Date night can be expensive, amiright? So we gathered some free date ideas to get you and your date out on the town – without breaking the budget.
Get out of town and head out to the River Bluff or “Bluffs”, a scenic river overlook right off Cherokee Trail. A brief stroll in the woods opens up to a rocky clearing directly above the Tennessee River. Bring a blanket and you and your date can cozy up on the ledge and enjoy the view.
Getting There: Take Cherokee Trail from Alcoa Highway. After you pass the apartment complexes, take a left into the gravel lot directly across from the blue KUB water tower. Then, follow the gravel trail to the River Bluff.
What to Bring: Walking Shoes, Blanket, and Bug Spray
Optional Items: Picnic, Enos, and Sunscreen
Welcome to Dog Lover’s Paradise! Puppy Zone is a haven for people who love puppies, without wanting the responsibility of owning a puppy [#yesplease]. After sanitizing your hands, you and your date will be free to roam about the room visiting the puppies in their cribs. Want to cuddle the fluff ball? Duh; of course you do! Have one of the attendants take the puppy from the crib to the play area for responsibility-free puppy cuddles.
[Note: if your date isn’t a dog lover, seriously consider breaking up with him/her now. The relationship is doomed. We warned you.]
What to Bring: Clothes you don’t mind getting dog hair on
Cost: $0 [Warning: buying your date a puppy will no longer make it a freebie date.]
Head downtown and take a hand-holding stroll to Market Square. You and your date can enjoy seasonal events like Shakespeare on the Square [#tobeornottobe], Movies on the Square, or just cruise ‘n window-shop. When in doubt, the first Friday of every month, aka First Friday, offers food trucks, live entertainment, and vendors; you seriously can’t go wrong!
Getting There: Located between Walnut Street and S. Gay Street. Once you are parked, follow the marked signs directing you to the large pedestrian mall aka Market Square.
What to Bring: Pop-up Chairs for outdoor events
Optional Items: Blanket, Snacks, and Cash for food trucks
The Sunsphere At Sunset
Situated at the heart of World’s Fair Park, the Sunsphere is Knoxville’s most iconic landmark. Built for the 1982 World’s Fair, the Sunsphere is now home to an observation deck, restaurant, and event center. The landmark is open year-round and entry is free. Take your date up to the fourth floor observation deck to tour a brief exhibit about the 1982 World’s Fair, then watch the sunset with 360-degree views of Knoxville. Cue romantic music! Your date is bound to fall in love with either you or the city… hopefully you. Check worldsfairpark.org for seasonal hours.
Getting There: It’s the big gold-plated ball in the sky downtown. Seriously, you can’t miss it.
Optional Items: Binoculars, Picnic for World’s Fair Park
The Knoxville Museum of Art
Get cultured when you and your date head over to Knoxville Museum of Art [KMA]. KMA is home to numerous permanent installations and seasonal exhibitions ranging from oil paintings to larger-than-life sculptures – and admission is free. Crazy, right? Free. Possible downfall: You don’t know anything about art. No problem! Check knoxart.org before your date to read up about the artists and their current exhibitions. Now, conversation can range beyond, “Well, I could have done that.” Yeah, but you didn’t.
Getting There: Located at 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive, across the street from World’s Fair Park.
Optional Items: Picnic lunch in the sculpture garden
Cost: $0 (but donations are accepted and appreciated!)
Do you and your sweetie have a favorite free date? Tell us about it! Tag us with YOUR dates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with #KDUBFree