Wander around Altrincham Market
Yes, the food and drink indoors can be a little pricy but there are plenty of options on the outdoors market for grabbing an affordable snack and settling down on a bench to watch the world go by. The bustling atmosphere and interesting stalls make this a great place to wander around while getting to know each other. At weekends there are often musicians playing too. If you time your visit just before the vendors pack up for the day you might even catch some bargains!
Visit the Whitworth
Most of the exhibitions at the Whitworth Gallery are free of charge, making this award-winning art gallery a perfect choice for a cheap date. Spend a few hours wandering around the gallery, impressing your date with your knowledge of art or discussing your favourite pieces. There’s also an outdoor sculpture garden for dry days and a café that offers romantic views over the park if you fancy splashing out on a coffee.
Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Rd, Manchester, +44 161 275 7450
Watch a lunchtime concert at Chetham’s
Love classic music? The students at Chetham’s School of Music often put on free lunchtime concerts while practicing their skills. Check out the school’s website for listings and make sure you book in advance so as not to miss out.
Chetham’s School of Music, Long Millgate, Manchester, +44 161 834 9644
Go for a walk
Hop on a train for a couple of quid and you’ll find yourself out in the countryside with endless possibilities for a romantic walk with your date. Head into the Peaks if you fancy a challenging climb up a steep hill followed by a rewarding pint in a country pub at the end of the day. What better way to test your date’s stamina?
Enjoy pizza at Rudy’s
If you want to go out for a delicious dinner in a hip eatery that is bound to impress, head to Rudy’s for the best pizza in Manchester with surprisingly low prices. All of the pizzas are less than £10 and if you opt for a classic Marinara you’ll even have change for a fiver! Throw in a bottle of wine and you can enjoy a romantic date for £12.50 each!
Rudy’s Pizza, 9 Cotton St, Manchester, +44 7931 162059
Catch a gig
You don’t have to spend a fortune to watch a band in Manchester. Keep your eye on the listings at smaller venues, particularly in the Northern Quarter and southern suburbs like Chorlton and Withington for cheap or even occasionally free gigs. Local and touring bands alike often play gigs where entry is less than £10.
Go for coffee and cake at Ziferblat
Located in the heart of Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter, Ziferblat boasts an unusual concept: rather than paying for what you consume, you pay by the minute. There’s board games piled up on the tables, plenty of sofas for snuggling up on and a fully-stocked kitchen filled with teas, coffees and cake. The pay-for-your-time concept works particularly well if you don’t click with your date and cut it short!
Ziferblat, 23 Edge St, Manchester, +44 161 806 0706
Listen to jazz at Matt & Phred’s
This dark jazz bar is a local favourite haunt, thanks to its cosy ambience, delicious pizza and regular free gigs. Turn up, secure a table and order a couple of drinks while you enjoy the romantic atmosphere. After all, there’s nothing sexier than jazz.
Matt & Phred’s, 64 Tib St, Manchester, +44 161 831 7002
Go for a picnic
If you want to go for a meal with your date but are on a tight budget, why not nip into a local delicatessen (we love Barbakan in Chorlton) and stock up on freshly baked bread, olives, cheese and snacks to take to a local park? Spread out a picnic blanket and enjoy a romantic dinner al fresco without the interruptions of waiters and fellow diners.
Barbakan, 67-71 Manchester Rd, Manchester, +44 161 881 7053
Play ping pong at Twenty Twenty Two
Head into the back room of Twenty Twenty Two to embrace your competitive side with a couple of rounds of ping pong. Most nights it costs £5 per half hour rental of a table, but every Monday it’s free ping pong all night long!
Twenty Twenty Two, 20 Dale St, Manchester, + 44 161 237 9360