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35 Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day That Aren’t Just Dinner and a Movie

You don’t have to eat from that pricey menu.

It’s no secret that coming up with fantastic Valentine’s Day ideas can be difficult, whether you’ve been together for three months or three decades. (We’d go so far as to say it’s more stressful than thinking out how to plan the ideal first date.) That’s true in normal circumstances, but it’s arguably even more so in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

However, there is some good news. While things may appear and feel different this year, there are still lots of ways to make Valentine’s Day memorable for your significant other, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, or even someone you’re not dating…yet. (While the majority of the creative activities on this list may be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home, the public events have updated safety procedures in place—but verify the social distance guidelines before booking.)

If your significant other is a foodie, forgo the fancy dinner and instead take a virtual cooking class together or surprise her with a lovely breakfast in bed. You could learn to salsa dance (there are even online programs for that), paint a museum-worthy still life, or create a vision board. Not to add, there are plenty of activities you can do on a shoestring budget to celebrate Valentine’s Day (think: a scenic hike, a competitive game night, or a mind-blowing at-home massage).

We’ve compiled a list of the most unique Valentine’s Day date ideas ahead—from a weekend getaway to a backyard camping trip to a romantic movie marathon—so all you have to do now is pick out a sultry outfit (and some equally romantic makeup), create a playlist of mood-setting tunes, and buy the perfect gift (don’t forget to include a thoughtful love note!).

Visit a Local Bookstore

Are you and your partner both voracious readers? We feel the same way! Spend some time at your favorite neighborhood bookshop selecting a book for your plus one to read. Could a new romance novel pique your interest? If you decide to go that route, take turns reading your favorite (or cheesiest) portions to each other later.

View a Valentine’s Day film

Pop some popcorn, make some cheesy appetizers, light a mood-setting candle, crack open a bottle of wine, and snuggle under a blanket in the coziness of your own home to watch a Valentine’s Day movie. (Would you like to make it extra special? Use a paper heart wreath, an origami bouquet, and a love letter banner to decorate your room.)

Pay a visit to a Rage Room.

Going to a rage room may sound unusual as a way to celebrate romance, but it’s actually a great way to let off steam! If you and your partner have been worried recently, this is an opportunity for you to release all of your troubles so that you can be comfortable and present when you spend time together. Smashing items together is a “wonderful approach to start a talk about what’s getting us so fired up in our lives,” according to Healthline. It will not only bring you and your partner closer together, but it will also be an invigorating and empowering exercise that will force you to step outside of your emotional comfort zone.

Organize a pizza-cooking contest.

Is there any comfort food more satisfying than homemade pizza? The answer is simple: no. If you’re planning a night in with board games or a movie marathon, make it more interesting by competing in a pizza cooking competition. You and your partner both get your own dough and then have complete creative control over the toppings you choose to create the winning pizza. This activity will undoubtedly be adrenaline-filled as you both race to be the best, whether you create your pizza off the top of your head or seek some inspiration from Simply Recipes or A Couple Cooks. If you really want to outsmart your sweetheart, shape your dough into a heart-shaped pizza!

Visit a vintage store.

The appropriate vintage thrift shop is like a treasure trove of old treasures just waiting to be found for the first time. Grab your spouse and embark on a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood vintage shop—even if you don’t discover anything to buy, the things may elicit memories of bygone eras.

A Virtual Concert can be viewed online.

Take date night to the next level by attending a local concert after you’ve finished compiling a Valentine’s Day playlist for each other. (If your favorite music venue is now closed, consider attending a virtual concert: Many other singers are likely to follow Josh Groban’s lead, who has already stated that he will perform songs from his new album, as well as some classics, during a special webcast event on Valentine’s Day.

Have a Trivia or Board Game Night at Home

According to Psychology Today, the brain chemical oxytocin is released when people work together, and it’s “also linked to experiences of empathy, kindness, and orgasm.” So, put on your coziest jammies, stock up on munchies, crack open a bottle of champagne, and utilize an app like HouseParty or JackBox games to bring the pub experience home. Bring out your favorite board games as well. It’s not simply a pleasant way to kill time; studies suggest that having fun together is one of the most essential aspects in marital happiness.

