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Opinion: Local, inexpensive, thoughtful dates for Valentine are the way to go

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The amount of hype and pressure that accompanies Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming, especially without much time or money for the perfect gift. Here are a few simple and inexpensive date ideas to spend time together and show your significant other just how much you appreciate him or her. Single on Valentine’s Day? No worries. These date ideas also lend themselves to any group of friends — large or small.

Dinner and a show

Go see the Ohio State Department of Theatre’s production of “Henry V” at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday (10 a.m., 7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.). Students can purchase tickets at the Drake Performance and Event Center for $10 with BuckID or online at Ticketmaster for the full price of $21.85.  You can also snag nose-bleed tickets for “Porgy and Bess” at the Ohio Theatre for as cheap as $13. If you’re looking for a cheap dinner, you can hit up the Blackwell Inn ­— it’s right on campus and it takes blocks so you can wine and dine on your parents’ dime.

Visit the Columbus Museum of Art

It’s a short bus trip downtown. Admission to the museum is $8 per person with BuckID and is free on Sundays. Art museums can seem a little fuddy-duddy, but CMA just opened up a new exhibition of Instagram photos from nearly 240 photographers Feb. 6.

Make a home-cooked meal

This will give you a chance to save money, and the frustration of having to find an available restaurant, while also showing the other person that yes, you can cook something besides Easy Mac. The Giant Eagle Market District in Upper Arlington is cheap place to pick up food: It has a wine bar and employees at the seafood and meat counters have plenty of suggestions for preparation.

Visit Cat Welfare Ohio

It’s only about 4 miles from campus, in Clintonville. Unless you’re allergic (like yours truly), who doesn’t love petting fluffy creatures for free? The shelter encourages visitors and is open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the weekends.

Volunteer

Spread the love by volunteering at places like Holy Family Soup Kitchen, Stowe Mission or Habitat for Humanity. All of these local organizations are within a 15-minute drive of campus and you get learn how to volunteer by visiting their websites.. Or check out OSU’s Pay It Forward website for other volunteer opportunities.

Movie/Netflix marathon

Disney, the Harry Potter series, “Breaking Bad” — you name it. Valentine’s Day is this Saturday, and since the temperature might get as low as 2 degrees, this could be a good alternative if you don’t want to brave the cold.

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