Wichita on the Cheap

Live the Good Life for Less & Never Miss a Deal

Free & Cheap Wichita Date Ideas

Whether you’re single or married, going out on a date can be expensive – especially if you only think in terms of the traditional “dinner and a show” type date night. (Love is grand, but should it really cost a grand to spend some quality time with your sweetie?) What follows are Wichita date ideas that are free and cheap.

Tips for fun, romantic dates on a budget

First, we have a few tips for great dates on a budget.

  1. Not every date needs to happen on a Friday or Saturday night. Mornings and weekday evenings offer amazing opportunities for great, inexpensive, and fun dates.
  2. Mix and match the ideas below and you’ll never have to do the same thing twice!
  3. Eat dinner at home first. Obviously, for a special occasion or a first date, you might want to go to a good date restaurant in Wichita. But couples who are in that comfortable, “openly-broke” stage can skip the big dinner and instead go for dessert, and appetizers at some of the swankiest places for a lot less money.
  4. If you have kids, trade off babysitting with friends! We did this with a group of four couples: Each month, one of the couples would have all the kids over to play together while the other three couples went out for date night. The next time, it would be a different couple’s turn to take the kids. Our kids loved it and looked forward to date night almost as much as we did!

Now for the ideas! Wichita has so much to offer; I’m convinced anyone can have fun and inexpensive dates. Following are activities you could do on a date in Wichita.

Related Articles – More Date Night Ideas: 

Date Night Ideas on a Budget in Wichita 

40 Date Night Ideas for $10 or Under in Wichita

25 At-Home Date Night Ideas 

Inexpensive Date-Night Events in Wichita

Active Dates

If the two of you like to get out and do something, here are several good and affordable date ideas in and near Wichita.

Ideas for date night wichita ks
Dining in Wichita

Restaurant Deals, Happy Hour & Coffee Shop Date Nights in Wichita

A restaurant date night is a classic and romantic way to spend time together, but it can get expensive. Don’t pay full price. Check out our list of Restaurant Specials, Day by Day, in Wichita

Happy hour can be a fun and relaxed way to spend time together. Whether you’re looking for a cozy pub, a trendy cocktail bar, or a casual restaurant with drink specials, there are plenty of options for a Wichita Happy Hour date night.

A lunch date is a great way to enjoy an afternoon or check out a new restaurant without breaking the bank. Here is our list of Lunch specials and Deals. 

Taco-bout at Deal. We have the ultimate list of Taco Tuesdays in Wichita.

Coffee Shops: A distinctly less expensive option than going to a restaurant for a date night is exploring little local coffee shops in Wichita. This is wallet-friendly and endlessly interesting. No two shops and no two cups are the same; you could visit a new one each week, or pick one and keep going back until you’ve tried everything on the menu. Plus, coffee shops are often open all times of day, so they’re perfect no matter what your schedule. Here’s a list of Coffee Shops and the Cheapest Coffee to get you started.

Brewery Date Nights

Wichita now has a host of breweries that provide a great atmosphere and provide a fun date-night experience. On the weekends they often have food and entertainment. If you and your date are over 21, check out Hopping Gnome, Central Standard Brewing Company, Norton’s, The Pour House, Wichita Brewing Company, River City Brewery and others.

Here’s a tip: Sometimes appetizers are really good and large enough for two people to share as a meal. Even with a couple of beers and a tip, the whole bill will probably be around $20-$25. That’s a pretty budget-friendly dinner date. Downside: sharing nachos is kind of familiar, not to mention messy. Maybe better left for couples in that very comfortable stage of the relationship. 🙂

Opera on the Lake at Bradley Fair

Date Night at a Summer Concert

If it’s summer, check out one of the many FREE outdoor concerts. This is a perfect date night. Enjoy great music, a fun atmosphere, and time with the one you love. 

Bradley Fair Jazz Concerts  Held in June every year, these concerts bring in the big names in jazz, like Grady Nichols and Joseph Vincelli. The last concert before the Fourth of July always includes a wonderful fireworks display. It’s hard to believe that these concerts are free.

KEYN/Wichita WaterWalk Summer Concert Series  Just this year, the free KEYN Summer Concert Series moved to the Waterwalk in downtown Wichita, with plenty of parking nearby. These concerts often feature local favorites like the Grateful Not To Be Dead, Rudy Love, and Blue-Eyed Soul. They make for free and fun Friday nights during hot Wichita summers!

Sunset Concert Series at Hartman Arena. This is a summertime free concert in the parking lot. 

Smoke on the Plains BBQ and Music Fest in Derby. This is an annual festival that is a family-friendly event with live music, food, kid’s activities. And admission is FREE. They average about 50 professional BBQ teams from the Midwest.

