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Friday, April 30, 2010

167. Grunion Party, Venice - 4/30

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You have to do this at least once!
This is like Cheap Date Idea #127, so I'll keep this short and sweet! The Venice Oceanarium is hosting a Grunion Party TONIGHT, April 30th, at 11 PM, in Venice. It is late, but that's when the silvery fish come out to lay their eggs on our beaches. For details and directions, click HERE. You can do this on your own, but this is a fun group activity, especially for families.

Grunion Run
Originally uploaded by Jessierocks

The grunion are expected to be spawning 10:55 PM - 12:55 AM tonight. You can try catching them but have to throw them back in since it's closed season right now (see schedule online). To best watch and document the work of nature, bring a flash light and a camera. Make sure to bundle up but prepared to roll up your pants and wear flip flops.

Since the Grunion Party doesn't start until 11 PM, go "next door" to Santa Monica for their monthly event, Last Fridays on Main Street (see Cheap Date Idea #140). If you miss this party or Venice is too far, check out Cheap Date Idea #127 for other organized grunion runs in San Pedro.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @KatelynMichele

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

166. Learn Improv for FREE

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Learn improv for free or just laugh for cheap!
Do you enjoy cheap laughs? Come and see the improv group called Monkey Butler Comedy! You have 2 choices here: (a) Learn improv for FREE or (b) Watch for $2-5. If you want to be part of the act, this organization offers FREE workshops and classes. Yes, you heard me- you can learn how to improv on weeknights at various locations throughout Los Angeles (see schedule online). Make it a group date: learn for free at the next one on 4/29 and invite friends to watch you for $2! Or come another day to sit back and watch the pros for a mere $5. Either way it's a cheap date idea.

Thanks, monkey butler!
Originally uploaded by Eric K.

The upcoming shows are usually 8-10 PM but check online for schedule update and more info:
  • Thurs 4/29 in Culver City (learn for free or watch for $2)
  • Wed 5/5 in Hollywood (watch for $5)
  • Fri 5/21 in Studio City (TBD)
  • Mon 5/24 in Culver City (learn for free or watch for $1)
Most comedy shows are not truly cheap date ideas due to the 2-drink minimum. However, Monkey Butler Comedy is open to all ages (AKA family-friendly) since no alcohol is served. Depending on the location, light snacks and water may be available. The best bet is to grab a bite beforehand.

To be honest, I "tried' improv in high school drama class and let's just say that I appreciate the talent (it's worth the $2-5 to me). If you're brave and looking for a unique date idea, this is a winner! For more cheap (and FREE) laughs in LA & OC, click HERE for a list.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free to learn or $1-5 pp to watch.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @remywriter

165. Star Trek Movie in Park - 5/15

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FREE movie in the park = Cheap yet romantic date idea!
If you missed it last year or are simply a Trekkie fan, come watch the movie, Star Trek (2009), on the lawn at the Orange County Great Park (OCGP) on Saturday, May 15th, at 8 PM. Admission AND Parking are free. Parking is plentiful and easy here in this part of Irvine. For more info, directions and to watch the trailer online, click HERE. Sure, you can buy or rent the DVD and watch it in the comfort of your own home, but it's cool to watch a movie on a big screen outdoors once in awhile. While you're at it, invite your friends and family too!

Star Trek (2009) Movie Poster
Originally uploaded by wongjp

Sunset on 5/15 will be at 7:45 PM, which is great timing for the 8 PM show time. Arrive early to claim your spot on the grass and bring a picnic for dinner or just bring popcorn and soda. The average temperature in mid-May is low 40's, so blankets are highly recommended. What a good excuse to cuddle, right? If sitting on the grass for 2 hours sounds too long (actually the run time is 127 minutes to be exact), lawn chairs are ok here.

While you're down at the OC Great Park, enjoy a FREE helium balloon ride too! Registration starts at 6 PM for 7-10 PM rides, but you'll want to be back on earth for the 8 PM movie. See Cheap Date Idea #11 for details. As the date nears, I'll keep you posted if the event gets rained out (or check HERE for weather updates).

