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Williams Brice Stadium, Russell House, and the Campus Village clock tower pictured in three hearts.

Love is in the air

Budget-friendly date ideas for Valentine's Day

Looking to celebrate love this week without burning a hole in your wallet? From romantic activities to spontaneous outings, here are date ideas around Columbia that range from budget-friendly to extravagant. 

On campus 

  • Head to Russell Underground on Monday (Feb. 12) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a special Valentine’s Day event with Gamecock Entertainment.
  • Also on Monday, write affirmations on a candy heart for you or a loved one and learn about healthy relationships with Changing Carolina Peer Leaders from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Catch the first USC theater production of this semester. Language of Angels will open Thursday (Feb. 15). Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the door.
  • Take me out to the ballgame. Gamecock Baseball will have its home opener against Miami (Ohio) on Friday (Feb. 16) at 4 p.m. at Founders Park. Student tickets are available to claim on the Cockpit app.

Movie night in or night out

  • Did you know that USC students and faculty get free membership to the Richland Library? Show your Carolina Card and get free access to kanopy, an on-demand streaming video service that offers thousands of award-winning documentaries, films and television shows. Grab some candy and popcorn and have a romantic movie night in.
  • Hop in your car on Thursday (Feb. 15) and head to Gamecock Park across from the Williams-Brice Stadium for a drive-in movie showing of 10 Things I Hate About You. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and this event is free to students with a valid Carolina Card. Check out Garnet Gate for more information.   

Dinner dates

  • Stop by Publico Kitchen & Tap on Feb. 18 for brunch and the chance to pet adoptable dogs. There will even be a free puppy kissing booth to spread the love.
  • For an unforgettable (albeit pricier) experience, reserve a spot at Top of Carolina, the 360-degree rotating restaurant. The annual Valentine’s Day dinner will consist of a three-course meal and a bird’s-eye view of Columbia for the price of $130 per couple.

Night at the museum

  • Admission to the South Carolina State Museum provides access to four floors of permanent and changing exhibits, a dome planetarium, theater and observatory. Whether solo or with a date, this destination is a charming place for history and culture.
  • If you’re willing to splurge on date night, check out Amore Under the Stars on Wednesday (Feb. 14) from 6 to 10 p.m. For $160 per couple, you will get access to the museum, food from Loosh Culinaire, live music from the ColaJazz Little Big Band, a planetarium laser show and night sky observing, weather permitting.

Calling all Swifties

  • Are you in your lover era? There’s no better place to dance to iconic love songs than the Taylor Swift Dance Party at the Senate on Friday (Feb. 16). Open to all ages, tickets are on sale now for $22.

My Deceased Valentine

  • Love is pretty scary. If you and your boo are horror fans, be sure to check out this haunted tour at Deceased Farms. For $30, take a self-guided tour through six terrifying buildings, three outdoor areas and creepy cornfields.