Cheap Date: Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Central Park in Winter. Photo from Creative Commons Flickr.
Central Park in Winter. Photo from Creative Commons Flickr.


Once a year, this day dedicated to love poses a challenge for people to avoid being cliché or cynical. For college students, there is an added challenge of achieving these feats on a budget. It actually is possible in New York City to celebrate this Valentine’s Day either with friends or with a significant other without breaking the bank.

For Couples:

Between dinner, movies, flowers and chocolate, even simple Valentine’s plans can run steep. Still, there are simple ways to cut costs while still planning a memorable date for your boyfriend or girlfriend. Staying in might seem like the ideal situation by trying to cook dinner and renting a sappy rom-com, but for those looking to go out and do something special for their Valentine, there is a way you can impress him or her on a budget.

Phase 1. Transportation

It is easiest and cheapest to take public transit downtown, rather than driving. The 242nd Street stop is accessible and sufficient to take you on your date.

Total Cost: $10 round trip for two

Phase 2. Central Park

If you can stand the cold, there’s no better place in the city to enjoy all the beauty of winter than a spot familiar to countless love stories, Central Park. While a carriage ride through

the park is steep at $50 plus tip for only a twenty minute ride, it costs nothing to walk through the park, or to take a walking tour, and admire the snow covered grounds. The two available free tours offered daily are the Arts and Architecture Tour and the Movie & TV Sites Tours. For the small expense of just $15 each, you can even choose to rent bikes to ride through the park. You can reserve spots on these tours online on the park’s website.

Total Cost: $0.00

Phase 3. Dinner

Dinner for two alone can set a person back over $100 after food and drinks. Rather than haveing a big, heavy dinner, the Yorkville Creperie on York Avenue is both intimate and casual. The prices may vary, for instance, if you go for dinner or just for dessert and if you plan on drinking (for those who are over 21). With a choice of savory crepes and paninis, entrées run between $10 and $12 dollars, and Fridays between 7 and 10 p.m. there is a live acoustic performance and specials for $5 glasses of wine.

Total Cost (estimate): $50 for two

Phase 4. Ferry Ride

If dinner is over and you and your date are not quite ready for Valentine’s Day to come to an end, you can head towards the Staten Island Ferry. For anyone who has never taken these ferry boats, they run all-night about 25 minute trips each way. As yet another free activity, the Ferry is a great way to sit, relax and enjoy views on the water of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Total Cost: $0.00

Total Cost of Date: $60