UPDATE 05/27/10: If you missed Star Trek, the next free movie in the park is scheduled for Saturday, May 29th. Click HERE for details. Thanks to @kimpanzii for kissing & telling about this one!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = 100% Free.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @OCGreatPark

Monday, April 26, 2010

164. $15 Wine Tasting Course

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2-Hours of fun + 8 wine tastings = $15 Cheap Date
Learning something new with your partner can be a good bonding experience. Or if you are not new to wine, think of it as a refresher course with 8 wine tastings. No matter what, this a fantastic deal at only $15 per person. Total Wine & More in Tustin normally charges $25 for this 2-hour wine tasting class with 8 tastings. With a Yelp rating of 4.5 out of 5 starts, this sounds fun as either a one-on-one date idea or a group date idea. Hurry and buy your voucher now on DealPerk.com before midnight on 4/27 (tomorrow night), but use any time until 10/26/10!

The voucher is good for any of the classes in the next 6 months, which are held monthly on a Thursday 6:30 - 8:30 PM. Here is the schedule:
  • 4/29 Green Friendly Wines
  • 5/27 Tantalizing Wines of Tuscany
  • 6/10 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
  • 7/15 Tour de France
  • 8/19 California Dreaming (Napa and Sonoma)
  • 9/16 Wines From Down Under
  • 10/14 Beautiful Wines of Bordeaux

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $15 per person.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $50 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @DealPerkOC

163. Baskin-Robbins 31-Cent Scoop Night - 4/28

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Attention: Sweet tooths (or teeth?) & sweethearts!
Baskin-Robbins is hosting their annual 31-Cent Scoop Night on this Wednesday, April 28th, 5-10 PM. Click HERE to find a BR location near you. You can even sign up for a free reminder via email and/or text message on their website too. This is cool tool if you missed out on the 25-cent BOGO deal at Dairy Queen last week or the free ice cream day last month with Ben & Jerry's (see Cheap Date Idea #135).

Ice Cream Kiss
Originally uploaded
by neverbeengroovy

If you don't scream for ice cream, then support the good cause in honoring America's firefighters. Yes, Baskin-Robbins is donating $100K to National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, but you get the sweet end of the deal- an almost free scoop of ice cream. This might not be a first date idea, but it's nice for a group date or a family-friendly date idea. Enjoy!

UPDATE 04/27/10: Limit is 3 scoops per person, so that's still less than $1. Now that's what I call a sweet cheap date!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = 31-93 Cents per person.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.

162. Dodgers Baseball Game - $5 Tickets

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Take me out to the ball game!
I am not a huge baseball fan but the Los Angeles Dodgers tickets at $5 per person is a cheap date that is hard to pass up. Baseball games make for a great group date idea, especially if you come early to tailgate in the stadium parking lot. For group dates, there is a limit of 29 tickets per household. As we all know, stadium food and drink are not cheap, so here it doesn't look like a cheap date if you bring a BBQ and food. Who doesn't love a tail gate party?

#1 Fans!
Originally uploaded by julieverive

If you don't like nosebleed seats, other tickets are available up to 55% off right now.
  • Reserve = $5 (reg. $16)
  • Lower Reserve = $10 (reg. $20)
  • Infield Reserve = $15 (reg. $30)
  • Field Box = $20 (reg. $50)
  • Preferred Field Box, Baseline Field and Loge Box MVP $30 (reg. $70)
To buy tickets online, click HERE and then use the pull-down menu to select a game and use the code TZOO3 (letter "O"s, not number zeros, and say thank you to TravelZoo). Make sure to click on "Reserve" instead of Best Available if you want to only see $5 seats. Taxes and convenience fees ($1.50-2.75 per ticket) apply. The tickets are on sale today through April 29th for particular game dates on
  • May 5-6 (Milwaukee Brewers)
  • May 9 (Colorado Rockies)
  • May 17 (Houston Astros)
  • May 19-20 (SD Padres)
  • June 1 (AZ Diamondbacks)
  • June 7 (St. Louis Cardinals).
Parking is $15, so make sure to carpool (or take public transportation if you are not tailgating). Have fun!

