Date Nights in Wisconsin That Won’t Break the Bank

By Julia Hunter
Special to

Whether you’re saving up for a big purchase or trying to be more budget conscience, less cash in your pocket doesn’t have to mean Saturday nights in with your significant other. These date nights won’t break the bank, but they will leave you rich with memories.

Mini Bowling

Tucked away in a residential neighborhood on Milwaukee’s south side, Koz’s Mini Bowl is unlike anywhere you’ve been before. The four-lane mini duckpin bowling alley is a throwback to Milwaukee’s rich bowling heritage, complete with human pinsetters and an old fashioned jukebox. Bowl for just $3 a game and order a mini pitcher of Pabst Blue Ribbon for the same price—a uniquely Milwaukee experience.

Keep the theme going with mini tacos from El Charrito, a food truck that can be found across the street from Koz’s on most nights. Try the crowd-pleasing al pastor variety with generous slices of avocado and grilled jalapenos for just $7.

Grab a nightcap at nearby Bryant’s Lounge, a vintage cocktail lounge where bartenders craft custom cocktails based on your alcohol and flavor preferences. Try signature cocktails for $5 from 5 - 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

If you’re looking for more quirky bowling spots, you’re in luck. Holler House, a Milwaukee gem, houses the country’s two oldest certified bowling lanes in its basement. If you’d prefer a more modern experience, grab a gourmet pizza and a personal iPad for score keeping at The Thirsty Duck, a six-lane mini bowling alley in Wauwatosa.

Mix it up at the Museum

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art offers a unique after-hours opportunity to get a first look at exhibition openings, film screenings and more. Guests are treated to live music, remarkable artwork and seasonal hors d'oeuvres from the museum’s rooftop restaurant, Fresco. Members attend for free.

The Milwaukee Art Museum also hosts themed After-Dark events each month. Members attend for free, and tickets for non-members are $10.

If you’re looking to unleash your inner child, try the Madison Children’s Museum’s Adult Swim. These 21 and older evenings give grown-ups run of the museum for just $12.75 per person. Take a spin together on the giant gerbil wheel or paint each other’s portraits in the art studio.

To satisfy the appetite you’re sure to work up, try nearby Sujeo, a locally-sourced Asian fusion restaurant where Korean staples meet Wisconsin classics, like Farmer John's Cheese Curds with Kimchi and Gochujang Mayo. The late night noodle bar is open until 1:30 a.m. on the weekends.

Little Switzerland

You don’t have to buy a plane ticket to experience European atmosphere and romance. New Glarus’s chalet-style architecture, tempting Swiss cuisine, unique shops and world-class brewery will transport you straight to Switzerland.

Make a day or weekend trip out of it and stay at the charming Albany House Bed & Breakfast, where you can rent a room for less than $100 during the off season. Enjoy a homemade breakfast at the inn or try Cow & Quince, a former grocery store that now serves farm-to-table fare sourced from local farms.

A trip to New Glarus isn’t complete without a stop at New Glarus Brewing Co., where self-guided tours are free. Brewing enthusiasts can opt for the three-hour Hard Hat Tour, which includes a trip to the original Riverside Brewery, where it all started, and the new, state of the art Hilltop Brewery. This $30 option also includes a private beer and cheese pairing.


Whether you want to get out or stay cuddled up inside, Wisconsin has endless ideas for you and your date!