Budget-Friendly Date Ideas in Salt Lake City: Affordable Romance
24 mins read

Budget-Friendly Date Ideas in Salt Lake City: Affordable Romance

Salt Lake City is a treasure trove of scenic spots and unique venues perfect for lovebirds on a budget. Whether you’re in the mood for an outdoor adventure, a cultural experience, or a cozy night out, these 8 budget-friendly Salt Lake City date ideas will keep romance alive without breaking the bank.

1. Stroll Around Liberty Park

Liberty Park

Liberty Park is renowned for several reasons that make it an ideal spot for a romantic date:

  • Natural Beauty: The park is a picturesque oasis within the city, featuring lush greenery, beautiful flowers, and a large pond. Its scenic charm is perfect for couples looking to connect with nature.
  • Variety of Activities: Liberty Park offers a wide range of activities, from paddle boating and bird watching to tennis and picnicking. This variety ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy during your visit.
  • Affordability: One of the standout advantages of Liberty Park is that it provides an affordable date option without compromising on quality. It’s an excellent choice for those on a budget.
  • Convenient Location: Situated in the heart of Salt Lake City, Liberty Park is easily accessible, making it a convenient destination for a date night.

Now, let’s dive deeper into planning your romantic outing at Liberty Park:

The Perfect Picnic

A picnic is a classic choice for a romantic date, and Liberty Park offers a fantastic backdrop for this activity. Here’s how you can plan the perfect picnic:

Picnic EssentialsDetails
BlanketChoose a comfortable and large picnic blanket.
Food and DrinksPack your favorite snacks, sandwiches, and drinks.
Utensils and PlatesDon’t forget utensils, napkins, and disposable plates.
Cozy ExtrasConsider bringing pillows or cushions for extra comfort.
MusicCreate a playlist of your favorite romantic songs.
Ice CoolerKeep perishable items fresh with a small ice cooler.

Find a picturesque spot by the park’s pond or under the shade of a tree. Spread out your picnic blanket, set up your feast, and enjoy a meal together amidst the natural beauty.

A Leisurely Stroll

After your picnic, take a leisurely stroll hand-in-hand through the park. Liberty Park offers several walking paths, each with its unique charm:

  • Tranquil Pond Path: Enjoy a romantic walk around the park’s picturesque pond, where you can watch ducks and swans gliding on the water.
  • Botanical Garden: Explore the park’s beautiful botanical garden, featuring a wide variety of plants and flowers, providing a colorful and fragrant backdrop for your walk.
  • Tree-Lined Avenues: Stroll along the tree-lined avenues, which offer shade during hot summer days and a cozy, intimate atmosphere.

Romantic Extras

Enhance the romantic atmosphere by considering these additional elements:

  • Photography: Capture the special moments with your partner by taking photos in different scenic spots throughout the park.
  • Wildlife Watching: Liberty Park is home to various bird species, so bring binoculars for some birdwatching together.
  • Sunset Viewing: Plan your visit in the late afternoon to enjoy a breathtaking sunset together.
  • Proposal Location: If you’re considering popping the question, Liberty Park’s serene setting provides an ideal backdrop for a proposal.

2. Visit the Salt Lake City Public Library

Salt Lake City Public Library

The Salt Lake City Public Library offers a unique blend of intellectual engagement and architectural splendor, making it an ideal location for a romantic date:

  • Extensive Collection: The library boasts an extensive collection of books, magazines, and multimedia resources, providing a rich and diverse literary experience for couples who appreciate literature.
  • Architectural Beauty: Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the library’s stunning architecture adds a touch of grandeur and sophistication to your date. Its iconic design makes it a visually captivating place to explore.
  • Free Events: The library frequently hosts free events, including author readings, workshops, and lectures, offering couples an opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities together without breaking the bank.

