If you're a hopeless romantic, and you're hopelessly broke, a cheap date in Milwaukee doesn't mean sitting at home watching TV and drinking screw-top wine.
There are plenty of cheap -- and quality -- dates in Milwaukee. You just have to be a little resourceful. Here's a quick list, but please add your own using the Talkback feature below.
Dinner at Conejito's Place: If there are cheaper dinners in Milwaukee, then you don't want to eat them. At this classic and slightly kitschy Walker's Point Mexican restaurant landmark, 539 W. Virginia St., two meals will set you back a grand total of $4.80. That's right, a plate of four bean tacos cost $2.40 apiece, and believe it or not, they're really good, too.
A Monday morning stroll through the Domes: Technically, it's called the Mitchell Park Conservatory, but you know them as the Domes, and they're at their are best in the dead of winter. Monday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m., they're free for Milwaukee County residents (a measly $5 other times). You can sit beneath a palm tree in the balmy Tropical Dome, or get cutesy next to a cactus in the Arid Dome. There's also a third, specialty dome that changes up enough to make an annual trip to this lush landmark a must. Just off of the highway, the Domes are located at 524 S. Layton Blvd.
Free Art Museum Wednesdays: It's not like admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum is much to begin with, as $8 is all a Milwaukee County resident needs to see some world-class art. But if that's too steep for your date budget, make sure to visit on Wednesdays, when it's totally free. A valid ID gets you in the door.
Sunset over Lake Michigan from South Shore and Bay View Park: Since the entire city sits on Lake Michigan, this cheap date seems pretty obvious. But a spectacular view that not everyone is aware of comes from Bay View Park. To find it, just keep taking Oklahoma Avenue east until the street ends. Then stroll a few blocks north up South Lake Drive until you get to South Shore Park.
Gallery Night and Day: You can only take advantage of this Downtown and Third Ward event quarterly, but when you can, it's a pretty romantic date. Free art and tons of free wine. He / she will think you're cultured. And you don't have to spend a cent.
Summer music festivals: From Jazz in the Park to Bastille Days to River Rhythms, these festivals are a charming way to live the Downtown experience without paying Downtown prices. At Bastille Days and River Rhythms, you can even bring your own booze, avoiding those pesky markups.
Ice skating at Red Arrow Park: It only costs $5.50 to rent a pair of skates, but if you've got your own, it's free to skate at this Downtown rink, 920 N. Water St. Just think, helping your date when he or she falls, giggling as you get up. Save your pennies for a hot chocolate after the fun.
$10 shows, plus two tall boys, at The Pabst Theater: Sure, not every show at the grand old Pabst Theater costs just $10, but several of them do. For that bargain price, you'll hear quality live music at a price most can afford. Speaking of affordable, toast the music with $3 big cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. For a live music venue, that's a steal.
Stargazing at the Planetarium: It's not free, but it's unique. For $8, you get admission to the Milwaukee Public Musuem's planetarium inside the IMAX theater, 800 W. Wells St. Educational, trippy or romantic, it's a cool and cheap date.
Half-price bowling at Bay View Bowl: Bowling can be a great date, whether you're good or terrible (as long as you both have a sense of humor). Kegling is even better when it costs 50 percent less, as it does every Sunday at Bay View Bowl, 2416 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Miller Brewing brewery tour: While the Lakefront Brewery tour is quite a bit more intimate, the Miller tour has one thing (among others) going for it: it's totally free. Tours kick off at the visitor center, 4251 W. State St., and run from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. And of course, free beer is provided at the end of your "date."
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.