Romantic places to walk in Wichita

Pretty much every romance movie has a scene in which the couple walks companionably, talking and getting to know each other, unhurried, and looking at the sights. It’s a romantic thing to do on a date, and it’s a great way to get to know each other. Wichita has so many places for a romantic walk! These are just a few of my favorites:

WaterWalk Fountains From spring through fall, the fountains at WaterWalk will come on at certain scheduled times with a show of lights, water, and music. The schedule changes, so you will have to do your homework before planning a date. See the City of Wichita page or the Wichita WaterWalk Facebook page. You can park in the Gander Mountain parking garage, or in the open lot just west of the WaterWalk building.

Swanson Park The entrance to this gorgeous park is off of Maize Road, and that’s where you’ll park your car. The park is open from sunrise to sunset. If you go just before sunset, you may even see some deer.

Sedgwick County Park The whole park is great, but in the summer one of the best places to walk is the delightfully shaded path on the west side of the park, across the covered bridge. Bring your camera for some fun shots! A good place to park is near the park office, approximately halfway between 13th and 21st Streets.

Keeper of the Plains Park in the Exploration Place parking lot (off McLean) or in the lot off Seneca Street. Walk across the pedestrian bridge to the Keeper plaza, or follow the paved sidewalk along the river. Read more about the Keeper of the Plains.

Chisholm Creek Park You can park your car in the Great Plains Nature Center parking lot when it’s open, or at the park entrance, 3228 N. Oliver. Read about Chisholm Creek Park. Pets and bicycles/skateboards are not allowed in the park.

Downtown/Delano/Old Town These are three distinct areas in the middle of Wichita, and each offers a unique walking experience. On a nice day, you could explore the bronze sculptures downtown along Douglas and in the Hyatt/Century II area. Delano has lots of neat shops and restaurants to discover. And Old Town is filled with dining, entertainment, art, and awesome brick walkways and cool old buildings.

For more places to walk in Wichita, including Themed Walking Trails and the Old Town Sculpture Walkabout, see Where to Walk in Wichita.

Cocoa Dolce patio

Sweet places to go on dates: dessert shops in Wichita

Sweets for the sweethearts! Do you or your date have a sweet tooth? Going out for dessert instead of dinner is just as much fun and will save you a lot of money. Try these local places:

Churn and Burn specializes in ice cream and coffee. It’s just south of Kellogg on Oliver Street, and stays open in the evenings. Prices are in the $6 to $8 range per item.

 in Delano serves from-scratch desserts, craft sodas, ice cream and coffee, and direct origin loose-leaf teas. It’s a fun place, and the desserts are incredible. Open hours vary depending on the season, but it looks like they don’t close until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (It’s closed on Sundays.)

Freddy’s Frozen Custard is a national chain now, but it’s first location is still operating near 21st and Tyler in Wichita.

Hurts Donut Fun name, fun donuts, good atmosphere. Relax on a comfy couch or pull up a table and have a Hurts Donut. They have two locations – northwest and northeast Wichita.

Donut Whole is a Wichita original located on East Douglas Street. They have 40+ kinds of donuts made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients. Donut Whole also has live music from time to time.

Cocoa Dolce is dreamy and delicious, and you can actually go to its east side location to sit and have coffee or a glass of wine with gelato, chocolates, or other sweets. It’s very classy. 🙂  They now have a location in New Market Square! Perfect for west-siders looking for Valentine’s Day sweets.

Nifty Nut House isn’t precisely a dessert place, but they do have sweets! I think Alton Brown called it a “national treasure,” so it absolutely needs to be on any list of Wichita date ideas. Maybe it should be in the shopping category instead…

Shopping date in Wichita

Some couples like to shop together, while others can’t think of anything less romantic. But Wichita has some shopping events that will make anyone fall in love with shopping. (To me, they’re less like shopping and more like community gatherings.)

Find a DEAL. Check out a Discount and Outlet Store or a Bin Liquidation Store.

Farmer’s Markets in Wichita often include live entertainment and a huge variety of local food, plants, and wares. If you and your date are up early on Saturday mornings, try the Old Town Farmers Market and/or the Kansas Grown Market at the Sedgwick County Extension Center.

2nd Saturday is a monthly shopping event in Wichita during which local shops have special discounts for people who have a 2nd Saturday shopping bag (available for $8). 

Flea Market and Barn Sale shopping can be fun, if you both enjoy a treasure hunt.  See: Wichita Flea Market or Wichita-area barn sales and flea markets. 

Fireworks at Wichita's Bradley Fair

Wichita-Area Festivals

This idea is close to my heart – one of my first dates with my husband was going to the 4th of July fireworks along the river downtown. That worked out well. 🙂 But even if it isn’t July, you still have options. We have a big list of parades, festivals and annual events throughout the year. And there’s a whole separate list of fall festivals. Most of these events are free or really inexpensive, and are perfect date ideas!

