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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.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

185. Free Malibu Beach Safari

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Let's go on a Malibu Beach Safari!!
Going to the beach is a not a "special" date idea, especially when one lives by the beach. On the other hand, going on a "Malibu Beach Safari"... now that kicks it up a notch! On Sunday, May 23rd, the LA Urban Rangers will help you discover secret but public beach spots along the 20-mile coastline of Malibu. For FREE, learn how to find, park, walk, picnic and sunbathe legally and safely. The 1.5-hour tours are scheduled for 9 AM, 11:30 AM and 2 PM, but the first one of the day is the best to easily find free street parking. Reservations are not required, but it is first come, first serve and the tours start on time. Click HERE for safari details and directions.

Kenya Safari and beach holiday
Originally uploaded by 1denela

Ever since I learned about this activity last year through @unhipLA (click for blog post & Yelp review), I've been waiting for it start up again this summer. To my dismay (because I am already booked), this Sunday's safaris will be the last ones closing the 3-year project. Nevertheless, I am blogging about it now because it sounds like an awesome cheap (actually, it's free) date idea that YOU can go on and then kiss & tell me about it later (Read: please use comment box below). Then you can come back again as a group date and take your friends to areas other than the overcrowded Zuma and Surfrider.

As with all outdoorsy activities, bring sunblock, bottled water, comfortable clothes, snacks, a beach towel and a camera (optional for kiss and tell). If you miss out on Sunday like I will, click HERE for a free downloadable map to go on your own safari another time.

Disclaimer: The photo used here does not represent Malibu, but it just looked cool for my blog post.

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

Friday, May 21, 2010

List: Weekend Cheap Date Ideas

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There are so many free and cheap things to do this weekend in Los Angeles and Orange County that I wanted to make a special list for y'all! Click on each link for the details.

Joe's Dollar
Originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk

Saturday, May 22nd:

Sunday, May 23rd:
No matter what you do, just be a fun cheap date!

184. $6 Angels Tickets

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Take me out to ball game for only 6 bucks?!
If you are fan of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (long name, I know) or simply like cheap yet fun things to do, get 1/2 off tickets when they play the Toronto Blue Jays early next week, May 24-26th. The Monday and Tuesday games start at 7 PM, so it's doable for a weeknight date. Invite friends and family to make it a group date or family-friendly activity. The weather should be good for an outdoor game, but bundle up since the temperature will drop to 66F on that night.

Angels are #1!
Originally uploaded by sfam

Regular tickets range $12-33, so with a 50% discount, your date can be as cheap as $6 per person! Click HERE to buy your tickets now. Select the game day and enter the promo code TRAVEL. As of this moment, the cheapest tickets that I could find were $6 for "Upper View" and $14-16.50 for "Best Available". As with all online tickets, there is a convenience charge of $2-3.25. Stadium parking is $8. Buy your discounted tickets online now!

If you are a fan of the Dodgers, sorry you missed out on Cheap Date Idea #162.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $8+ Total pp + $8 Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $32+ Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @TravelZooLA

Thursday, May 20, 2010

183. Devil's Night Drive-In

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Date night at a drive-in sounds more fun & romantic, no?
Did you know that a patent was issued for the first drive-in theatre exactly 33 years ago from this month? The first one opened in June 1933! At that time, it was 25¢ per car and 25¢ per person ($1 total maximum). Sounds like a cheap date, right? Well, the admission at Devil's Night Drive-in (formerly known as Angel City, ironically enough) is at least comparable to a regular movie theater ticket at $10 pp. Despite the price, many Yelpers have raved about this being a great date night idea (4.5 stars).

For a guaranteed parking spot in front of the screen, pre-sale tickets are available online 1.5 weeks prior and until 2 PM on the day of the show. Due to limited capacity (60+ cars), come early to find this place on top of a 2-story parking structure in Downtown LA and settle in with a FM-transmitter. With a DJ to entertain, gates open 1.5 hours before show time, usually at 8 or 9 PM. No car is required though as walk-ins and bike-ins are welcome to sit and watch from a designated astroturf area. If you do, feel free to bring lawn chairs, blankets and bundle up. Like in the good ol' days (before my time), car hops on rollerskates go around to the cars offering popcorn, candy, hot dogs, soda, coffee and tea, all at non-theater prices. Here's the best part of Devil's Night: you can bring your own food and drinks (Read: BYOB).

