BY ALTHEA MAHADEVA, Staff Writer

Dating can be challenging enough on its own.  Being a college student with a limited budget doesn’t help either. Here are some great dates that cost less to help relieve some dating stress.

Downtown Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, and as such it has a reputation for being a college town.  What this means is University Sponsored Entertainment and an overall student friendly downtown.  Street parking is free after 6pm and free in the structures on Sundays.

University of Michigan- Exhibit of Natural History: The Exhibit Museum has everything from dinosaurs to astronomy.  Admission is free but they do accept donations. The museum also has a planetarium; show tickets cost five dollars per person.  Museum dates give you a chance to learn about the other person’s interests. Perhaps they wanted to study dinosaurs as child, or they have a special fascination for astronomy, whatever the case exhibits provide you with a variety of topics to discuss. COST: FREE (admission)-$5 per person (planetarium show)

Other museums in the area include but are not limited to: Ann Arbor Hands on Museum ($10 per person), The University of Michigan Museum of Art (Free),and  Kelsey Museum of Archeology (Free).

Nicholas Arboretum: The Arb is living collection of trees and plants. The Huron River entrance, located near the hospital, offers trails that run alongside the Huron River. Throughout the Arb are a number of great locations for small picnics, studying, relaxing, etc.  Admission and parking is free.  The Arb is the perfect backdrop for a romantic outdoor date.  A refreshing walk complimented by a snack or picnic is a great way to set up a romantic connection.  Sit by the river, talk, take pictures, or just relax and enjoy your company.  COST: FREE (admission) – $5(snacks)

Pinball Pete’s: Pinball Pete’s is an adult arcade center, offering pinball machines, retro-arcade games, air-hockey, billiards, Dance Dance Revolution, etc.  Costs of games vary from $0.50- $2.00. Arcade dates allow you to engage in friendly competition, let out your inner child, and have fun. They also allow you to control the amount you spend.

Student Dining: Restaurants can be pricey downtown so steer away from Main Street. However the closer you get to campus the more likely there will be student friendly prices and specials.  Here are a few of the places where you can get meals for around $10 per person or less: Mia Za’s – Italian, No Thai- Thai, Tomokun- Japanese Noodles, Five Guys Burgers and Fries- Burgers, China Gate- Chinese.  Walking around Ann Arbor you will find some franchise favorites like Panera, Noodles and Company, and Jimmy John’s. Check online for other specials and groupons.  COST:  Around $10 per person