Now, let’s delve into planning your romantic literary date at the Salt Lake City Public Library:

Exploring the Collection

The heart of any library visit is, of course, the books. Spend time browsing through the library’s vast collection. To make the most of your visit, consider these tips:

Library EssentialsDetails
Library CardIf you don’t have one, consider getting a library card for borrowing privileges
Genre PreferencesDiscuss your literary interests and explore sections that cater to both your tastes
Reading NooksFind a cozy corner or reading nook where you can sit together and enjoy your chosen books

Engaging in conversations about the books you encounter can be intellectually stimulating and foster deeper connections.

Admiring the Architecture

The Salt Lake City Public Library is not just a treasure trove of knowledge; it’s also an architectural marvel. Take a self-guided tour of the library’s unique design:

  • Atrium: The library’s grand atrium is a sight to behold. Its vast open space and striking design elements create a sense of wonder.
  • Rooftop Garden: Head to the rooftop garden for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. It’s an ideal spot for quiet reflection and taking in the cityscape.
  • Art Installations: Keep an eye out for the library’s various art installations, which add to the visual appeal of the space.

Attend Free Events

Check the library’s event calendar for any free events taking place during your visit. These events can add an educational and cultural dimension to your date:

  • Author Readings: Listening to an author reading from their work can be a captivating experience, offering insights into the creative process.
  • Workshops and Lectures: Participate in workshops or attend lectures on topics that interest both of you, enhancing your knowledge and providing ample discussion material.
  • Film Screenings: Some libraries host free film screenings, allowing you to enjoy a movie together in a unique setting..

3. Explore the Great Salt Lake

Salt lake

The Great Salt Lake is an iconic landmark known for its remarkable features, making it an ideal location for a romantic date:

  • Scenic Beauty: The lake’s vast expanse, surrounded by mountains and salt flats, provides a stunning backdrop for a date filled with natural beauty.
  • Diverse Wildlife: The lake is home to a diverse range of bird species, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts and a unique opportunity for couples to connect with nature.
  • Sunset Magic: The Great Salt Lake is renowned for its captivating sunsets, creating a romantic atmosphere that’s perfect for couples looking to enjoy a magical evening together.

Let’s explore how to plan your romantic date at the Great Salt Lake:

Scenic Drive

A scenic drive around the Great Salt Lake is a fantastic way to immerse yourselves in the natural beauty of the area. Consider these key points when planning your drive:

Scenic Drive EssentialsDetails
VehicleEnsure your vehicle is in good condition for a comfortable and safe journey.
Maps and NavigationBring a GPS device or smartphone with reliable navigation apps.
RefreshmentsPack some snacks and drinks to enjoy during your drive.

While driving, you can make stops at various viewpoints to take in the breathtaking views and snap memorable photos.

Bird Watching

The Great Salt Lake is renowned for its significance as a migratory bird habitat. Bird watching can be a rewarding and educational activity for couples. Here’s how to make the most of it:

Bird Watching TipsDetails
BinocularsBring a pair of binoculars for a close-up view of the birds
Bird Field GuideConsider carrying a bird field guide or using a bird identification app
PatienceBe patient and quiet, as some birds may be skittish
Bird IdentificationTry to identify different bird species together, deepening your connection with nature

The Great Salt Lake provides ample opportunities to spot pelicans, seagulls, and other waterfowl, especially in the wetland areas surrounding the lake.

Sunset Spectacle

One of the highlights of visiting the Great Salt Lake is witnessing the stunning sunset. Here’s how to make this moment unforgettable:

  • Timing: Check the sunset time and arrive a bit earlier to secure a prime spot for viewing.
  • Photography: Bring a camera or smartphone to capture the beautiful colors as the sun sets over the lake.
  • Blanket and Snacks: For added comfort, consider bringing a cozy blanket and some snacks to enjoy while you watch the sunset.
  • Reflection: Take a moment to reflect on the natural beauty surrounding you and the quality time spent with your partner.

