When the second week of February rolls around each year, Adam and I inevitably look at each other a little bewildered and ask “So… what should we do for Valentine’s Day?” As much as we love going out to dinner, nice restaurants can feel a little cheesy (not to mention crowded and overpriced) on this day of the year, so I’m always on the hunt for unexpected date ideas that will still feel romantic and special. I remember the first year we celebrated Valentine’s Day as a couple, we cooked a really fancy dinner at Adam’s place complete with steak and chocolate soufflés, and it was so memorable that we’ve tried to do something outside the box every year since. Whether you’re coupled up or single (gather your favorite girls!), keep scrolling for 13 unique ideas that will ensure your Valentine’s Day is actually fun, with no clichés in sight.
Date Idea #1: Go to a dive bar and surprise each other with song “dedications” on the juke box.
Bonus points for wearing a pair of vintage cowboy boots and your tightest fitting blue jeans.
Date Idea #2: Create a private movie theater in your house with a projector and screen a romantic movie.
Just add popcorn, Raisinets, and two pairs of cozy socks.
Date Idea #3: Go roller skating.
Or ice skating. The goal here is to channel your favorite hand-holding scene in just about every classic rom-com.
Date Idea #4: Go to a karaoke bar.
This personally sounds like my vision of hell, but I know it’s right up some of your alleys. Plus, if you were born with the voice of an angel, this could be a great strategy for making him fall in love with you on the spot.
Date Idea #5: Take an early morning hike to watch the sunrise.
I know, I know – sounds kind of painful. But there’s nothing more magical than watching the sun come up, and getting up that early to break a sweat is a totally bonding experience.
Date Idea #6: Go to an art museum.
Many museums host special nights when they stay open late, and there’s something about looking at art after dark that’s especially romantic.
Date Idea #7: Volunteer together at a homeless shelter.
It’s pretty cool to see your S.O. serving others and sacrificing his free time for a worthy cause. You’ll likely fall in love with each other all over again.
Date Idea #8: Take a cooking class.
Bonding over pots of marinara and pans of tiramisu? Sign me up!
Date Idea #9: Schedule a tasting at a local winery or brewery.
We love visiting wineries in other cities, but tend to neglect the great wineries and breweries right in our own area! This year, I want to plan a little trip to hit up some of the best wineries outside Austin, stop for a romantic lunch, and feel like we’re on vacation for the day.
Date Idea #10: Pick up your favorite take-out and drive to a scenic location for stargazing.
When was the last time you and your S.O. really looked at the stars together? There’s something about gazing at the nighttime sky that is such a reminder of the vastness of the universe — and how lucky you are to have found each other in it.
Date Idea #11: Take a “staycation” at a favorite local hotel.
I think every couple should splurge once in awhile and spend the night away, even when a full-blown vacation isn’t in the cards. Order room service, watch a movie, jump in the hot tub, and sleep in.
Date Idea #12: Take a dance class.
Check out classes in your town that offer salsa or swing instruction… or just head to a country bar and get schooled in two-step.
Date Idea #13: Recreate your first date.
For Adam and me, this would involve a dive-y Chinese restaurant, Peking Duck, and one too many glasses of chardonnay. If you’ve been together a long time, you’ll undoubtedly have fun laughing about those early days, and it may even be a valuable reminder of why you fell so deeply in love in the first place.