As far as bad dates go, I’ve got one that usually trumps all of the others at parties.
I once thought it was a great idea to take a date on a night hike in the mountains near my hometown in Washington state. Long story short, after a detour off the trail, my date ended up in an ambulance with a broken wrist and dislocated elbow. I was the fortunate one as far as injuries go, walking away with only six wasp stings on my face, which made me look like Quasimodo from Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Thankfully, my dates no longer end in hospital trips, but, like hiking, my favorite dates are still cheap and local.
College students aren’t known for having an abundance of extra cash. Lucky for us, effort often goes a lot further than money when it comes to dating.
“Time and effort is definitely more important than money,” said Channing Condie, a freshman elementary education major from St. George. “It shows you care more and can be cute and romantic.”
So, instead of opting for the usual “dinner and movie” date, here are some ideas to boost your cheap and local dating game.
Hike Dixie Rock
-Location: Pioneer Park, Red Hills Parkway
Attend George Streetfest
-Location: First Friday of each month on Main Street
George Streetfest boasts free music from local musicians, artists, street vendors and a dance party. It may be the closest thing St. George has to a nightlife.
Play disc golf
– Location: Mathis Park, 1820 W. Mathis Park Place
If you have frisbees, disc golf is the perfect pair to a picnic at Mathis Park.
Ride the St. George Carousel
-Location: 1 S. 100 W.
-Price: $2 for two rides for two passengers
There’s no shame in feeling like a kid again while going downtown to ride the old-fashioned St. George Carousel.
Watch a play or concert at Dixie State University
Location: Eccles Fine Arts Center
Price: $2 for two DSU students, faculty or staff
DSU drama students are presenting “Moby Dick” from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6 and “The Country Wife” from Feb. 25 to March 5.
-Location: At a fire pit or outside city limits
-Price: $2 for marshmallows
You can’t go wrong with a warm bonfire and marshmallows in the desert. Graham crackers, chocolate bars and hot cocoa are also bonfire-worthy snacks.
Browse the thrift shop for treasures
-Location: Deseret Industries, 2480 Red Cliffs Drive
Sifting through stuffed animals and trying on fashionable clothes from the ‘80s together is a great way to break the ice.
Sing at a karaoke bar
-Location: Jazzy Java Rock’n Roll Grill, 285 N. Bluff St. Karaoke is on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
-Price: Free to sing, $5-10 for a meal
You won’t have many insecurities around your date after belting Adele’s, “Hello,” in front of a full audience.
-Location: St. George Recreation Center, 285 S. 400 E.
-Price: $7 for two, equipment included
Racquetball at the St. George Recreation Center is the ideal date for when the weather is too cold or hot for anything outside.
Visit the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site
Location: 2180 E Riverside Dr.
Price: $12 for two
Housing dinosaur tracks and fossils unique to southern Utah, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site is St. George’s claim to fame for paleontologists and locals alike.
Going on spontaneous runs in the rain, stargazing, and eating a $5 Little Caesars pizza at the park have been some of my most memorable dates, and all of them cost less than an hour’s worth of work. I’m all for the occasional traditional date of a fancy dinner at a restaurant, but those dates rarely stand out to me.
Sam Peterson, a senior business major from St. George, said his favorite dates are the non-traditional kinds like hikes and looking at local petroglyphs “because it gives you time to really connect and learn about each other.”
Dating can be tough — full of disappointments and slightly awkward situations — but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg for a date to be good.