Are you just starting to date someone? In an awkward spot where not sure if you should spend on a fancy Valentine's Day dinner? Or just on a budget and want to treat your Valentine to a special evening without breaking the bank?
Wanting to save a few pennies is not a valid excuse to your significant other on the biggest day of the year, but you shouldn't have to spend your last dollar either. Here's your guide to some of the best cheap Valentine's Day activities in Tampa Bay!
Tampa Riverwalk: this is my personal favorite Tampa date night activity year-round, and it's always getting better as more is added to Downtown Tampa. The Tampa Riverwalk is high on romance and low on cost, with an evening stroll while looking at the water and the University of Tampa miranets in the background a perfect spot. The Riverwalk stretches from Ulele all the way to Channelside Bay Plaza. Along your romantic walk through Tampa, you'll find many restaurants and cafes that will not bust your budget.
If you are starting from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, check out Eddie and Sams New York Pizza or Tampa Pizza Company for delicious cheap eats dinner before your walk. Along the way, stop at The Sail Pavilion for a drink outside the Tampa Convention Center. If you are willing to spend a little more, maybe cozy up with your Valentine on a Pirate Water Taxi from one end of the Riverwalk to the other. As you are planning your cheap Tampa Valentine's Day, remember the parking meters north of Kennedy Blvd. are free after 6 p.m. on weeknights!
The University of Tampa from the Tampa Riverwalk.
Mr Dunderbak's: Another of my favorite date night spots in Tampa, Mr. Dunderbak's is a German bar, restaurant, deli and brewery off of Bruce B. Downs between USF and New Tampa. A dinner for two, depending on what you order and how much beer you drink, can be quite a bargain for one of the unique places in Tampa Bay. With authentic German food and decor, their beer selection is incredible and a knowledgeable staff will help guide you on both brew and food choices. You can appear more cultured to your date by requesting more of the different types of mustards and ketchups to try with your dinner.
They have live music from local bands every Wednesday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Valentine's Day 2018 is on a Wednesday this year, so you can add in live music without paying for a concert. Check out Friday and Saturday nights for German polka from Accordion Joe, who wears lederhosen while playing so you can get the authentic German experience!
Another tip: make sure your date is cool with this unique experience and having dinner while listening to German polka so you do not get called old. That is first-hand experience speaking.
Florida State Fairgrounds: Nothing says romance like being cuddled up at the top of a Ferris wheel while looking across all of Tampa Bay. The 2018 Florida State Fair runs from February 8th to February 19th. The Fair can get expensive, but there are ways to control the costs. Buying tickets and ride armbands in advance will help you keep your Valentine's Day in Tampa cheap, and many of the shows and exhibits are included in your admission costs.
The Midway Sky Eye debuted in 2017, and it's said you can see 15 miles in each direction from the top. You can also take a ride in the original Batcopter from the 1966 Batman T.V. series. The Fairgrounds are 330 acres; a perfect opportunity to walk while holding hands and eat cotton candy, fried Oreos and drink beer!
USF Women's Basketball vs. SMU: On Valentine's Day, one of the best teams in this area plays at 7 p.m. at the USF Sun Dome. The Bulls are consistently ranked and regularly make the NCAA basketball tournament. As of this writing, they are 18-5 this season. If you are a USF student looking for a cheap Valentine's Day date, tickets are free with your student ID. For the community, there is no parking charge and tickets can be as low as $6. The Bulls play an exciting brand of basketball and are fun to watch!
Pinellas Beaches: A day or evening on the beach can be a low-cost, fun, romantic event. Check out 727area.com for the best options on restaurants and Things To Do on this side of Tampa Bay around the beaches.
Dave & Buster's: Now open in the Brandon entertainment district with Bass Pro Shops, Topgolf Tampa, Dave & Buster's offers a large menu and ability to play games. Be careful if you get too competitive while playing the games, as of course it is well known relationships have ended in heartbreak near the Skeeball area.
WWE NXT: even if you do not like wrestling, NXT live shows are a fun and cheap time! Returning to the University Area CDC gymnasium on February 15th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are either $10 or $20, they have a concession stand with $3 beers and $1 soda. The intimate setting that creates great entertainment with interactions during matches where it is almost like an improv show. Yes, I have taken a date to an NXT show in the past, and it's great!
As you can see, there are plenty of options for a cheap Valentine's Day in Tampa for 2018!
Make sure to check out our Valentine's Day guide for everything going on in Tampa Bay. 813area.com is your source for Events and guide to cheap (and not-so-cheap) events year-round! Register for an account today, it's free!
Cover photo from Unpslash.com, in-article photos from the author.