30 Valentine’s Day Date Ideas That Aren’t Totally Cheesy
Hooray: You’re happily coupled. Vom: The thought of sitting in a balloon-strewn restaurant with sappy lovebirds. Ditch the corny decor and expensive prix fixe menus for one of these non-cliché Valentine's Day date ideas that you and your S.O. will actually enjoy. Whether that’s cooking an extra special Valentine’s Day dinner at home, putting on a date-night outfit and attending a concert or simply cozying up for a romance movie marathon, behold 30 memorable ways to celebrate while also not getting too schmoopy. And if these date ideas don’t do it for you, maybe a romantic weekend getaway will.
1. PLAN A FOOD TOUR
Choose a sample-size food you both love (tacos! dumplings!) and map out all the best local spots to try 'em. Announce a winner at the end.
2. BREW YOUR OWN BEER
You could go to a brewery for date night like everyone else, or you could buy a kit and turn your own kitchen into an impromptu brewery, obviously naming your concoction after your favorite inside joke.
3. HAVE A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
PSA: Many museums have night tickets available—and some even have special events planned for Valentine’s Day. How about one of these museums in Chicago that never charge admission or one of these underrated NYC museums that deserve your attention?
4. GO ROCK CLIMBING
Sure, spelunking doesn’t sound super sexy, but this interactive and challenging workout just might take your love to new heights. (Sorry, we had to.)
5. CHECK OUT A SPORTING EVENT
For all you sports novices, hockey and basketball are currently in season. Scoop up some cheap tickets and boo the rival team over cheap drafts. Don’t have a professional team in your area? Check to see if a nearby college has a home game on its schedule, which can be just as fun—especially if nachos are involved.
6. Sign Up for a Subscription Box
Don’t feel like leaving the house? DateBox Club delivers a unique themed date-night activity straight to your door so you actually spend quality time together instead of just watching another episode of Succession. Expect crafts that require teamwork or intimacy-building exercises like a journal of questions to ask each other and write down the answers. Sign up for one box to open in February or make date night a recurring thing (because, hello, it should be) by choosing a monthly subscription.
7. BOOK A SPA EVENING
Now we’re talkin’: Peel outta work early and meet each other for a couples massage, facial or sauna hangout session. Here are our favorite luxe spas in NYC, the top spas in Chicago by neighborhood and the absolute best facials in L.A. Or put one of these unbelievable hotel spas on your travel bucket list for next Valentine’s Day. Steamy.
8. HOLD A DIY WINE TASTING
Step 1: Purchase Wine for Dummies. Step 2: Hold private at-home wine tasting. Step 3: Taste so many wines that you totally forget all the vital intel you just learned about tannins. Cheese board not necessary but highly recommended.
9. GO ICE-SKATING
So what if it’s a little twee? Joint physical activity is always fun—and so is the après. (Hot cocoa with bourbon, darling?)
10. VOLUNTEER TOGETHER
Ladle out some much-needed nourishment at the soup kitchen, read books to adorable kiddos or head to your local animal shelter. By doing something good for the world together, you'll feel like even more of a team.
11. SEE SOME LIVE MUSIC
Investigate the V-Day lineups at your local venues. Another idea? Check out Sofar Sounds, a website that curates intimate gigs and concerts around the world.
12. GO SNOWSHOEING
Drive to your nearest ski town and step out together into the snowy tundra. We love snowshoeing for its leisurely sightseeing, low rental cost and, most important, low skill level (read: risk of injury and/or utter humiliation).
13. PLAN A CAMPING TRIP
OK, so this might not be the best option in February if you live in Maine—but fair climates are fair game for an outdoorsy overnight adventure. Pitch a tent and cozy up together under the stars. See if one of these best campsites in the U.S. is available or set up an at-home camp-out in your backyard.
14. Have a STAYCATION AT A LOCAL HOTEL
Too high maintenance for the woods? Book a sleepover at a nearby hotel instead. Fluffy bathrobes and room service? Hubba-hubba.
15. HOST A POTLUCK DINNER
Love your pals as much as your partner? Make a party of this Valentine's Day and invite all your nearest and dearest over for dinner. (No heart paraphernalia allowed.) Whip up one of these potluck dinner recipes that are easy enough to make after work. And don’t forget about dessert!