On the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, get ready to watch some oldies but goodies on a 24'x18' projector screen (see website for tickets and updates):
  • 5/22 Pretty in Pink
  • 6/12 Labyrinth
  • 6/26 Showgirls
  • 7/10 Easy Rider
  • 7/24 Pulp Fiction
  • 8/14 People's Choice (vote online)
  • 8/28 Rushmore
  • 9/11 Indiana Jones
For another unique date night, you have to experience Cinespia screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (see Cheap Date Idea #182), which is also BYOB! If these spots are too much of a trek, check out OC Great Park, such as Cheap Date Idea #165. Or if you like the typical theater, go on Cheap Date Idea #132 for only $3. Drive-ins are rare nowadays, so if you know of another one in LA or OC, let me know.

UPDATE 05/22/10: Per the recommendation by the owner at @DevilsNight, after the movie, continue your date night at the local fave dive bar. Leave your car there (no extra parking fee) and walk over to @Bar107 with no cover, a dance floor and a 4-star rating on Yelp.com.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $10 pp.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $20 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @LAsnark & @estarLA

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

182. Cinespia Cemetery Screenings

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Watching movies at the cemetery with wine & beer?!?!
I've watched movies in the park, but have yet to do it at a cemetery! Sounds creepy yet fun at the same time. The Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery has a whopping 4.5 stars rating by 200+ Yelpers. From what I gather, part of the appeal that sets it apart from a movie theatre is that you can bring a picnic and drinks (yes, alcohol IS permitted) PLUS a DJ spins records before and after the screening. The $10 cash donation (for grounds keeping) is comparable to the price of a theater ticket nowadays, however the whole experience pales in comparison. This is a great idea for a group date, maybe even for a first date.

Cinespia Cemetery Screenings is on it's 10th season of summer series (May - October). Screenings are usually on Saturday nights with bonus nights on holiday weekends on occasion. Here's the schedule for the first month:
  • 5/15 - The Wizard of Oz
  • 5/22 - The Thing
  • 5/29 - North by North
  • 5/30 - Purple Rain
  • Check the calendar for monthly updates.
The cemetery gates open at 7 PM, so come early to park (free street parking or $5 on the cemetery grounds, best before 6 PM I heard) and claim your spot on the grass (bring blankets, short lawn chairs and pillows). This is first come, first serve (AKA no advance reservations required or tickets available). Show time is not until 8:30 PM, so eat, drink & be merry while the sun sets and the DJ spins music. Afterward, let the traffic die down by hanging out with more tunes by the DJ. If the Hollywood Cemetery is too much of a trek, the OC Great Park in Irvine offers free movies in the park throughout the year, such as Cheap Date Idea #165.

UPDATE 05/26/10: The screening schedule for June is posted! Click HERE for the calendar updates. Enjoy watching a movie under the stars on cemetery grounds - spooky yet romantic, right?

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $10 pp + $5 Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $25 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @callmemochelle

181. Greek Fests 2010

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Opa!! It's time to eat and dance with the Greeks!
The Greek Festivals are coming!! I love watching the live music, Greek dancing & lessons (see my picture below), arts & crafts and (the best part in my opinion) Greek food & desserts (baklava, yum!). In general, these events run all weekend, Friday to Sunday, starting at 5 PM on Fridays and noon on Saturdays and Sundays, while closing up at 10 or 11 PM every night. Click on the links below for details and directions about each one. Admission ranges from FREE to $5 while kids under 12 are free at most festivals. Parking is free at all these locations and some provide free shuttles too.

Greek Fest
Originally uploaded by 365 Cheap Dates

Wow, there's practically one every month through summer. I've updated my Google Calendar, so click HERE if you would like to add these event(s) to yours too:
  • May 21-23: OC Greek Fest in Anaheim, $3 at the door (or FREE with this coupon).
  • June 25-27: Irvine Greek Fest, $3 except free on Saturday Noon-5 PM or print their Facebook coupon for free admission.
  • July 9-11: South Bay Greek Festival in Redondo Beach, $2 but a coupon for free admission will be coming soon.
  • Labor Day Weekend (to be confirmed): Long Beach Greek Fest, $3 but a coupon for free admission may be available later on the website.
  • Sept 10-12: LA Greek Fest, $3 (day) or $5 (evening) but sometimes it's free on Fridays and watch out for a coupon in the future.
  • For a complete list of Greek Festivals between LA and OC, check out GoLosAngeles.com.

