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Free & Cheap Date Night Ideas in Kansas City

Many families enjoy weekly date nights, but in the present economy this is a luxury that can quickly tap "too deeply" into the family budget. This is a list of our favorite free and/or affordable Date Night Ideas in Kansas City.


Best Resources:

  • KC Going Places (Not just for kids… many of the great places in KC make a great date night!)
  • Entertainment Book (use B1G1 Coupons for restaurants, movies, tickets, etc. Watch coupon details as some are only valid at certain times).
  • Facebook (Follow restaurants, museums, and more, for coupons, giveaways, and news of deals. For instance, some restaurants offer great deals on certain days of the week and these are announced on Facebook.)
  • Groupon.com, Restaurant.com, and DealBug.com (Buy coupons for great discounts).

Restaurants:


  • Watch for Coupons: Groupon, Entertainment Book, Deal Bug, etc. Follow faves on Facebook and sign up for their emails for deals.
  • Wine Tasting. Kansas City boasts several local wineries, including Holyfield Winery in Bonner Spring, KS (913.724.9463), Pirtle Winery in Weston, MO (816.640.5728), and Stonehaus Winery in Lee’s Summit, MO (816.554.8800), all offer free tastings (contact them for details). Off the Vine Cellar and Design Wine Store (913.681.7960) offers tastings on Wednesday Nights, but you must RSVP. Wines by Jennifer in Parkville (816.505.9463), hosts tastings frequently. Most wine shops have tastings that are free.
  • Dessert or Appetizers Only. Eat dinner at home, then go out for appetizers or dessert only. See our guide to Frozen Yogurt, Cookies, Pumpkin Treats, and more for ideas. Some of our favorites include the Chocolate Bag at McCormick & Schmick on the Plaza, Amore Chocolate Pizza’s Fondue Bar (located in Town Center), or $1 Sushi at Sushi Gin in Overland Park.
  • Lunch. Lunch is always less expensive than dinner, consider a Saturday afternoon date. You can often find lunch specials too, like Kobe’s all-you-can-eat Sushi for $10 and “Sushi Happy Hour” from 11am-2pm at many local sushi restaurants.

Learn Something New

  • Take a Class together. Community Centers, Parks & Rec Depts., Area Colleges, Cooking Stores, and Libraries all offer classes that are free and/or cheap. See our a guide to Community Education in Kansas City. Some of our favorites have included: Hot Air Balloon Flying Lessons with the Metropolitan Community Colleges. Oil Painting Lessons with Lee’s Summit Parks and Rec., Free ethnic cooking classes through the Mid-Continent Public Libraries. Tours of KC’s Rich and Famous, Investing Workshop and Silversmithing Lessons with UMKC’s Communiversity. Cooking Classes at Williams-Sonoma on the Plaza. You may also discover Dance, Photography, a variety of art classes, and many new hobbies and interests. Prices for classes range from FREE (i.e. Library) to Cheap (i.e. Community Education at the local colleges) to Splurge (i.e. Culinary Center).
  • Go to the Library. And treat it like a Book Store. Browse the shelves and talk about what interests you. Pick a new cookbook, hobby book, travel book, and start a project together. Learn to cook, take up a hobby, plan a trip.

Shows (Movies, Theater, Concerts)

