On Valentine’s Day, the last thing you want to do is get stuck in a Netflix and takeout rut—or, worse, end up at a cheesy, overpriced, and decidedly unoriginal prix-fixe dinner. Whether you’re single, coupled up, or somewhere in between, ensure your V-Day is free of clichés with these non-boring ideas, below.
Have a Bonfire
If you live in the suburbs, grab some marshmallows, chocolates, and s’mores, then spend the night cuddling up by the fire. Bonus points if you can make one on the beach.
Chocolate Tasting and Truffle Making
Instead of buying crappy chocolates from the drugstore, sign up for a masterclass in chocolate-making. If you’re in the tri-state area, spend the night learning directly from the pros of NYC’s Roni-Sue’s and bring home 12 delicious truffles to eat in bed.
Proceeds from the class will support the Waterkeeper Alliance, which “aims to preserve and protect water by connecting local Waterkeeper organizations worldwide and promoting outspoken, citizen-led advocacy. “
Not at the club—we mean real dancing. You can take a class, hit a salsa club, or go see live music that makes you want to groove. For the former, we suggest something like the Valentine’s Day Dirty Dancing Party in Chicago.
A Ghost Tour
The convenient thing about ghosts is that they tend to hang around old cities everywhere. Bonus points if you find a spooky event that includes booze like Portland’s Haunted Brewery Crawl, which comes with beer samples and a guided tour. (Two awesome reasons to sign up.)
Ice Skating and Après Skate
There’s a reason why couples are always hitting the rink in our favorite rom-coms—you’re pretty much guaranteed to get close to each other. Once you’ve had your fill of the ice, you can enjoy some hard-earned drinks. (Hot toddies, anyone?)
A Wine Bar Crawl
Instead of sticking to just one spot, hop from place-to-place and order different kinds of wine and tapas along the way. It’s waaay more interesting than a boring ol’ sit-down dinner. Of course, it doesn’t hurt stashing one away for later too.
A Scavenger Hunt
You can make up your own, complete with creative challenges, photo missions, and sexy prizes.
A Night at the Museum
When museums stay open after hours, they tend to spice things up by throwing a party or holding a special event—especially on V-Day. Take an after-dark art tour for two like the one offered at the Guggenheim complete with chocolate truffles and champagne, accompanied by live music.
A Themed Dinner and Movie Night at Home
Watching Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck fall in love in Roman Holiday is definitely more satisfying when accompanied by a big plate of homemade spaghetti and meatballs.
Go to a Basketball or Hockey Game
Use the night as an excuse to cheer on your favorite teams. For the more competitive couples, take a bet on the winning team and see who’s really buying dinner for the next week.
It’s just as romantic as ice skating, but with a little more pizzazz. And since it’s V-Day, your local rink will likely have a lovey-dovey theme. Look for one that’s kind of retro and caters to an older crowd, like the Valentine’s Day Late Skate in Oklahoma City.
A Burlesque Show
Before things heat up at home, pretend you’re in an episode of Gossip Girl and spend the night at a burlesque show. It’s all about the art of the tease.
A Poetry Reading
Channel your inner Carrie and Big by visiting the local library and checking out the love letters and poems of the best writers. Open a bottle of wine (or, y’know, flask it up) and take turns reading each other your favorites.
Leave behind the friend group and head to the karaoke bar with just you and the boo. What better way to celebrate your chemistry than singing classic couples duets such as “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and “I Got You Babe” together? Listen to the best love songs of all time here.
A Comedy Show
Spend the night escaping reality with a themed show at a local comedy club. Upright Citizens Brigade (a.k.a. where Amy Poehler got her start) in Los Angeles and NYC tend to have a variety of funny V-day options.
A Relaxing Spa Day
Spas often capitalize on Valentine’s Day with specials for couples (and extended hours), so take advantage of the reduced fares to chill out with your S.O. Viva Day Spa in Austin, Texas offers everything from a couple’s massage to a facial package and an all-day access package. Pure Spa in Pennsylvania offers a range of specials, from an affordable massage for pairs to a deluxe “total indulgence” rate.
A Tandem Bike Ride for Two
Most big cities have bike rental websites online—including tandem bikes—that have affordable hourly rates. Yes, while a bike ride for two might seem difficult/cheesy, if both of you are first-timers it could be a genuine and funny bonding moment to look back on.
Book a Hotel
Book a romantic hotel that’s free from roommates, dirty dishes, and paper-thin walls. Many inns and hotels host their own Valentine’s specials, from champagne service to three-course meals at the hotel restaurant. W Hotel locations in New York launched a program with a matchmaker in residence for Valentine’s Day and offers bookings for their erotic Awaken Your Senses suite.
Take a Tour of an Unexplored Town or Venue
Whether it’s a new restaurant that’s too far away for the typical lazy weekend or an up-state venture to a state park or museum, take a Valentine’s Day weekend excursion somewhere that will get you both exploring the unfamiliar. Book an Airbnb if you want to save on pricy hotel fees and enjoy the escape.
Watch the Sunset (or Sunrise)
Since both of you are likely working during the day, leave work a bit early to watch the sunset—peak romance for those who love love. Head to the water or the mountains, which brings us to our next option.
The date doesn’t have to end at sunset. Why not take a break from regular routine and spend the night with some nature? Cozy up in a tent with the essentials (read: snacks), or choose a place that does all the work for you like these spots here.
Take a Hot Yoga Class Together
Break a sweat with a hot yoga class courtesy of your favorite instructor. If you’re in NYC, try The Class by Taryn Toomey. Consider it couple’s therapy without the label.
See Your Favorite Band Live
There’s nothing better than experiencing live music with one of your favorite people next to you. Head to StubHub for the latest events in your area and grab those last minute tickets for a night of letting loose.
Sign Up for a Cooking Class
When cooking isn’t your strong suit (and restaurant reservations are booked to the max), sign up for a last minute cooking class where you can learn to make each other’s favorite meals. Things always tend to heat up in the kitchen.
Get Your Astrology Fix
The only way to prove you two are meant to be together forever? See if it’s written in the stars. Visit a psychic to have both of your tarot cards read. If you’re not ready to make that commitment, learn about your auras to make sure you’re both giving off good vibes.
From Marie Claire US