UPDATE 04/26/10: Here's a tip by @LukeOdom: If you live near a rail line, take the Dodger Stadium Express for FREE from Union Station with a valid Dodger's ticket. Click HERE for more info. Thanks, Luke, and have fun at the game!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = As low as $5 pp + taxes + fees + $15 Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $50 Total.

Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @TravelZooLA

Thursday, April 22, 2010

161. Montage Resort, Laguna Beach

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Enjoy a 5-star beach-front resort for free!
The Montage Resort in Laguna Beach has been recommended by several friends. Actually, one of my friends got engaged there. I've been once but definitely want to come back again during the Celebration of Earth Day (or long weekend is more like it). Honestly, you don't really need an excuse like Earth Day or an engagement to come to the Montage!

Free activities for the Earth Day Celebration are planned every day between Thursday April 22nd and Sunday April 25th, which include:
  • Spa Beach Nature Walk: Only on 4/22 at 9 AM
  • Tide Pool Education on Treasure Island Beach
  • Falconer Education on Mosaic Pools Lawn
  • Click HERE for the detailed schedule
When you're a local to Orange County or Los Angeles, it's difficult to justify spending $595-1600 per night at a 5-star luxury hotel. However, if you are looking to hang out a nice beach-front resort, you've come to the right place! Granted, the Montage is not exactly a cheap date but nothing is holding you back from bringing a picnic and enjoying the beach here. Valet parking is normally $10, but drops to $5 with validation - a great excuse to get a drink or app at the pool-side bar or in the lobby lounge area, all of which have breathtaking views. No matter what you do here, it's a winner for a romantic date idea. If you like Laguna Beach, come back for their free monthly Art Walk (see Cheap Date Idea #95).

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free + $5 Validated Parking + Drinks/Apps.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @LagunaBeachDude and @PlacesCA

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

160. Pizza Amore at Avanti Cafe

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2 Pizzas + 2 desserts + 2 drinks = $22 Total!
Thanks to DealPerk.com, you and your special someone can enjoy this at Avanti Cafe in Costa Mesa. Buy the voucher now and use it anytime through the rest of the year. That's 8 months to plan your pizza date! Ok, it might not quite be a "first date" idea, especially when it regularly costs $34. However, $11 per person is a pretty good deal for 2 medium (12") pizzas, 2 chef's choice desserts and 2 drinks. It can't get any cheaper than that for gourmet-style pizza.

thats amore
Originally uploaded by jessica.emma

With 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp, Avanti Cafe is a prime pizza joint, especially for vegeterians or vegans. This restaurant has received kudos for creating unique pizzas. I'm not talking about plain mushroom pizza (which sounds yummy to me), but Avanti offers Pizza Bianca, Garlic Greek Pizza, Shitake Artichoke Pesto and Riviera (all of which sounds even yummier!). Click HERE for the full menu. Hurry and get this deal before it's over! If you miss it, check back on DealPerk.com for future offers!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $11 pp ($22 Total).
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $34 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @DealPerkOC

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

159. It's Just Lunch ($10 at Flemings)

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Lunch date = Less pressure.
If you want something more casual than dinner, then lunch is your best bet. But the million-dollar question is where? If you are in the downtown area, Fleming's Steakhouse at L.A. Live is a nice date spot, but not usually a cheap date. With that said, I am delightfully surprised about their new lunch menu featuring 5 new affordable items: braised short rib sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, thai chicken salad, cajun chicken cobb salad and a steakhouse salad. You and your date can enjoy these for a mere $10 per plate on weekdays Mon-Fri 11:30 AM - 2 PM. For variety, get 2 plates and share family-style.

