This article, 102 Things to Do on a Money-Free Weekend, inspired me to share our Date Jar.
Our Date Jar doesn’t have everything in it like this list does. I guess I could also include Reorganizing The Garage on here, which might be relaxing to some, but since I’m dreadfully allergic to dust it’d be more like, “Reorganizing The Garage while Suffering Heart Palpitations from Sudafed Overdose.”
Date Jar is something we brainstormed one day, and as you can see it has price points of all kinds. So we have stuff in there from “hiking” to “weekend in Seattle.”
I thought I’d share some $25 and under ideas from my jar, because saving money is never a bad thing. These are region-specific, but you should look for similar goings-on around you.
- Improv theatre groups: in San Diego, our favorite long-form improv shows are at Sidestage Improv. There’s a regular troupe, and they also host acts from around San Diego and LA. Tickets are only $10.
- TwainFest is a family-friendly free festival at Old Town, on August 25 this year. Our kids had a blast pretending to cast votes (and ultimately getting denied because of the 1800s voting rules!) and gawking at the giant papier mache Mark Twain heads.
- Art nights: Ray at Night and Liberty Station both have these once a month. Of course, you might want to buy some food from vendors or some jewelry or art, but there’s no admission fee. San Diego Ballet also offers free mini-shows sometimes at the Liberty Station event (first Friday). Little Italy has a quarterly night event.
- Culture and cocktails at the SD Art Museum: A quarterly event with booze, a DJ, and of course art, this is free for members (not the Explorer pass members, but SD Museum of Art members) or $20 presale or $20 at the door. If you’re single, I hear it’s a great way of meeting new people (don’t ask how I know. I have my ways).
- While we’re at it, the SD Museum of Art also hosts lectures on its special exhibits. These cost from $8-$12.
- In fact, if you’re interested in the visual arts, you should visit the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s website to see what programs they offer, like this free lecture.
- Attend an author talk at Warwick’s or Barnes and Noble. Do you have to buy the book? Not technically, usually. But you should, and it’ll run from about $16 for a paperback to around $27 for a hardback (okay, that’s $2 over). But totally worth it.
- Go to a library sale with your sweetie. Our local branches hold these monthly, on a Saturday morning. Personally I love taking Cadillac to these because he carries my haul for me.
DimeStories is a super duper awesome monthly event. Held at SD Writers Ink in Liberty Station on the second Friday of every month, you can either listen to 3-minute long stories (for FREE!) or pay $5 and read your own.
- Theatre: for $25? Skeptical? You have to do some searching. Check out Goldstar for comp or deeply discounted tickets– many productions offer these on preview nights. Goldstar has a $5.75 per ticket fee, so your total cost for two comp tickets will be $11.50 (look, Ma, I’m doing math!). Also check out your local community colleges’ theater departments for their productions.
- Hiking. Mission Trails (not Cowles Mountain, way too crowded) is our favorite because it’s close to us, but there are lots in the county. Start here for a list. To make it a real date, pack a picnic, a blanket, and a bottle of wine.
- Mountain Biking. Mission Trails is a popular, easily accessible course.
- Bike a paved path. Do Lake Murray or the Boardwalk at Mission Beach and stop at Starbucks (Lake Murray) or get an ice cream cone after.
- Kayaking Mission Bay or to the La Jolla caves. Last year we bought a 2-person kayak and it’s seen good use. If you don’t have a kayak or paddleboard or surfboard, you can rent one or borrow one.
- Archery range at Balboa Park. $2 donation.
- Disc golfing at Morley Field. $4 on weekends. They rent discs for $1.50.
- Walk the Zoo or Safari Park. We get the annual membership, but hardly ever go without the kids. Sans kids, these places are totally different– we like to observe animals for a long time. You could also bring a camera or a sketchbook and try your hand at making some art.
- Drive. You’ve seen the signs for years. Finally do that 59 mile Scenic Tour.
- Snorkel. once you have the equipment, you can use it over and over again. La Jolla Cove is probably the best place in the area to see some fish.