have 2 cruise options in Newport Beach: either free appetizers OR an unlimited drink package. For my fellow cheap dates in LA, there is a cruise in Marina del Rey too. Seriously, we are so lucky to live by the water because this date idea won't work everywhere.

Spirit of Tasmania I
Originally uploaded by WilliamBullimore

Option A: 90-Min Cruise with Unlimited Drink Option
WHEN: 5:30 PM Fiesta Cruise or 7:30 PM Sunset Cruise.
WHERE: Newport Beach.
HOW: Buy your voucher now (deal expires 5/31) online via SwoopOff.com and use anytime until 12/30/10, reservation required via CruiseNewportBeach.com.
COST: Only $13 Flat ($26 Regularly).
BONUS: Enjoy all-you-can-drink for a mere $15pp more! Decide later and pay on board. Let me put it this way: How much do you spend on drinks within 90 minutes anywhere else in LA & OC?

Option B: 2-Hour Cruise with Complimentary Appetizers
WHEN: Thursdays 6:30 - 8:30 PM (June - September).
Where: Newport Beach.
HOW: Buy tickets online with 50% discount code EMA42 via Hornblower.com.
COST: $14pp + tax = $16.58pp total ($28pp Regularly).

Option C: Same cruise as Option B but in Marina del Rey.
WHEN: Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 PM.
WHERE: Marina del Rey.
HOW: Buy tickets at least 24 hour in advance on Goldstar.com.
COST: $18pp + $4 fee = $22 total ($28 Regularly).

The SwoopOff deal sounds like the best because you can buy it now and use it later. That's 7 months to plan your romantic yet cheap date! More importantly, it will be a fixed total cost on the beverages, which can easily add up elsewhere and end up not being a cheap date.  Just make sure to buy your $13 voucher on SwoopOff before the deal ends (or worse- sells out)! By the way, these vouchers make for a great gift for a birthday or anniversary too. However, if you prefer free food (apps) over drinks, check out Hornblower but I'm not sure when the 50% discount code will expire. For either cruise, boarding begins 30 minutes, so make sure to arrive early or the boat will leave you! For a free cruise in Long Beach Harbor (no free apps or all-you-can-drink option), check out Cheap Date Idea #145. Have fun!

UPDATE 06/19/10: Bad news: Option-A is no longer available. Good news: Here's a good deal for another sunset cruise BUT better because it's offered on weekends, Thursdays-Sundays.

OPTION D: 90-Min Cruise with Unlimited Drink Option
WHEN: 7:00 - 8:30 PM Thursdays - Sundays with advance reservation by phone or web
WHERE: Newport Beach
HOW: Buy your voucher now online via @DealPerkOC and use later until Sept 30th (that's over 3 months to plan your cheap date).
COST: $12.50 pp (Regularly $25) + $8 Parking (Click HERE to buy voucher now)
BONUS: This deal includes complimentary chips and salsa. Enjoy all-you-can-drink for a mere $15 pp more! Decide later and pay on board.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $13-19 pp.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $52-61 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @swoopoff & @newportbeach

Thursday, May 27, 2010

187. The London Happy Hour

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Be fabulous at a classy happy hour at The London!
The London Hotel offers two full hours of happiness on weekdays (5-7 PM) from now until the end of June. Not only is this a classy spot for a happy hour, but Gordon Ramsay is famous for his fine dining. It's not normally a cheap date, but the "London After Five" special makes it affordable with $5 specials starting at 5 PM. Plus to celebrate the sequel's release, the happy hour theme is in honor of the Sex and The City 2.

The "London After Five" specials are:
  • $5 Specialty cocktails with 5 choices inspired by the 5 characters of Sex and the City
  • $5 Sake or Champagne
  • $5 Tasty appetizers, including a mini lobster burger, kebabs & more
  • $5 Valet parking with validation ($10 regularly; street parking is possible but not likely due to limited space)

If you are in that part of LA (WeHo), you must stop by here, especially if you're going to watch SATC2. Why you may ask? Because you deserve 2 hours of happiness. That is at least happiness on any weekday at The London from now til the end of June. I'm sure tomorrow will be crazy with it being Friday and the start of a long holiday weekend. For more happy hour date ideas, click HERE. Be a fun cheap date and be safe!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $15 minimum.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.

Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @TheLondonWeho

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

186. First Fridays Concerts - 6/4

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The adults come out to play at LA's Best Museum Party Night!
Last year, the Natural History Museum of LA won a Best of LA Award for their Museum Party Night. On First Fridays for the first half of the year (Jan-June), NHMLA offers a sophisticated event for adults to enjoy culture and music. The fun begins with DJs and a free guided museum tour at 5:30 PM and the party continues until 10:30 PM. For the line up at the next (and sadly last) FF on June 4th, click HERE.

Originally uploaded by First Fridays @ NHM

The FF tickets are $15 pp, which not only gets you into the concert hall but also the museum. Regular museum admission is $9, so that's a mere $6 more for a night of fun. As for parking, the lot across the way is $10 unless you get lucky with street parking. Purchasing tickets in advance online is highly recommended because the event usually sells out early. Note: June 4th is the last FF event of the year. I'm so sad that I'll be out of town, but other fun events are brewing at NHMLA.

Lines start forming at 7:30 PM with the doors of the performance hall opening up at 8:30 PM for the opening act and then the headliner goes on at 9:45 PM. The hall capacity is 500 but you can also watch the performance on projected screens throughout the Grand Foyer. To capture the fun, 3D photos are taken by NHMLA and posted on their Flickr (see example on right here). Bring your own camera and smiles! If you can come earlier and beat traffic to Downtown LA, bring a picnic too and enjoy the sunset with dinner in the middle of Exposition Park, which is right next door to NHMLA.

If you miss this event, mark you calendar for monthly FREE Museum Day at NHMLA on the first Tuesday of the month (next one is June 1st). While you're in the area, get free admission to the sister museum too, La Brea Tar Pits on Cheap Date Idea #89. Now that's called back-to-back FREE date ideas!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $15 pp.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $40 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @CourtneyLTucker

List: Memorial Day Weekend in LA

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Looking for something to do this long holiday weekend in LA?
The real question is how are you going to fit this all in? Click on each link for event details.

Friday, May 28th:

Saturday, May 29th:

Sunday, May 30th:

Monday, May 31st:
For another resource at your fingertips, check out my Google Calendar. Whatever you do, have fun and be safe!

Monday, May 24, 2010

HOW TO: Add 365CheapDates.com to Your iPhone

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Want anytime access to 365CheapDates.com at your fingertips on your iPhone? Follow these simple instructions on how to add an icon on your home screen for 365CheapDates.com (or any website you desire). It's like bookmarking a favorite website, but better because you skip the step of launching the Safari web browser. I love being efficient.

  1. While on your iPhone, launch Safari and type the URL 365CheapDates.com (or just click HERE).
  2. Click the Favorites (+) button at the bottom of the Safari screen.
  3. Click "Add to Home Screen" (see my screenshot photo on the right here).
  4. Type a name for the icon that will appear on your home screen, such as 365 Cheap Dates.
  5. Click the "Add" button.
  6. You will find an icon for my blog on your homescreen, like mine (see screenshot photo on the top right here).
  7. For help, click HERE for the original source of these instructions.
Now that you have my blog at your disposal at any time of the day, how about adding my Google Calendar? Click HERE to view my calendar with instructions on syncing it to yours. You can set up reminders too by email and SMS! I have also created a Google Map just for you, showing cheap dates ideas by location in LA & OC. If you think of any other tools to help me help you, I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

List: Top Romantic Cheap Date Ideas

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Finding cheap date ideas is not so hard, but finding romantic cheap date ideas is not so easy. To make your dating life easier, I've tagged the date ideas here by various categories, such as romantic (see at the bottom of each post or click HERE to view all romantic ideas).

Originally uploaded by Kevin H.

If I had to rank my favorite romantic things to do in Los Angeles & Orange County, here's my list in chronological order (click on each link for details):
Mind you that these are "anytime" ideas (good to do throughout the year). Stay tuned for more Top Lists, especially during special weekends or seasons (or click HERE to view all of my past lists). If you have your own favorites, please do kiss & tell in the comment section below.