$10 Bill
Originally uploaded by 365 Cheap Dates

Fleming's does take reservations by phone (hint hint). Parking is $5 for the first 2 hours, but Flemings does validate, so it should be free unless you take an extended lunch. The best day to go would be this Thursday, April 22nd, for the Free Earth Fair. After lunch, enjoy free live music and entertainment at the Nokia Plaza at Noon - 6 PM. If you can't make lunch, happy hour runs 4-6 PM with 5 items at $6 each. For other "cheap eats", click HERE. Eat, drink and be merry!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $10 pp + Tip + Tax.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $26 Total.

Monday, April 19, 2010

158. FREE Ozomatli at Amoeba - 4/20

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Come enjoy a blend of hip-hop, salsa, and funk tomorrow for free!
The free shows at the Amoeba Music Store make for a nice casual date idea, especially for music lovers. Ozomatli will be at Amoeba in Hollywood tomorrow, Tuesday, April 20th, at 6 PM. This is a celebration of their new CD, Fire Away, but you may recognize Don't Mess with the Dragon from 2007. I just realized that this band has been around for 14 years. I remember when I heard their first CD in 1998 (yikes, I'm aging myself). Anyhow, if you have not heard them, click HERE for music clips and tomorrow is a great opportunity to do so live in person for free! If not, watch live stream on Amoeba.com or check the calendar online for future free shows.
when i say "ozo" ...

Arriving early for parking and staking out a spot would be smart. On Yelp.com, Amoeba has been compared to Costco in size, so it's easy to stay until closing time at 11 PM (every day except Sundays which is 9 PM). As for parking, street parking is possible, otherwise there is a parking garage with validation. Take this opportunity to buy a used music CD or movie DVD here with your partner, so you can secure your next date (hint hint). Have fun!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @estarLA

Friday, April 16, 2010

157. Earth Day at SEA Lab - 4/24

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Visiting aquariums is a nice day date idea anytime, especially on Earth Day!
Admission to the SEA Lab is free every day (closed on Mondays), but donations are always appreciated (recommended $4 for family and $2 for individual). This place is more than an aquarium because the SEA Lab's mission is to rescue animals. In doing so, we can enjoy these sea creatures up close and personal in the indoor and outdoor exhibits. Free tours are available upon request. The SEA Lab is a family-friendly spot, perfect for kids (like me in the photo below) who want to touch and feel *safely* at a touch tank.

SEA Lab Earth Day 2007
Originally uploaded
by 365 Cheap Dates

The best day to go is on the upcoming Earth Day Celebration on April 24th. From 10 AM - 2 PM that Saturday, several fun activities are planned:
  • Shoe Collection: Bring your athletic shoes to be recycled into playground mats, running tracks and more.
  • Clothes Collection Drive.
  • Free Haircuts: On a first come, first serve basis, hair clippings will be turned into oil-absorbing hair mats for oil spills around the world.
  • Bike Workshop: Donate it and get a 15% coupon for REI, or just bring your bike to help get it fixed.
  • Exchange Your Plastic Bags: Trade in plastic grocery bags for a reuseuable tote bag made out of plastic bottles, while supplies last.
  • Click for more info: Event Flyer and FaceBook Event Page.
Bonus: If you leave your car at home, then walk, ride your bike or use public transportation, you can get a free gift! Otherwise, bring quarters for metered street parking or there is a convenient pay-parking lot next door. According a Yelp reviewer, walk 1/2 mile away for free street parking.

Continue the fun by heading south to the Redondo Beach Pier, which is an easy 1-mile stroll, especially on a nice day. The Pier Shopping Area reminds me of a mini-Fisherman's Wharf from San Francisco. For more free aquarium fun, check out Cheap Date Idea #6 on Manhattan Beach Pier (only 5 min or 2 miles away) and Cheap Date Idea #15 in Long Beach. Better yet, click HERE for a list of FREE tide pool tours in LA & OC.

