Romance on a Budget: Inexpensive Date Ideas for Vancouver, B.C.

The Burrard bridge in Granville island
Wan Ru Chen / Getty Images

Dating and romance in Vancouver, British Columbia, do not have to be expensive. There is no rule that says you have to splurge on white tablecloths at a swank ​Vancouver fine dining establishment that might render you penniless.

You can get creative, take advantage of Vancouver's natural beauty, and use this list to help you find the best inexpensive dates ideas in Vancouver.

01 of 05

Nightlife Bargains Out on the Town

Wagyu beef on a hot stone at Hapa Izakaya
Courtesy of Hapa Izakaya

For some, part of the excitement of a date night is getting dressed up and going somewhere impressive like a top Vancouver restaurant with a view or one of the top romantic restaurants.

You can still afford to take your special someone out for a night out on the town, but timing is the difference between affordable and break-the-bank. To impress your date with a high-end restaurant or candlelit romantic nook, schedule time for drinks, appetizers, or dessert only. Have your night planned out such that you have to leave the restaurant to get to a performance. Or, grab a nightcap at a restaurant after you see a show. This way, you save yourself the jumbo tab.

One of the top romantic hotspots in Vancouver is Hapa Izakaya, a Japanese tapas bar with little plates. You can grab appetizers and it can feel like a meal. Because you share the dishes, you and your date will have something to talk about, like your food choices.

  • You can grab bargain tickets—often in the $20-per-person range—to a play or performance.
  • Catch live music—often for under $5 a person—at Vancouver bars and restaurants.
  • See a sexy, seductive burlesque show—entrance tickets are often under $10 per person and some are donation only.
02 of 05

Scenic Vistas, Sunsets, and Flowering Gardens

Queen Elizabeth Park views

TripSavvy / Tanya Nikolic

When it comes to an inexpensive date in Vancouver, use what nature provides for free—scenic vistas and beautiful parks.

03 of 05

Mutual Admiration at the Museum

Vancouver Art Gallery
Chris Cheadle / Getty Images

Every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. the Vancouver Art Gallery is by donation only, so pay what you can, and you and your date can enjoy the 11,000 works of art together.

Afterward, you can stroll through downtown Vancouver, window-shop on Robson Street or on Granville Street to see the contemporary art galleries of Vancouver's unofficial "Gallery Row."

04 of 05

Let History Sweep You Away

vancouver chinatown
Michael Wheatley / Getty Images

Make a plan to visit some of Vancouver's best-loved landmarks and curate your own romantic tour of the land settled 10,000 years ago when the glaciers from the last ice age melted away.

If you and your partner love history, take a walking tour of historic Chinatown.

If finding hidden alleys and popping into unique shops gets you excited, then tour Granville Island.

Visit the Burnaby Museum and Village. Admission is free to this outdoor historic museum. Go back in time and stroll together down the streets of the museum's 1920s-style community. Take a ride on the 1912 fairground carousel and share a scoop from the ice cream parlor.

In good weather, stop in for a visit to Stanley Park for a look at the most visited attraction in all of British Columbia, the First Nations' totem poles.

Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05

Festivals, Ice Skating, and Celebration

Robson Square ice rink, lit up at night.
Ian Cook / Getty Images

Every month Vancouver has festivals, celebrations, and activities like free ice skating in winter at Robson Square from December to February.

And during the summer, you can visit the carnival-like atmosphere of the night markets in Richmond and North Vancouver from May to September for a few dollars per person.

Most events are free. Take a look some of the things you can do, like the Lunar New Year's Parade, which is sometimes in January or sometimes February (depends on the lunar calendar), St. Patricks's Day Celtic Fest in March, and spooky Halloween events in October.

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