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Dating Guide

Dallas’ Best Free Dates

Sometimes the best things truly are free.
By Elle Carnley |
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Dating is an expensive process, as nights out quickly add up–a dinner here, a concert there. Getting to know someone shouldn’t be a costly process. With a fiscal mindset, we’ve compiled a list of free date ideas for lovers of art, culture, the great outdoors, and cool, local hangouts.

AN ARTISTIC APPROACH

If you’re into art history like me, you could spend hours wandering the long hallways of art museums with your date, waxing poetic on the texture of oil paintings. Or maybe you’d like a more subdued atmosphere for a second date so you can actually hear each other speak. Either way, general admission is free. Pardon my love letter(s) to the DFW arts scene below.

The Dallas Museum of Art’s collection of 24,000 objects spans 7,000 years of history and stands out as the only general art museum in North Texas. Their collection ranges from paintings by Édouard Manet to ancient Inca sculptures. If you prefer fresh air, the large fountain in the museum’s northeast-facing courtyard is a great place to stop while walking around the Arts District with your date. General admission is free, but the museum also offers ticketed performances by authors, dancers, poets and comedians.

The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, famous for its collection of European art, also features international artworks ranging from ancient Egyptian sculptures to Chinese landscape paintings. The museum is small but fresh and inviting, with open spaces and natural light pouring in through skylights. The Kimbell offers free general admission to its permanent collection, but the museum’s rotating special collections are definitely worth the ticket price.

For art lovers looking for something a little different, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art focuses on American art in all media, including photography. From an unparalleled collection of paintings depicting the grit and romance of the Old West to pop art and works by Georgia O’Keefe, the Amon Carter provides something new and exciting for those of us used to collections of European art. To top it all off, the Amon Carter offers free public tours at 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

The Crow Collection of Asian Art features gorgeous galleries designed to house the types of art displayed in each room. Stroll around the Japanese tea garden with your special someone to see the screen paintings and crystal spheres, or marvel at one of the largest collections of green jade stones in the Jade Room. The museum displays works from Southeast Asia, making it an intriguing departure from typical Western art that features a variety of cultures.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

The sprawling 10-acre Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park connects the performance venues of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and stands out as the first public park in the Dallas Arts District. Bring a picnic blanket and have lunch with your date, or go on a walk to learn more about them. A black granite reflecting pool in front of the Winspear Opera House is a popular spot for children of all ages; if you’re looking to recreate a water-soaked love confession scene straight out of The Notebook, this could be just the place.

Lofted over a highway downtown, Klyde Warren Park offers wide open spaces combined with cool, modern sculptures for a sweet place to socialize. Play Frisbee, bring your dog for a walk, or spend a little on the food trucks that frequent the 5.2-acre park. Free ping-pong and foosball are usually available. Warning: You may be joined by pigeons and screaming children playing games in the park, so find a less-populated spot if you can.

Explore the Fort Worth Water Gardens with your loved one. A wonder of architecture and engineering, this urban park’s multiple waterfalls provide a soothing backdrop for courting. If you’d like to avoid the spray, you can stick to scaling the dry concrete terraces scattered throughout the park–the ideal set-up for a clandestine smooch. For the adventurous, a sunken watering hole provides steps surrounded by falling water. You can impress your date by climbing down and navigating the concrete steps (carefully, we hope).

For couples hoping to share a meditative moment with their beau, Thanks-Giving Square is a lovely place to meet downtown at midday. The 3-acre square is a garden, chapel, and museum dedicated to promoting gratitude. The area can also function as a soothing backdrop for a meaningful chat. You can’t miss the chapel’s distinctive white spiral exterior, and the interior features breathtaking stained glass windows ideal for gazing lovingly into your partner’s eyes on your lunch break. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

The Deep Ellum Outdoor Market was inspired by a weekly market in Madrid and features a plethora of local artists, live music, and food trucks. You don’t have to spend a dime to sightsee at this flea market, but maybe you’ll spot an artwork worth splurging on or discover your favorite up-and-coming musician. Check it out every third Saturday of the month between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

ABOUT TOWN

Cosmic Café won D Magazine’s Reader’s Choice two years in a row for its vegetarian cuisine, but the restaurant also offers daily yoga classes and even a meditation room. The classes operate on an optional $5 donation basis, so if you’re not worried about the bad karma you can skip the payment and enjoy a relaxing yoga session with your date.

On Saturdays, you and your date can tour Four Corners Brewing Co. for free with a reservation. (Tours are limited, so be sure to reserve your spot online.) Learn about the award-winning local brewery, the brewing process, and sample their All Day Ales for a free, beer-sipping afternoon date.

Release your inner child at Barcadia, an arcade bar with locations in both Dallas and Fort Worth that offers free play Texas Tuesdays. If the ’80s arcade games aren’t your style, the giant Jenga to five-foot Connect Four might be the perfect friendly competition for you and your date.

Dallas Dating Guide

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