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

156. Free MoLAA Sundays

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Free admission, Free parking, Free audio tour!
Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) in Long Beach is open 11 AM - 5 PM on Wed-Sun. The best day to go is Sunday, so you can save yourself (and your date) $9 each on general admission (say thank you to Target!). The free Sundays are on the MoLAA calendar through the month of July 2010. Here's an interesting feature at this museum: FREE cell phone tour. You can simply dial the phone number next to each art piece and listen to the audio tour. No need to rent equipment. This works out nicely on Sundays when cell phone minutes are free anyways. For this upcoming Sunday 4/18, enjoy Venezuelan art, food and music too!
Originally uploaded by W Daniels

Based on 51 kind reviewers on Yelp, MoLAA is rated a 4.5 out of 5 Stars. Several claim this is a must-see for both locals and tourist, so now it's on my list of cheap date ideas to do! In addition to the free audio tour, check out the free docent tours at 2-3 PM on most Sundays (check the calendar online for updates). Several museums offer free days, but this museum offers free parking too!

If Sundays don't work for you, there is a 2-for-1 (BOGO) coupon  good for any day in April (print HERE). For more cultural date ideas, click HERE. Or if you simply want something else free and cheap to do on Sundays, click HERE. Whatever you do, just enjoy your Sunday Fun Day!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free Admission + Free Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $18 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @StealthWarp

Thursday, April 15, 2010

155. Miracle Mile Art Walk - 4/17

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Art Walks are a classy date idea!
It's that time of the year for the quarterly Miracle Mile Art Walk. Enjoy a full day of culture on Saturday, April 17th throughout the areas in Wilshire, Beverly and La Brea.

Various artist/gallery talks and receptions run non-stop between Noon - 10 PM and are open to the public (a few require RSVP). Or take a self-guided tour through the 46 participating galleries, including the LA County of Museum of Art (AKA LACMA). Click HERE for the complete schedule and map. For more info about free or BOGO tickets at LACMA during other times of the year, see Cheap Date Idea #80.

LACMA is a good meeting spot, especially for a group date. The 6th Street parking garage east of Fairfax Avenue is $7 flat rate, but free after 7 PM if you prefer to come late to the "after parties". Otherwise, there are several parking options in the area. For more art walk date ideas, check out Cheap Date Idea #95 in Laguna Beach and Cheap Date Idea #146 in Venice.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = FREE Admission + $7 Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $24 Total.
Kiss & Tell Idea by @TheLAScene

Saturday, April 10, 2010

154. XIV Happy Hour by Michael Mina

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Happy Hours can be a classy date idea at the right spot.
Due to work and traffic, making it to Happy Hour on a weekday is not always realistic. Well, Michael Mina makes it possible at XIV Terrace in West Hollywood. Enjoy 1/2 off appetizers and 1/2 off cocktails with $5 well drinks every day of the week 5-8 PM except Sundays. Where else can you be happy for 3 whole hours on Saturdays?

Originally uploaded by cathydanh

Parking on Sunset Boulevard is limited, so the $5 valet during happy hour may be worth it. The drink and food menus are available online. For more info, click HERE for a detailed review by a fellow blogger, Gastronomer. Although not the cheapest, this has to be one of the most affordable yet classy date ideas on Sunset Boulevard for a Saturday night. This cheap date idea is on my list to do. I can't wait until we go!

For other happy hours at classy spots, check out Cheap Date Idea #143 at The London, which is in WeHo as well, and also Cheap Date Idea #97 at The Edison in Downtown LA.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = 1/2 OFf Apps & Drink.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @Andres_ocon and @LA_Now

Friday, April 9, 2010

153. FREE National Park Week - 4/17-25

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Going to the park is always a nice outdoorsy date idea, but it's even better when it's FREE.
Visiting a park is usually a cheap date idea, but it's nice to save the entrance fee which typically ranges $5-20. There are 392 national parks, 100+ of which usually charge the entrance fee. Mark your calendars for the Annual Free Entrance Days during:
  • National Park Week (April 17-25th)
  • Public Lands Day (Sept 25th)
  • Veteran's Day (Nov 11th). 