  • FREE Concerts. Watch the KCParent.com Calendar for Free Concerts. There are many offered in the summer, but you’ll discover Christmas Concerts and winter concerts as well. You’ll find Free Concerts at The Legends, Zona Rosa, the Plaza, Jazz Fest at the Power and Light District, some restaurants, the Irish Cultural Center (at Union Station), the Blue Room, and more. Our annual favorites include the Kansas City Symphony’s FREE Concerts at Theatre in the Park on Labor Day and Union Station on Memorial Day. Also, follow KCParent.com on Facebook for your chance to win FREE Tickets.
  • Cheap Movies. The Noland Fashion Square Cinema shows movies for $2/ticket (40 Hwy and Noland. 816.478.2223), and through the holidays the Screenland Crown Center shows Christmas movies for $3/ea. You can enjoy FREE movies on Friday nights at the Hard Bean Café at 801 Main Street in Grandview, Missouri, Saturday Mornings at the Central Library downtown in Kansas City, and some Saturdays at the Kemper Art Gallery (call locations for schedules). In the summer, try a Drive-In or check the list of FREE Summer Movies on KCParent.com (including adult movies).
  • SPLURGE Movies: For a treat, splurge on Olathe AMC Forks and Screens, or the Plaza VIP Room where you enjoy a movie, leather recliners, and food delivered to your seat by servers.
  • Live Theater. Sign up for emails from your favorite local theaters. Many offer advance screenings, discounts, and coupons. Season Tickets can be purchased affordably. For the BEST deals, you can purchase Half Price Tickets on the day of a show at www.tixkc.com. In the summer, enjoy FREE Shakespeare in the Park, affordable Theatre in the Park, College Theater and Community Theater (year-round – see our guide to Kansas City Theaters).
  • Murder Mysteries Sign up for emails for deals. For a fun splurge, consider a murder/mystery dinner theater. (Holiday Tip: Just mention “A Season of Magic” when buying your tickets to The Mystery Train and get $5.00 off a Thursday night performance or $10.00 off a Friday or Saturday night performance.) Kansas City Mystery Theater Reviews
  • Comedy City. Comedy City is live Improv (and it’s clean… no foul language allowed). Tickets are only $12/ea and they offer B1G1 Coupons in the Entertainment Book and via their emails. www.InstantComedy.com

Museums and the Arts


Kansas City Museum

  • FREE Art Galleries. Spend an evening visiting a local art gallery. The following galleries are ALWAYS FREE: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art open till 9pm on Thursday and Friday. See KCParent.com for a Nelson-Atkins Scavenger Hunt. The Nerman Art Gallery is open till 9pm on Friday. The Kemper Museum of Modern Art is open till 9pm on Friday and Saturday. On First Fridays, tour many galleries in the Crossroads.
  • Hard Hat Happy Hour Tours. The Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall is currently under renovation. Read our review of the Hard Hat Tours on the first Thursday of each month for only $5/ea with cocktails and appetizers. This is a great way to learn about Kansas City history and the restoration of an outstanding landmark.
  • Paint Your Own Pottery. See KCGoingPlaces.com for Paint Your Own Pottery listings. Sign up for emails and check calendars at locations for discounts.
  • Museums. Many local museums are free or cheap and make great dates on a Saturday afternoon. The All-Electric House is only $2/ea. Historic sites including Vaile Mansion, Wornall House, Bingham-Waggoner Estate, Truman Home, Liberty Memorial, are all affordable and many offer coupons on their sites. Kansas City Historic Sites
  • Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum. This is an outstanding FREE Tour offered during the day M-F.
  • Poetry Readings, Author Readings, Book Signings. Rainy Day Books (Fairway, KS) hosts readings and signings on a regular basis. See their Calendar for details: Rainy Day Books. Other local bookstores also offer author events. The Plaza Branch of KC Library hosts lectures, readings, and signings for free on a regular basis as well. See their Calendar for details: Kansas City Library

Recreation


  • Go for a Long Walk / Bike Ride / Roller Blade. Pick someplace scenic. The Overland Park Arboretum is FREE, Ironwoods Park, Burr Oak Woods Nature Center (and trails), Leawood City Park, Waterfall Park in Independence, Ernie Miller Nature Center Trails, Antioch Park, Loose Park, Longview Lake, and Kauffman Gardens are some of our favorites. The book, Hiking Kansas City, is an excellent book for inspiration with maps and details for every location.
  • Rock Wall Climbing, Ice Skating, Bowling, Skating, Paintball, Go-Karts, Pedal Boats. See KCGoingPlaces.com for a FULL list. Sign up for emails with your favorites. For instance, AMF Bowling frequently offers 99cent bowling for email subscribers. All of the local Roller Skating rinks offer discount nights… i.e. B&D Skating has 50s Sunday nights – 50cent skate to 50s music. These change seasonally so be sure to call ahead.
  • Sports. Don’t rule out going to the game. Buy the cheap seats or watch for discount nights to attend a Royals Game, T-Bones Game, the Missouri Mavericks, etc. See KCGoingPlaces.com for complete listings.

