Last Friday, my husband and I went on our first weekend date night in MONTHS and it was awesome. My husband was given two preseason Seahawks football tickets as a work “bonus” from one of the suppliers he does a lot of business with, so we decided we had to take advantage of the free entertainment. We enjoy watching the Seahawks, but we hadn’t been to a live game in 4 or 5 years (since the last tickets we were given through work) because we can’t stomach the huge cost for seats. Instead, we usually just stream them online at home, which can be plenty of fun with a group of friends anyway, and a whole lot cheaper. 

$340 for two preseason tickets. Nuts.

While we have friends who choose to spend money to go to one (or more) games per year, there are a lot of other ways I can think of spending $340 – that could easily cover a long weekend trip or an extra payment off our portion of an investment property. And when we only attend a game in person once every 4 or 5 years, it’s that much more special because it’s such a rare experience. That, and everything is more fun when it’s free 🙂

We had also received a gift card last Christmas to Daniel’s Broiler, a fancy steakhouse in downtown Seattle, but since we are never in the area, it sat unused until now (along with the free evening of babysitting that accompanied it from my parents). When we made plans to go to the game, we figured this would be the perfect time to use the gift card as well since the football stadium was only a few miles from the restaurant.

We got a late start out because my husband was running behind with work, so we ended up calling a Lyft in order to get downtown in time for dinner before the game. Calling a car instead of taking the bus saved us an hour, so it was worth the $25.94 extra over the cost of the bus (Lyft – $32.44 vs bus fare for the two of us – $6.50 at peak time). Driving into downtown Seattle at rush hour can be crazy making, and we would have had to pay $7 to park at the restaurant and then $20-$40 to park near the stadium, plus the cost of gas and wear on the car, which ends up being a lot more than I would have expected. Plus, leaving a parking lot after a professional sports game is also no fun when there are suddenly 20,000-40,000 people trying to leave at roughly the same time and it can take half the time just getting out of the few blocks around the stadium. Round trip the distance is 38.6 miles, so per AAA, it would cost us just over $22 to drive my efficient, hybrid car for our date night. Conservatively, we had $49-$69 to work with for bus/rideshare costs without spending more than it would be to drive. (Don’t be like me and make sure to use a code to get $5 off your first ride if you haven’t used Lyft before – I made this mistake the first time I used the app and paid more than I needed to. Once you’ve used it once, they have no incentive to give you the discount).

Apparently I should have taken a photo from our dinner at Daniel’s Broiler, but it was really good and we were more focused on eating than taking pictures 😉 They came out first with some lovely bread with butter salted with Himalayan sea salt. We only ate a little of that to save room for the rest of the meal – if you go to a steakhouse, especially one of the top ranked restaurants in the city, get the steak. I had a glass of wine and we split the steak tartare as an appetizer. This is a menu item we really love – and wouldn’t make at home – so we generally order it when it’s an option. They didn’t disappoint (though we have a restaurant closer and cheaper to us that has the best steak tartare, hands down). I ended up getting an appetizer of teriyaki steak strips and a salad because I wouldn’t eat 8oz of steak, which was the smallest portion they had, and since we were headed to the game afterward, we wouldn’t be able to take any leftovers with us. My husband got a steak and baked potato, and it didn’t disappoint. Total bill after the gift card: $67.

Since Seattle passed the $15 minimum wage law, Daniel’s Broiler (and all the other high end restaurants) now have a flat 20% tip included in your bill, so it was a little strange just signing the receipt without putting in a tip. I usually tip 20%, but it was odd not to have the option. Service was great so I can’t complain. Not ordering a ton of drinks or the fanciest items on the menu really keeps things reasonable, though we won’t be back any time soon thanks to the overall cost of the restaurant and the distance to our house. If you get a chance to go though, it’s definitely a steakhouse worth visiting.

Waiting for the bus to the game. My husband wore his free second hand jersey (I left mine at home for no good reason). 
After dinner, we hopped on the bus across the street ($5.50) and headed to the game. We ended up being 15 minutes late to kickoff due to dinner and a late bus, but since they were free tickets and it was a preseason game, we weren’t in a hurry to make the very start of the game. As we walked to our seats, I was shocked to see that beer was $10 for a BUD LIGHT. We skipped drinking anything at the game because there is no world in which it is worth drinking $10 water-beer. Though at least now they only offer one size after the fiasco that showed the small and large beers had the same amount of beer but different price. Either way, $10 can get you a growler fill of Mac and Jacks to drink at home, which is way better beer and you get four pints instead of (maybe) one.

2000 junior Sea Gals performing at halftime

The seats were great (charter seats are the first row on the 3rd level) and we had a great view of the field. One awesome thing about preseason games is the weather. We watched the game in short sleeves and I only put on my sweatshirt after halftime. Summertime in Seattle is way more fun for outdoor sports. The second and third string players took over in the third quarter and it was getting late (our weeknight bedtime is the same as our toddler’s – 8:30-9:00pm), so we decided to leave a little early and beat the worst of the crowds. We were tempted to take a Lyft on the way back, but decided it wasn’t worth the wait or cost, since there were tons of people streaming out of the stadium already. Instead, we walked a few blocks and waited for the bus, which took us most of the way back for $5 (instead of $30+) and then we had to take a Lyft the rest of the way back to my parents’ house because the bus doesn’t run out that far in the late evenings. If I had paid more attention, we would have parked at the transit center and would have avoided the last 3.5 mile trip back to the house (and the $12 cost). Regardless, I’m glad we chose to take the bus/Lyft over driving in for the evening.

All in all, we had an awesome, fancy date night at a really reasonable price.

  • Transportation: $55.08
  • Dinner: $67 (after $100 gift card)
  • Tickets: $0 ($340 value)
  • Babysitting: $0 (easily $100+, and he got to spend the evening with Nana and Papa)

In total, we spent $122 on a date that would have cost a MINIMUM of $662 and likely a lot more than that if we had spent money on drinks. I can’t imagine us ever spending that much on one evening ever, so we really appreciated the opportunity afforded to us. It blows me away how many people DO spend that kind of money on one night, even when they don’t have the money for it.  There is a balance between enjoying your time now and making sure you have plenty for the future when it hopefully comes, and this was one of those nights that definitely checked both of those off. We probably won’t go to another Seahawks game for a good 4 or 5 years, but I’m sure we will have a great night when we do – and never for full price.

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