Every year when February 14th nears, we often wonder why we didn’t start planning sooner. We may start to feel pressured to create a once-in-a-lifetime romantic experience or just resort to buying overpriced flowers and a cheesy card. While these are straightforward, usually well-received options, sometimes it’s nice to think outside the box. Thankfully, we did that for you! Whether you’re stuck in a romance rut, just met someone, or simply want some inspo to amp up your relationship game, use some of these unique Valentine’s Day ideas to help make your day one to remember.
1. Make your own Valentine’s Day menu
While there’s nothing wrong with splurging on a 5-star Valentine’s Day dining experience, sometimes you want the comfort and low-stakes atmosphere of cooking at home. Either surprise your partner with a just-for-them menu, or create one together using your favorite ingredients. If the kitchen is the last place you feel comfy, consider ordering a dinner kit from a meal subscription service. You’ll still have a delicious V-Day dinner without the stress of finally learning how to use the oven in one night.
2. Participate in an extreme sport
If you and your S.O. are looking for a new Valentine’s Day idea to liven things up, why not sign up for an adventurous activity like parasailing, zip-lining, paragliding, or skydiving? Whether you’re adventure-inclined or are just here to face your fears, taking a little risk together can create a strong bond and lasting memories. Plus, you might just discover a new-found hobby together, and that’s something couples everywhere strive for.
3. Play Valentine’s bingo
Cue up your favorite (read: cheesiest) romantic comedy and settle in for a hilarious game of bingo. You can order and print out bingo cards from sites like Etsy, or get creative and think of your own prompts: things like “over-the-top romantic gesture,” “awkward morning after,” or “the ex makes an appearance.” This is a great, cheap Valentine’s date idea for new or seasoned couples alike. You can spend time together and enjoy a few laughs–all for free. If you’re dating long distance, don’t worry: Valentine’s bingo is perfect for a virtual, romantic night in.
4. Have a progressive breakfast
We’ve all heard of a progressive dinner, where you have every course at a different restaurant or bar, but why leave breakfast out of the mix? Leave the pre-fixe dinner options for another year, and start your day off right with this unique Valentine’s Day idea. Begin at your favorite coffee shop, head to a diner to share an omelet, grab a pastry at a local bakery, and top off your breakfast feast with a latte or a bloody mary.
5. Enjoy an at-home spa night
A sumptuous experience at a spa is always a home run for a romantic Valentine’s Day date idea, but it can come with a high price tag. If you both want to have a taste of the finer things in life without forking over a ton of cash, plan a spa night at home, where you can relax, relish in one another’s company, and create intimate moments. Pick up bath salts or bubble bath, aromatic massage oils, face masks, and a bottle of champagne for the ultimate romantic night in.
6. Explore the outdoors
For a unique Valentine’s Day date idea, head outside! Take some bikes for a spin through a park or nature area. Lace up your hiking boots and hit a local trail. Rent electric scooters and meander through a neighborhood you haven’t spent much time in before, stopping in at inviting shops or restaurants. This is one of the best Valentine’s Day date ideas for a blind date because you can get active, learn about each other, and embrace some natural silent moments (without having to stare at each other across a dinner table).
7. Paint and picnic together
Go beyond your usual “Netflix and chill” dates and get creative with a paint-and-picnic activity. Pick a scenic spot in your town (extra points if you go at sunset), and head there with a picnic, paints, and two canvases in tow. You might be surprised by one another’s talents. Whether you’re looking for first Valentine’s Day ideas or out-of-the-norm options for your long-term relationship, this is a great way to be artistic, get fresh air, and do something a little different to celebrate love.
8. Sign up for a wine/spirit/beer-tasting event
To celebrate your successful dry January, indulge with your boo on Valentine’s Day with a tasting event at a local winery, distillery, or brewery. Some events may even include food pairings or offer a virtual option for those that prefer social distancing. If you’re leading the mocktail life, no problem! Set up a sparkling water or kombucha tasting at home and pair each flavor with a fun snack.
9. Play a few rounds of miniature golf
Mini-golf is a go-to activity for couples that want a taste of the outdoors without working up a sweat. For a little friendly competition, whoever loses has to buy the next round of drinks (you didn’t hear it from us). No matter if you’re a golf pro or a novice just here for a good time, mini-golf is a fun, light-hearted way to spend Valentine’s Day.
10. Go see a live show
If you and your significant other don’t consider yourselves romantics, buying tickets to a live show can be a great way to spend a cliché-free evening together without the starry-eyed pressure of a typical Valentine’s Day. Look for improv or comedy shows in your area, live music at a jazz club, bands playing in town, a play or musical, or even a live broadcast of your favorite podcast (just try to avoid true-crime podcasts, as that definitely won’t lighten the mood).
Wherever your Valentine’s Day journey takes you–whether you go skydiving, sip on a wine flight, or plan an intimate spa experience at home–remember that the reason for the day is to celebrate one another. The best Valentine’s Day idea is the one that prioritizes you and your date. Now it’s time to get planning!