10 cheap date ideas for Eastern students


Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

1. Go to the “movies”

Today, going to the movies seems to cost a grand, but with some creativity, it’s possible to create your own movie experience. A potential option includes getting food to go from a dining hall or food in a drive-thru and set up a laptop, tablet or phone in your car, dorm or apartment to have an at-home movie theatre experience. If you hook up your phone, tablet or laptop to Eastern’s Wifi, you’ll be able to access Eastern’s movies on demand and stream select movies for free. The only expense from this date idea is the cost of dinner.

2. Viral TikTok “Target challenge” at Dollar Tree or thrift stores

A viral TikTok challenge, the “Target challenge,” that circled social media a few months ago. An affordable alternative is doing this challenge at Dollar Tree or a thrift store rather than Target. The “Target challenge” involves you and a significant other going to a store together and the goal is to buy five items for the other that falls within five categories: 

  1. Favorite drink
  2.  Favorite food 
  3. Favorite color 
  4. Something that reminds you of them 
  5. An everyday item

After paying for each item, you and your significant other reveal each item to the other in each category simultaneously. This is a fun way to buy gifts for each other without the stress of cost or quality since it’s from Dollar Tree or a thrift store. Plus in Charleston, Dollar Tree and Goodwill are both in the West Park Plaza. The only expense on this date is the gifts.

3. Netflix and chill

The classic “Netflix and chill,” there’s also Hulu and chill, Disney+ and chill or Eastern’s movies on demand and chill, but they don’t have the same sound to them. The only expense from this date is a streaming service subscription or it’s free if you use the previously mentioned Eastern movies on demand.

4. Go to free campus events

At Eastern, there are a variety of free events on campus. In the past, there’s been goat yoga and trivia nights, and this month there will be two movie nights for the African American Heritage Month events. There are plenty of events going on that could provide a fun free date.

5. Try reservation dining at Stevo

At Stevenson Tower Dining Center, they have reservation options on Thursday and Friday nights from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Simply call in or register online for a dinner reservation and be served steak, salmon or other foods not typically available. It’s the same cost as a meal swipe and a special date night option.

6. Walk or bike on local trails

Charleston is home to many hiking and biking trails and even Eastern has one. There are trails along Lake Charleston, Fox Ridge and the Panther Trail on the West side of campus. This is a fun cost free date for a couple who enjoy going on walks together.

7. Bowling at the Union

Make use of the bowling lanes at the MLK Jr. Union where you can get a student discount and if it’s yours or your significant other’s birthday, they can get a free game of bowling with their panther card and state ID. Bowling at the Union is an affordable date for Eastern students.

8. Head to the park

Have fun together at the park. There’s a park across the street from Eastern called Morton Park, Lake Charleston has its own park and so does Fox Ridge. There’s also a park nearby the town square called North Park. These parks are free to the public.

9. Have a picnic

With the recent weather, it’s not recommended to have a picnic outside, but having a picnic indoors is possible. Lay down a blanket, maybe set up LED tealight candles and flower petals to be fancy, and have food from you and your significant other’s favorite place to eat. While it takes more time to set up beforehand, this is a sweet date option to try.

10. Go to a show at Doudna or exhibit at Tarble

Another date idea for those who are into the arts is to see a show at Doudna Fine Arts Center or walk through Tarble Art Center to see the current art exhibits in place. It’s free to enter Tarble, and the prices for tickets to shows at Doudna vary depending on the kind of show, but students get a discounted ticket price.


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]