Wichita Attractions

Even if you’ve been to every museum and attraction in town, going with a date makes it a different experience. (Plus, is it really possible that you’ve seen them all?) In Wichita, admission prices to most local attractions are already low – even if you’re paying full price. But if you’re really strapped, check out the list of Local Attractions on the Cheap that’s filled with insider tips on how or when you can get the best deal. Here are few top contenders for date night:

Visit our latest articles on Arts & Culture in Wichita

Botanica the Wichita Gardens you can visit on Thursdays Nights (Summer) and get discounted admission for $5. A Fun Fact: you can bring in your own food and drink. This is a perfect date night spot. Hop on the Carousel and take a ride for $3. Or visit in January or February for just $5.

Wichita Art Museum has WAM Nights on Fridays. They have some kind of cool event, activity, or music and are open until 9 pm. You can also go see the permanent collection for FREE.

Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is in one of the most interesting buildings in Wichita, and has even more interesting exhibits about Wichita and the area inside. Admission is really reasonable and on Sundays it’s FREE

Museum of World Treasures never gets old, because there’s so much to see. On the last Thursday of each month, they have Late Nights and admission is $6. 

City Arts in Old Town Square has a great gallery on the first floor, and always free admission. It’s also close to good entertainment and dining, and is in the center of the action on Final Fridays.

Lake Afton Observatory was almost lost to us when the university couldn’t afford to keep it, but a local group took it over and reopened it. Admission to the observatory was only $8 per adult the last time I checked, and the group will be raising funds to make it even better. What’s more romantic than star-gazing?

Lake Afton Observatory telescope Goddard Kansas
The Arcade Wichita

Games and More

Playing games in a relationship is no fun, but playing games on a date is a different matter! Just in the past year or so, Wichita has added some new game-playing opportunities and some fun sporting events to catch a game. 

Enjoy a night out at Chicken N Pickle. They have FREE game yard games, free Bingo on Sundays, free Trivia on Mondays, Singo (Singing Bingo) on Tuesdays and they offer lots of live music. Find out all the Chicken N Pickle Deals! 

The Arcade downtown is a great date night with games, food, and a bar. If you go on a Tuesday you can play 1/2 price games.  

Take a swing at Top Golf and go on Tuesday for 1/2 price games. 

Another game that’s perfect – because it allows conversation, it’s fun, and it’s inexpensive, is mini-golf. Here we’ve rounded up some spots to play putt-putt in Wichita.

Classes and DIY

Couples with shared interests might really find themselves looking forward to class night. There’s something refreshing about having an instructor show you how to do something rather than having to figure it out yourself. Wichita has plenty of free or inexpensive classes and hands-on workshops for just about any skill. A few good places to check first:

The Wichita Public Library offers talks and how-to workshops on everything from gardening to reducing student loan debt. Try there first.

Home Depot still has free DIY home improvement classes.

EJF Studios has a good, affordable class for learning how to use your DSLR. I highly recommend taking it with a friend so you can practice your photography together between classes.

Wichita Park and Recreation offers adult classes in almost everything you can imagine. Visit Make ICT on Maker Mondays to find out what all they have available if you and your significant other are makers. It’s great!

Wichita basketball fan events

Wichita Sporting Events

If you both love sports, share your love for the game together. Wichita has plenty of sports teams to cheer on, no matter what the season, and they’re usually very affordable. Latest Sports Articles & Deals in Wichita 

Wichita Wind Surge is aminor league baseball team and the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. They play at the Riverfront Stadium in downtown Wichita, KS. Check out the Wichita Wind Surge Daily Deals

Shocker Sports We’ve got college basketball, baseball, and more. Root for the home team!

Wichita Thunder The Thunder hockey team is a fun event. Visit their website to see the schedule

High school sports are another option for going to a game with your date, and high school games can be really fun because of the enthusiasm of the students and parents in the stands. Find a high-schooler in your circle of family and friends or visit your old school for a nostalgic date night out.

Wichita SkyKings Basketball at Koch Arena

Discount Movies and Shows in Wichita

Date-night for many people means going to a show or to a movie, and we do have options here in Wichita for saving money on those. Wichita has great movie theaters, and a movie ticket is only about $10. But by the time you add up snacks, drinks, and the price of two tickets, it gets really expensive. Here are some less expensive but amazingly awesome date-night movie ideas:


Starlite Drive In is an experience that not everyone in the country has, and it’s extremely affordable. And if you can handle staying up really late, you get three movies for the price of one. Here again, you can have dinner while you watch the movie. Concessions are very reasonably priced, so you won’t break the bank. Starlite Drive In Wichita, KS

Tallgrass Film Center. tThe goal of the Emily Bonavia Tallgrass Film Center is to bring the mission to life—providing a space for filmmakers to connect, learn, and showcase films year-round at 120 E. 1st. St. N (Unit 113). This is an ICT Hidden Gem!! Tallgrass Film Center shows movies all year long. 

