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Visit Erie Bluffs Gorge 009 October 19 2019 XL v2

7 Fun Date Ideas Around Erie That Won't Break The Bank

Guest blogger - Mara Ashford

Thursday Sep 16th, 2021

Let’s face it- date nights can be draining on the wallet. From the fancy dinners to the expensive bottles of wine-- it adds up fast. But here in Erie, there are plenty of options for a romantic night out that won’t break the bank.  Here are seven cheap and fun ideas for a memorable date night on a budget.

Downtown Erie Sculpture Walk 

Sculpture Walk SpindriftCheck out the new works of art at the Downtown Erie Sculpture Walk. It’s a date night idea sure to impress your significant other, and the best part? It won’t cost a cent. You two can hold hands as you stroll along the Bayfront gazing at the various art composed by artists from across the United States. It doesn’t get any more romantic than that!  The inaugural set of sculptures are on display through August 2023. For a list and map of current sculptures, click here.  (pictured is "Spindrift" at the foot of State Street)

PI Lighthouse 08
Presque Isle Lighthouse

Date night at the Lighthouse

Take in breathtaking views of Lake Erie from the Presque Isle Lighthouse. You and your date can climb the tower to get overwhelming panoramic views while learning about the history of the lighthouse. The house tour and tower climb is just $7. There is no charge to stroll the grounds. While you're at Presque Isle you can also see The North Pier Light, located on the North Pier just past the Coast Guard Station. You can also visit and tour the Erie Land Lighthouse, located in east Erie at the foot of Lighthouse Street.  Hours of operation:

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Land Lighthouse

Sept. 1-12th: Daily from 10 am - 5 pm

Sept. : Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 3 pm

Sept. 13th - 30th: Thursday to Sunday 10 am - 4 pm

Oct. : Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 3 pm

Oct. : Friday to Sunday 10 am - 4 pm

Open first Tuesday of Sept. and Oct. free of charge

Asbury Woods couple
Hiking the boardwalk at Asbury Woods

Take a Hike

Lace up your walking shoes and hit the trails at Asbury Woods Nature Center. With more than 200 acres of trails and gardens, there’s plenty to see as you talk and walk. Pack a blanket and a picnic lunch to unwind after your hike. If you’re taking your pups to walk the trails with you, be on the lookout for ticks and other pests. And pack plenty of bug spray! 

Beer flight pic

The Lake Erie Ale Trail

Breweries are another fun and cheap date night option, and Erie boasts 15 microbreweries located near the shores of Lake Erie. Pick up your date and head out to the Lake Erie Ale Trail where you can sample plenty of craft beers from each brewery and get a glimpse into the beer-making process.   

If you’re more of a wine connoisseur, Lake Erie Wine Country offers 23 wineries and vineyards within 50 miles along the Lake Erie shoreline. Make a day of it and enjoy some tastings of the local favorites.

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Erie Playhouse "A Chorus Line"

Live Theater

Why settle for a movie when you’ve got plenty of live theater options in Erie? Get a balcony seat at the Erie Playhouse for only $17 a ticket. $15 will get you a ticket to All In an Act Theater, or you can splurge on dinner and a show at the Station Dinner Theater for $41 a ticket.

Kellar's Modern Magic & Comedy Club

Share a Laugh

Let loose and laugh on your date night. Comedy clubs rank high among the best date night ideas, and for good reason. Couples have a great time laughing it up with each other, and tickets are affordable. Plus, if it’s a first date, you’ll likely avoid the awkward conversations because you’ll be too busy laughing. Given all the gloom and doom in the news these days, we could all use a good laugh! Check out Kellar’s Magic and Comedy Club for an exciting night out.  

Calamaris Squid Row 2

Brunching in Erie

Sundays are for brunching, and you can meet your date in downtown Erie for cheap breakfast pizza and French toast at Calamari’s Squid Row. Or bike over to the local farmers market and pick up some freshly squeezed orange juice and eggs to cook a romantic brunch together at home. Pick up some herb plants while you’re there so you can start your own garden together. 



Most of us are busy these days, but date nights are important to help couples keep the sizzle in their relationship. And free or affordable date night ideas don’t have to be boring. So, get out and enjoy dating on just a dollar or two.


Mara Ashford lives for adventure. She's traveled to 56 countries (and counting!), climbing every mountain and kayaking every river she found along the way. She shares her passion for the great outdoors with the world through her photos and writing.

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