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.
First, we have a few tips for great dates on a budget.
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.
Theaters around Wichita have plans to show classic (and newer) holiday movies this season. Immerse yourself in some festive flicks on the big screen with
Winter Wonderland at Naftzger Park is a FREE event courtesy of Wichita Park & Recreation. This event is crafted to spread holiday joy throughout the
If the two of you like to get out and do something, here are several good and affordable date ideas in and near Wichita.
A distinctly less expensive option than going to a restaurant for 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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
Milkfloat 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…
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.)
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).
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:
Botanica the Wichita Gardens you can visit on Thursdays Nights 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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
We know we have missed lots of great spots. You can email us at email@example.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.