6 dates for under $20 to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Impressing your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day turns into an expensive bill for most couples, but a nice date doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little planning and imagination, a romantic outing can be made affordable, even if only one party is paying.

Good news: We’ve got you covered on the planning portion of Valentine’s Day, but it’s up to you to tailor our $20 unconventional date ideas in accordance to that special someone. You never know, ditting the traditional dinner and chocolate-covered strawberries schtick may be cheaper and more enjoyable than you’d expect.

Walk a downtown

Take a walk along Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls, enjoy breakfast, brunch or lunch at Flury's Cafe then check out the many shops.
Have offers a wide variety of beverages at Kave in downtown Barberton including this frozen peppermint mocha.
Enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation at Kave in downtown Barberton.

Pick a downtown area with shops that interest both of you and take some time to window shop. Yup, that’s pretty much it. Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Barberton — take your pick. Be sure to grab a meal or some snacks along the way, the only thing worse than no valentine is a hangry valentine.

See a movie together at the Lake 8 Movies Theater in downtown Barberton.

More:Local Flavor: Cilantro Thai & Sushi Restaurant in downtown Akron offers next-level flavor

North High Street in Akron has a lot to offer.  There's Totally Baked Pizza, along with the Hop House, Uncorked Wine Bar, Akron Coffee Roasters and the Nightlight Cinema.
Go to a movie at the Nighlight Cinema on North High Street in Akron.

If downtown Akron is your destination, Cilantro’s Thai tea is tasty, caffeinated and only $2.59, a pretty good deal for how filling it is. Couples can also utilize the city’s ice skating rink for $3 per person if they bring their own skates and $5 per person if they need to rent skates. The city’s WinterBlast festival will have firepits, ice bumper cars and ice bikes available to rent for specific days before and after Valentine’s Day. To find additional events or reserve a spot on any outdoor attraction, visit the Lock 3 event calendar.

More:WinterBlast brings skating, ice bumper cars, Grinch, other holiday favorites to Akron park

Check out the vast book collection in the
Check out the vast book collection at Snowball Bookshop located in downtown Barberton although you may have one of the two friendly store cats keeping an eye on you.  The store is one of the largest used and out of print book stores in northeast Ohio.

If you are a books and cats kind of couple, perusing Barberton’s downtown, and specifically Snowball Bookshop, will start the date on a good note. This particular bookshop has two cats, Callie and Maya, and thousands of books — some of which are located in its super secret basement that is worth exploring.

StowNut Donut & Diner owner Karen Bellian (right), chats with Becky Miles of Cuyahoga Falls in Bellian's restaurant in Stow.  (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal

Donut forget to set your alarm!

This outing is perfect for those early risers that like to start adventures before sunup. Make a doughnut trail, and spend a morning taste testing donuts together. All you need to do is compile a list of donut shops, determine the order in which to visit them and bring something to wash down all those sweets. Some destinations to add to your list are North Hill Donuts, Jubilee Donuts, StowNut Donut & Diner, George’s Donuts and Hiss Bakery.

Competitive thrifting

Catherine Altizer, the store manager at the Happy Tails Thrift Shop that benefits the Humane Society of Summit County, says games and puzzles are a popular purchase at the store in Akron.

If you and your partner have a competitive streak, this date may be an especially fun challenge. Hit up a local thrift store together, with $7.50 in both your pockets, to see who can find the coolest item for the least amount of money. Determine a winner between the two of you or consult an outside party if needed. The winner determines which ice cream shop to use the remaining $5 at for post-game dessert.

Catherine Altizer, the store manager at the Happy Tails Thrift Shop that benefits the Humane Society of Summit County, looks through record albums at the store in Akron.
Catherine Altizer, the store manager at the Happy Tails Thrift Shop that benefits the Humane Society of Summit County, looks through romantic comedy DVDs in Akron.

Some thrift stores to compete in are Village Discount Outlet, Happy Tails Thrift Shop and Abbey Ann’s. Where to get ice cream afterwards is a whole other ball game, but some good places are Stricklands Frozen Custard or Durbin Magic Freeze (the latter is cash-only).

Get some rolled ice cream at the Treatery inside the Northside Marketplace in Akron.

More:Celebrate National Ice Cream Day with Summit County’s most popular shops

Cyndi Rice of Cleveland does standup at Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls.  (Leah Klafczynski/Akron Beacon Journal)

Have a laugh

The best medicine also makes for a memorable evening out. Visit the Funny Stop Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls on a Wednesday or Thursday night (tickets are less than $9 on those days) for a show and a minimum of two drinks. Ticket prices may be higher for certain special events and performers, so check the Funny Stop’s schedule before arriving.

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