Many transit routes feature destinations and activities compatible with your date's interests. (Images via

Do you and your partner dream of exploring the Tokyo subway together or taking a stroll through a pedestrian-friendly piazza? Are you living a pro-transit lifestyle and hoping to filter out passenger princesses? Or perhaps you’d simply like to spare your date from hearing your usual colorful parallel-parking monologue? Here are some budget-friendly date ideas to consider for transit enthusiasts who can dress warm, manage expectations, and delight in the journey.

Route 32: Ship Canal Promenade, Nordic coffee treats, and a movie

Price range after transit: $20-$30

Extent of walking: 1 mile

Wind chill: HIGH

Get bad and Baltic with your date. You can take multiple bus and bike routes to meet at the 34th Street bus stop transit hub in Fremont. Enjoy the Ship Canal and mountain scenery crossing the Fremont Bridge, take a right onto Nickerson Street and keep walking. Since the wind coming off the water may be frigid, warm yourself with cardamom-laced pastries and coffee (Byen Bakeri) before you take in the Ship Canal views from the trail opposite the Burke-Gilman Trail. Then hop on the 31 to SIFF Uptown and catch a movie. Poor Things, Wonka, Moulin Rouge (New Year’s Eve Sing Along Edition), and Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, Boy and Heron, will all be playing this winter. For the extra thrifty, SIFF also has discounted matinees!

Ride, roll or walk to new — or your favorite — places and dining options. (

Route 11: A Neapolitan Sojourn

Price range after transit: $20-$30

Extent of walking: 1 mile

Wind chill: MEDIUM

The Independent Pizzeria reopens November 29. Take the 11 from downtown or Capitol Hill all the way east to the 43rd Avenue E stop. Catch a slice of delicious clam pizza (order in advance) and take a brief stroll along Madison Park Beach. The restaurant itself is small and to-go only, but you can briefly enjoy the warm ambiance created by the wood-fired oven from its small waiting area. If you’re able to go early in the day, you can enjoy window shopping at some of the boutiques in the Madison Park area or go thrifting in Cap Hill.

Route 62/Route 36: Tea ceremony, cà phê, and a swig of history

Price range after transit: $10-$20

Extent of walking: 1 mile

Wind chill: LOW

Catch the 62, 40, or any other bus to Chinatown-International District (CID). Then take the 36, 14, or the 7 to the Jackson Street intersection and finish with a brief walk across the street to Hello Em Việt Coffee & Roastery. Procure some coffee and/or paté sandwich, and peep the curated local history, art, and mini-library.

When you’re ready, meander right across Boren Avenue S to the eclectic Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington. If you’re a green tea fan, check out the meditative hideaway at the East-West Chanoyu Center on the second floor, which has classes and a tatami room for Japanese tea ceremonies. Their open hours on Saturdays 1-2:00pm also coincide with the Japanese-American history museum and library open hours in the same building, so you can enjoy an extended escape from the winter gloom in a cozy, old building with many nooks and crannies.

Things to Remember

Pack your gloves! Regular riders know that it’s likely the bus will be 5-10 minutes delayed. Twenty minutes is unlucky but not uncommon. Remember, if you and your date can tolerate each other while waiting for a delayed bus, or rather if you find yourself wishing your bus would be delayed to spend more time together, you may be on to something. And for all you foodies out there, as an extra bonus, your date now includes a built-in digestive walk.

Venus in Transit

If you’re keen to navigate the stars as well as the bus route, please note the following updates on December’s astrological transit schedule:

12/29: The romantic planet of Venus enters Sagittarius, the classic wild child, just in time to push you out of your comfort zone. Now is the time to visit a new neighborhood or ride a new route on the way to somewhere exciting with your date – you won’t regret it.

12/31: The Moon is in Virgo, lending you a boost of logic and organization on New Year’s Eve. This good luck may make you appear extra transit-savvy, help you choose practical clothing, or leave that spot in time to catch the last bus/train.

1/15: Sun in Capricorn will be sextile to Neptune in Pisces. You or your date may be on a budget – and fiscally prudent Capricorn could be particularly irksome about this, especially after any New Year’s Eve indulgences. Worry not – today the perfect cheap date will come to you in a dream. As Neptune is temporarily ruled by artsy Pisces, this will likely involve indie events or art markets.

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