The slideshow above are pictures from our day trip to Joshua Trip exactly one year ago, just in time for the wild flowers. Here are a few of my personal favorites that are a good day trip or weekender from LA and OC. If you are a fan of hiking and camping, the first one on the list is an easy one to do.
  • Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego (tide pools, Old Point Loma Lighthouse)
  • Joshua Tree National Park (the wild flowers should be blooming again, great for rock climbing)
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Click HERE for the complete list of 100+ FREE national parks listed by state.
In addition to bringing a picnic or backpack with plenty of water, sun block, sun glasses, hats and a camera, walkie talkies are optional but useful for a group date. For other outdoorsy date ideas, check out Cheap Date Idea #117 at The Flower Fields until Mother's Day and Cheap Date Idea #124 at Anza-Borrego until mid-April. Have fun!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free Admission.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $5-20 Entrance fee per car.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

152. Cherry Blossom Festival - 4/10-11

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Sumo wrestling, kimono fashion show, sake tastings and more!
If you can't enjoy the sakura (cherry blossom in English) in Japan like we did (see our photo below), then come on down to Little Tokyo of Downtown LA this weekend. The 2nd Annual Cherry Blossom Festival starts at 10:30 AM on both days and ends by 6:30 PM on Saturday 4/10 and 5 PM on Sunday 4/11. The better day to go is Saturday (expected to be cloudy) since Sunday has a 30% of chance for a few showers, but it is a rain or shine event.

The weekend is jam packed with activities, including sumo wrestling matches, kimono fashion show (Saturday only) and sake tastings. A detailed event program with a minute-by-minute schedule and map is available online. For directions and parking info, click HERE. There are several parking lots in the area, but I don't recall the cost. Next time, I'd take the Metro, which conveniently stops into Little Tokyo.

While you're down there, check out the Japanese Village Plaza (free to browse), The Geffen Contemporary Museum at MOCA (click HERE for 2-for-1 admission coupon) and the Japanese-American National Museum. If you haven't explored Little Tokyo yet, this weekend will be a good time to go. Click HERE for a recommended walking tour with directions and a map.

UPDATE 04/16/10: If you missed the festival last weekend, there is another one in Monterey Park this weekend, April 17-18th. Click HERE for more info.

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

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

151. Wine Trivia & Gourmet Pizza Night - 4/8

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Attention, wine lovers looking for a classy yet unique date idea!
Many of us have been wine tasting, but have you been to Wine Trivia and Gourmet Pizza Night? Tomorrow night will be the first one of it's kind in Orange County. This competition will be held at The Wine Artist in Lake Forest at 6-8:30 PM on Thursday, April 8th. This is ideal for wine connoisseurs or for those who simply want to meet other oenophiles.

wine tasting
Originally uploaded by smcgee

Teams may be in sets of 2-4 people. Feel free to bring a date and friends or come single to get paired up.The official game time is 6:45 PM so arrive earlier to wine and dine. A bottle of wine will be rewarded to each member in 1st Place, while the 2nd and 3rd Place Teams will receive one bottle each to share with their own team. You can enjoy all of this for $25 pp. Due to limited space, RSVP by phone or email is required to partake in the competition. Click HERE for more info.

BlindWine.com also offers other local wine events in OC, LA or anywhere across the US. If you enjoy this date idea, check out your local Bristol Farms for $23 pp (Cheap Date Idea #16) and Larchmont Grill in LA for $25 pp (Cheap Date Idea #149). Cheers!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $25 per person.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @letshare

Monday, April 5, 2010

150. FREE Toyota Grand Prix - 4/16

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What?! FREE tickets to the race!!
For Friday 4/16, you can sign up online for a FREE ticket voucher to the 36th Annual Long Beach Toyota Grand Prix. Regularly the value of a 1-day general admission is $25 per person! The race goes all weekend, April 16-18th. Make sure to bring the printed voucher to exchange it for a ticket on Friday. The ticket booths open at 7 AM, while activities run 7:15 AM - 7:00 PM.

