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Short Date Ideas

9 Under-an-Hour Dates That Won't Cost You a Fortune in Babysitting

Any seasoned parent knows that a date night involving dinner and a movie is a no-go. Not only are you very likely going to fall asleep in the movie theater thanks to those new reclining seats, but that kind of combination evening also means you'll be spending a solid four hours — minimum — away from home. Translation: that's going to set you back close to $80 with your babysitter alone.

But this shouldn't mean you skip date night altogether; studies show that just having monthly date nights fosters relationship stability, particularly with new parents. Instead, consider quality over quantity by packing in all the fun of a night out in a shorter time frame. That's right: it's possible to have just as much fun on a 30-minute date as on a three-hour one.

Don't believe us? Try one of these nine supershort date ideas. Each one can be completed in less than an hour (and imagine the savings in babysitting fees!).


1. Stop at a Drive-Through

You might have a strict no-fast-food policy as a family, but ease up on the rules this once and roll up to the drive-through window of your favorite spot — McDonald's, Taco Bell, Steak 'n' Shake — and then park the car and eat right there. Just remember to ask for extra napkins!

2. Get Side-by-Side Pedicures

Quickie spa treatments are perfect if both you and your partner like to be pampered. Be sure to make appointments so you don't have to wait for side-by-side chairs, and ask if you can pay a little extra for five-minute "couples" chair massages afterward.

3. Take a Class Together at the Gym

So, a supersweaty cardio boot camp might not be especially romantic, but most gyms offer a fun hip-hop dance class or a more soothing yoga class — and classes are usually 30 to 45 minutes, max.

4. Wander the Aisles at Your Local Dollar Store

Just meandering the aisles without a shopping list is the goal here. You can make it especially fun by giving yourselves 15 minutes to scour the store (separately) for a $5-or-less gift for the other. This date also works just as well — if not better — at a Target.

5. People-Watch

Find a bench that sees heavy foot traffic and just sit and watch as people walk by. Talk about what you imagine their lives are like, or if you want to just unwind, use headphone splitters to listen to the same music or podcast.

6. Hit Up the Car Wash

It'll feel so retro to pull your car up to the automatic car wash and watch as sudsy bubbles cover every window. Upgrade this date by having your favorite soda and candy stocked in the glove compartment so that you both can feel like kids again.

7. Skip Dinner and Go Straight For Dessert

There's no need to forgo a fancy restaurant just because you're on a time crunch. Just inform the waiter that you're just there for dessert. Pick one or three options from the dessert menu and enjoy every last bite. Ask for the check up front if this venue is known for its slow food movement status, and if commuting is an issue, opt for a local bakery or coffee shop with a glass counter of goodies.

8. Snap a Couple Selfies

Go for a walk around your neighborhood, stopping whenever there's a pretty backdrop (the bigger the building's mural, the better!) for a cell phone selfie. Try goofy ones, serious ones, romantic kissy-face ones, then go through them all together, picking the best one together to frame or — let's be real — post on Instagram.

9. Picnic in the Park

In advance of this date, include some wine and cheese on your grocery list. That way, you can head to your neighborhood park with those provisions (including a few nondescript cups for the Cabernet you have in your tote bag) and a blanket. If you want to go for a speed record, skip the picnic and just take a walk through the park and back.

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