The Wichita Orpheum has a film series every year that shows popular classics, and a ticket is only $7.

If “theatre” to you means live performances, you’ll expect to pay more for a ticket. But Wichita does have some options that can bring down the price of a show – if you’re flexible.

Music Theatre of Wichita is highly regarded and some say they have the best shows in town. The least expensive option is a balcony seat during a weekend matinee, but there’s a secret way of saving on tickets. Shh! Here it is, from their website: “…[unsold] tickets remaining in the rear orchestra and balcony sections will be sold at the Box Office for half price two hours before curtain (on the day of a performance only).” So, you have to be flexible because if there are no unsold tickets, you and your date won’t get to see the show. But this is a fantastic deal and MTW is awesome for offering it.

CYT of Wichita offers musicals as well, and tickets are very reasonable. These young people put on full song and dance productions of family-friendly shows several times a year. Tickets are usually in the $12-$15 range.

Wichita Community Theatre is affordable and usually offers discount tickets for opening night of each show. This is a good live theatre option for date-night year-round. Current ticket prices are $14 for adults or $12 for seniors, military, and students. The opening night ticket deal is $10.

High School performances might not be the first thing you think about when you want to see a show, but I’ve been to some very good concerts and plays at area high schools. The best way to do this, of course, is to go in support of a teen you know who is involved with the production. Ticket prices can be anywhere from $0 to $12. Truthfully, one of the most entertaining shows I have seen in Wichita was a high school choir adaptation of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. They made it into a musical/variety show, and it was amazing.

College theatre or music productions are another great option for live shows and concerts. These aren’t always less expensive than professional theater around town, but they do usually have really good student discounts, so if you and your date are both attending college, look into this option. (Start with your own school, of course, but don’t forget to check other universities’ performing arts calendars.)

Orpheum Outside
sliced turkey dinner with cranberry sauce

Romantic (but less expensive) Dinner Date Ideas

Sometimes a romantic dinner out really is what you want to do on a date, so here are a few ideas for saving money on dinner dates. As with all the other date-night ideas, flexibility is often the key to saving money. For example, if you can go on a weeknight or a little bit earlier than the usual dinner crowd, you will probably be able to find some great specials. If you do it this way, you might be able go to some of the nicest restaurants in town for “regular restaurant” prices.

Another option is to find good local mom-and-pop restaurants, which can have great food and atmosphere, but a lower price tag. Ask what the specials are and look for menu items like fajitas for two, which are usually budget-friendly but provide plenty of good food. Also, trying different local restaurants is a foodie adventure.

Chain restaurants always seem to be running specials, like Logan’s Roadhouse Meal deal, or Longhorn Steakhouse’s frequent coupons. Before you decide to pull out a coupon or suggest the special, be sure your date is also frugally-minded. (It could either be the beginning of a beautiful friendship or it could be… well, your last date with that person. :)) If you do have a frugal date, be sure to check out the Food & Drink related articles below and keep an eye on the Restaurant Deals section here at Wichita on the Cheap for new deals as they come up.

Make your own fancy dinner. Steak and lobster aren’t really that difficult to cook if you have a grill and just a bit of kitchen know-how. If you’re all thumbs when it comes to cooking, you could buy a high-end frozen entrée (like lasagna; I’m not talking t.v. dinners!) or a rotisserie chicken and add a fresh salad, dinner rolls, and a fancy dessert from the grocery store bakery. What makes this special, and not just an ordinary meal at home, is paying attention to the details. Set a nice table, go all out with the salad (rather than just buying the bagged stuff), and have your favorite music playing. It can be simple, but special. Pro tip: don’t attempt a recipe you’ve never made before; who wants that kind of pressure on date-night???

Have a picnic. Any meal, even a modest lunch of chicken wraps with hummus and fresh celery or carrot sticks, can be romantic when it’s taken as a picnic. As with dinner at home, details are what make it special, so remember to think it through and plan it well. Make sure the location allows you to bring in food; any public park should be okay, but there are other locations in town too (like the zoo)!
  • The Grace Hill Winery in Whitewater has inexpensive wine tastings and free vineyard tours, and they’ll let you bring a picnic and enjoy it on the grounds or in their event center (when it’s free).
  • Sedgwick County Zoo will also let you bring a picnic (but no alcohol, and don’t feed your people food to the zoo animals).
  • Exploration Place has picnic tables on the grounds, and it’s right by the Keeper of the Plains plaza. You could also go inside and purchase a round of mini-golf for around $2. That’s a really inexpensive date activity!

We know we have missed lots of great spots. You can email us at wotcinfo@gamil.com if you would like something added, and we will do our best add to this list. 

Also, check out our huge list of free and inexpensive Wichita Date Ideas.