Maybe you’re a long-term couple and you’re saving up to buy Hopscotch tickets together. Maybe you’re single, mingling, and don’t want to shell out too much cash on a first Tinder date. Or you’re a student and you want to go out, but you’d also like to, y’know, eat food this month. Any way you slice it, we all want maximum romance at a minima; cost. SoThe Triangle Guide presents the “Cheap Dates” series. Up next, Chapel Hill’s most inexpensive and atmospheric dates. Frugal flirtation, here you come.
Drinks at The Baxter
For a dose of nostalgic, nerdy fun and reasonably priced beer, The Baxter Arcade on North Graham Street in Carrboro makes for a great date.
Whether you appreciate the history of the fifty vintage, all-original arcade games, or just want to try your hand at being a pinball wizard for an evening, Baxter Arcade is a great hangout for aficionados and newbies alike. Enjoy the cheerful pop art and count how many cultural references in the decor you and your date recognize.
With domestics going for $2.50, a 2 a.m. closing time, and an exciting mix of a crowd, The Baxter Arcade is a winning choice for fun, atmosphere, and frugality. Game on!
Ackland Art Museum
If strolling the halls of a museum and learning about your date’s taste in art appeals to you, Ackland Art Museum is a UNC institution with admission going for the best price of all: free. The museum’s permanent collection of 18,000 works offers something for art appreciators of all levels.
Whether you’re delighted by Asian and European masterworks, intrigued by twentieth century and contemporary art, or you just want to Snapchat pictures of ugly Renaissance babies, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Ackland Art Museum.
Ready to dance the night away? Nightlight on East Rosemary Street has you covered.
Housed in an unmissable pink building, Nightlight’s funky feel and well-curated selection of experimental live music and DJs make it a great stop for seeing if your date is really as good a dancer as they say.
Caffè Driade is easy to miss, so keep an eye out for the turn into a gravel driveway off of East Franklin Street. The most magical environs await.
Once you’ve parked, head for the brown, translucent-walled building tucked away in the woods. You’ll find Caffè Driade, a lovely coffee shop with a selection of pastries from local bakeries. String lights and tables cluster around the patios. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into another world.
A cup of brewed coffee here will set you back $1.50, though you can certainly spring for the array of tasty caffeinated beverages. Caffè Driade would make for a great morning coffee date- it opens at 7 a.m. most days-but it would also make for a magical evening rendezvous. Grab a glass of wine, enjoy the fairytale atmosphere, and unwind on a Carolina evening until 10 p.m. weeknights and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Weaver Street Market
A Weaver Street Market picnic is a quintessential Carrboro experience. This coop offers tons of tasty treats, so let your wallet be your guide as you choose something to snack on.
Then, grab a seat at one of the picnic tables out front and people-watch to your heart’s content. Watching the town of Carrboro pop in and out of the yard is one of the greatest pleasures of hanging out in town.