January 25, 2023

25 Cute Date Ideas in Greater Cincinnati You Can Do for $30

A great date in Cincinnati doesn't have to cost a lot. As long as you put time and thought into your date ideas, you can have a fun day or night out in the Queen City without even spending a penny.

From a free mural scavenger hunt to a night under the stars at the Cincinnati Observatory, there are plenty of affordable and fun activities for you and your partner, whether it's your first date or you've been together for decades. Keep scrolling to see some of the ideas we put together that won't cost you more than $30.
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Have a Picnic at Washington Park Before Exploring the Brewing Heritage Trail
Free
Washington Park, with its large greenspace and view of the beautiful Music Hall, offers a great setting to relax and enjoy some pre-packed snacks with your date. And when the weather is nice, the park’s bar, The Porch, opens for business so you can enjoy an after-lunch drink from their variety of beer, wine, seltzer and liquor. And if you want to explore more, hop on the streetcar and head toward Findlay Market where you can start your journey on the city’s Brewing Heritage Trail, which celebrates the city's storied past as a beer-producing capital with a series of guided tours and a free walking trail. The trail stretches about three-fourths of a mile between Findlay Market and Grant Park. You can start at either end; just follow embedded medallions in the sidewalk to discover historic buildings, brewing sites, public art and more. Washington Park: 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine; Brewing Heritage Trail: 1801 Race St. to 73 E. McMillan Ave., Over-the-Rhine.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Have a Picnic at Washington Park Before Exploring the Brewing Heritage Trail

Free
Washington Park, with its large greenspace and view of the beautiful Music Hall, offers a great setting to relax and enjoy some pre-packed snacks with your date. And when the weather is nice, the park’s bar, The Porch, opens for business so you can enjoy an after-lunch drink from their variety of beer, wine, seltzer and liquor. And if you want to explore more, hop on the streetcar and head toward Findlay Market where you can start your journey on the city’s Brewing Heritage Trail, which celebrates the city's storied past as a beer-producing capital with a series of guided tours and a free walking trail. The trail stretches about three-fourths of a mile between Findlay Market and Grant Park. You can start at either end; just follow embedded medallions in the sidewalk to discover historic buildings, brewing sites, public art and more. Washington Park: 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine; Brewing Heritage Trail: 1801 Race St. to 73 E. McMillan Ave., Over-the-Rhine.
Take a Romantic Walk at Smale Riverfront Park and Ride Carol Ann’s Carousel
$2 per person
Nestled between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium, Smale Riverfront Park is dotted with fountains, gardens, an event lawn, a labyrinth, a playground and Carol Ann’s glass-enclosed, year-round carousel. Open select days and hours depending on the season, it features 44 whimsical, Cincinnati-centric creatures for you to ride. If spinning around in circles works up your appetite, Condado Tacos at The Banks nearby has affordable tacos and margaritas. 8 E. Mehring Way, Downtown.
Photo: Jesse Fox

Take a Romantic Walk at Smale Riverfront Park and Ride Carol Ann’s Carousel

$2 per person
Nestled between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium, Smale Riverfront Park is dotted with fountains, gardens, an event lawn, a labyrinth, a playground and Carol Ann’s glass-enclosed, year-round carousel. Open select days and hours depending on the season, it features 44 whimsical, Cincinnati-centric creatures for you to ride. If spinning around in circles works up your appetite, Condado Tacos at The Banks nearby has affordable tacos and margaritas. 8 E. Mehring Way, Downtown.
Spend a Romantic Night Under the Stars at the Cincinnati Observatory
$5-$15
Founded in 1842, the Cincinnati Observatory houses the oldest fully operational telescope in the nation. On many Friday nights — and some Saturday nights — it hosts public viewings where anyone and everyone (who RSVPs) is welcome to come explore the cosmos with a local astronomer. Listen to a presentation and then partake in a guided stargaze with your sweetie through “a 16-foot long wood and brass refractor first used in 1845.” Weather permitting, you’ll see the moon, planets and stars. If it’s cloudy, you’ll get a tour of the cool historical building. And on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, you can also take part in a daytime history tour, which includes the observatory’s two buildings and two main telescopes, as well as a stop at their out-of-this-world gift shop.3489 Observatory Place, Mount Lookout.
Photo: Brittany Thornton