4. Attend a Free Concert or Movie in the Park

Outdoor concert

Summer events in Salt Lake City parks offer a delightful blend of entertainment, community, and affordability. Here’s why you should consider attending them:

  • Community Spirit: These events often draw diverse crowds, fostering a sense of togetherness and community spirit.
  • Variety of Entertainment: From live music to classic films, there’s something for everyone’s taste, ensuring a memorable date night.
  • Cost-Effective: These events are budget-friendly, allowing you to enjoy entertainment without the burden of high costs.
  • Local Culture: Immersing yourself in the local music scene or watching movies in a park under the stars provides a unique cultural experience.

Now, let’s explore how to plan your date night for free concerts and movies in Salt Lake City parks:

Stay Informed

To make the most of these events, staying informed is key. Here’s how:

Staying Informed TipsDetails
Event ListingsCheck local event listings in newspapers, online, or on social media platforms for updates on park events
Event SchedulesKeep track of event schedules, including dates, times, and locations, so you don’t miss out
Weather ForecastBe prepared for varying weather conditions and dress accordingly

Being aware of upcoming events ensures you can plan your date nights accordingly.

Bring Comfort Essentials

Attending outdoor concerts and movies necessitates a bit of preparation for your comfort:

Comfort EssentialsDetails
Blanket or Lawn ChairsBring a comfortable blanket or portable lawn chairs to sit on
Snacks and RefreshmentsPack your favorite snacks and drinks to enjoy during the event
Insect RepellentDepending on the location, you may want to bring insect repellent for added comfort
Extra LayersEvenings can get chilly, so consider bringing extra layers or a light jacket

Ensuring comfort will allow you to fully relish the experience.

Choose the Right Park

Salt Lake City boasts several parks that host these events. Consider your preferences and choose the park that suits your date night atmosphere:

  • Liberty Park: A larger park with a variety of events, suitable for those who enjoy a lively atmosphere.
  • Sugarhouse Park: Known for its picturesque setting, it’s a great choice for a romantic date under the stars.
  • Gallivan Center: Located in downtown Salt Lake City, it offers a central location with a range of cultural events.

Arrive Early

For popular events, arriving early is advisable to secure a good spot, especially if you want a prime viewing location for movies or a closer proximity to the stage for concerts.

Enjoy the Atmosphere

Take in the lively ambiance, engage with fellow attendees, and savor the unique charm of outdoor entertainment in a park setting.

5. Discover the Red Butte Garden

Red Butte Garden offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and botanical wonders, making it an ideal location for a serene and relaxed date:

  • Botanical Gardens: The garden features a wide variety of themed gardens, each showcasing unique flora and landscapes, providing couples with a tranquil and visually appealing setting.
  • Hiking Trails: Red Butte Garden is nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, offering numerous hiking trails that allow couples to connect with nature and enjoy picturesque views.
  • Cost-Effective: While there is a small entrance fee, the experience offers great value, as you’ll have access to a diverse range of attractions.

Let’s dive into the details on how to plan your date at Red Butte Garden:

Explore Themed Gardens

The heart of Red Butte Garden lies in its beautifully curated themed gardens. Here’s a list of some of the most noteworthy gardens to explore:

Themed Gardens to ExploreDetails
Fragrance GardenEnjoy the scents of various fragrant plants, perfect for a sensory experience.
Water Conservation GardenLearn about water-efficient gardening while admiring the unique designs.
Children’s GardenIf you have kids, they can enjoy the interactive features in this playful garden.
Rose GardenRevel in the romantic ambiance surrounded by vibrant roses.
Medicinal GardenDiscover the properties of medicinal plants and herbs.

Stroll hand in hand through these themed gardens, immerse yourselves in the beauty, and take time to appreciate the unique features of each.

Hiking Trails

Red Butte Garden offers a series of hiking trails that cater to varying levels of hikers. Here’s what you need to know:

Hiking Trail TipsDetails
Trail MapsObtain trail maps at the entrance to choose a trail that matches your fitness level.
Comfortable ShoesWear comfortable and supportive shoes suitable for hiking.
Water and SnacksStay hydrated and bring some snacks for energy during your hike.
Wildlife SpottingKeep an eye out for local wildlife while exploring the trails.