Have a Trivia or Board Game Night at Home

According to Psychology Today, the brain chemical oxytocin is released when people work together, and it’s “also linked to experiences of empathy, kindness, and orgasm.” So, put on your coziest jammies, stock up on munchies, crack open a bottle of champagne, and utilize an app like HouseParty or JackBox games to bring the pub experience home. Bring out your favorite board games as well. It’s not simply a pleasant way to kill time; studies suggest that having fun together is one of the most essential aspects in marital happiness.

Take a Bicycle Ride

Take a small adventure in your own neighborhood or city if the weather permits. On your new trip, you might come across some hidden gems. In addition, the physical activity releases endorphins. You could also go to a spin class together, try yoga, or do some dance cardio together.

Make a fondue of chocolate

What could be more romantic than preparing your own chocolate-covered strawberries with melted fondue at home?

Take a Train Ride Through the Mountains

Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to take your significant other on a scenic train journey date where you may marvel at the natural outdoors if you feel wanderlust from all those lovely travel images on Instagram.

Visit a Brewery in Your Area

Spend the day visiting a nearby brewery drinking a variety of local beers. Alternatively, go to the grocery store’s beer section and make your own flights at home.

Take a Cocktail Class Online

Would you rather have a pia colada than a pilsner? Then raise a drink to this date suggestion: With a little help from a virtual mixology class, you can make your own drinks. In a series of Masterclass courses, renowned bartenders Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana teach the fundamentals of cocktail making, including how to make the perfect old-fashioned, whiskey smash, martini, and sherry spritz, while New York City-based mixology company Liquid Lab offers a variety of interactive Zoom classes, in which you can learn how to make everything from their signature (and seasonal) Rudolf Spritz and Jolly Ginger

Check out a Comedy Show

According to relationship expert Rori Sassoon, if the daily grind is interfering with your capacity to connect, watch a comedy show. The act of laughing together, according to a study published in the journal Human Nature, helps people open up. The Second City, a legendary improv theater in Chicago, has a variety of weekly online shows, Comedy Works in Denver is livestreaming a select number of performances, and Nowhere Comedy Club, which opened shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, has an impressive lineup of stand-up comedians almost every night. (Of course, you can skip the live portion entirely and instead watch Netflix specials from some of the best comedians.)

Breakfast Can Be Prepared in Bed

Is there anything sweeter than this for your sweetheart? Breakfast in bed, with a buffet consisting of of heart-shaped sweets. (These heart-shaped pans, cookie cutters, and/or little treat molds are recommended.) Consider red velvet pancakes or waffles, breakfast pizza, frosted doughnuts, raspberry streusel muffins, peanut butter cookies, freshly made bagels, cheesy egg toast, and whatever else comes to mind. Oh, and we’ll make an exception for mimosas, of course.

Have a Dance-Off

Mary J. Gibson, a relationship specialist for DatingXP, suggests dancing to get your heart rate up for a more involved evening. A wide range of dancing classes are now available online, including: Ballroom Dance Chicago’s Zoom lessons will teach you how to fox trot, tango, and two-step; Dancio will teach you how to plié and pirouette; and CLI studios will teach you everything from tap to hip-hop. (Just make sure to play some romantic music in the background.) Of course, you may use YouTube to learn choreography to some of your favorite music videos.

A Couples Massage is a great way to unwind as a couple.

Plan a romantic day to relax and focus on each other if you have the time, suggests psychotherapist and relationship specialist Paulette Sherman. Some spas charge a full day price that includes a massage and use of the hot tubs and indoor pools. Filling your bathtub with essential oils, lining it with candles, and taking a couples bath is a cheaper alternative if that isn’t in the budget. Alternatively, you may give each other a massage. Tips on how to do so can be found here.

Workout with your friends

If the weather permits, enjoy some outdoor activity to boost those feel-good endorphins, suggests Sassoon.

Organize a cook-off

If you want to stay at home, instead of ordering takeout, try a fun and participatory culinary experience. Try a “cook-off” where you each make a dish and then fill out score cards to see who has the best abilities. You may even take it a step further and prepare a full course meal if you’re feeling ambitious. You might even bring the show Chopped to life, as Sassoon suggests. Give each other a mystery ingredient basket and see what you can create.

