8 Affordable Winter Date Ideas in Arizona

These budget friendly activities will capture your heart.

The view overlooking Sedona, Arizona in from Airport Mesa.
Take in the view from Airport Mesa in Sedona, Arizona.
Courtesy Sedona Chamber

Whether you’re looking for a romantic hideaway, a Valentine’s celebration, or a dreamy solo date, Arizona has something for everyone and every budget. 

Take a cruise on a lake near the Valley.

Once a month, you and your paramour can cruise Lake Pleasant’s Scorpion Bay at sunset for $25 per person (upcoming dates: January 27 and February 24). The journey is BYOB, and while no glass is allowed, you can bring cans of sparkling rose or snag craft cocktails in to-go containers from Scorpion Bay Grill, then watch the sunset glitter like sequins across the water. Across town, the Dolly Steamboat sails the sapphire waters of captivating Canyon Lake twice daily ($30 per person).

Dance and eat chocolate in the West Valley.

If you and your partner are ready to ramp up your rumba, Arthur Murray Dance Centers in Goodyear offers a free first lesson. When you’re ready to slip out of your dance shoes, head to Glendale’s Chocolate Affaire (February 17 to 18) for treats from more than 50 chocolatiers, sweets sellers, and vino vendors.

A couple and their dog snowshoe at Arizona Nordic Village near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Snowshoe together at Arizona Nordic Village in Flagstaff.
An Pham

Snowshoe in Flagstaff.

Romance is all about slowing down and savoring sensations, like snowflakes kissing your cheeks, the soft scrunch of powdery ice beneath your feet, and the soothing sight of a pine forest blanketed in white. Arizona Nordic Village offers snowshoeing day passes for $16 per adult, and on Saturdays and Sundays, you can rent snowshoes onsite for $16. Alternatively, Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters in downtown Flagstaff rents snowshoes for $5 every day. 

Party at a planetarium or museum.

Starry-eyed science fans can celebrate their conjunction with the “When You Wish Upon a Star” Valentine’s Day Event at the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium in Tucson ($25 per person). You’ll learn about the mythical romances that inspired the names of constellations, peer into a telescope, and stroll softly lit exhibits to a soundtrack of love songs. Alternatively, bring your Barbie, Ken, or gal pals to the Phoenix Art Museum for the “Pretty in Pink Valentine’s Day Party” ($30 per adult, $15 for youth, or free for members). The blush-colored bash includes a DJ and dancing, complimentary treats, a scavenger hunt, and access to the new Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory exhibit, as well as the Barbie®: A Cultural Icon and The Power of Pink fashion design exhibitions.

Snow covers the red rocks in Sedona, Arizona.
See the vibrant rocks dusted in snow in Sedona.
Courtesy Arizona State Parks and Trails

Hike and gallery-hop in Sedona. 

You could splurge on a sensual spa treatment, but why bother when Sedona’s red rocks and blushing sunsets are alluring enough to put anyone in an amorous mood? Stimulate your mind by learning about geology, wildlife, archaeology, and more on a free naturalist-led daily hike at Red Rock State Park. Then stroll the art galleries, perhaps during the festive, free First Friday in the Galleries. Finally, head to Airport Mesa (it’s a supposed vortex that intensifies emotions) and snuggle up to your significant other to watch the sunset. 

Tour historic homes in Phoenix.

Are you and your fellow lovebird nesting? Dream about domestic bliss while popping into cozy bungalows and Spanish revivals with vintage vibes and fetching Southwestern flair. The Willo Historic Home Tour and Street Fair (February 18, $25) and the Coronado Historically Modern Home Tour and street fair (February 25, $20) provide intimate peeks into two of the Valley’s most coveted historic neighborhoods, plus local food and craft vendors and (at Willo) antique cars and a beer and wine garden.

Booths inside the Tucson Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Showcase.
See all that sparkles inside the Tucson Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Showcase.
Courtesy Tucson Gem & Mineral Society

Scope out sparkly gems in Tucson.

Searching for shimmering jewels, geode art, and other symbols of a rock-solid relationship? During the Tucson Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Showcase (January 27 to February 11), dozens of bazaars stud the Old Pueblo, including the free 22nd Street Show and the Mineral and Fossil Marketplace. The world’s largest gem and mineral show fills the city with a buzz of excitement, so it’s a fun time to stroll with your sweetheart, gawping at rare diamonds, enormous meteorites, and fossilized remnants of the Cambrian explosion.

Ogle art or Arabian horses in Scottsdale.

Perusing paintings and pottery can make for a great date—the art provides inspiration for conversations, and you can learn a lot about someone’s interests and tastes. At the Celebration of Fine Art (January 13 to March 24), season tickets cost just $10, so you can frequently return to see 100 creatives and a constantly changing selection of artworks. Similarly, the Arizona Fine Art Expo offers an opportunity to interact with artists as they create new works from January 12 to March 24 (season tickets; $12). If you’re more of an animal lover, take your date to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show (February 15 to 25, $15) to see nearly 2,400 stunning stallions and mares.