3 dates on a dime in Dayton

The Dayton Art Institute asks for an $8 donation to walk through but won’t turn someone away that can’t pay. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Let me be perfectly honest, I’m a bargain shopper. Yeah, I hate spending money so sue me. Well… don’t do that.

I love what I get from spending money, but I hate doing it. With that said, dating can sometimes be hard. It is hard in the sense that I have to use the Jaws of Life to open my wallet to extract that silver-coated credit card to pay for a fabulous evening. That is why I have put together this simple guide to help you and your significant other make some memories without breaking your bank.  (SIDE NOTE: To my girlfriend Heidi… expect to be whisked away on our next few dates to these destinations.)

Dime Date #1 – Sugarcreek Reserve

We have some pretty amazing parks within the Five Rivers MetroParks system, and I have to say Sugarcreek Reserve is my favorite. When you enter the park you are beginning your own adventure for the day. Pick any color trail and start exploring. From the Planted Prairie to the Three (well, it's now two since one fell over) Sisters, you are bound to get lots of exercise and see many amazing features. I would suggest doing this Dime Date in the fall to truly experience the colors of the trees and ultimate hand-holding to keep warm on that cool, crisp Saturday morning in autumn. PRO TIP:  The Osage Orange Tunnel is the best place for that perfect Instagram picture or even that first kiss ;)

Dime Date #2 – The Dayton Art Institute

The DAI is one of my all-time favorite places in Dayton. Not only do you get to see masterpieces from all over the world within different time periods, but it is FREE to get in!  Let me repeat that, its FREEEEEEEE! Why don’t more people take advantage of this amazing Dayton staple? A fun game that you can play is DAI Storytelling (trademark, patent pending on that name. I need me some royalties please). I like to go up to any painting and create my own back story to what I see and also guess where and when the painting might have been completed. Sometimes the stories get a bit intense so be prepared. Then read the card next to the painting to hear the REAL story about it.

Dime Date #3 – Oregon District Seek & Find (Must be 21+)

For those who may not frequent the OD that often, this is the perfect time to take a date out and create another amazing adventure. This one is pretty easy, too. Get a list of items that you need to find in the Oregon District and take a photo. Try to keep it to nine items. Once you get your pictures, filter them like there is no tomorrow. I suggest the app Snapseed (it's free and super easy to use). Take each photo and lay them side by side and see who captured that item the best. The loser buys Pizza at Oregon Express. Here is a good starting list for you and your date:

  1. A speaker from Blind Bob’s
  2. The “Drinks” sign from Lily’s Bistro
  3. The “Lucky’s Mirror” from Lucky’s Taproom
  4. A skull from Clash
  5. The shuffleboard at Toxic
  6. The “Bubble Wall” at Salar
  7. Any “Artifact” from the Exotic Fantasies shop
  8. The view from the “Bird’s Nest” Table on Trolley’s patio
  9. Corner Kitchen’s newly installed “Art Wall”

So these are my Dayton Dime Dates. Did I miss one? Let me know your favorite cheap date spot!

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