A.k.a. not dinner and roses.
If you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your S.O. this Valentine’s Day, but you do know that you don’t want to get stuck in a Netflix or takeout rut—or, even worse, end up with an overpriced and unoriginal prix-fixe dinner—that’s where these ideas come in. It doesn’t matter whether you’re single, coupled up, somewhere in between, or just looking for a fun V-Day activity with your friend. Ensure your Valentine’s Day is cliché-free with these creative, non-boring, decidedly non-cheesy ideas.
Note: Some of these activities will not be safe or appropriate in 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but many can be done virtually. Look online to see if there is a virtual version, and if not, bookmark it for a post-pandemic date.
If you live in the suburbs, grab some marshmallows, chocolates, and s’mores, then spend the night cuddling up by the fire. Bonus points if you can make one on the beach.
Chocolate Tasting and Truffle Making
Instead of buying crappy chocolates from the drugstore, sign up for a masterclass in chocolate-making. Spend the night learning directly from the pros of NYC’s Roni-Sue’s in a virtual class and eat 12 delicious truffles in bed.
Proceeds from the class will support the Waterkeeper Alliance, which “aims to preserve and protect water by connecting local Waterkeeper organizations worldwide and promoting outspoken, citizen-led advocacy. ”
A Paint and Sip Class
A hilarious way to bond with your S.O. or friend is to take a virtual paint-and-sip class together, which involves–you guessed it–painting a masterpiece (or something) while sipping on wine or a cocktail. Plus, you’ll have a memento you can cherish forever.
FIND A CLASS
Not at the club—we mean real dancing. You can take a class, create an at-home salsa club, or do a virtual tutorial. For the former, we suggest something like the Valentine’s Day Dirty Dancing Party in Chicago. They offer both virtual and IRL courses. For song inspiration, try Spotify + Tinder’s Valentine’s Day playlist, or pick from our list of the best love songs ever.
Stuck at home? Go head-to-head in Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, a new Nintendo Switch game that you can play together—or if you’re all about nostalgia, challenge your S.O. to a round of good ol’ Mario Kart.
A Ghost Tour
The convenient thing about ghosts is that they tend to hang around old cities everywhere. Bonus points if you find a spooky event that includes booze like Portland’s Haunted Brewery Crawl, which comes with beer samples and a guided tour. (Two awesome reasons to sign up.)
Ice Skating and Après Skate
There’s a reason why couples are always hitting the rink in our favorite rom-coms—you’re pretty much guaranteed to get close to each other. Once you’ve had your fill of the ice, you can enjoy some hard-earned drinks. (Hot toddies, anyone?)
A Wine Bar Crawl
Instead of sticking to just one spot, hop from place to place and order different kinds of wine and tapas along the way. It’s waaay more interesting than a boring ol’ sit-down dinner (and even your regular bar crawl). Of course, it doesn’t hurt to stash one away for later too.
For the at-home version, simply order various kinds of wine for delivery, add a charcuterie board to the mix, and start sipping.
A Tour of Your Favorite Places
Think of this like a personalized scavenger hunt (without, you know, all the extra work hiding clues). You pick a couple places, your S.O. picks a couple places, and you surprise each other with the locations. You can relive important moments, recreate a favorite activity, or just chill out knowing you’re making new memories.
A Trip to the Candy Store
Valentine’s Day is all about the sweetness, so make it literal: Go to a boutique candy store and grab a bag of sweet treats. You can make this more fun by buying candy for each other, trying new flavors, and selecting a snack you can munch on together over the next few weeks. Alternative: Go get lavish ice cream sundaes at your favorite local place (especially if you can beat the lines by getting it to go).
A Trapeze Class
Obviously, this depends on where you live, but plenty of cities offer trapeze classes for newbies. It’s not super expensive, and you’ll typically be part of a larger class, so you’ll have plenty of time to hang out between all that trapeze-ing.
A Night at the Museum
When museums stay open after hours, they tend to spice things up by throwing a party or holding a special event—especially on V-Day. A lot of museums are requiring visitors to reserve timed tickets, so be sure to book ahead if you plan on venturing outside!
A Themed Dinner and Movie Night at Home
Watching Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck fall in love in Roman Holiday is definitely more satisfying when accompanied by a big plate of homemade spaghetti and meatballs.
Travel Around the World (Virtually, of Course)
While it’s no match for traveling IRL, tons of people from around the world are hosting virtual experiences that offer cooking classes and tours from faraway places. A Turkish breakfast class sounds extra yummy…
It’s just as romantic as ice skating, but with a little more pizzazz. And since it’s V-Day, your local rink will likely have a lovey-dovey theme. Look for one that’s kind of retro and caters to an older crowd, like the Valentine’s Day Late Skate in Oklahoma City.
