The Cincinnati Art Museum is always free and open to the public. Nestled in Cincinnati’s gorgeous Eden Park, the art museum is home to almost 70,000 art pieces as well as revolving special exhibits. Stroll through one of the many exhibits during the day, or, for an evening date, check out Art After Dark, which offers after-hours access to the museum once a month.
The Cincinnati Observatory is a surviving observatory built in the 19th century and a favorite of local astronomers and stargazers. On Thursday and Friday evenings, guided stargazing is led by a constellation expert, followed by a look through a telescope. Admission is just $7 on Fridays and a suggested $5 donation on Thursdays.
For inexpensive, high-quality snacks and drinks, check out The Eagle OTR on Vine Street in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Draft beers are available for as little as $3, while appetizers such as pickled country vegetables and brown sugar bacon cost $5-6 and can be split with your date.
The Eagle OTR, 1342 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH, USA + 513 802 5007
Admission is free for all at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center. A visit to CAC makes for a quirky, fun date. The multimedia exhibits here will challenge your idea of what a museum should and can do and lead to great discussions with your companion.
Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. 6th St., Cincinnati, OH, USA + 513 345 8400
Cincinnati has some of the best graffiti around, thanks to ArtWorks, a nonprofit organization that enlists professional local artists and youth apprentices to transform public spaces throughout Cincinnati’s many neighborhoods and nearby suburbs into stunning murals. Take a free self-guided mural tour of Cincinnati’s public art with your date with the help of ArtWorks’ downloadable map.
ArtWorks, 20 E. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH, USA + 513 333 0388
Smale Riverfront Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Cincinnati, and except for parking ($3 for the first hour, daily maximum of $9), it’s entirely free. Some of its many features include a scenic view of the Ohio River, a vintage carousel, lit fountains, a rose garden, a meditative labyrinth trail, and porch-style swings. With many chances to stroll, shop, picnic, and explore, it’s a perfect inexpensive date.
If your date is up for an adventure, you’ll find a day of nature-loving fun within the 113 acres of the California Woods Nature Preserve. Hike together along one of the many trails, visit the nature center, or take in the serene beauty at the butterfly and hummingbird garden. Lick Run Creek runs through the park and is home to a variety of wildlife. Access is free.
California Woods Nature Preserve, Cincinnati OH, USA + 513 357 2604
Sawyer Point Park & Yeatman’s Cove are two riverfront parks that occupy a full mile along the Ohio River. Access is free, and the parks include tennis courts and sand volleyball courts. Folks stop by to look at the massive Serpentine Wall, a wavy flood wall, the Armeleder Memorial Sprayground, and the National Steamboat Monument. Stroll with your date and watch the riverboats, or gaze at the bridges, landscaping, and sculptures, and stop for a bite at one of the many refreshment stands.
Sawyer Point Park, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH, USA + 513 357 2604
An ice cream date makes for a perfect afternoon or evening out without breaking the bank. Hello Honey, located on the hub of Cincinnati’s Vine Street, offers small batches of homemade ice cream in seasonal flavors, as well as unique mainstays such as charcoal black sesame. You can top your $3.25 single scoop or $5 double scoop with toasted marshmallow for an extra dollar.
Hello Honey, 633 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH, USA + 513 977 0300
Want some inexpensive drinks in a stylish setting? Take advantage of the happy hour at Revel Urban Winery, in Cincinnati’s hip Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., wine, draft beer, and cocktails are $5 each. You can pair your drinks with snacks including bread and oil or olives and cheese, also for $5 per plate.
Revel OTR Urban Winery, 111 E. 12th St., Cincinnati, OH, USA + 513 579 9463
For an old-school, romantic date, head out to the Starlite Drive-In Theatre in Amelia, OH, about 17 miles southeast of Cincinnati. For $8.75, adult moviegoers can watch two full-length movies from the comfort of their cars. If you bring food from home, you’ll have to pay a single $5 food permit, but snacks are also available for low prices on-site.
Starlite Drive-In Theatre, 2255 OH-125, Amelia, OH, USA + 513 734 4001