10 cool, inexpensive places for a date near UVic
Valentine’s day is almost upon us, kids! Whether you put it out of your mind for the sake of your sanity, you’re pretending it doesn’t exist because it’s too expensive and depressing, or you just genuinely forgot, The Martlet is here to help.
Last year, we gifted you with a curated list of cheap date spots for the hungry, loved-up, and broke university student. This year, we’re getting you outside, active, and feeling nostalgic.
Here is the Martlet’s list of cheap date activities for you and yours to try out this Valentine’s Day (or any other day, honestly, because love rocks and the Valentine’s Day crowds can be frightening).
10. Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park
Who wouldn’t want to spend the evening bouncing around an old warehouse and flipping into foam pits? The Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park in Esquimalt hosts a Neon Lights event every Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight by turning off the overhead lights and getting the disco ball going. A DJ presides over the event as their funky beats gets the jumpers pumped. Between the lasers and the tunes, those butterflies in your stomach will surely be doing their own flips.
Legend also has it that there’s a coupon code in circulation that permits two people to attend Neon Lights for $30 rather than the usual $25 per person.
TIP: If you’re older than ten, you should probably warm up before getting on the trampolines and make sure you’ve got nowhere else to go the next day — the trampoline hangover will have you feeling like you’re 20-going-on-80.
9. Ogden Point
Ogden Point is Victoria’s large-vessel port — the busiest cruise ship port-of-call in Canada. Aside from the four piers that handle these ships, though, it’s also home to a 762-metre concrete breakwater. The breakwater is a popular date spot for friends and couples alike, as the sunsets from the end of the breakwater are hard to beat. Try making a day of it with the perfect sunset couple’s pic for your Insta before heading down to the Breakwater Cafe Bistro Bar for a cup of something good.
8. Hollydene Beach
Hollydene Park is a beautiful beach just off Arbutus Road — only a short walk from the UVic campus. There’s an Instagram-worthy staircase that leads down to the cove and the park hosts a number of great spots to sit back, relax, and take in the beautiful views. The beach is long, making for the perfect place for a romantic walk. You could also bring a blanket and a picnic lunch for a romantic day with your honey.
Movie theatres are notorious date spots, but the ticket prices at chain theatres can make frequent movie dates unfeasible.
Cinecenta is the movie theatre on the UVic campus. It is located in the Student Union Building and for UVSS students, the tickets are only $5.75 ($4.75 for shows after 9 p.m.).
The Feb. 1-16 line-up of films has already been posted and there’s something for everyone. So grab your favourite cutie, smuggle in some apples, forget about the healthy snacks as soon as you smell popcorn, and settle in for a cheap movie date.
6. Ghost Tour
If you are one of those spooky couples who enjoy horror movies, escape rooms and conversing with the dead via ouija board, then a ghost tour might just be your next haunt, so to speak. It’s well-known that Victoria is one of the most haunted cities in British Columbia. So head on over to the Inner Harbour Visitor Centre, grab a free self-guided ghost tour brochure, and embark on an exciting journey!
The tour takes you all over downtown Victoria and ends at what is said to be the most haunted building in Bastion Square — the Maritime Museum. Some say if you look closely, you can see a slender, shadowy figure through the windows. It’s thought to be the ghost of the infamous Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, a.k.a. The Hanging Judge. So hold your partner tight and go find something spooky.
Skating is another stereotypical date spot. You get to hold hands (in case you fall, obviously), you can impress your date with your superior skating skills (or make them laugh when you fall on your butt), and you can stare moon-eyed at each other over a cup of hot cocoa afterwards.
The G. R. Pearkes Recreation Center has a few skating times that offer Adults-only skating for ages 19+. No kids means there’s no one to knock you over, the support carts are finally available for those who have forgotten how to skate, and there’s nobody half your age doing twirls around you as you look like a dejected fool.
The drop in fee for students over 19 is $5.75 and if you haven’t got your own skates, you can rent a pair for just $3.25.
4. UVic Observatory
What could be better than stargazing with your significant other? UVic’s observatory is located on the fifth floor of the Bob Wright Centre and is open to all who are interested in space. Maybe you want to learn about dwarf stars, black holes, and nebulae, or maybe you’d like to check out the constellations.
Every Wednesday, the Astronomy students operate the telescope and are available to answer your questions. Visitors can come for free from 8-10 p.m. between October and April, and 9-11 p.m. from May to August.
Whatever you’re interested in, all are welcome to come and use UVic’s 0.8m telescope. According to the UVic website, it’s one of the largest optical telescopes on any Canadian university campus.
PSA: Don’t ask the Astronomy students what their sign is. Astrology is not the same thing as astronomy, you goof.
3. Build a fort
Want to feel like a kid again? Or maybe you still feel like a kid and you just miss taking apart your parent’s couch to build the ultimate, cozy cave? It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s the perfect place to watch movies, eat junk food, and cuddle with your lover.
Your roommates might think you’re crazy, but they can keep their party-pooper cooties out of your fort anyways.
2. Go for a hike
There are so many places to hike on the island. It’s good for your health, it’s free, and it’s really not that much preparation. Pack some snacks, make some trail mix (I recommend that it be 99 per cent M&Ms, but that’s your call), grab your love, collect a few friends, find someone with a dog, and make your way to Goldstream, or Mt. Finlayson, or the Sooke Potholes, or Mt. Douglas, or… you can see where this is going.
1. Interactivity Board Game Cafe
Who could resist wall-to-wall shelves of board games, tasty sandwiches, and delicious milkshakes? This is an aesthetic that could only be described as your-parent’s-basement in the best sense of the word. The Interactivity Board Game Cafe is a wonderful and inexpensive place to hang out with friends or the apple of your eye. For $5 you can spend the entire evening playing all manner of games.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: that might be even more fun with a beer in my hand. The cafe has recently expanded into the space that became available next door, and they now have a separate section for those over 19. “All the fun of board gaming, now with booze,” reads their website.
TIP: Make your way down to the cafe as early as possible because they fill up quick! You can put your name on the list, but guests are allowed to stay as long as they want, so you may never get in if you don’t get there first.