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Photograph: World Red Eye/Jon ThalerPAMM

Cheap date ideas in Miami

From outdoor flicks to free salsa lessons, we’ve got the best dirt-cheap date ideas for cash-strapped city dwellers

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil

It’s easy to break the bank on date night (especially in this city). If you subscribe to the notion that money can’t buy you love but it can always make for a good time, perhaps you need to get more creative. Heed our advice for cheap date ideas in Miami and have a blast for less that what you’d spend on a single crab claw at Joe’s. Craft beer, cool attractions and museum nights await.

Cheap date ideas in Miami

Sauce and salsa
Photograph: Gil Bitton

1. Sauce and salsa

If your date’s got killer moves, but your dance skills are subpar at best, head to Ball & Chain on Thursday nights. Beginning at 8:30pm, a rotating team of pros leads gratis salsa lessons. You’ll probably need some liquid courage to get you started, which is why stopping in during happy hour (4–7pm) for half-priced drinks, such as The Jam Session (gin and house-made guava jam), is a good idea. After all that vigorous activity, carb up at Perricone’s Marketplace & Café, the popular Brickell Italian restaurant that serves discounted $10 pasta dishes on Thursdays. We’re fans of the fettuccine pasta with sliced filet mignon. 

Morning stretch

2. Morning stretch

Before either one of you faces the light of day in last night’s outfit, consider slipping into some athleisurewear for a morning yoga session at the Mondrian South Beach. Every Sunday at 10am, the hotel’s bayfront pool deck transforms into an alfresco studio, offering a free class taught by one of Green Monkey Yoga’s talented instructors. Afterward, head to La Savina for a prix-fixe breakfast ($15) with a choice of eggs and avocado toast or granola with fresh fruit, plus unlimited coffee. Valet parking is $15 with validation. 

Bikes and brews
Photograph: Courtesy Coyo Taco

3. Bikes and brews

There’s a lot of ground to cover in Wynwood—especially if you plan to take in some of the neighborhood’s incredible street art—so think twice about attempting it on foot. Instead, join Ryan the Wheelbarrow’s free 90-minute mural tours, departing from Panther Coffee every Sunday at 4pm (305-799-3166). You’ll need to BYO bike and helmet, and we suggest arriving early (or rent a Citi Bike; members get the first 30 minutes free). Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Coyo Taco (2300 NW 2nd Ave, 305-573-8228) for freshly made guac and nontraditional tacos, like quinoa or crispy duck, followed by craft brews at Wynwood Brewing Company

Alfresco films and frolicking
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/

4. Alfresco films and frolicking

Cozy up under a blanket for the SoundScape Cinema Series in the park. Every Wednesday and Thursday, free movies are screened on the Miami Beach SoundScape ExoStage adjacent to the New World Center. Movies begin at 8pm (rain or shine), and titles range from black-and-white classics to recent Oscar winners (text MBFILM to 91011 for weekly updates). In lieu of a traditional picnic, make a DIY basket filled with classic chicken and pork tacos (2 for $5) from nearby Bodega Taqueria and Tequila and macarons from famed Parisian bakery Maison Ladurée (1118 Lincoln Rd, 786-275-6621), both within walking distance of the park. For a post-movie nightcap, head to Rose Bar at the Delano for Timeless Thursdays (9–11pm), a rousing jazz-themed party with live music by Miami’s The French Horn and $10 throwback cocktails (old fashioneds, side cars).

Retro game night
Photograph: Courtesy the Raleigh

5. Retro game night

Show off your competitive side during games of corn hole, ping-pong and giant Jenga at Buck’s Beer Garden (1775 Collins Ave), happening every third Thursday of the month around The Raleigh pool and backyard Oasis. You’ll have access to fire pits, DIY s’mores kits, drinks from a monthly rotating list of local craft breweries ($5), and burgers and sausages—all priced under $10. 

Late-night flicks
Photograph: Paul Perdomo

6. Late-night flicks

Elevate the typical dinner-and-a-movie date with cocktails and an art-house film. On Saturday nights at 11:30pm, Coral Gables Cinema together with the Secret Celluloid Society present $5 movies, featuring cult favorites such as Saturday Night Fever and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Popcorn is included—but we understand if you’d rather fill up elsewhere beforehand. Once the credits roll, head to neighboring Bulla Gastrobar (2500 Ponce de Leon Blvd, 305-441-0107) for a Spanish margarita made with sherry. Settle in at the downstairs bar and order a refreshing glass ($12)... or two.

House hunting
Photograph: Courtesy Coral Gables Museum

7. House hunting

Pay a visit to the Coral Gables Museum ($7), a charming institution situated right in the center of downtown Coral Gables, and learn about the city’s visionary founder, George Merrick. Tales of the storied real estate developer are presented where the Coral Gables Police and Fire Station jail once stood, complete with the original coral rock. Afterward, set off to scout the quirky villages he erected throughout the county, including the French Normandy Village and the Dutch South African Village, landmark homes that remain just as they were at the turn of the 20th century.

Social studies
Photograph: World Red Eye/Jon Thaler

8. Social studies

Every third Thursday of the month, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) becomes more than a venue for highbrow conversations with its Poplife Social (admission is $16). Bring a date to dance, drink and explore various creative projects and exhibits. From 6–9pm, you’ll find live DJ sets; themed food specials from Stephen Starr’s onsite restaurant, Verde; craft beer and specialty cocktails; and a social media scavenger hunt that leads players throughout museum. For more after-hours fun, move the party down the street to the Rooftop at E11EVEN for more late-night carousing. 

Excess on the Cheap
Photograph: Courtesy Kone

9. Excess on the Cheap

Start your night at Kone (247 SE 1st St, 305-373-7622), a Japanese-Brazilian fusion restaurant in downtown Miami with a can’t-miss, all-you-can-eat-sushi special on Tuesday nights ($28.95 for gentlemen, $20 for ladies). The dragon roll stuffed with crispy shrimp tempura is a favorite. Take it easy on the sugary sake caipirinhas, though. 

Able to splurge a bit more?

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