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Planning dates in Gainesville doesn’t have to be expensive

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Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 4:36 pm

Let’s face it. You want to date around and play the field because you’re a college student. But, on the other hand, you’re desperate for date ideas and flat broke — because you’re a college student.

College is the perfect time to flex your frugal muscles, and luckily, Gainesville is a great location to help you get your creative juices flowing.

Movies at the local theatre are a dating go-to, but they’re boring and can get expensive. Instead, drop a few dimes and take your date to the Hippodrome, a downtown venue that features plays, musicals and sometimes movies.

Interested in dinner with a beautiful backdrop, but don’t want to pay the five-star restaurant price? Pack up a picnic basket and take your date to dinner under the stars.

Still wanting to plan the best date this side of the moon? Use the telescopes at the UF observatory to gaze upon the galaxy together. The observatory is free and open to the public Friday nights from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For the adventure-seeking couples who want an outdoors-y date, Gainesville offers endless miles of hiking, walking and biking trails. Check out the La Chua Trail and Bolen Bluff trail at Payne’s Prairie to see alligators, bison and wild horses. Or sink into adventure at Devil’s Millhopper and walk the sinkhole trails.

If you and your date are looking for a musically infused night on the town, check out what local bands are playing at The Jam. Often, there is no cover, and sometimes there are open mic nights, so you and your date can get up on stage and let loose.

The Santa Fe Zoo charges only $4 for UF students, and they feature an abundance of mammals, reptiles and birds. This darling day date will leave your significant other swooning over your sensitivity for cute animals.

Lastly, if you’re searching for a relaxing date, a sun tan and are willing to shell out a few dollars to drive, pack up the car and head toward Ginnie Springs to float down the river. It’s a win-win: You get the chance to connect with your date while you bask in the sunshine.

This story originally ran on page 21 on 8/14/2013 under the headline "Planning dates in Gainesville doesn’t have to be expensive"

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