Gas is expensive, but date night doesn’t have to be. Here’s 7 low-cost ideas in Lexington

·6 min read

You may be wondering how to keep date night alive in a time plagued by inflation and high gas prices across the country.

Life can be expensive, but dating doesn’t have to be. We’ve lined up some budget-friendly options in and around Lexington to consider for your next outing.

Take a walk through the fragrance garden at The Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, try your hand at disc golf in Shillito Park or stroll through an art museum on the University of Kentucky’s campus.

There’s something for everyone with these seven date ideas, including some that may surprise you.

Shillito Park

Pop out to Shillito Park to figure out whether you and your date are equipped to be the next disc golf champion.

The park features an 18-hole, Mach 3 course with concrete tee pads and alternate pin placements. Hole No. 1 is located to the right of the pool entrance.

This may be the date for you if you like adventure, as there are slight elevation changes with some trees in play.

Make sure to print off a score card before you head out, and don’t forget your discs. If you’re in the market, DICK’S Sporting Goods is nearby and the retail price starts at $4.

Location: Shillito Park Road, Lexington, KY 40503

Phone: 859-288-2900

Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Price: Free aside from purchasing your own discs

The University of Kentucky Art Museum

A walk through UK’s art museum could be worth adding to your date night bucket list.

The museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, promotes the understanding and appreciation of art from diverse cultures and historical periods. It is suitable for all ages.

The facility, which is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, offers temporary exhibitions and has a permanent collection of approximately 5,000 objects, according to its website.

One current exhibition is Acquisitions, Donations and Connections, which features works that have entered the museum’s permanent collection in recent years and reveals how they relate to other art within the location.

Another exhibit is Francisco de Goya: Los Disparates. De Goya is considered Spain’s most important artist at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century, according to the museum’s website.

Location: 405 Rose St., Lexington, KY 40506

Phone: 859-257-5716

Hours: Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.

Price: Free admission

American Saddlebred Museum

Lexington is home to a number of museums, but the American Saddlebred Museum may be one of its best.

“Located on the grounds of the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, the American Saddlebred Museum provides an exciting and educational experience,” the sites reads. “Inside, visitors learn the important role the American Saddlebred played in our nation’s history, and how it has evolved into the elegant, athletic, and versatile breed we know today.”

The museum features special exhibitions that change annually in addition to a wide variety of interactive, permanent exhibits, award-winning videos, an award-winning movie and a research library, according to the its website.

Saddlebred artifacts include house trophies, photographs, track and artwork, including paintings from famous artist George Ford Morris.

Lexington is famous for its horse farms and tracks, the perfect backdrop for your next trip out.

Location: 4083 Iron Works Pkwy., Lexington, KY 40511

Phone: 859-259-2746

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Price: Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for those who are age 62 and older

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary doesn’t allow pets, but you should still check it out.

For the adventurous, there are around 10 miles of trails, including The Red Trail, where most points of interest can be found.

According to its description, Raven Run is a 734-acre sanctuary dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the Kentucky River Palisades and early state history.

More from its description: “Over 10 miles of hiking trails provide access to streams, meadows, and woodlands characteristic of the area. Numerous 19th century remnants of early settlers, as well as over 600 species of plants, allow visitors to become acquainted with and appreciate the natural world. Raven Run also accommodates over 200 species of birds throughout the year.”

Activities are limited to the trails system, and visitors are asked to hike only on marked trails.

If you’re heading to the sanctuary this summer, their staff recommends that you remember to bring containers of water considering this season’s sticky weather.

Remember to sign in at the nature center at the beginning of the trail system, located about an eighth of a mile from the parking lot.

Location: 3885 Raven Run Way, Lexington, KY 40515

Phone: 859-272-6105

Hours: Every day from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Price: Free

The Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky

Roses have been equated with love for some time, so a walk through the rose garden at The Arboretum may be the perfect date.

The Arboretum has a host of different gardens, including the Home Demonstration Garden, the Fragrance Garden, the Visitor Center Plantings and more.

The Horticultural Gardens and Displays at The Arboretum gives visitors the chance to see a large and diverse community of plants from around the globe, according to its website.

More from the description: “The gardens at The Arboretum are designed to stimulate your olfactory and visual senses--fragrances, colors, textures and forms abound--and are a contemplative place to observe the natural environment.”

With fragrances, vividly colored vegetation and walkways curated out of a romance novel, this may be the spot for a lovely afternoon date.

Location: University of Kentucky, 500 Alumni Drive, Lexington, KY 40503

Phone: 859-257-6955

Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk

Price: Free

Chocolate Holler

Nothing screams first date like coffee, more specifically coffee shops.

Chocolate Holler’s menu features a variety of drinks, including drip coffee, espresso drinks, hot chocolate, iced mochas and more. Alternative milk options are available, as well.

“By taking pieces of chocolate bars and melting them with steamed milk, we make a thick, rich cup of hot chocolate that can be served in flights of three,” its website says of the sipping chocolate.

Location: 400 Old Vine St. #104, Lexington, KY 40507

Phone: 859-523-3619

Hours: Every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Price: Food available for purchase

Lexington Public Library Central Branch

Romance is a frequent novel subject for a reason.

You may not immediately think of it, but the central branch is the optimal spot for a free date. You can chat quietly and roam through the aisles to find your next read. If you’re looking for some ideas, we’ve got a few for you.

Check out a book you and your significant other may both like, or browse the offered movies and media.

The central branch’s outside garden is aesthetic and can inspire even the least romantic.

The inside is just as beautiful for those interested in architecture. A grand sight to see, its interior features a five-story rotunda featuring a Foucalt pendulum.

Location: 140 E. Main St., Lexington, KY 40507

Phone: 859-231-5500

Hours: Monday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

Price: Free

Do you have a question about Kentucky for our service journalism team? We’d like to hear from you. Fill out our Know Your Kentucky form or email ask@herald-leader.com.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting