Downtown Date Night Ideas on a Budget

One of my favorite things to do is to find budget-friendly activities we can enjoy around town. This past Friday we dropped the little dude off at his abuelos, braved rush hour traffic and headed downtown for a sweet date night: Tampa's Fourth Friday. Now, even if you are not a Tampanian, most cities across the country offer some type of free arts & entertainment program, so be sure to check your town's social media accounts and events newsletters.

Here's the gist of Tampa's Fourth Friday: you receive FREE admission or discounts at participating cultural venues; there's live local music and food/drink specials at participating restaurants and bars (along with Sip & Stroll cups you can take with you from place to place), and complimentary water taxi rides up and down the river.

Tampa Museum of Art
We started our evening at the Tampa Museum of Art, which houses a small but impressive permanent collection of artifacts and sculptures from places like ancient Greece and Italy, and even a life-sized painted Egyptian sarcophagus.

The Golden Mean (2012), bronze sculpture by Carole Feuerman (American, b. 1945) 

Downtown Riverwalk 
Next we strolled down the recently completed and revitalized downtown riverwalk, a gorgeous 2.4 miles path along the Hillsborough river. At the Curtis Hixon Park we boarded the complimentary water taxi to the Tampa Bay History Center. The water taxi ride was a lot of fun!

Riverwalk at Curtis Hixon Park


My favorite restaurant in Tampa so far, Ulele is a native-inspired restaurant and brewery that uses fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and other proteins from Florida. It's a gorgeous brick building on the river (the riverwalk connects downtown all the way to Ulele in Tampa Heights), with tons of charm and hangout areas. It is not necessarily a budget-friendly eatery, but they have deliciously intricate appetizers and plates big enough to share. Definitely worth it, but beware of the long wait times and hard to make reservations.

We spent a few hours holding hands, giggling (ok, I did the giggling), and just enjoying each other's company without having to be on constant toddler alert. Sometimes it's so hard to get out of the house and spend quality time with our partners - especially as new parents - but a little effort goes a long way.


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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.