You know the importance of regular date nights to keep the spark alive, right? After about a month of staying at home, “date night” probably feels like just a distant memory; one of those pre-staying-at-home memories you remember fondly, like going to the gym or grocery shopping without severe anxiety. However, date nights should still be a part of your weekly routine.
Romance might be the last thing on your mind during a time like this, but it’s crucial to your mental health that you feel connected and satisfied with the one person you’re not distanced from. Plus, planning something special (meaning out of the ordinary Netflix and takeout) will give you something to look forward to. Here are 14 date nights to try this weekend:
1. Meet up for happy hour
Since you and your significant other are probably doing your own thing during the day, plan a time to “meet up” for an at-home happy hour. Tell your partner you’ll meet them on the patio or in the living room at 5pm, make some cocktails, and put out some olives, peanuts, chips and salsa, or a cheese board if you want to get fancy.
2. Have a game night
A little friendly competition can get sparks flying, no matter how long you’ve been together. Bring out Scrabble, stack your Jenga, and get your chess on. You can stick to one game, or make a whole tournament with a variety of two-person games to see who is the ultimate champion. Personally, I recommend going old school and playing Gin Rummy, which my boyfriend and I have played more than I’d care to admit.
3. Eat takeout by candlelight
Get takeout from your favorite restaurant, or mix it up by ordering a few different kinds of food for a buffet of all your favorites (pizza and a spicy tuna rolls anyone?). Rather than a normal night in, turn it into date night by lighting candles to create a romantic atmosphere. Make it extra special by wearing fancy clothes, or even just a spritz of your nice perfume. You’ll feel like you’re at a fancy restaurant, but without the expensive prices and sometimes weird food (it’s hard to pretend to like escargot all the time!).
4. Have a picnic
If it’s warm outside, enjoy the weather by spreading a picnic blanket in the backyard and enjoy dinner (or a bottle of wine) sitting under the stars. If it’s too cold outside or you don’t have a yard, DIY your own picnic by lying a blanket on the floor in the living room. Make it extra cozy by lighting a fire (or lighting candles), and enjoy a romantic evening that’s simple to create, but feels more special than your average night in.
5. DIY a wine and paint night
Those wine and painting classes are all the rage these days for date nights and bachelorette parties galore. Why not recreate them from the comfort of your own home? Order some cheap canvases and paint supplies online, look up a Youtube video for step-by-step painting, and pour a couple of glasses of wine. You’ll have a lot of fun, get your creativity on, and maybe even come away with new portraits to hang up in your home (or you’ll laugh at how bad they turned out, but either way, it will be a great time).
6. Cook together
Only one of you probably cooks dinner each night (likely the one who has more time that day), but cooking together turns dinner into quality time. Put your significant other on grilling duty for a fancy steak dinner, or roll out dough together for homemade pasta. If cooking isn’t one (or both) of your strong suits, order in and bake a dessert instead. Even making a simple batch of brownies or delicious crème brûlée (for the seasoned baker) will be fun (and delicious) to do together.
7. Relive one of your favorite trips
You’re likely feeling cooped up in your home, so why not bring one of your best vacations to your home? If you had a magnifique trip to France last summer, look through pictures, play French music, and cook some Croque Monsieurs. If you’re wishing you were on that beach vacation you took a few years ago, make some piña coladas and fish tacos and put on a sundress. You can also recreate the trip you’ve been dying to take, like making sushi if you’ve both been dreaming of visiting Japan.
8. Have a wine tasting
Bring Napa Valley to you with a DIY wine tasting. Keep it simple by sampling a few local wines, or get more detailed with cheese or chocolate pairings. Make it extra special by creating cards for the titles or origins of each wine, and the different notes in each sample (if you want to get extra bougie). If beer or whiskey is more your couple style, make a sampling of a few different types for a DIY flight.
9. Create a “theme night”
Remember those really fun theme parties in college? Make the idea work for your own at-home date night by picking a theme and coordinating everything from outfits to food to movies to match the theme. Make it a ’50s night by wearing pearls and a midi skirt, playing some OG Elvis records, or watching Singin’ in the Rain. If you’ve been dying to go on a European vacation, make some pasta, open a bottle of red wine, and watch Under the Tuscan Sun. Whatever “theme” you want to go for, think of creative ways to apply it to date night.
10. Have breakfast in bed
Sure, breakfast in bed is typically reserved for mornings, but why not make it a nighttime thing? Breakfast for dinner is always fun (scrambled eggs, anyone?), and eating it in bed (with a mimosa or two) will feel like you’re at a luxurious hotel or on vacation. You might actually be thrilled you’re not going out for date night when you’re relaxing in pajamas and eating pancakes.
11. Bring the sports bar to you
If you’re less in the mood for a fancy date and miss the bar you two frequent, recreate it at home by turning your home into a sports bar. Turn on a pre-recorded game, ESPN Sports Center, or any past-season highlights to set the scene. Grab some beers and make (or order) all of your favorite bar appetizers like wings, pizza, onion rings, or pretzels with beer cheese.
12. Create your own spa experience
Who needs to go to a spa for a couple’s massage when you have each other? Get a nice massage oil (or add a few drops of lavender oil into your favorite body lotion for a DIY), and take turns treating each other with massages. You can also make a nice bubble bath with special salts and fancy bath oils for a luxurious spa-like experience without the high prices of spas (don’t forget to scatter rose petals for extra romance). Insider tip: I trick my boyfriend into doing face masks by calling it a “date night.” He’ll thank me later when he still has great skin in 10 or 20 years!
13. Movie marathon
Don’t settle on the same Netflix show every night (Tiger King or The Office can wait until tomorrow), switch it up by planning a special movie marathon. Watch as many movies as you can get through of your favorite franchise like Harry Potter or Star Wars, or pick a genre the two of you love (’80s teen movies or historical dramas are both classic choices). Pop the popcorn, put your phones away, and snuggle up for a movie marathon. You might be missing date nights at the movie theater, but just remember you can’t wear pajamas or fall asleep halfway through the movie when you’re out in public (the best perks of a movie night at home).
14. Have a party for two
Because you don’t need to have company over in order to have a dinner party, plan a special night in for just the two of you. Hang up string lights, make some mini appetizers, bring out the nice silverware, turn up the music, and dress up in your favorite dinner-party attire. If your idea of a “party” looks more like beer kegs and loud music, why not throw one at home (just a reminder that beer pong only requires two people to play)? You’ll forget the fact that you can’t leave your home and instead wish that every night was at-home date night.