I usually get a big group of friends to go (i.e. group date!) and have been to both the LA and South Bay Greek Fests. I may have to check out the others on the list now, but the SB one has been rated the highest on Yelp. According to the UrbanDictionary.com, opa is a word that Greek people use for no apparent reason at all and is used to describe a jubilant emotion of/during celebration. Opa, opa , opa!!!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free - $5 Admission + Food & Drink.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.

Kiss & Tell Date Idea by my Greek Goddess, @CPAsally

Monday, May 17, 2010

180. Fiesta Hermosa 5/29-31

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Arts & crafts, live music, beer garden by the beach.
Fiesta Hermosa is back again! Actually it happens twice per year on the weekends of Memorial Day and Labor Day. So mark your calendar for Sat 5/29 - Mon 5/31, 3 days of fun under the sun (10 AM - 6 PM). I usually go once or twice per year since this is in my old stomping ground, Hermosa Beach. The arts and crafts are always interesting to see. As for the food booths, the freshly roasted corn is my personal fave. If you have kids, the carnival rides (not free) look like fun too.

Fiesta Hermosa
Originally uploaded by 365 Cheap Dates

In my opinion, the best part of the festival is the live music at the 2 stages: Main Stage at Pier Plaza & Strand (family-friendly) and Beer Garden Stage at 11th Street & Beach Drive (21+ up). Click HERE to see the full lineup. Some tables and seating are available, otherwise be prepared to mix and mingle through the crowds. A small open area is available for rocking out in front of the stage in the beer garden (good spot for people watching). Drink tickets are usually $5, good for either beer (5 microbrews on tap) or red and white wines. Admission is free to either stage, but the line at the beer garden can get a bit long at times either due to ID check or overcapacity. In that case, the line does move, so check out the rest of the festival and go back when the line dies down.

Admission to all of this is free, but the food and drink can add up. As usual by the beach, parking is limited here. Knowing that, the City of Hermosa Beach offers complimentary off-site parking AND shuttle buses between 7:30 AM - 7:30 PM. For the environmentally-friendly, FREE valet bike parking is being offered 10 AM - 6:30 PM at 11th Street and The Strand. Click HERE for directions and more festival info. If you miss it this time, Fiesta Hermosa will be back in September.

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

Sunday, May 16, 2010

179. Summer Live Music at Malibu Wines

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Wine + live music = romantic date idea, even a first date idea!
Starting Memorial Weekend, the Summer Live Music is back at the Malibu Wines tasting room! The winery, Malibu Family Wines provides live music for free starting May 28th until October 24th by night (Fri-Sat 7-9 PM) or day (Sat-Sun 1-3 PM). This is definitely something worth checking out at least once in the next 5 months, especially when the weather is perfect for an outdoorsy activity. The property is family-friendly during the day, so the kids and adults can enjoy the mid-day concerts (1-3 PM) on Saturdays and Sundays. After 6 PM, it's adults only for the evening concerts (7-9 PM) on Fridays and Saturdays.

My friend took us here last summer since it's her favorite spot and then we were pleasantly surprised (as you can tell by my photo here) by a live band coming onto stage. There is one requirement for admission: a purchase of at least one bottle of wine by each group. That is unless you catch the wine tastings before it ends at 6 PM, however sharing a bottle is more cost-effective. Invite your friends to share a bottle (or two or three) and make it a group date! Bottles range $14-27, so that could be as cheap as $3.50pp on a double date! As for parking, it's free along Mulholland Highway, but carpool and come early as these events get packed. Bring a picnic and a blanket, otherwise some food is available for purchase there and tables are reserved for minimum purchases.

