28 Mostly Inexpensive Date Ideas Around Portland

Who doesn’t love a date night? Better yet, we all NEED date nights. As parents it is SO important to get out without your kids and focus on your significant other. It’s of utmost importance to keep your relationship strong so that the littles we all raise don’t divide and conquer and take us out. Okay, maybe they won’t do that, but in our house we believe that one of the best gifts you can give your kids is a strong marriage. One of the ways we keep our marriage strong is by having date nights.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, you might be thinking about having a date. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and run out of new ideas. If that’s you then you’re in luck. I made a list of some fun, mostly inexpensive (because we have a slim budget), and maybe out of the box date ideas around Portland. 
Whether you want to just do something fun and silly, try a new hot spot, get outdoors or just stay in and make it an intentional date night at home, we have some ideas for you. 
 date ideas around Portland

Out and About the City

  • Nickel arcades – Sometimes you just need to be a kid again, without competing with your kids. This may be the place for you. See who can win the best prize with all the tickets. There are a few nickel arcades around the city. We’ve been to Wunderland Cinema & Nickel Games. They also have movies and weekly deals.
  • Happy hour – There are SO many to choose from I can’t possibly list them all. A few of our favorites are Killer Burger Crazy Hour, La Carreta Mexican Restaurant (we can eat and have drinks here for under $7 for BOTH of us), Hopworks (HUB), Tilt, The Bread and Ink Cafe, Noble Rot, Portland City Grill (amazing views of the city if you get the right seat).
  • OMSI After Dark – Adult only evenings offered at OMSI
  • See a movie at a cheap theatre – These theatre’s have lots of character, history, and offer a variety of food and drink at a great deal. Laurelhurst Theater, The Academy Theater, Avalon Theatre, Hollywood Theatre,  McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub, Mission Theater, McMenamins Kennedy School, Moreland Theatre, Cinemagic
  • Ground Control Classic Arcade – More of an adult environment than the Nickel Arcade. $5 cover charge on second Thursday and last Wednesday of each month. 
  • See a live concert – Our three favorite theatre spots have been the Aladdin Theater, McMenamins Crystal Ballroom and Mississippi Studios. (We’ve even found great deals on Groupon or Goldstar in the past.)
  • Ride the Portland Aerial Tram for a beautiful view of the city and surrounding mountain ranges on a clear day. Then sit on the balcony at OHSU and enjoy the view and each other.  
  • Go have dessert & discussion – Salt & Straw,  Waffle Window (my personal favorite), Rimsky-Korsakolee House (a very Portland experience with “interesting” tables to sit at, entertainment and a quirky vibe; bring cash) and St. Honoré Boulangerie are great. Take along a list of questions to ask one another for fun conversation. 
  • Powell’s Books – Endless reading entertainment (we love to read the funny greeting cards) and drink coffee to add pleasure. 
  • Try a new food cart pod – There are too many to list. Here’s a map to all of them. Many of them have covered seating and heat lamps or fire pits for cold days. 
  • Kennedy Soaking PoolA nice relaxing soak in a hot pool sounds awesome.  
  • Oaks Park Roller Rink – Need a good laugh, workout, or bring back the good ‘ol days? Try a little partners skating at the roller rink. It’s sure to be a memorable night. 
  • Rose City Astronomers Public Star Party – You’ll find info here about star gazing throughout the year. 
  • Stray Boots Smart Phone Scavenger Hunt –  A fun way to discover new things around the city. Pick from a great list of scavenger hunts here
  • Disc golf – Enjoy an afternoon game of disk golf together at Greater Portland Bible’s disc golf course. (Unless you’re like me and can’t throw a frisbee or disk to save your life.) 
  • Portland City Walks – Stroll hand in hand as you enjoy the free walking tours of Portland.  
  • Pedal Bike Tours – Experience Portland like a local as you pedal around the city. Pick your tour here.
  • Make art together – Go to a studio like Mimosa Studios and create some artwork. They have a great calendar of events and discounts throughout the week. 

Out in Nature

  • Waterfall hike – We love getting outdoors and exploring the beauty around us. Here is a great list to ten waterfall hikes near Portland. And if the kids need to tag along, here are some family-friendly spots.
  • Sledding or snowshoeing at White River Snow Park — I know this is fun with the kids, but maybe a day away in the snow together where no one is melting down after an hour is in order. For other snowy outings here are some great suggestions. 
  • Go for a hike or stroll – Checkout this amazing, lengthy list of trails around Portland. Some of our favorites are Oaks Bottom, Crystal Springs-Reed College, Mount Tabor, and Lower Macleay Park where there is a trail to an old, abandoned stone house.  

Staying in 

Sometimes it’s just too hard to leave the house. Date night can still be great if we make it intentional. Make dessert, have wine or another adult beverage, set the mood and try one of these ideas: 
  • Recount your favorite memories together – Get out a big sheet of paper and list all the favorite memories you have together. You’ll be surprised how fun this can be once you get started. 
  • Game night – Play your favorite board game or card game. Clothing optional (it is date night after all).
  • Make a new food dish – Cooking together can be fun and adventurous. Try making a new dish together. This can enliven all your senses. 
  • Travel without leaving your living room – Cook a dish from a country you both want to travel to and watch a movie that’s set in that place or watch a Rick Steves episode from the Travel Channel. He’s our favorite travel guide around the world, even if it’s from our living room. 
  • Play the Newlywed Game – See how well you know one another and have prizes for the winner. Find some questions here. 
  • Massage night- Google some good massage techniques and try them out. Get some essential oils, dim the lights, and let the spa treatment begin. 
  • Relive your wedding day – When was the last time you watched your wedding footage or looked at your photo album? Pull those out for a trip down memory lane. Make some cake and enjoy. 

Even if you don’t go out on Valentine’s Day (we don’t because it’s too crowded) pick another day this month to give one of these date ideas around Portland a try. Happy dating! 

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Jody grew up in a small town in Central Oregon, graduated from Oregon State University, traveled to Africa for three months and, upon returning, moved to Montana to be near her then fiancé. They lived in Bozeman, Montana for nine years working on the Montana State campus in full-time ministry. They now have lived in SE Portland for nearly eight years and work part-time with the same faith-based non-profit. She is also now a business owner and helps others find health and happiness through Plexus. She has been married for 16 years and they have two beautiful kids. Their 11 year-old daughter is a miracle biological child after years of infertility, and their son 7 is a miracle child through the gift of adoption. Jody loves living in beautiful Portland where flowers are always in bloom and there is always an adventure around the corner to be had. She loves Jesus, coffee, a good book, deep conversation with people she loves, being intentional to love those around her, hosting events in their backyard, sausage, beer, traveling, and being a wife and mom. The beach is her happy place. She also blogs occasionally at jodymccomas.com about motherhood and ministry.