Binge Watch Your Favorite Guilty Pleasure
What better day to lay around and watch your favorite soap than Valentine’s Day (I can recommend literally any K-drama)? Order in and get comfortable because you’ll be glued to your couch for hours.
A Poetry Reading
Channel your inner Carrie and Big by visiting the local library and checking out the love letters and poems of the best writers. Open a bottle of wine (or, y’know, flask it up) and take turns reading each other your favorites.
There’s a reason that Serendipity scene is so iconic. If your S.O. hates shopping, make it a silly activity where you compete to buy the funniest/most ridiculous item for each other. Or, buy something that’s relevant to a spectacular date night (fondue pot!), then go enjoy the fruits of your labor: at home, away from the crowds.
A Walk in the Park
For those of you who love long strolls in the park, this one is for you. And, if you’re in a warmer climate, grab a blanket, some cheese, and have a picnic in the field.
While we can’t necessarily head to the karaoke bar with just you and the boo with the pandemic and all, you can still sing your heart out at home. What better way to celebrate your chemistry than belting classic couples duets such as “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and “I Got You Babe” together? Listen to the best love songs of all time here.
A Comedy Show
Spend the night escaping reality with a themed comedy show. Although comedy clubs are in dire straits due to ongoing pandemic (RIP Upright Citizens Brigade, a.k.a. where Amy Poehler got her start) there are plenty of virtual alternatives!
A Relaxing Spa Day
Spas often capitalize on Valentine’s Day with specials for couples (and extended hours), so take advantage of the reduced fares to chill out with your S.O. Viva Day Spa in Austin, Texas offers everything from a couple’s massage to a facial package and an all-day access package. Pure Spa in Pennsylvania offers a range of specials, from an affordable massage for pairs to a deluxe “total indulgence” rate.
An Escape Room
By now, most people know about this activity and have done it with friends, but how about doing it as a couple? Escape rooms are now nation-wide and there are all kinds of variations—as in, you can find one that’s silly and fun, vs. one that’s intensely hard and stressful (or, you know, if you’d rather that kind of experience—go for it!).
A Bike Ride
To be fair, you might have to plan this during a time when the streets aren’t quite so crowded (especially if you live in a city). And/or, find a scenic location nearby that’s bike-friendly, so you can stop along the way to sit and chat. Bonus points if it’s a new location!
A Hotel Stay
Book a romantic hotel that’s free from roommates, dirty dishes, and paper-thin walls. Many inns and hotels host their own Valentine’s specials, from champagne service to three-course meals at the hotel restaurant. W Hotel locations in New York launched a program with a matchmaker in residence for Valentine’s Day and offers bookings for their erotic Awaken Your Senses suite.
A Tour of an Unexplored Town or Venue
Whether it’s a new restaurant that’s too far away for the typical lazy weekend or an up-state venture to a state park or museum, take a Valentine’s Day weekend excursion somewhere that will get you both exploring the unfamiliar. Book an Airbnb if you want to save on pricy hotel fees and enjoy the escape.
An Amusement Park
Whether you’re close to the coolest parks in the U.S. or a little wooden roller coaster, riding the rides, munching on cotton candy, and people-watching can be tremendously fun. Just make sure it isn’t, you know, pouring rain—or make sure the venue has indoor attractions if the weather sucks.
A Sunset (or Sunrise) Watch
Since both of you are likely working during the day, leave work a bit early to watch the sunset—peak romance for those who love love. Head to the water or the mountains, which brings us to our next option.
The date doesn’t have to end at sunset. Why not take a break from regular routine and spend the night with some nature? Cozy up in a tent with the essentials (read: snacks), or choose a place that does all the work for you like these spots here.
A Joint Workout Class
Break a sweat with a workout class courtesy of your favorite instructor. If you’re in NYC, try The Class by Taryn Toomey. Consider it couple’s therapy without the label.
Your Favorite Band, from Home
There’s nothing better than experiencing live music with one of your favorite people next to you from the comfort of your own home. Head to Bandsintown for the latest events and grab those last minute tickets for a night of letting loose in your living room.
A Couple’s Cooking Class
When cooking isn’t your strong suit (and restaurant reservations are booked to the max), sign up for a last minute, virtual cooking class where you can learn to make each other’s favorite meals. Things always tend to heat up in the kitchen.
Your Astrology Fix
The only way to prove you two are meant to be together forever? See if it’s written in the stars. Visit a psychic to have both of your tarot cards read. If you’re not ready to make that commitment, learn about your auras to make sure you’re both giving off good vibes.
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