Forget Dinner and a Movie—These 11 Valentine’s Day Date Ideas Are Even More Special

Source: @budgeron-bach | Pexels
Source: @budgeron-bach | Pexels

Valentine’s Day gets a lot of hate with its reputation of being a “Hallmark Holiday,” but if I’m being honest, it is one of my favorite holidays of the year! Of course, I think that we should express our love daily and not wait for a certain holiday to do so, but just like a birthday is a good excuse to celebrate yourself, Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to celebrate your love. Do we need an excuse? No. Is it nice to have one? Yes. Do all couples sometimes need the reminder? You bet.

Valentine’s Day may be basic, but hey, that’s half the fun. Between the color scheme, flowers, and the wide array of chocolate and heart-shaped foods, we can’t help but love every second of it. So whether you have the urge to make it extra special this year or want to avoid the cliche that is dinner and a movie, we rounded up a few of our best Valentine’s Day date ideas to plan this year with your partner.

If you’re not spending this year with a partner, we have you covered: check out these ideas for celebrating galentine’s day or these ideas for spending valentine’s day at home.

1. Go wine tasting

I know what you’re thinking: A bar crawl doesn’t really scream “romantic,” but I find wine bars to be one of the most romantic settings. The candles, the smooth jazz, the low light?? They are intimate! Choose a few near you to try, order a glass at each, munch on a charcuterie board, and spend the night chatting and learning new things about each other. Whether your relationship is newer or you’ve been together for years, you’ll be surprised by what quirky and cute details you’ll learn about one another. Try asking each other the 36 questions that lead to love or take turns telling each other what you love about them or what experiences in your relationship you are most grateful for so far throughout the night. And if you find a wine you love, buy a bottle to save for your next date night.

2. Take dance lessons

Dance lessons are not reserved for couples who are preparing for their first dance at their wedding; they are for any couple at any point in their relationship, and it’s time we start taking advantage of that! This Valentine’s Day, book dance lessons with your partner and enjoy learning something new together. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to salsa, ballroom dance, or do the two-step, there are likely lessons near you that you can book. Start by searching where you can book lessons, pick out a cute yet comfortable outfit you can dance in, and prepare to be swept away for a romantic and fun night together. Who knows, you might enjoy it so much that you regularly go together until you perfect your dance skills!

3. Play a game

Did anyone else stock up on puzzles and board games during the early days of quarantine? They’re collecting dust like nobody’s business, so pull them back out because there are very few things more fun than flirty competition during date night. I love playing games or doing puzzles as an activity with a partner because it is more involved than just turning on a movie or TV show. In other words, there is less of a chance that you’ll be scrolling through your phone while playing Scrabble than you would while watching re-runs of your favorite show together. I recommend Esther Perel’s game Where Should We Begin because it prompts you to tell stories that can bring the two of you closer together—no matter what stage of the relationship you’re in.

4. Take the whole day off together

Actually use one of those PTO days you’ve been hoarding, and commit to spending the day together this Valentine’s Day. Start the day without an alarm clock and cuddle for a while before rolling out of bed and starting the day. Maybe you make coffee at home and relax in your PJs before heading out for the day or you start bright and early by going to get heart-shaped pancakes at your favorite diner. The world is your oyster, so you can do whatever the heck you want to! All that matters is that you spend quality time together and celebrate the love you have for one another.

Source: @ketut-subiyanto | Pexels

5. Go to a themed bar

Indoor mini golf bars, book bars, bars stocked with board games and puzzles, bars with cats and dogs. Themed bars and restaurants are popping up in cities across the country, and they were basically built for making a night out more fun. Plus, what’s better than getting the opportunity to really do something with your partner while sipping a fun cocktail or mocktail rather than people watching the whole time or staring at the TV behind the bar? To find a themed bar near you, start by scouring the internet (read: TikTok and Instagram) and making a list of a few that interest you. Then, ask your partner which one they want to go to! This is one of the more unique Valentine’s Day date ideas that can make your holiday more fun than ever.

6. Do the thing you always say you’re going to do

You know that restaurant you keep saying you’ll check out or the recipe you bookmarked to make for your partner on a special occasion? What are you waiting for? Use Valentine’s Day as a reason to do that thing you keep talking about doing. Maybe that means you book a weekend getaway and stay at a hotel you’ve always wanted to stay at. Or perhaps you make an appointment at a spa for a couple’s massage or you go volunteer together for the afternoon and support a cause you both always talk about. Whatever it is, you’ll feel good about doing those things you’ve always wanted to do and about the fact that you’re doing them together.

7. Prepare breakfast in bed

There is absolutely no reason to rush out of bed on Valentine’s Day—even if you have to get to work, just get up a little earlier to enjoy the morning! You can surprise your partner with breakfast in bed, or you can plan ahead and prepare something together for the two of you to enjoy that morning. There’s something about taking the time to be together before any of the stress of the day interferes that feels special, so it is the perfect way to start a day meant for celebrating your relationship.

8. Go to a comedy club, play, or concert

Remember going outside and going to see things live? We’ve all gotten so used to embracing the chill lifestyle, including when it comes to dating, we’ve forgotten how fun some of the live shows around us always have been. Use this holiday as an excuse to get all dressed up with your partner and see a show—whether it’s standup, a concert, a play or musical, or even a dance show. Live performance is as magical as ever, and depending on you and your partner’s preferences, this might just end up becoming a Valentine’s tradition, or at the very least, one of the best Valentine’s Day date ideas you’ve tried so far.

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9. Go on a dawn date

There’s something about a February night that just makes you want to do…absolutely nothing, which is why this Valentine’s Day might be the year to try out dawn dating with your partner. Wake up early, grab a thermos of hot chocolate, and go watch the sunrise bundled in a cozy blanket from somewhere with a decent view. Or, if you don’t want to spend a morning outside, never fear: Hunt down a breakfast or brunch spot that you’ve been wanting to try and celebrate earlier in the day before proceeding to chill for the rest of the day.

10. Have a sexy and playful night in

We often fail to recognize how important it is to be playful with our partners. Laughing, flirting, and teasing bring such welcomed relief among the stresses of everyday life, and it’s so nice to just let loose together every now and then. Especially on Valentine’s Day when we’re feeling a little more intimate, incorporating play with your partner in those steamier moments can take your night together from good to great. There are tons of sexy games that you can play to spice things up with your partner, so choose one (or a few) that get you two excited and plan a sexy night in together. Lingerie is optional, but recommended!

11. Do an outdoor activity

If you and your partner love to get outside, don’t let the cold weather stop you! This Valentine’s Day, go ice skating together or take a winter hike. Sometimes, there’s nothing more romantic than getting out in the cold before bundling up once again inside with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. You can even use this as an opportunity to travel somewhere outside of your city for a day—find a hike that’s a drive away, explore the area, and end your Valentine’s Day feeling as connected with nature as you do with your partner.