Take a Hike

Do you want to take your Valentine’s Day date to the next level? Put on your warmest winter coat, lace up your hiking boots, and head out to your favorite local trail—or one that you’ve never visited before. You’ll see some beautiful countryside in either case, and you’ll have the opportunity to have a deep, important conversation (start with these thought-provoking questions) without any interruptions or distractions. If the weather isn’t too cold, take some sandwiches, macaroni salad, potato chips, and chocolate chip cookies so you may have a picnic lunch at a particularly beautiful viewpoint.

Enroll in a Painting Class

You don’t have any artistic abilities? Whatever the case may be, studies suggest that when couples participate in activities together, such as taking a painting class, their bodies produce more oxytocin. Look for local studios like Painting With a Twist or Pinot’s Palette, or sign up for one of Yaymaker’s virtual paint nights.

Use a Stargazing App

Put on your warmest clothing, grab a blanket, and spend some time admiring the universe with the Night Sky app, which will show you what stars you’re looking at as you wax poetic.

Make a Mini-Getaway Arrangement

According to Sherman, Airbnb allows you to get a room away from home on the cheap at any time. Book a hotel that offers activities and luxuries that you wouldn’t find at home, such as a fireplace.

A Rock Climbing Gym is a great place to go if you want to get some exercise.

According to certified psychologist Michele Leno, Ph.D., activities like rock climbing not only release endorphins but also force couples to rely on cooperation skills and trust one another.

Enroll in a Cooking Class

Cooking schools are available in most major cities (and even some local restaurants) where you can learn to prepare everything from pizza to sushi. (For Valentine’s Day, we recommend taking a dessert-making class to satisfy your sweet taste.) You can, however, take advantage of the large range of online classes available: Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and The Chef & The Dish, for example, all provide online shopping alternatives. Alternatively, League of Kitchens, a (now virtual) culinary experience where immigrants offer intimate cooking lessons from their own homes, might show you how to prepare chicken and potato curry, Greek meatballs aloo paratha, or pillow-soft gnocchi.

Enjoy Game Day from the comfort of your own home.

You may not be able to cheer for your favorite sports teams in person, but you can still enjoy “the big game” from the comfort of your own home. To truly simulate the stadium feel, serve a range of game day mainstays (think fully loaded nachos, ultra-cheesy fries, and crispy chicken tenders) and yell as loudly as you would in person. (Would you like to join in the fun? Play a game of beer pong, ping-pong, tabletop pool, foosball, or air hockey with your partner. Competitive activities have two major advantages, according to Sassoon: they empower your partner by encouraging them to play their best and they encourage lighthearted competition and banter.)

Visiting a Museum

If you find yourself talking about the kids or your long to-do list at home, try an activity, such as a visit to a local museum, that will generate serious discourse far beyond your daily obligations.

Travel to France on a “Trip”

You might not be able to take your significant other on a romantic, once-in-a-lifetime trip to France, but you can pretend by having a French-themed date night. Start the evening with a glass of wine (such as Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc) and a few hors d’oeuvres (such as French onion soup or a charcuterie board with some of the country’s best cheeses, such as Comté, Camembert, or Roquefort, and, of course, a freshly baked baguette), before preparing a delectable main course (think: ratatouille, beef bourguignon, or coq au vin). After that, watch a film set in France (Amélie, An American in Paris, or Charade are all good choices) and have crème brûlée, crêpes, or chocolate mousse for dessert. Welcome to the table!

Consider going to an escape room.

According to Dr. Dana Dorfman, PhD, psychologist and co-host of the podcast 2 Moms on the Couch, challenges like escape rooms necessitate trust, support, and teamwork. While your local hangout may be closed owing to the coronavirus outbreak, there are a few virtual alternatives that are just as entertaining: Puzzle Break, which is known for its in-person escape rooms, has created The Grimm Escape, a virtual challenge set in an enchanted forest accessible via Zoom; Expedition Escape!, based in Pennsylvania, has Bank Heist, in which you’ll be part of a crime syndicate on a mission to unlock a safe (just make sure you have a calculator handy); and Mystery Escape Room has five different adventures, ranging from one inspired by Nancy Drew to one set in an enchanted forest accessible via

Skate on the ice

If you reside in a warmer region, try something out of your comfort zone, such as ice skating or even skydiving. “Novelty is beneficial for relationships,” says Christine Scott-Hudson, a marriage and family therapist.