Spend a Romantic Night Under the Stars at the Cincinnati Observatory

$5-$15
Founded in 1842, the Cincinnati Observatory houses the oldest fully operational telescope in the nation. On many Friday nights — and some Saturday nights — it hosts public viewings where anyone and everyone (who RSVPs) is welcome to come explore the cosmos with a local astronomer. Listen to a presentation and then partake in a guided stargaze with your sweetie through “a 16-foot long wood and brass refractor first used in 1845.” Weather permitting, you’ll see the moon, planets and stars. If it’s cloudy, you’ll get a tour of the cool historical building. And on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, you can also take part in a daytime history tour, which includes the observatory’s two buildings and two main telescopes, as well as a stop at their out-of-this-world gift shop.3489 Observatory Place, Mount Lookout.
Try Your Hand at Duckpin Bowling or Pinball at Pins Mechanical Co.
$6 a game
This multi-level OTR entertainment bar features duckpin bowling, vintage pinball machines, ping pong, foosball and a rooftop patio with bocce ball and firepits. Duckpin bowling uses smaller bowling balls (without holes), smaller pins and smaller lanes than traditional bowling alleys. Games are first-come, first-serve and are only $6 per person per game; no special shoes required. If there’s a line for a lane, happy hour runs until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and features $2 off signature cocktails, drafts and wine, so grab a drink while you wait for your name to be called. Giant Jenga is free, pinball games are $1 each and foosball only costs 50 cents a game. 1124 Main St., Over-the-Rhine.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Try Your Hand at Duckpin Bowling or Pinball at Pins Mechanical Co.

$6 a game
This multi-level OTR entertainment bar features duckpin bowling, vintage pinball machines, ping pong, foosball and a rooftop patio with bocce ball and firepits. Duckpin bowling uses smaller bowling balls (without holes), smaller pins and smaller lanes than traditional bowling alleys. Games are first-come, first-serve and are only $6 per person per game; no special shoes required. If there’s a line for a lane, happy hour runs until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and features $2 off signature cocktails, drafts and wine, so grab a drink while you wait for your name to be called. Giant Jenga is free, pinball games are $1 each and foosball only costs 50 cents a game. 1124 Main St., Over-the-Rhine.
Do a Scavenger Hunt of All of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine’s Murals
Free
Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine are covered in free artwork, and the adventurous can go on a journey to find all of it. Download a PDF of downtown and Over-the-Rhine murals at artworkscincinnati.org. 20 E. Central Parkway, Downtown.
Photo: Provided by the Institute for Middle East Understanding

Do a Scavenger Hunt of All of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine’s Murals

Free
Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine are covered in free artwork, and the adventurous can go on a journey to find all of it. Download a PDF of downtown and Over-the-Rhine murals at artworkscincinnati.org. 20 E. Central Parkway, Downtown.
Breakfast at Bowtie Cafe Followed by a Visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum
Bowtie Cafe: Price varies; Cincinnati Art Museum: Free
Bowtie Cafe in Mt. Adams offers affordable and delicious breakfast options, from the bagel (plain, blueberry or everything) with cream cheese or peanut butter for just $3.50 to the quinoa bowl, served with your choice of sausage or bacon, for $8.50. Their coffee and tea menu also has drinks, all of which are $5 or less. Following breakfast, if the weather is nice, you can take a walk up the hill – or take the Art Climb – to the Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park where you can view the museum’s “diverse, encyclopedic art collection” of more than 67,000 works spanning the ancient world to modern times – all for free. Bowtie Cafe, 1101 St. Gregory St., Mt. Adams; Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Walnut Hills.
Photo: Don Ventre

Breakfast at Bowtie Cafe Followed by a Visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum

Bowtie Cafe: Price varies; Cincinnati Art Museum: Free
Bowtie Cafe in Mt. Adams offers affordable and delicious breakfast options, from the bagel (plain, blueberry or everything) with cream cheese or peanut butter for just $3.50 to the quinoa bowl, served with your choice of sausage or bacon, for $8.50. Their coffee and tea menu also has drinks, all of which are $5 or less. Following breakfast, if the weather is nice, you can take a walk up the hill – or take the Art Climb – to the Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park where you can view the museum’s “diverse, encyclopedic art collection” of more than 67,000 works spanning the ancient world to modern times – all for free. Bowtie Cafe, 1101 St. Gregory St., Mt. Adams; Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Walnut Hills.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side at the Krohn Conservatory
$10 per person
Located in historic Eden Park, the Krohn Conservatory is an aluminum-and-glass Art Deco destination (in the shape of an upside-down heart) filled with more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Permanent displays include a rare orchid house, a steamy tropical room, a succulent-filled desert space and a fun walk-through rainforest rock waterfall. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams.
Photo: Stephanie Scarbrough

Take a Walk on the Wild Side at the Krohn Conservatory

$10 per person
Located in historic Eden Park, the Krohn Conservatory is an aluminum-and-glass Art Deco destination (in the shape of an upside-down heart) filled with more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Permanent displays include a rare orchid house, a steamy tropical room, a succulent-filled desert space and a fun walk-through rainforest rock waterfall. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams.
Catch a Free Show at MOTR Pub
Free admission
MOTR has free shows — featuring both local and national artists — DJs or other events almost every night of the week. There is no cover charge for any of these performances. Just simply show up and get ready to rock. 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine.
Photo: facebook.com/MOTR Pub

Catch a Free Show at MOTR Pub

Free admission
MOTR has free shows — featuring both local and national artists — DJs or other events almost every night of the week. There is no cover charge for any of these performances. Just simply show up and get ready to rock. 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine.
Have a ‘Grain to Glass’ Experience at Boone County Distilling Co.
$14 per person
A member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Northern Kentucky B-Line, Boone County Distilling Co. offers you and your date the chance to see what goes into crafting their bourbon and rye whiskeys. The Grain to Glass Tour shows you how grains are ground, cooked, mashed and then double-distilled in a 500-gallon copper pot, nicknamed “The Bear.” Following the tour, you’ll get the chance to sample products. 10601 Toebben Drive, Florence..
Photo: facebook.com/Boone County Distilling Company

Have a ‘Grain to Glass’ Experience at Boone County Distilling Co.

$14 per person
A member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Northern Kentucky B-Line, Boone County Distilling Co. offers you and your date the chance to see what goes into crafting their bourbon and rye whiskeys. The Grain to Glass Tour shows you how grains are ground, cooked, mashed and then double-distilled in a 500-gallon copper pot, nicknamed “The Bear.” Following the tour, you’ll get the chance to sample products. 10601 Toebben Drive, Florence..
Dance Your Hearts Out at Alice
Free to get in
This charming, colorful cocktail lounge is a great place to just “chill + boogie” with your date. Alice hosts discotheques and DJs on Friday and Saturday nights , as well as other unique pop-up events throughout the week. It also stands apart from the other bar options in the area with colorful industrial vibes and clever cocktails like the Smoke and Mirrors (tequila, house sour, lime and pepper tincture) or the Dinner Party (vodka, green tea, ginger, orange, lemon and bitters). 1432 Main St., Over-the-Rhine.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Dance Your Hearts Out at Alice

Free to get in
This charming, colorful cocktail lounge is a great place to just “chill + boogie” with your date. Alice hosts discotheques and DJs on Friday and Saturday nights , as well as other unique pop-up events throughout the week. It also stands apart from the other bar options in the area with colorful industrial vibes and clever cocktails like the Smoke and Mirrors (tequila, house sour, lime and pepper tincture) or the Dinner Party (vodka, green tea, ginger, orange, lemon and bitters). 1432 Main St., Over-the-Rhine.