6 Free & Affordable Date Ideas For Lovers Of The Arts

A dash of creativity is all you need to get those romantic juices flowing!

By Mandy Lim Beitler        24 October 2023

In this instalment of free and affordable date ideas, we explore activities that will appeal to couples who have a limited budget but still enjoy poetic pursuits. After all, you can’t put a price tag on romance!

1. Visit art museums and galleries

Museum-hopping is a great way to view varied genres of art which encompass both contemporary and historical art forms. The best part, of course, is that many museums and galleries in Singapore offer local residents free entry.

If you only have time for one, then make a beeline for National Gallery Singapore. This leading visual arts institution, which oversees the world’s largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian modern art, is housed in City Hall and the former Supreme Court, two national monuments that are in themselves, works of art.

While the redevelopment of the Singapore Art Museum’s heritage buildings at Bras Basah Road and Queen Street is still underway, Singapore’s very first art museum is more active than ever. Encounter museum art experiences at SAM @ Tanjong Pagar Distripark and via pop-up programmes across neighbourhoods islandwide. You can even wander with art as you stroll hand-in-hand through the Rail Corridor!

For more art to admire, head to the Affordable Art Fair Singapore this November – SAFRA members enjoy $5 off general entry and Arty-Licious Evening tickets. Find out more at safra.sg/affordable-art-fair-singapore-2023

2. Try light-painting

Love the annual i Light Singapore light art exhibition? Why not try your hand at light-painting? All you need is a torchlight or some sparklers, and a camera that can do long exposures. It doesn’t have to be a fancy DSLR – most smartphone cameras have this capability these days.

Simply set up your camera or phone on a stable spot (or use a tripod), set it to long exposure mode, and play around with your light source. You can draw silly pictures, write your names in the sky, and pepper your photo with hearts. Experimentation and having fun is the name of this game. You’ll not only capture cool photos but develop tons of memories too.

Just remember to schedule your date for after the sun sets and choose a venue that’s sufficiently dark. Consider the scenic rooftops of the Marina Barrage and Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, popular late-night hangouts such as Yishun Dam and Woodlands Waterfront, or serene beaches along Pasir Ris Park or Punggol Promenade.

Extend your foray into light art and end the night at Wings of Time, Sentosa’s nightly fountain light show. SAFRA members enjoy 20% off standard tickets. Find out more at safra.sg/wings-of-time

3. Learn to dance

What’s more lovey-dovey than moving in sync, feeling the music, and connecting without saying a word? Whether it’s slow and elegant like a waltz, steamy like a tango, or just fun like busting out a move to your favourite song, dancing brings couples closer in a way that words can’t. Even if you have two left feet, your efforts will move your partner in more ways than one.

And taking dance lessons doesn’t even have to be expensive, thanks to courses that community clubs conduct around the island. Some start at just $5 per person! These range from ballroom dance and disco rock to traditional ethnic dances and of course, the ever-popular line dancing.

Some of these may not seem particularly romantic, but you’ll be having fun and sweating it out together. Not to mention getting a healthy, heart-pumping workout too. Prepare for an endorphin rush as you learn a new love language together.

If you’d like to try your feet at ballet as well, The Ballet Academy is offering a free trial exclusively for SAFRA members. Find out more at safra.sg/exclusively-for-safra-members-free-ballet-trial

4. Go to the theatre

In Singapore, the best place to immerse in performance arts if you’re pinching pennies is undoubtedly Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Drop in for free live performances at the Esplanade Concourse every evening and the DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre on weekends. And on one Sunday every month, the Concert Hall hosts concerts by homegrown orchestras and music ensembles – for free!

There’s extra to look forward to as we head into the last quarter of the year. Immerse in the power of folklore in Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts in November. Then in December’s instalment of da:ns focus, be drawn into infectious street dance in FL/OW – The FULL OUT Weekend.

Such festivals offer a mix of ticketed and free programmes, including interactive workshops that are either free or only require a minimal fee. These are generally conducted by the artists who are currently being showcased, so the activities will follow the same themes.

If your budget allows, SAFRA members enjoy up to 20% off tickets to Journey West – The Crimson Boy by Paper Monkey Theatre and Wild Rice’s Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. Find out more at safra.sg/jw-thecrimsonboy & safra.sg/wild-rice-snow-white-the-seven-dwarfs

5. Discover art in science

You may think that the arts and sciences are two opposing subjects and never the twain shall meet. But think again. Both fields render ideas about the world into a form that allows the viewer to observe and interpret them. Besides, romance is art but chemistry is science, and when they mingle – magic happens!

Looking to delve further into this magical connection without burning a hole in your pocket? Head to the ArtScience Museum, where the portal to New Eden: Science Fiction Mythologies Transformed opens on 21 October. Then from 27 October, experience Samsara, a virtual reality journey of reincarnation that spans millions of years. Tickets start at just $16 per person.

Over at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, you can wander through 2,500 sq m of gallery space dedicated to the art and science of natural history. View 2,000 specimens of flora and fauna, including the museum’s prized dinosaur skeletons and a slice of the tree that gave Changi its name.

SAFRA members enjoy 10% off admission tickets to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. Find out more at safra.sg/lee-kong-chian-natural-history-museum

6. Craft with flowers

Here’s a crafty idea for couples who love flowers and nature. Of course you could just admire the lush landscapes on a stroll through our world-famous gardens, but why not exercise your creativity while you’re there? That way, you’ll come home with a memento to remind you of a special date.

At the Singapore Botanic Gardens, you can join a free nature-sketching activity on the first Saturday of every odd-numbered month. Led by a volunteer artist, the next one happens on 4 November. You can also try various techniques involved in botanical illustration, such as sketching and mixing colours, at the Botanical Art Gallery.

Did you know that there are over 200 art sculptures scattered throughout Gardens by the Bay? Plus, with seasonal festivals and floral displays sprouting up all year long, no two visits are ever alike. Till 13 November, as you draw inspiration from the Mongolian-themed Chrysanthemum Charm floral display at the Flower Dome, you can also design your own floral fan or embroider leaf art in guided workshops.

Want to continue exploring the art of floral arrangement at home or simply surprise your significant other with a pretty bouquet? SAFRA members enjoy up to 20% off at AngelFlorist and Noel Gifts. Find out more at safra.sg/AngelFlorist & safra.sg/noel-gifts

Feeling peckish? Impress your date with dinner at one of these fancy but affordable places, at under $50++ for two

Save more with SAFRA! Enjoy special deals and discounts on dining, shopping, entertainment, travel, fitness and more from over 1,500 merchant outlets islandwide. Sign up or renew your SAFRA membership for three years at the price of 1 year ($43.20 inclusive of GST)! Plus, get your spouse and children on board to enjoy the same privileges too – 1st dependent pays $5.40/year, and it’s free for the 2nd dependent onwards. Visit safra.sg/savemore for more details. 

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