Can’t buy me love? The average date in America costs $123

People making their Valentine’s Day plans might want to set aside a little extra cash since the average date night in America now costs $123. To calculate the average cost of a date in 2024, MoneyGeek analyzed the average cost of dinner and a movie for two in 50 major cities across the country, collecting menu prices from 500 restaurants and movie ticket prices for adults to rank the most expensive cities for a date night out. Additionally, the analysis ranked the least affordable cities for dating, comparing the average income of a single earner to the cost of a night out.

infographic showing costs of date activities
MoneyGeek

Key findings

  • On average, dinner and a movie cost $123 in 2024.
  • Miami has the most expensive date night out ($156), followed by Washington, D.C. ($153) and Seattle ($150).
  • Miami is also the least affordable city for dating. There, dinner and a movie costs amount to 21% of the average single resident’s weekly earnings.
  • Time is money, especially when you’re on a date. Based on the estimated time spent on a dinner and movie date, expenses average $27 per hour.
  • On average, going out for drinks costs $12, but dinner will cost you $96, and dinner and a movie total $123.
table showing 15 MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES FOR A DATE NIGHT IN 2024
MoneyGeek

15 most expensive cities for a date night

To rank the most expensive cities for a date night, MoneyGeek compared menus from popular restaurants in each city, including the cost of a three-course meal with two appetizers, two entrees, a bottle of wine, and two desserts. Adding the price of movie tickets to restaurant costs meant that in some places, prices for date night soared to over $150.

Miami, Washington, D.C., and Seattle are the most expensive cities for a date. In Miami, singles can expect to pay an average of $156 for a night on the town, with the District of Columbia and Seattle close behind at $153 and $150 per date night, respectively. Rounding out the top 15 is Dallas, where the average cost of a date is a bit cheaper — although still pricey — at $129.

This list of the 15 most expensive cities for a date night ranks the most expensive places for a dinner-and-a-movie date. This is not to be confused with the list below, the least affordable cities for singles, where the average price of a date makes up the highest percentage of the average earner’s income in that city.

table showing 10 LEAST AFFORDABLE CITIES FOR A DATE IN 2024
MoneyGeek

10 Least Affordable Cities for Singles

The cost of a night out isn’t the only problem for singles living in cities where wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living. To find out which cities were least affordable for singles, this analysis also compared the average cost of a date night to the average income earned by a resident in those cities. This calculation showed us what percent of a resident’s weekly earnings would go toward paying for a night out. This ranking of the least affordable cities for singles includes all cities where the cost of a date made up 17% or more of the average earner’s paycheck.

The least affordable city for a date is Miami, where the cost of dinner and a movie ($156) represents 20.7% of an average earner’s income for the week.

The South and Midwest dominate the list of the top ten least affordable cities for singles, with seven cities coming from these regions. The Midwest boasts cities like Detroit, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ranking No. 2 to No. 4. Meanwhile, the South features Miami, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; and Houston, Texas, where dinner expenses surpass 17% of the average weekly paycheck.

If you’re worried about expenses putting a pause on your dating, rewards credit cards or cash back credit cards can be excellent tools for making some of your money back on dating expenses, assuming you’re paying off your credit cards each month. These cards allow you to earn a percentage of what you spend back as a statement credit, direct deposit or rewards points. 

Methodology

MoneyGeek collected prices of appetizers, entrees, bottles of wine and desserts from 500 restaurants in 50 major U.S. cities to estimate the cost of a three-course dinner and a movie.

Restaurant prices were sourced from allmenus.com, focusing on the top five cuisines in high demand during Valentine’s Day: Italian, French, Spanish, Mexican, and American/New American. We excluded fast-food restaurants.

Dinner prices reflect the cost of two appetizers, two entrees, one bottle of wine, and two desserts. MoneyGeek averaged the prices for 10 restaurants in each city.

MoneyGeek gathered wine bottle prices across various cities using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index. Additionally, we examined the cost of a single adult movie ticket for a Saturday evening (between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.) at indoor theaters in each city using the same source.

Individual income data by city (2022) from the United States Census Bureau’s one-year American Community Survey was used to estimate the cost burden of a single date on weekly earnings.

Full dataset

The data points presented are defined as follows:

  • Rank: Ranks cities based on the average cost of dinner and a movie, with a rank of “1” indicating the most expensive city.
  • Cost of Dinner & a Movie: The average cost of dinner and two movie tickets combined.
  • Cost of Date as % of Weekly Earnings: This divides the average cost of a dinner and movie by the estimated weekly earnings of a single earner in that city.
  • Cost of Dinner: The average cost of dinner, including the average cost of two appetizers, two entrees, one bottle of wine and two desserts.
  • Cost of a Movie Ticket: The average movie ticket price for one adult on a Saturday night (between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.).
  • Cost of Wine: The average cost of one bottle of wine.

This story was produced by MoneyGeek and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

 

 

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