12 Inexpensive Winter Date Ideas (That Don’t Seem Cheap)

No matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or another tradition, the holiday season is here, which means winter-oriented dating activities.

Plus, since it gets dark so early now, romantic settings pop up everywhere—from twinkling Christmas lights to a walk in the falling snow. Below, I came up with some of my favorite things to do during the coldest months of the year.

1. Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Chances are, there is a Christmas tree lighting in your town or city. I tend to get obsessed with these and even go to ones in neighboring cities. Who doesn’t want to go see a tree lit up and carolers singing and getting us all in the holiday spirit?

macys christmas tree photo
Photo by Ingrid Taylar

2. Holiday Music Concerts

I dare you to not find a music hall or church that’s performing musical concerts for most of December. I’ve seen them impromptu everywhere from in Los Angeles to New York City. The music is bound to warm your spirit and give you and your date a lot to discuss afterwards.

holiday concert photo
Photo by stevendepolo

3. Viewing Holiday Decorations

Going to see holiday decorations is also a great date activity—either shop windows or neighborhoods, like a Candy Cane Lane near you. I happen to be in Chicago now, seeing family, and there’s endless beautiful window displays downtown and houses all primped for viewing.

tree lighting photo

4. A View From The Top

Related to #3, this idea is similar, but encourages you to get up high, to a hotel or high-rise restaurant where you can look down and see the sea of colorful holiday lights. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that. You can also have a drink while you’re at it, but many places don’t force you to. You can always go home and make your own festive drinks there. (See #9.)

holiday lights city photo
Photo by Tony Webster

5. Ice Skating

Who doesn’t like ice skating? Even if you’re bad at it, that’s what your date is for, right? To catch you when—I mean, if —you fall. Plus, it’s a no-brainer way to hold someone’s hand, especially if it’s one of your first dates.

ice skating photo
Photo by fsse8info

6. Sledding

It’s snowing in much of the country right now, so why not use that snow for good and go sledding? It’ll get your adrenaline going, and give you and your date an excuse to go find a place to get warm afterwards. (See #9 and #10).

sledding photo
Photo by OakleyOriginals

7. A Walk In The Snow

Walking may seem old-fashioned as far as a date activity is concerned, but I think it’s a great way to really get to know someone (Just make sure you have a warm pair of boots!)

You won’t have any distractions—except maybe for some romantic snow lightly falling—and burn off some holiday calories at the same time. Also, walking will make you want to go have a warm meal or drink when you’re done. (See #9 and #10.)

snow path photo
Photo by Rubber Dragon

8. Play In The Snow

Yes, have a snowball fight or make snow angels. Not only are these youthful activities fun, but they’ll encourage you to warm up together when you’re done. Perhaps you can go indoors and make some hot, fun drinks and food. (See #9 and #10.)

snow angels photo
Photo by Saskia Heijltjes

9. Cocktail, Anyone?

Stay in and make festive holiday drinks, like hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps (you’ll never want a plain hot chocolate again!), an eggnog cocktail (which contains bourbon and spiced rum), a hot toddy, or mulled wine (which you can even make in your slow cooker).

hot toddy photo
Photo by AmateurArtGuy

10. Make Dinner Together

Many (or all) of the above will give you an appetite, so while you’re out and about, why not throw together a hearty meal in your Crock-Pot? Here are some ideas to get you going.

crock pot dinner photo
Photo by paulswansen

11. Color Together

Coloring is all the rage lately, so after dinner and drinks, bring out those holiday-themed coloring books and have a coloring contest. Maybe it’ll inspire you to make and color Christmas cards for people, too.

coloring book photo
Photo by Jenn Durfey

12. Play A Game Of Scrabble

Play Scrabble or some other game which requires brainpower. You can see how clever your date is, or create a Scrabble-esque game where you can only make words with a holiday theme.

scrabble photo
Photo by martinak15

When all else fails, you can turn on Netflix, but I suggest trying the above first. For more indoor date ideas when it is too cold to go out, check out this link.