Seasonal Ideas


  • Go Light Seeing. The Plaza Lights are magical at Christmas. Eat dinner at home and enjoy dessert or appetizers on the Plaza. For a fun Splurge, check out a movie at the VIP Room at the Cinemark.Guide to KC Christmas Lights.
  • Christmas Events. Many holiday events make a great date night! The Overland Park Arboretum Luminary Walk is only $7/ea. First Baptist Church of Raytown puts on their annual Christmas Pageant for FREE (the performance is outstanding, but I don’t recommend it for young children), Historic Home Candlelight Tours (see our guide to an Old-Fashioned Christmas in Kansas City for ideas) are great for the whole family (recommended for older elementary and up), but also great for just a couples’ night out. 
  • Summer, Spring, Autumn - Festivals and Fairs. Kansas City hosts many wonderful festivals throughout the year, and many are ideal for a date night: The Plaza Art Fair, Ethnic Enrichment Festival, Corporate Woods Jazz Festival, Brookside Art Fair,etc. all offer FREE Admission. Another excellent and affordable festival is the Japan Festival held every September at the Johnson County Community College.
  • Warm Months - FREE Fun in the Park: In the summer, there are free concerts, movies, and festivals in KC Parks listed on the KCParent.com Calendar.
  • Farmers’ Markets: Go out on a Saturday morning and shop the local Farmers’ Market.

Day Trips


  • Pick Someplace Quaint for a Mini Daytrip. Parkville, Missouri, just North of the River boasts many great restaurants. In the Spring, you can rent vintage bicycles for a ride along the river at Back in the Day Bike Rental (816.679.1101). Weston, Missouri, offers antique shops, fun restaurants like O’Malley’s Irish Pub, and festivals through the year. See KCParent.com for more Day Trips.

Misc


  • Mall Scavenger Hunt. How to host a Mall Scavenger Hunt
  • Do what NEEDS to be done. Buy the kids’ Christmas Gifts (stocking stuffer shopping is one of our favorite dates), Buy Groceries (it’s a treat to be without kids and you can talk), run errands together.
  • Harley Davidson Factory. This is a weekday/day time idea that works if your husband has a day off (i.e. government holidays). Enjoy this FREE Tour (M-F 9am-1:30pm). Details here.
  • Home Tours (Fall and Spring). Look at homes for sale and day dream… even if you don’t plan to move, you may get decorating ideas!

Home Dates:


  • Cook Together. Try a new recipe that requires more effort… i.e. sushi or flambé.
  • Do Projects Together. Make something for your children (i.e. assembling Christmas or Birthday gifts). Paint a room together.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles & Games. Backgammon, chess, checkers, Wii, etc.
  • Picnic on the Floor: Plan a picnic and pull out a blanket on the living room floor in front of the fireplace. For a treat, buy favorite foods (i.e. Brie and Bagette) 
  • Rent/Borrow a Movie. Redbox, Netflix, the Library (FREE), Borrow from friends. 
  • Double Date… at home. Do you have couple friends? One couple hosts the “double date” at their house with food and games (Scattergories, Rummi-Kub, Cranium), the other hosts the kids with the sitter (split the cost).
  • Read Together. We like to read Mysteries together and try to solve them.
  • Taste Test Food. Buy samples of foods at Whole Foods (i.e. olives and cheese) or a local ethnic grocery and taste a little of each food and compare notes to discover new faves.

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