Summer is here and that means shedding those thick, winter parkas and breaking out the shorts and sandals. Some say that summer is also a time for meeting new people and having that quintessential summer romance. First dates can be tricky, and opting for locations that foster conversation is one way of having an enjoyable first date. However, not going broke while trying to impress your partner can prove to be quite the challenge. Here is a list of memorable, and free first dates that are sure to get you several emojis in your after-date texts.
Starting June 4th through September 3, Jazz in the Park is a weekly Jazz concert held every Thursday in Cathedral Square Park. Grab a blanket, pack a simple picnic (No one will shame you for breaking out the PB&J) and relax on the grass to some smooth Jazz. Even if you’re not the biggest Jazz buff, this concert series offers some of Milwaukee’s best people watching. Did I mention it’s free?
“There is something very spiritual about touching the soil,” says Will Allen, an urban farmer and founder of Growing Power. There is several Milwaukee farm locations to choose from, all with varying plants to tend to. After attending a volunteer orientation, you and your date can bond while contributing to a good cause. Remember to dress for the occasion by keeping it casual in an old T-shirt and sneakers for the day. This laid back setting, with something to keep both of your hands busy (besides checking Facebook updates), can spark great conversation between the two of you.
I’m sure you have all heard of Milwaukee Public Museum’s free days, and have maybe even gone on a school trip or two to the museum. When the weather gets soggy, or you’re looking for an adequately air conditioned place to hang out, try out one of the museum’s, “Thank You Thursdays”. Occurring every first Thursday of the month, visitors with local ID can tour the museum at their leisure for no cost.
When you run out of stories to share with your date, start reading those placards in front of the exhibits, or try to guess what genre of 80’s fashion the mannequins and video narrators are still dressed in. Of course, no visit to the museum is complete without a stroll down Old Milwaukee street and visit to the butterfly chamber. Wrap up the date by checking out the eerily accurate dinosaur exhibit, complete with Jurassic Park-esque sound effects.
Need I say more? Located just a few miles away from UWM campus, Bradford Beach is a great way to soak up the sun, and enjoy the company of your date while on a budget. Whether you decide to join in on Ultimate Frisbee, put together a mythical sandcastle, or grab bubble wands and watch the day drift away, the beach is a perfect, “I didn’t really plan this all out” kind of first date.
Milwaukee’s rich history and architecture provides a buffet of urban spelunking locations. You could marvel at the Milwaukee Club on 706 Nth Jefferson Street and browse the mahogany bookcases. If you want to stay outdoors, grab some fresh air and check out Gordon Park’s abandoned bathing house, complete with a winding trail of graffiti art. The Oak Leaf Trail, which cuts through the park, goes on for 118 miles and is worth spending another day walking up and down.
So, if you’re short on cash or just looking to try something new, try out some of these first date ideas. Whether or not they are the catalysts for a new relationship, at least you both walk away having had new experiences.