16. TAKE A WORKOUT CLASS TOGETHER
Get your endorphins flowing by exercising together. Better your balance with a double downward dog or sign up for a pumped-up boxing class. Complete your class by hitting the sauna together or getting a couples massage to wind down. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of fitness studios in your city, check out these high-tech gyms in San Francisco, half-hour fitness classes in L.A. or our favorite NYC workouts of all time.
17. HAVE A PIZZA PARTY...IN BED
Hitting the town? Hah. Not this couple—we’ll be holed up in bed watching Love Island and eating pizza straight from the box. Oh, and wrapped in a weighted blanket too. (Romance knows many forms, folks.)
18. Bring Your Puppy to the Bar
You love your partner. But you love your dog too. So why not head to one of the best dog-friendly bars in the country so you won’t have to leave Buddy behind? Grab a beer and say cheers to the two loves of your life.
19. RENT A LOG CABIN
Embrace the season’s solitude by taking an overnight trip to a cabin in the woods (LYMI, Airbnb). Unplug, cuddle up, breathe in the pine-scented air and listen to the sweet sounds of silence. These cozy cabin rentals are a surefire way to have a memorable (and super romantic) weekend away.
20. Host a Game Night
Tell your friends that studies show when couples play board games together, their bodies release oxytocin (aka the “love hormone”). Then invite them over for a night playing What Do You Meme, Codenames or any of these party games for adults. Nosh on bite-size appetizers and keep the beer and wine flowing, of course.
21. Take a Yoga Class
Dim lights and candles? A yoga studio just might be the romantic ambience you were looking for this Valentine’s Day. Not only is taking a class together a relatively inexpensive date idea, but the health benefits that come along with it, like feeling happier and less stressed, will make the rest of the day more enjoyable.
22. HAVE A PIZZA-MAKING CONTEST
Whether the two of you whip up homemade pasta every Sunday or insist on ordering takeout, switch things up by having a pizza-making contest. This allows for friendly competition as well as an opportunity to spend quality time together in a different capacity. Arm yourselves with all the necessary ingredients (the more toppings the better) and determine whose is the most professional looking—i.e., the roundest. Winner gets to choose the next show to binge. Get your culinary inspiration flowing by checking out these pizza recipes, and no, we don’t consider this cheating, but maybe don’t tell your spouse you read it.
23. Get a Tarot Card Reading
Break out of your comfort zone with a tarot card reading from your local fortune teller. Whether you get in-depth answers about your relationship or find out the "psychic" is a total scam artist, at least you’ll have something to talk about over dinner afterward. Kudos if you surprise your star-chart-loving sweetie with one of these zodiac-related gifts at the restaurant.
24. Try an Escape Room
Work as a team to find clues and solve riddles to break out of a locked room in less than 60 minutes. Find an escape room in your area with a quick Google search or check out the Downton Abbey and Stranger Things themed rooms if they’re close by. (Just don’t blame us if you discover you need to work on your problem-solving skills together.)
25. Sign Up for a Pottery Class
So what if your only experience with pottery is watching the famous Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze scene from Ghost? Even beginners will leave an adult ceramics class with a handcrafted keepsake, and we can’t help but think the experience will lead to something sexy.
26. Go on a Local Tour
Is there a factory, distillery or park in your town that you love? Research to see if tours are available (Cape Cod Potato Chip chips factory or Starbucks Reserve, anyone?). Hopefully free samples are involved.
27. Make It a Craft Night
Put those hours spent watching HGTV together to good use and turn your kitchen island into a DIY craft station. If you’re feeling sentimental, decorate a wood picture frame to hold your favorite photo of each other or put together a scrapbook of the past year. Too cheesy? How about creating a piece of moss wall art or following a YouTube calligraphy tutorial? Who knows, maybe you and bae are the next Chip and Joanna Gaines.
28. Test-Drive Cars
Dress up in your weekend-chic best and “go shopping” for the new car you so desperately need. (Silk head scarf not optional.) Here’s to hoping your Valentine’s Day date will end with a purchase of one of these luxury vehicles.
29. Travel by Train
Your grandparents had so many stories about taking cross-country trips by train. Turns out, they were on to something. Instead of automatically hopping on a plane for a celebratory vacation, consider making the journey part of your adventure. Many trains even offer luxury and first-class accommodations.
30. Go to A Comedy Show
Admit it: Your honey has the best laugh in the entire world.