Plan your summer with these ideas that will make going outside on a hot Atlanta day worth it The Back to the Chattahoochee River Race and Festival is the family-friendly version of the Ramblin' Raft Race of the 1970s Summer brings out-of-town guests to the attractions around Luckie Marietta District and Centennial Olympic Park Find a King of Pops pushcart or grab a milkshake at Googie Burger An annual pilgrimage for many Atlantans is the hike up Stone Mountain with panoramic views of downtown Atlanta and

6 Atlanta summer date ideas for the budget-conscious 

They say love doesn’t cost a thing, and, in some cases, this cliché actually applies.

No matter what phase of dating you’re in —from first dates to near the wedding date — a low-cost or free Atlanta date option is always a smart move for the budget.

»RELATED: How to take a break in Georgia without breaking the bank

The adventurous, varied and enjoyable options below are out there, so there’s no excuse to but to leave work on time and head out for a night on the town.

How do you find these marvelous outings that cost next to nothing? Here are six ways to seek summertime dates on the cheap in or near Atlanta:

Photo: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Check out  Georgia state park offerings. You're probably thinking you'll wait till you have kids to start doing the state park thing, but that's a mistake. Particularly as the spring flowers start a showy display and the wildlife is extra active (doing its version of speed dating), the state parks have many ready-made inexpensive date options. Consider events like a Wildflower Hike at Sweetwater Park in Lithia Springs ($5 each and $5 to park), or a cozy romantic interlude learning Campfire 101 at Chattahoochee Bend State Park in Newnan ($1 each, $5 to park.) Other possibilities ranging from free to $5 or so include archery, putt-putt, disc golf, geocaching and picnicking.

Trivia Night at a spot like Buckhead's Fado Irish Pub is an inexpensive way to entertain a date, and in spring weather you may even be able to sit outside.
Photo: Contributed by Fado Irish Pub/For the AJC

Atlanta trivia nights could be your low-cost date answer. Trivia night at most bars is a loss-leader, which makes it a great option for an inexpensive date night. Most places, like the Vortex, let you play for free as long as you have an open tab of any sort. Plus, if you do well you can win money to pay your tab and then the date is free. The Vortex Midtown plays on Mondays, its Little Five Points plays on Tuesdays. As the weather warms, another option might be a place where you can sit outside, likeFadoIrish Pubin Buckhead's Brainstormer Pub Quiz team trivia. It also offers a chance to win money to pay your tab, along with , which offers a chance to On trivia nights in the past, there were drink specials, such as $10 pitcher specials and $4 shots.

»RELATED: The best ways to float Atlanta's rivers and lakes

Swing by somewhere on the Atlanta Streetcar. This is the ultimate in casual "getting to know you" dates and completely frugal, just $1 for a one way ticket each or $3 each for a one-day pass. (Things could go that well, who knows). Just jump on the modern electric streetcar, complete with climate control, and people watch around downtown. One route connects Centennial Olympic Park to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and you can jump off for more free fun traipsing in Oakland Cemetery or Hurt Park.

Let Emory University pay for the entertainment. Especially with the students in high spirits in the spring, Emory University is a great place to hang out for a low-cost date. You can just walk the beautiful campus if you like, but a little more research and you can also take in any number of free forms of entertainment, from student choir concerts to world-renown speakers.

Check out low-cost festivals. All sorts of family and community groups offer the kind of festivals that will get you and a date out in public but won't cost much, like the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival or the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival . When you're checking the calendars, especially veer towards OTP towns and look for anyone offering food trucks.

Go for greenie volunteer opportunities. While they won't pay you, you won't pay them either when you volunteer in the great outdoors together. That's a date, and it's free, but you might want to add value by stopping for biscuits on the way in or stopping off for Happy Hour afterwards when you're feeling accomplished. If you're both greenie outdoors lovers, great choices are any growing or planting chores for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, or state park maintenance like the monthly trail clean up at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder.

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