The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Respark your romance: A Nashville guide to budget-friendly dating

Check out these 10 ideas to have memorable dates in Nashville without going broke.
Sofia El-Shammaa
Graphic depicting a romantic couple holding a heart while surrounded by smaller hearts. (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia El-Shammaa)

Nashville is known for many things: Dolly Parton, a vibrant nightlife, Vanderbilt and being very expensive. But a great date night in Nashville no longer has to mean breaking the bank, considering the plentiful options open to Vanderbilt students that can suit any sort of couple’s interest.

Admire art at Centennial Park   

Centennial Park is the classic date spot for lovers in Nashville. With options ranging from a romantic picnic by the lake to the Cowen Collection in the Parthenon for only $20, Centennial is a premiere spot for first dates and anniversaries alike. A highlight exhibit includes plaster casts of Greek statues, creating an educational but romantic experience, as you marvel at life-like replicas of works straight from the times of Aphrodite. It’s a superb idea that will ensure your romance won’t end up as ancient history!

Behold the Belcourt

Yes, Netflix-and-chill could work in place of this but admit that for the price of $17, you would want a mega screen with premium surround sound. With an assortment of films such as the upcoming “Taste of Things” premiering on Valentine’s Day, there is no shortage of romance to see within the walls of the classic Belcourt. New films are being released every month, so this is a prime destination for refreshing old dates with the newest movies, or cozying up to a classic film.

Book a chair at Blair

A decades-old staple for old-fashioned couples, booking seats together to hear concerts with instruments ranging from piano to steel drum is an excellent way to bond, and it is completely free to Vanderbilt couples!  Blair is an excellent choice for couples who want to explore the romantic soundtracks of distant yesteryears. 

Cozy up with Spotify

For the couples who want to keep it comfy and lowkey, making a couple’s Spotify playlist is a staple. With a night alone, an oversized blanket and two phones, hours of “oh this song reminds me of when we first met!” over and over make a great playlist. This can be combined with cups of tea, sharing the music together in real time or even a plug-in scent diffuser. The most important factor, though, is your creativity. Experience romance through music and be able to share that playlist of feelings with only a few taps! For an additional level of romance, Love Circle is a perfect spot to host a playlist creation session with a picnic.

Experience art at Cohen

From calligraphy workshops to sculpture tours, it is no surprise why many art enthusiasts come to visit the Cohen Museum on Peabody campus. Best of all, it is free of charge! The Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery is an excellent place to visit on a spontaneous afternoon date, but the Tuesdays Art For Lunch events provide unique cultural experiences that both of you will cherish forever.

Go have a drink (or not)!

A go-to for spontaneous and laid-back couples alike, Elliston Place Soda Shop serves amazing non-alcoholic drinks, including milkshakes and homemade sodas. Or, go to Hopsmith Tavern’s Tuesday-night “Challenge Entertainment” or even Wednesday-night “Nerdy Talk Trivia,” incredible options to reveal your inner dork!

Go to a cozy café

Nashville, alongside its music scene, is known for its collection of cafes to cater to any couple. From The Butter Milk Ranch bakery’s fluffy croissants to 8th & Roast’s trendy espressos to the Kona beans at Bad Ass Coffee, Nashville has no shortage of coffee shops for any kind of couple, so get to sipping.

Ice cream

From Ben & Jerry’s to Baked Bear, Nashville is no stranger to a sweet treat, and neither should you. Whether enjoying a sundae together or getting milkshakes to-go, ice cream will keep the relationship even sweeter. Other note-worthy options include I Love Sushi’s mochi ice cream, Jeni’s and Sarabha’s. Best part? If your sweet tooth is ready, all you have to do is swipe and pay using your meal money! That’s what I call a sweet deal. 

The Nashville Zoo

With ticket prices as low as $16 each, the Nashville Zoo is an excellent choice for couples. Enjoy viewing the exhibits or just go to take a couple’s selfie next to the monkeys. I know you and your date will go wild!


Buffalo Exchange at Elliston Place remains a classic for fashion-forward couples to spend hours browsing for the best deals to show off at their next outing together. With the prices of retail clothing steadily increasing, thrifting has become a staple for university students across the country in providing unique and affordable clothing. Best of all, the act of thrift shopping as a treasure hunt provides an excellent opportunity to have a fun-filled day with your partner. Express to each other the creativity and joy that will keep you two together and coming back for more! 

Dating in Nashville can be pricey, but thinking outside of the box can help keep your date on a budget. From seeking inexpensive restaurants to taking advantage of on-campus experiences, many dates don’t require breaking the bank to be fun. In the end, it’s not the price you pay that matters, it’s the joy you had along the way.

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About the Contributors
George Albu
George Albu, Staff Writer and Photographer
George Albu (‘27) is majoring in medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not working for The Hustler, he enjoys taking long walks around campus, reading or watching video essays about anything and everything online. He can be reached at [email protected].
Sofia El-Shammaa
Sofia El-Shammaa, Staff Writer and Photographer, Data and Graphics Staffer
Sofia El-Shammaa (‘27) is majoring in political science and communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When they’re not writing or making graphics, you can find them with their cat, Mochi, watching bad movies or reading good books. You can reach them at [email protected].
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