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Date Night: Five places around Grand Rapids for college couples on a budget


Shelby Corliss
A&E Editor

shelby corliss

As college students, it can be tough to find not only the time, but the money to date. Dating can leave you in a crunch for money and good ideas. However, living in Grand Rapids might help you with your dating life a little more than you thought. Around the city, there are many fun and inexpensive attractions right in front of you that chances are you overlook when thinking about where to take a date. Here are five date ideas to keep in mind next time you and date are looking for something to do.

John Ball Zoo

John Ball ZooThe zoo is a great place to take a date. It’s a fun atmosphere filled with many different species. Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! The zoo offers quite the experience. With over 2,000 animals, an aquarium, reptile exhibit, various zoo attractions, and a gift shop, why not bring out the kid in you again?

Cost: FREE with Raider Card and $5 regularly

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week through November 3

Address: 1300 W Fulton St, Grand Rapids, MI, 49504

Phone Number: (616) 336-4301

museumGrand Rapids Public Museum

This three-story museum brings together history, artifacts, stories and many awesome exhibits allowing people to explore and understand history starting back in the 1800’s. From a working 1928 carousel to an authentic streetcar from the 1890s, there’s a lot to see. There is a planetarium along with other temporary exhibits including the special “Dinosaurs Unearthed” that exhibit begins Oct. 26 with realistic dinosaurs being the stars of the show. ($12 entry fee) It’s a great place to hang-out and learn along with the person you’re on a date with.

Cost: FREE with Raider Card and $3 with any other student I.D.

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5p.m. on Monday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Address: 272 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49504

Phone number: (616) 929-1700

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

gardenThis park lets you explore indoor and outdoor gardens, exhibits, and sculptures. The largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in America which runs March and April every year is located here. There is also an extensive Holiday tree exhibit that runs Thanksgiving through New Years with 40 different cultures represented. After exploring a little, there’s a café that serves food and beverages and a gift shop to visit as well. It’s a fun place to explore with a date no matter the season.

Cost: $9 with a student I.D

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MWThF, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday

Address: 1000 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49525

Phone Number: (616) 957-1580

heritige hillHeritage Hill Historic District

Heritage Hill is one of the largest urban historic districts in the country. It was the first “neighborhood” of Grand Rapids. Heritage Hill offers Michigan’s largest and finest collection of 19th and early 20th century houses. Many styles of American architecture are represented in the 1,300 buildings that date from 1844. These were the homes of lumber barons, teachers, judges, and legislators who shaped our city’s future. Today, its population of 4,000 households is very diverse. It’s a beautiful part of Grand Rapids that would be perfect to tour with a date anytime.

The Meyer May House is a part of the historic district and offers an in home tour of the prairie style house built in 1908. It has been restored to its original state by the Steelcase Corporation.

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Cost: FREE

Address:  450 Madison SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

Phone: (616) 459-8950

River City Improv

river city improvRiver City Improv entertains audiences using comedic improvisation. Each show uses skits, games and songs with audience suggestions to create a unique entertainment experience for the audience. Have you seen ‘Who’s Line is it Anyway?” It’s much like that. Occasionally, the comedy team throws in a piece of non-improvised sketch comedy or a dance number, just to keep the audience guessing. The comedy begins with every show starting at 7:33 p.m. Bring humor and some laughs to your date by attending this event.

Cost: $10

Showtime: Saturdays October through May

Address: 61 Sheldon Blvd SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49516

Phone Number: (616) 752-8570

Hopefully these date ideas can be some help to both your dating life and your wallet. If any of these ideas help land you a fun date, tell us your story. Do you have any date ideas for college students on a budget? Email your thoughts to shelbycorliss@email.grcc.edu.


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