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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

With the Fall semester now in full swing, plenty of students are hitting the town and meeting new people. New relationships are in the making, and with new relationships come lots of dating. Unfortunately for us broke college students, lavish, expensive dates aren’t really an option. The bright side is there’s a plethora of things to do in Gainesville that are cheap — or even free. With that being said, here’s five of the best first-date ideas for any student looking to impress that special someone.

Union Street Farmers Market

The Union Street Farmers Market, located at 111 E. University Ave., is much more than a place to buy locally grown produce. Held at the newly renovated Bo Diddley Plaza in downtown Gainesville every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., it’s also a great place for a casual date. Each week there are various food trucks, juice vendors and even live music to listen to while eating an early dinner in the grassy square. With so much to do and see, you and your date can keep the pressure low, have a good time and get a meal on a budget.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Definitely on the more romantic side, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, located at 4700 SW 58th Drive, offers a beautiful date spot for those that want to get more in touch with nature. For just $8 each, you and your date can walk through more than a mile of various gardens featuring ginger, bamboo, hummingbirds and more. The garden also features two picnic areas for guests to enjoy meals while appreciating the great outdoors.

Free Fridays Concert Series in Bo Diddley Plaza

Although by day it may be a casual spot to buy food, Bo Diddley Plaza, located at 111 E. University Ave., comes alive every Friday night with its Free Fridays Concert Series. Running through Oct. 21, this completely free event brings bands from Gainesville and throughout Florida to perform from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is another cheap date spot for students on a budget. Plus, what brings people together better than good music?

Butterfly Rainforest

The Butterfly Rainforest, located at 3215 Hull Road, is another great place for those that want to experience the outdoors. Plus, it’s the perfect spot for those who don’t have a car, as it’s right on UF’s campus. Located at the Florida Museum of Natural History, UF students can walk through the outdoor exhibit for free with their Gator 1 Cards, and non-UF students can tour the rainforest for $11 each. You and your date can see some stunning creatures from all around the world and explore many of the other exhibits the museum offers.

Downtown Wine and Cheese

What could be more romantic than wine and cheese? For students 21 and older, Downtown Wine and Cheese, located at 113 N. Main St., is the perfect spot to grab some food and drink. After closing for a short time in 2015, this shop and restaurant has reopened and offers happy hours, wine tastings, brunch and more. Plus, the place has a patio in the back where guests can enjoy food and even visit with the restaurant’s cat, 8-Ball. It’s a cozy place to get close with someone special.

Whether you want to keep it light or go on a more romantic date, there’s something for everyone here in Gainesville, even if you’re on a budget. Hopefully these five spots bring you and your date a little closer without giving your wallets too hard of a hit.

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