Play Video Games from the Past

According to studies, sharing nostalgic memories makes couples feel closer and even appear happier—which is why you should dust off your controllers, turn on your vintage video game system, and pop in one of your favorite throwback titles (think: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Kart) for the ultimate old-school video game night. (If you don’t have a Nintendo 64, Playstation, or Sega Genesis, several games, such as Donkey Kong and Pac Man, are available online.) Make a wager on the final score, such as the loser having to cook supper, to take your healthy rivalry to the next level.

Volunteer

Surprisingly, putting your focus on others can help you improve your own connection. Volunteer labor, like as painting schools or providing meals at a soup center, demonstrates compassion and empathy for strangers, according to Sassoon. In addition, you’ll feel grateful for the many blessings you share.

Due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, many in-person volunteer options are unavailable, but there are plenty of virtual service opportunities: Contribute to the Zoological Society of London’s essential conservation efforts via Instant Wild, which asks volunteers to tag animals in images and videos; transcribe and review field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, manuscripts, and other historical documents for the Smithsonian Institute; and Be My Eyes is a free app that connects refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers with multilingual volunteers via video chat.

Make a vision board for yourself.

Take a few hours to think about what you both want for your relationship’s future. But don’t think of it as a study session; instead, Scott-Hudson suggests creating a collaborative vision board. You’ll be amazed at how much fun the process is, and you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your spouse better and discuss your common goals.

Organize a Karaoke Party

Even if an activity like karaoke makes you feel self-conscious, it’s a terrific way to bond with your friends. “When one spouse is feeling adventurous or fearful and venturing beyond of their comfort zone, it allows the other partner to display their reassuring or protective side,” Sassoon explains. (Do you have severe stage fright? Purchase this best-selling karaoke microphone and sing your favorite seductive tracks right from the comfort of your own couch.)

Camping in Your Own Backyard is a great way to spend a weekend.

Consider turning your backyard into your own personal camping if you have more outdoor space than a barely-there balcony (lucky you!). Simply string some lights, gather a few warm blankets, fill these Oprah-approved, triple-insulated mugs with a delectable hot beverage (think: mulled wine, spiked hot chocolate, or Irish coffee), and build a roaring fire pit, and you’ll have everything you need for an at-home adventure—complete with stargazing and, most importantly, s’mores (pro tip: swap peanut butter cups for chocolate bars).

Take a trip to a trampoline park.

“As we become older, things can feel comfortable, but they can also feel predictable and routine,” Scott-Hudson says. Shake off these negative emotions by doing something fun together, such as going to Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park.

Take a Hike

Do you want to take your Valentine’s Day date to the next level? Put on your warmest winter coat, lace up your hiking boots, and head out to your favorite local trail—or one that you’ve never visited before. You’ll see some beautiful countryside in either case, and you’ll have the opportunity to have a deep, important conversation (start with these thought-provoking questions) without any interruptions or distractions. If the weather isn’t too cold, take some sandwiches, macaroni salad, potato chips, and chocolate chip cookies so you may have a picnic lunch at a particularly beautiful viewpoint.

Breakfast Can Be Prepared in Bed

Is there anything sweeter than this for your sweetheart? Breakfast in bed, with a buffet consisting of of heart-shaped sweets. (These heart-shaped pans, cookie cutters, and/or little treat molds are recommended.) Consider red velvet pancakes or waffles, breakfast pizza, frosted doughnuts, raspberry streusel muffins, peanut butter cookies, freshly made bagels, cheesy egg toast, and whatever else comes to mind. Oh, and we’ll make an exception for mimosas, of course.

Visit a Brewery in Your Area

Spend the day visiting a nearby brewery drinking a variety of local beers. Alternatively, go to the grocery store’s beer section and make your own flights at home.

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