Hiking through the scenic trails provides an opportunity for couples to connect with nature and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Visitor Center and Cafe

Red Butte Garden has a visitor center and café where you can take a break, grab refreshments, and learn more about the garden’s mission and conservation efforts. It’s an excellent spot to relax and discuss your experiences during the date.

Timing and Admission

Before planning your visit, consider the following:

  • Timing: Red Butte Garden is particularly beautiful in spring and summer when the gardens are in full bloom. Check the garden’s website for hours of operation and any seasonal events.
  • Admission: While there is a small entrance fee, the experience and tranquility offered by Red Butte Garden are well worth it.

6. Enjoy the Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) offers a blend of artistic diversity, historical significance, and accessibility that makes it a perfect location for a culturally immersive date:

  • Global Artwork Collection: UMFA boasts an impressive collection of global artwork, featuring pieces from various time periods and regions, providing couples with a rich and diverse artistic experience.
  • Cultural Exploration: The museum allows you to explore art from different cultures and eras, deepening your understanding of human creativity and history.
  • Affordability: UMFA offers free admission days and discounted rates, making it an affordable option for couples seeking an educational and culturally enriching date.

Now, let’s explore how to plan your visit to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts:

Check for Free Admission Days

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts periodically offers free admission days. Be sure to check the museum’s website or contact them to find out when these special days occur. Planning your visit on a free admission day can significantly reduce the cost of your date.

Admission Rates and Discounts

When free admission days are not available, here are some tips for managing the cost of your visit:

Admission TipsDetails
MembershipConsider becoming a museum member, which often provides free admission and other perks
Student DiscountsIf applicable, bring your student ID for potential discounts on admission
Group RatesCheck if the museum offers group rates for couples visiting together

Explore the Collections

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts features several collections and galleries. Take your time to explore the following highlights:

Noteworthy CollectionsDetails
Ancient ArtExplore artifacts and art from ancient civilizations, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome
European ArtAdmire works from European masters, offering insights into the evolution of art in Europe
Contemporary ArtExperience modern and contemporary art from both local and international artists
Asian ArtDiscover a rich collection of Asian art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative pieces

Engage in conversations with your partner about the art pieces you encounter, sharing your thoughts and interpretations.

Museum Events and Tours

Check the museum’s event calendar for any special exhibitions, guided tours, or educational programs that may be taking place during your visit. Participating in a guided tour can enhance your understanding of the artworks and provide valuable insights.

Visitor Amenities

The museum provides amenities such as a café and gift shop. Consider taking a break to enjoy a meal or browse the unique items available at the gift shop as part of your date experience.

7. Experience the Twilight Market

The Twilight Market offers a one-of-a-kind blend of cultural diversity, culinary delights, and live entertainment that sets the stage for an exciting and memorable date:

  • Lively Ambiance: The market’s evening setting creates a lively and energetic atmosphere, perfect for couples looking to enjoy a dynamic date night.
  • Local Foods: You can savor a wide range of local and international cuisines, allowing you to explore diverse flavors together.
  • Live Entertainment: The market often features live music and performances, enhancing the overall experience and adding to the festive vibe.

Let’s delve into how to plan your visit to the Twilight Market:

Check the Schedule

The Twilight Market typically operates during specific evenings or seasons. Be sure to check the market’s schedule and hours of operation to plan your visit accordingly. It’s essential to confirm that the market is open on the date you intend to go.

Arrive Early

To make the most of your Twilight Market experience, consider arriving a bit early, especially if you wish to avoid larger crowds and secure a good parking spot.