While you're up in Malibu, make it a full day of fun by combining it with one of these other things to do:
  • Cheap Date Idea #96: The Getty Villa offers free museum admission but reservations are required.
  • Cheap Date Idea #38: Lake Shrine is a beautiful spot for a day date plus it's FREE.
  • Cheap Date Idea #10: Point Dume State Beach is a nice beach with lots of activities, including rock climbing.
Whatever you decide to do, have fun!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $14-27 per bottle.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by Miss W., @stephschneider & Derek @malibufmlywines

Friday, May 14, 2010

178. 18th Annual Seal Day

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If you appreciate sea life and want to support a good cause, come out to the 18th Annual Seal Day on Sunday, May 16th. Enjoy a full day of fun (11 AM - 5 PM), including family-friendly games and activities PLUS live music and a free movie screening of "Sea Lions" (a documentary by a dear friend @RioFilms). The event is only one day, but all year round the Marine Mammal Care Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases seals, while allowing the public to view these creatures of nature anytime for free. It's not a big facility, but it's one with a big heart. Event admission is free but donations are always appreciated. For those who do, you will receive a VIP tour and a raffle ticket for their "Getaway" drawing. Click HERE for details.

If you miss out, this animal shelter is open for free every day 10 AM - 4 PM. Based on Yelp, this organization is rated a 4 out of 5, something worth checking out in San Pedro, especially if you have kids and a heart. One Yelper shared an excellent reason to come back: To witness the release of a seal back into the wild. How cool is that? Better yet, how about volunteer here for a philanthropic date idea! While you're in the neighborhood (less than 1 mile away), double the fun at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for grunion run events (Cheap Date Idea #127) and free tide pool tours (Cheap Date Idea #75).

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea (and adorable photo) by @riofilms

Thursday, May 13, 2010

177. Crepes de Paris

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Ooh la la, a romantic "French" date without the plane ticket!
I've had crepes before and it's not typically a cheap date idea. However, DealPerkOC.com is currently offering a $20 value voucher for 1/2 price at a mere $10. Buy your voucher online now and use anytime until 10/26/10 at Crepes de Paris, so that's plenty of time to plan your date (5+ months to be exact). Although up to 5 may be purchased, only one voucher may be used per visit. There are 4 locations between LA and OC, but this offer is only good for the creperie in Irvine. I just bought mine, so I'll have to post a follow up once I've enjoyed this scrumptious French food!

para dos
Originally uploaded by NicaMom

In case you don't know, there are 2 types: savory and dessert. The more well-known one is the dessert crepe, which is usually covered in a sweet sauce like chocolate or nutella and whip cream. Savory simply means non-sweet, so those are the ones you can have as a meal. For example, there are breakfast crepes with eggs and bacon, or if you fancy meat, get the chicken with the mushrooms and spinach in a nice wine sauce. The menu is not limited to crepes though. The price of crepes ranges at $5-12, while the rest of the menu at $5-8: sandwiches, soup, salad and omelettes. According to reviews, the coffees are worth ordering ordering just to see the art on the frothy foam. Bon appetit!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $10 + Tip.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $20 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @DealPerkOC.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

176. OC Beer Fest

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Unlimited beer of 98 varieties in 3 hours for only $20?!
Like I said on Cheap Date Idea #170, the festival season is upon us. Next up: @DrinkEatPlay is hosting the Orange County Beer Festival on this Saturday, May 15th, 1-4 PM. The OC Beer Fest is not usually a cheap date ($40 regularly), but discount tickets are available online today only at a mere $20! Considering how much you'd spend on drinks within a 3-hour span at a typical bar in LA or OC, this qualifies for a cheap date! Drink unlimited 4-oz pours of 98+ different beers while rocking out to a live 80's band under the sun. Food is optional but available at an additional cost (bbq and various food trucks).

Originally uploaded
by Lockwasher

With mostly sunny and a high of 74°F expected, invite your friends and make it an outdoorsy group date! Parking is only $5, but carpooling is always a good idea, especially since the event location is at Irvine Lake (not the city of Irvine, but rather in Silverado). If you don't have a DD, sober up by enjoying the lakeside by fishing (no license is required) or boating or sunbathing, or check out Irvine Lake website for more ideas. For fun under the sun, don't forget the essentials: sunblock, hat, sun glasses, water and a camera (the last one is optional, but makes it more fun).

Hurry and get your discounted tickets online today via LivingSocial.com. Otherwise, regular tickets are $40 til 5/14 and then it jumps to $60 at the door. For more information, refer to the event website, Yelp review and venue website.

Disclaimer: The photo here is intended for fun only and is not affiliated with the event. Sorry, there will be no special appearance by R2D2's cousin from The Netherlands.

UPDATE 05/13/10: The deal is over now. Wow, 533 passes were purchased. General admission is still available for purchase online until midnight tomorrow (5/14 11:59 PM) and then the price jumps to $60 at the door on the day of the event 5/15.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $20 Per Person + $5 Parking.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $85 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @drinkeattravel

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

175. Haagen-Dazs Scoop Day

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I scream for free ice cream AGAIN!
Haagen-Dazs is celebrating their 50th Anniversary by sharing free ice cream at a participating location near you (click HERE to find one). Enjoy a scoop of one of these 3 original flavors: Chocolate, Coffee or Vanilla in a cake cone ($3.95 Value). So if you missed out on Ben & Jerry's in March (see Cheap Date Idea #135) and Baskin-Robbins last month (see Cheap Date Idea #163), mark your calendar for HD's Free Scoop Day on Tuesday, May 18th, at 4-8 PM. Invite your friends and family and make it a group date!

Sweets for my sweetie!
Originally uploaded by 365 Cheap Dates

I think I'm seeing a trend here... So when's the next free ice (or cheap) ice cream day? I decided to google "National Ice Cream Day" and guess what? It does exist! In 1984, President Ronald Reagen designated July as National Ice Cream Month with the 3rd Sunday as National Ice Cream Day! Factoid on Wikipedia: 90% of the nation's population consumes ice cream. Does Hallmark sell cards for this holiday too? Anyway, stay tuned for future date ideas on National Ice Cream Day on 7/18!

Disclaimer: My photo (see right) is for fun only and does not reflect the actual size of the free scoop by Haagen-Dazs. Thank you for your understanding and sense of humor.

UPDATE 05/12/10: TODAY is Free Flavor Day at Haagen-Dazs too!! In honor of hard-working honey bees, you can get another FREE scoop of any flavor of bee-built ice scream today, May 12th, at 4-8 PM at participating locations. That's double the sweet fun in less than a week. Thanks to @RentFoodBroke for sharing the freebie!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $9 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @DealsDiva

174. Free Dinner with Dave

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Good friends, Good (free) food, Great (free) music.
Dinner with Dave is a 100% free event with a complimentary light dinner at Memphis at the Santora in the Santa Ana Art District AND live music. I heard the food is good here and if it's anything like it's sister bar/restaurant, the nightlife atmosphere at the Manhattan Beach location is pretty cool (there's another one in Costa Mesa). Tomorrow on May 12th, the event kicks off with a DJ at 9 PM, then the live band and dinner start at 10 PM. It is a bit of a late start, but it's F-R-E-E. With that said, arrive early and enjoy a drink at their bar (optional). This is a great group date idea for 21+ (sorry, the restaurant is normally family-friendly, but not for this late-night activity).

The single-course dinner is served buffet style and according to many Yelp reviewers, Memphis at the Santora is yum! One Yelper claims that the freshly made chocolate berry bread pudding is worth the wait (and money). Parking is free here, either on the street or at a parking lot a block away. Free food, no cover AND free parking!

I won't be able to make it tomorrow night, but I'm marking my calendar for every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month (yes, it's bi-monthly!!). I'm not sure when @DinnerwithDave events first started but it's first mentioned on Yelp in 2007. Click HERE to read the Yelp reviews mentioning this event. I can't believe I just learned about it now. Looking forward to this one!

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

173. Free Wine Tasting, Venice

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WTF, did you say FREE wine tasting in Venice Beach?
In general, a wine tasting is a classy date idea, while FREE wine tasting is a classy and cheap date idea! Next Tuesday, May 18th, WTFLA is hosting a complimentary wine tasting on the rooftop of Hotel Erwin in Venice. Enjoy tasting of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Santa Maria wineries (Byron and Cambria). No reservations are required, but due to limited space, it's first come, first serve at 7-9 PM (AKA early birds get the wine). With the sun expected to set by 7:45 PM that day, what can be better than sipping on free wine on a hotel's rooftop lounge with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean at sunset? I think this cheap date idea has kicked it up a notch to romantic cheap date idea!
Originally uploaded by huliana90212

At first glance, I assume that WTF was an acronym for cursing, but in fact the these letters stand for Wine Tasting for Los Angeles. Now that's a brilliant and unforgettable name for an organization! The tasting is just the beginning of summer, so stay tuned for future events on the WTFLA website. As for parking, the hotel offers valet but the parking lots and street parking will be more cost effective (click HERE for map). Enjoy!

