Park City dates on a dime |

Park City dates on a dime

Newlyweds James Moore, 29 and Maria Longoni, 26, sit at Anaya's Market restaurant after a long day at work. It has been almost one year since Maria permanently moved from Argentina to live in the U.S. with James. The couple is always trying to save money for trips back to Argentina to visit family, so they've become creative with inexpensive dates. Going to Costco and matinee movies at Redstone are two of their favorites. Maria says they find their real wealth in simply sharing time together, cooking dinner or going skiing. (Anna Moore/Park Record)

Living in a resort town means an endless supply of world-class eateries and entertainment, but for couples on a tight budget, going on dates in Park City can easily become a financial stressor. Luckily, there are inexpensive and creative date options for couples Park City to enjoy this winter.

Can’t afford a beach holiday to Cancun or Cozumel? No problema! Anaya’s Market provides an affordable, no frills mini-Mexican getaway for couples who want an escape. From the outside, Anaya’s back-alley entrance doesn’t scream romance, but inside, the smell of fresh baked pan dulce and the sound of a wailing mariachi band makes you feel an ocean away from Park City. Start the date perusing the market, ogling tall sugar cane, floppy cactus fruit, and hearty yucca root that fill the produce section. Then, grab a Jarritos or crack open a young coconut before you take a seat by the "beach," a wonderfully tacky mural of a white sandy beach in the back corner restaurant. Be prepared to wait in line and get cozy with the locals on the shop’s tiny tables. Impress your date by practicing your Spanish when ordering $2 tacos or an $8 monster burrito. Before you leave, pick out an unfamiliar Mexican goodie you both can try later.

For those who want to take advantage of Main Street’s nightlife, but don’t want to spend a fortune,

Tuesdays offer a pair of cheap activities. Roll down to O’Shucks Bar and Grill for a great dinner deal on Main: a burger and 32-ounce schooner of beer for six bucks! Embrace the dive bar vibe with a few rounds of Buck Hunter and a few handfuls O’Shucks’ signature salted shelled peanuts between sips of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Complete the Tuesday festivities by belting a ballad at Rock & Reilly’s Cowboy Karaoke. Do be warned, if Cowboy Joe doesn’t think your rendition of "I Got You Babe," is up to par, he’ll steal the mic (and maybe your date too).

Outdoor-loving couples will agree that the best cheap date in Park City will always be getting outside and enjoying nature. Lora Smith, Resource Manager at the Mountain Trails Foundation says that Park City’s accessibility to a world-class trail system is unparalleled. "Where else can a couple stroll from an art gallery on Main Street, right onto a trail?" One of Smith’s favorite trailside date spots is a tire swing and picnic table less than a half-mile from the Quinn’s Junction Trailhead along the Ability Way nordic trail. Another unforgettable and completely free outdoor date is exploring Guardsman’s Pass. Although the pass is closed to traffic during the winter, the road becomes a perfect trail for skiing and snowshoeing. During next full moon, pack a thermos of hot cocoa and hike beyond the winter closure gate to enjoy glowing views from Clayton Peak to the Heber Valley.

For couples who are feeling fancy, ride the St. Regis Funicular for a sweeping view from the top of Deer Valley. The Funicular, a steep cable car that climbs over 500 feet in a few minutes, can carry 15 people but is best enjoyed by just two. Once at the top, stop for a swanky drink at The St. Regis Bar and Lounge. Although their custom cocktails are $15, the splurge is well worth the view, and the bonus bar bites of rosemary popcorn and salty roasted cashews. Time your date right, and you can learn the ancient art of Champagne Sabering, a St. Regis tradition since 1904 where bartenders valiantly pop some bubbly with a sword. The Champagne Sabering ceremony is every day at 6:30 p.m. (for paying bar and lounge patrons and hotel guests).

Park City’s unique blend of high-class culture, old town charm, and natural beauty could make anyone fall in love. Luckily, a little creativity means that great dates don’t have to cost a fortune.

And a few ideas from Park Record Facebook followers:

Carrie Jeanne: Hike up Iron Mountain with sleds for the ride down. Pop some bubbly at the top.

Amy Iverson: Explore the amazing art galleries on Main Street. Finish off by browsing in Dolly’s Bookstore and getting treats from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!

Jill Orschel Sneak into a hot tub with your sweetheart (used to do this all over town before we were responsible parents–now we hot tub at the gym).

Lam Wright: Doughnut Date at Twice the Dough located on Snow Creek Drive near The Market!

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