Explore the Culinary Offerings

One of the highlights of the Twilight Market is the variety of food vendors offering diverse culinary experiences. Here’s how to enjoy the culinary delights:

Culinary Exploration TipsDetails
Sampling TogetherShare different dishes from various vendors to experience a wide range of flavors
Dietary PreferencesConsider any dietary preferences or restrictions and look for vendors that cater to your needs
Adventure in EatingBe open to trying new and unique dishes, expanding your culinary horizons
Desserts and TreatsDon’t forget to indulge in desserts and treats offered by local bakers and sweet shops

Enjoy Live Entertainment

The Twilight Market often features live music and performances that add to the vibrant atmosphere. Find a comfortable spot to sit, relax, and enjoy the entertainment together. It’s an excellent opportunity to dance or simply soak in the lively tunes.

Shop Local Artisan Goods

Many Twilight Markets include artisan vendors selling handmade crafts, artwork, and unique goods. Take some time to browse and shop for souvenirs or gifts that catch your eye.

Plan for Weather

Since the market is an outdoor event, be prepared for varying weather conditions. Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly, bringing any necessary items like umbrellas or sunscreen.

8. Take a Hike to Ensign Peak

Ensign Peak

The hike to Ensign Peak combines adventure, natural beauty, and breathtaking views, making it a perfect option for couples seeking an outdoor date:

  • Adventure: The hike provides an adventure without the need for extensive hiking experience, making it accessible to a wide range of fitness levels.
  • Stunning Views: Upon reaching the summit, you are rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of Salt Lake City and the surrounding landscape, creating a romantic and awe-inspiring atmosphere.
  • Quality Time: Hiking together allows for meaningful conversations, bonding, and shared moments in the great outdoors.

Now, let’s dive into the details of planning your hike to Ensign Peak:

Trail Information

Ensign Peak is located near downtown Salt Lake City, and the trail to the summit is relatively short but steep. Here are some essential trail details:

  • Distance: The round-trip hike to Ensign Peak is approximately 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers).
  • Difficulty: The trail is considered easy to moderate, suitable for most fitness levels.
  • Duration: Plan for about 1-2 hours for the entire hike, including time to enjoy the view at the summit.

What to Bring

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable hike, consider these essential items:

Hiking EssentialsDetails
Comfortable FootwearWear sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes or sneakers with good traction.
Water and SnacksStay hydrated by bringing a reusable water bottle and some energy-boosting snacks.
Sun ProtectionApply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
Layered ClothingDress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions as you ascend.

Timing and Weather

Check the weather forecast and plan your hike accordingly. Early mornings or late afternoons can be ideal to avoid the heat during summer months. However, Ensign Peak can be hiked year-round, so choose a time that suits your schedule and comfort.

Summit Experience

Upon reaching the summit, take your time to appreciate the breathtaking view of Salt Lake City, the Great Salt Lake, and the surrounding mountains. It’s an excellent spot for photos and to simply enjoy the natural beauty together.

Trail Etiquette

Respect the environment and fellow hikers by following trail etiquette. Stay on marked paths, avoid littering, and be mindful of wildlife.


By using these Salt Lake City date ideas, you can enjoy memorable experiences with your partner without straining your wallet. Whether you prefer outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or just cozying up in a scenic spot, Salt Lake City has plenty of options to offer. So go ahead, plan your next date, and enjoy all the romantic and cheap date ideas Salt Lake City has to offer!


Q: Are there any free date ideas in Salt Lake City?

A: Yes! Many of the ideas listed, such as visiting Liberty Park, attending free concerts, or exploring the Gilgal Sculpture Garden, are completely free or have minimal costs associated.

Q: What are some romantic evening date ideas in Salt Lake City?

A: Enjoy a sunset at the Great Salt Lake, attend a Twilight Market, or catch a free movie in the park for a romantic evening without spending much.

Q: How can we enjoy a cultural date on a budget?

A: Visit the Salt Lake City Public Library, explore the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, or attend a local event or festival. Many cultural venues offer free admission days or discounted rates.

Q: Are there any outdoor date ideas that don’t involve much walking?

A: Yes, you can take a scenic drive around the Great Salt Lake or visit one of the city’s beautiful parks and enjoy a picnic while watching the world go by.

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