UPDATE 05/19/10: Street parking is free in Venice after 6 PM at most spots, so double check the signs. The event was interesting, but the venue was not the best set up for mixing and mingling at the High Rooftop Bar. Make sure to arrive early to WTFLA events so that you don't have to wait in line when it gets to capacity. You get (4) 1-ounce pours, but only one fill at a time so it's best to get back in line for another while enjoying the first one.

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

Saturday, May 8, 2010

172. Free Bowling at Lucky Strike

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Free bowling is a great group date idea!
Lucky Strike at L.A. Live is offering a free game with free shoes on Wednesday, May 12th. All you have to do is show up and say the magic words, "Bangerang Bowling", in honor of the movie, Hook. The alley will be open at 11:30 AM til 1 AM (must be 21+ after 7 PM). Depending on when you go, games are about $6-7 and shoe rental is $5. If Wednesday doesn't work for you, pay for bowling on Monday 5/10 and get a free entree. If free bowling wasn't enticing enough, maybe free food will?

Originally uploaded by arnthora

If those days don't work for you, pick any day during the week! Their Lunch & Bowl special sounds like a pretty good deal too: Pay $7.95 for lunch and get a free game and shoes between 11:30 AM - 4 PM on Mon-Fri. If you prefer drink specials, then Lucky Hour is 4-7 PM daily (yes, including weekends!): $5 well drinks, $3 draft beer, $4 shots, $5 house wine by the glass and various food specials. Check out the website for other specials on Sundays and Tuesdays for 1/2 price bowling. As for parking, L.A. Live parking lot charges $5 for the first 2 hours.

If downtown LA is too far for you, check out these other bowling date ideas:
UPDATE 05/26/10: The next FREE bowling day at Lucky Strike will be June 14th. To get a free game and shoes, the secret code is "The Dude sent me".

Approximate cost of creative date idea = Free.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $22 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @LuckyStrikeLA and @Andres_ocon

Friday, May 7, 2010

171. Rock Climbing Rockreation

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If you are looking for an active date idea, here you go!
In 2001, my boyfriend (now fiance) got me started on rock climbing. At first, I was reluctant but learned this is an excellent sport for exercising and bonding (team building). I actually took lessons at Rockcreation at the Costa Mesa location, so I know that the current offer by Deal Perk is a great cheap date idea: take a 2-hour introductory rock climbing lesson and then practice for 2 weeks with rental equipment included. Buy the voucher now online for only $29 ($60 value!) and use it before Nov 7th. This is not quite a first date idea, but something fun to do with an active partner for 2 weeks. Even if you know how to climb, this is a great deal because a 1-day pass is normally $16! In less than 2 days, you break even.

Rock climbing
Originally uploaded by 365 Cheap Dates

For some sports, you usually need a partner at the same difficulty level, but that's not necessarily true with climbing. Fact: Girls are typically better rock climbers than boys. The reason is that girls use their lower body (legs) while boys tire out their upper body (arms). Once you've mastered indoor rock climbing, you may want to venture outdoors to Point Dume Beach in Malibu (see Cheap Date Idea #10). If you don't want to buy equipment quite yet, REI also offers rentals.

P.S. That's me in the blue shirt climbing on the left of the photo here! It was fun to climb with my brothers and boyfriend.

Approximate cost of creative date idea = $29 per person.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = $120 Total.
Kiss & Tell Date Idea by @DealPerkOC

170. Santa Monica Festival - 5/8

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It's springtime, so the festival season is upon us.
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 8th, will be the 19th Annual Santa Monica Festival at Clover Park off Ocean Park Blvd. There will be 7 hours of nonstop FREE entertainment and activities starting at 11 AM. To highlight a few, you can learn (or watch) ballroom dancing, join the Zumba dance party, listen to live music, participate in hands-on workshops and more (click HERE for the complete schedule). This is a nice day date plus it's family-friendly, but I'm not sure if this event is pet-friendly. UPDATE 05/21/10: Per @LADogEvents, this IS a dog-friendly event!!

Clover Park
Originally uploaded by shishito

Not only is admission free, but parking is too. However, biking to the event is highly encouraged. As such, complimentary bicycle valet is being offered. That service seems to becoming more common but here's the bonus: all bikers can fill out a survey to be entered into a raffle to win a brand new bike! You and your date can roll up on your old bikes and may come away with a shiny new one. According to weather.com, it looks like it will be a perfectly sunny day tomorrow for a bike ride and festival in Santa Monica (63-67 degrees).

UPDATE 05/11/10: Click HERE to view photos of the event by @DrinkEatTravel.

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

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

169. FREE Tuesday Night Cafe

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Support your local artists in Downtown LA!
Yup, it's Tuesday again, which means Tuesday Night Project shares performing art again with the public, such as music, poetry, theatre, comedy improv, dance, karaoke and more. Tuesday Night Cafe (TNC) is a FREE event at 7:30 PM every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month between April and October. Of course, donations are always appreciated! This outdoor performance is usually held at the Aratani Courtyard in Little Tokyo, which is family-friendly and dog-friendly (that's a rare find!). For directions, tonight's line up and updates, click HERE.
Originally uploaded by waxstyles

TNC has been teetering between #1 and #2 spot for Yelp LA Nightlife (click HERE to read Yelp reviews). Either way, this is something worth checking out. Street parking is free after 8 PM. The cheapest paid parking lot is at Joe's on 2nd St between Central and San Pedro. Come early to find parking and grab a seat. Otherwise, bringing your own chair and blanket would be a smart idea to stay comfortable for 2 hours outdoors. No drinks and food are served here, so feel free bring something or stop into Little Tokyo Cafe next door before the show.

If prefer to watch from the comfort of your own home or are out of town, watch the performances LIVE online (yes, streaming live at 7:30 PM PST). If you miss it or simply want to rewatch it, no worries! TNC is on YouTube too! As of this moment, there are at least 16 previous shows at your fingertips. Enjoy!

UPDATE 05/11/10: For ease of reference, the future show dates are: 5/18, 6/1, 6/15, 7/6, 7/20, 8/3, 8/17, 9/7, 9/21, 10/5 and 10/19. Mark your calendars!

UPDATE 05/17/10: Last minute change of venue due to chance of rain: Senor Fish at 7:15p at 422 E 1st St, Los Angeles.

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

Monday, May 3, 2010

168. Tsunami Teppanyaki Dinner

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One of my favorite style of cooking is teppanyaki, a Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. The word is derived from teppan (iron plate) and yaki (grilled, broiled or pan-fried). Besides always being delicious, teppanyaki is like a dinner show (see onion volcano picture on right). The only downer is the price of this all-inclusive meal, which does include soup, veggies and rice.

Teppan Yaki Onion Volcano
Originally uploaded by bitsmart

However, Tsunami Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Huntington Beach makes it an affordable "cheap date" with the following dinner specials on weeknights:
  • Tightwad Tuesday: $13-18 Teppan specials (Regularly $19-23), $3 Coors Light, 1/2 Off Sushi Rolls.
  • Flatbroke Wednesday: 2-for-1 (BOGO) Dining & Teppan.
  • Anniversary Party on May 20th: $9.95 Teppan specials, $2 Coors Light, $5-7 Special Sushi Rolls. Click HERE for details.
Regular entrees are normally $16-28, so it's a great deal at half-off, $8-16 per person (click for menu online here). As much as I love Benihana Restaurant (see Cheap Date Idea #148), you can't beat this BOGO deal for teppan at Tsunami. Parking is free here, but the lot is small. Thankfully, this restaurant offers free valet parking (a tip is always appreciated). It's first come, first serve (no reservations), so come earlier to check in and then enjoy the sunset (around 7:30 pm) at the beach right across the street from the restaurant. You can either walk along the beach or enjoy an easy hike around the Bolsa Chica Wetlands (AKA an ecological reserve, a hidden gem in north Huntington Beach).

UPDATE 05/18/10: I came here for 1/2 off sushi rolls, which are generous in size, so don't order too many at first like I did. There is plenty of teppan dining space, so reservations are not really required, but it will probably be quite busy for the $9.95 teppan. I'm definitely coming back on Thursday!

Approximate cost of creative date idea = As low as $8 pp + Tip + Tax.
Actual value of the cheap date idea = Priceless.