We all know that carving out time for bonding as a couple is essential. Luckily, a romantic evening out doesn’t have to break the bank! So put down the remote and step away from the cell phone…if playing hard and saving big are both on your to-do list, these boredom busters are a guaranteed good time for a romantic night out.
#1: Glide in a gondola
As modes of transportation go, what’s more romantic than a gondola? If you want to conjure up visions of Venice on a more modest budget, you can fulfill your starry-eyed dreams of Italy by cruising through the waterways of Scottsdale’s Hyatt Regency. Professional gondoliers will serenade you—in Italian, naturally—as a gorgeous Arizona evening envelops you.
Where? 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale
How much? Free with dinner purchase at Alto Ristorante; otherwise, $10 per person
#2: Birdwatch at a riparian preserve
The beautiful Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is home to over 140 species of birds and other wildlife. If miles of peaceful trails and the gently lapping waves of ponds sound appealing, this is the place for you. You can try your hand at fishing here if you have an urban fishing license, or you can go on several ranger-led walks and programs.
Where? 2757 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert
How much? Free, or fishing at cost of urban fishing license
#3: Spend First Fridays in the garden
The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix is only $5 for a guided tour of its lush, tranquil grounds any other time, but on the first Friday of every month, after hours admission to the gardens is free. If you’d prefer to see its charming lanterns, waterfalls and stone footpaths accompanied by live music, performances and drinks for sale, this is the best time to go.
Where? 1125 N. 3rd Ave. Phoenix
How much? Free on First Fridays; $5 per person any other time
#4: Drive in for some fun
Relive the magic of a simpler time by taking in a movie at the Glendale 9, the Valley’s only drive-in. The West Wind chain combines old school fun and modern technology to make for an experience that’s both state-of-the-art and nostalgic. They show first run movies and often have specials on double features. Pass the popcorn!
Where? 5650 N 55th Avenue, Glendale
How much? General admission is $7.50 per person
#5: See the stars
While the rest of the country is shivering, February and March provide some great opportunities for hiking in the Valley. Not romantic enough? The Maricopa County Parks system offers stargazing programs at parks Valley-wide. Participants can view beautiful constellations and galaxies with the help of Tony and Carole la Conte, professional stargazers. Check out the event calendar at Stargazing for Everyone (linked below) to find a park near you. Bring a chair and snacks and cuddle up for a night under the heavens.
Where? Parks Valley-wide; see schedule at http://www.stargazingforeveryone.com/
How much? Park admission usually runs $6 per car; there is no additional fee for public stargazing programs