Needless to say, parking will be a bear, especially with all the street closures for the race, so taking the bus or train would be smart (click HERE for more info). There is a limit of 1 ticket voucher per person (or email address), so feel free to forward to your friends and make it a group date!

UPDATE 04/15/10: Take the local Metro Passport (red bus) in Long Beach, click HERE for the schedule and map.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free Admission.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $50 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @SoCalCoupons and @ScreaminOC

List: Cheap (and Free) Laughs

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Comedy shows are good ice breakers and great for group dates!
Laugh for free or cheap at any of these comedy clubs in Los Angeles & Orange County:

Originally uploaded by uhoh over
  • Hollywood Improv: Free-$4 via Goldstar.com or Hollywood Improv (sign up for their e-newsletters), dates vary (see Cheap Date Idea #55)
  • The Comedy Store in Hollywood: Free admission anytime with Twitter coupon (see Cheap Date Idea #77)
  • Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at CityWalk: Free-$10 on Sunday and Wednesday evenings (see Cheap Date Idea #92)
  • UCB Theatre: Free on Sunday and Tuesday nights at 7:30 pm or $1 with Jeff Garlin on Sundays at 6 PM, plus it's BYOB! (see Cheap Date Idea #114)
  • Downtown Independent Theatre: Free every other Tuesday evening, no 2-drink minimum (see Cheap Date Idea #137)

Got any recommendations for other cheap laughs? Please do kiss & tell by leaving me a comment.

149. Wine & Dine at Larchmont Grill

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A nice dinner for two AND a bottle of wine for only $25 pp?!
As we all know, a dinner date is not typically a cheap date idea, but the Larchmont Grill has designated Thursday as "Date Night". Select 2 entrees (see special menu online) and a bottle of red or white (selection changed weekly) for $50 plus tip and tax. That's not a bad deal at $25 per person when an entree by itself usually costs $17-29 each (see regular menu online). Or come back on Sundays for a 3-course dinner with a glass of wine for $35 per person. The Larchmont Grill was rated 4 out of 5 stars on both Yelp and OpenTable with several reviewers noting this spot as romantic with ambiance.
by SoCalSocialClub

Dinner reservations are available online via OpenTable.com or by phone starting at 5:30 PM until 10 PM daily except on Sundays until 9:30 PM. As for parking, you have the choice of street parking or valet service

For other dinner date ideas, check out Cheap Date Idea #115 at Brasserie Pascal in Newport Beach ($10-20 pp) and Cheap Date Idea #148 at Benihana ($37 for dinner-for-two).

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $25 per person + Tip + Tax.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $60 Total + Tip + Tax.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @NatalieNicole

Saturday, April 3, 2010

148. Benihana Dinner for Two = $37

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Teppanyaki is yummy & fun for a nice dinner date.
I love teppanyaki, which is the Japanese style of cooking with an open grill at your dining table. I have never been disappointed with a meal at Benihana, except the fact that it's not quite a cheap date. However, Benihana is offering a Hibachi Steak Dinner for Two during the month of April. This includes: onion soup, salad, shrimp appetizer, steamed rice, hibachi vegetables, homemade dipping sauces and Japanese hot tea. The only thing not included is dessert. You get ALL of this for only $37 plus tax and tip. Not the cheapest dinner date, but a darn good deal for a nice dinner.

Originally uploaded by oh snap

Normally parking is free at the restaurants. Click HERE to find a participating location near you. This is not limited to LA & OC, so I'll start a new dating category (or tag, keyword, label) called national. No coupon is required, but reservations are highly recommended because this restaurant is super popular. If you have never been, you HAVE to go at least once. This is definitely a nice restaurant for a first date or a 365th date night. Just know that your hair and clothes will smell like the food when you walk out (due to the flaming onion volcano and whatever else is coming off the grill flames). Can't wait to go again, yum!

UPDATE 05/04/10: Their Chef's Special for the month of May is Filet-for-Two at $39 plus tax and tip. That breaks down to $25 per person, which is a good deal at Benihana. For an even better deal, check out Cheap Date Idea #168 for the 2-for-1 deal on Wednesdays or $9.95 anniversary special on 5/20.

UPDATE 05/17/10: Sign up for Benihana's eClub and get $30 off your meal on your birthday! Click HERE to sign up (minimum 10 days in advance to receive the certificate in the mail). So that means your dinner would be only $9!!! Thanks @callmemochelle for the tip! Every month the special changes, so check for updates via @Benihana__.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $37 Total + Tax + Tip (or $9 on your birthday)
Actual value of the cheap date = TBD.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @dineoutcheap & @iluvmarthasvy

Friday, April 2, 2010

147. Cooking Class + Dinner + Wine = $35

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This is a recipe for fun!
Within 2.5 hours, you and your partner will make a 5-6 course meal and wash it down with wine. Normally these cooking classes with a full dinner and wine go for $70 per person, but thanks to SwoopOff, it's only $35 pp! This is an awesome deal to learn from the culinary expert, Amanda Cushman (author of Simple Real Food). As demonstrated in my fave chick flick, "Hitch", cooking classes make for a great first date or even a group date! Hurry and get your vouchers online at SwoopOff.com before it's sold out.

Cooking class
Originally uploaded by Roving I

The cooking classes are available at 3 different locations between Venice and Culver City. According to Yelp reviewers, these cooking classes got rated perfectly at 5 out of 5 stars. For more info, check out www.amandacooks.com.

For more fun in the kitchen, check out the FREE Technique Classes at your local Williams & Sonoma (see Cheap Date Idea #112), but you don't get a full meal and wine here. Tip: Before the end of class, secure your next date to show off your newfound culinary skills in your own kitchen!

UPDATE 04/26/10: The deal was so popular that it's back on! Click HERE to get your voucher at SwoopOff.com now!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $35 per person.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $140 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @SwoopOff

Thursday, April 1, 2010

List: Date Ideas for March

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Here's a summary of all the date ideas posted last month.

146. First Fridays on Abbot Kinney

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Enjoy free live music, food, massage & yoga in Venice!
On the first Friday of every month, the stores along Abbot Kinney Boulevard stay open late (6-10 PM) with various activities. For April 2nd, enjoy live music & free munchies at several spots, including Altered Space Gallery, Aviator Nation and G2 Gallery. Also get a free 5-minute Thai massage at Lamai and your first free yoga class at YAS. For more info about this monthly event in Venice, check AbbotKinneyonline.com and AbbotKinneyNow.com.

I plan on going for my friend's birthday, so I'll post an update with my review. This does sound like a good group date idea. As for parking, street parking is probably the best bet near Abbot Kinney Blvd and Venice Blvd (zip code for Venice is 90291 in case you want to map it out). Plus it's free after 6 PM at most spots, so double check the signs.

For more fun, check out the sister event called the Last Fridays on Main Street in Santa Monica (Cheap Date Idea #140). Another fun thing to do in Venice is the Free Skate Practice on the first Sundays of every month in preparation for the weekly Free Friday Night Skate Night (see Cheap Date Idea #91 for more info).

UPDATE 05/17/10: Last month, Aviator Nation seemed to be the hot spot for free wine (by the glass) and free beer (by the 12-oz can). We missed the sangria at another place (name escaping me at the moment). Next time, I'm bringing my appetite and trying out one of the many food trucks lined up along Abbot Kinney (the line was wrapped around the BBQ truck). I wonder how the Last Fridays on Main Street in Santa Monica (Cheap Date Idea #140) compare to this First Fridays on Abbot Kinney in Venice, stay tuned!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free Admission.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by Pilates Princess