Oh no! Valentine’s Day is when?! If you’re one of the many who annually forget this holiday, you’re not alone. After all, Valentine’s Day is placed — diabolically — right after the rush of the major holiday season and just after Super Bowl madness. For most people, making a dinner reservation is a struggle within a week of the big date. Don’t panic. We developed a list of reservation-free Valentine’s Day dates that have a little more personality than a prix fixe menu at a crowded restaurant.
8 Simple Valentine’s Day Date Ideas
1. Carpet Picnic
It’s cliche, but when done properly a picnic in your living room can be romantic as long as it’s thoughtful. Does your partner love Thai food? Indian? Order a feast from their favorite takeout spot and get dinner to go. Presentation is half the battle: turn on some music, spread a soft blanket on the floor with plenty of pillows, light candles, and — even if your meal isn’t homemade — serve dinner on your best serveware. Don’t forget to have a bottle of chilled champagne ready to pop! The best part about this date: you can ditch the heels and dress shoes and throw on a pair of comfy slippers.
Bowling makes for a surprisingly fun date and is the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day when you pair it with a classic bouquet of flowers. Bowling is also ideal for the couple that likes to get a little competitive, but doesn’t take themselves too seriously. The funny shoes, the cheesy music, the neon decor — share some chili cheese fries and let your hair down with the one you love.
3. In-Home Massage
Instead of making a pricey Valentine’s Day spa reservation (or a pricey any-day spa reservation) book a couple’s massage at home. In-home massage and spa treatments have become increasingly popular in the last five years. You can book everything from massages, to facials, to manicures, all delivered to your door! Enjoy the all the benefits of a relaxing spa day in the comfort of your favorite bathrobe. You can learn more about how to create a relaxing spa environment at home here.
6. Rock Climbing
Rock climbing (minus the actual rocks and danger) has surged in popularity. In 2015, there were 388 commercial climbing gyms in the United States. By the following year, that number was up to 414. Urban climbing gyms that were previously seeing 300 climbers per day are now seeing over 1,000. Climbing will even be included in the 2020 Olympic Games! These gyms expertly mimic the rock-climbing experience, with climbs for different experience levels and many, many safety measures. Climbing is a two-person effort. Climbing partners work as a team and this sport actively involves building trust and constant communication to literally support each other.
5. The Dive
If you’re a couple who is lucky enough to experience frequent date nights at “average or better” restaurants, mix it up and visit a popular ‘no reservations’ dive that would be packed on any other night. Whether it’s a famed neighborhood pizza joint, dumpling house, or a hole-in-the-wall bar with a pool table and great burgers, enjoy some relaxed fun in jeans and a T-shirt. Sip a beer, share some fries, and bring quarters for the jukebox or PacMan. Romance has more to do with your attitude than the environment.
6. Couple’s Game Night
For the couple who have ‘been there done that’ and are burnt out from Valentine’s Day hoopla, connect with other like-minded couples and host a game night. For couples who already have plenty of 1-on-1 time, it’s nice to have a fun night together with friends. Serve all the Valentine’s Day classics: champagne, chocolate treats, strawberries — and throw in some beer and potato chips for good measure. Game night classics include charades, Pictionary, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and new classics like Cards Against Humanity.
7. Cook Together
Cooking classes completely booked on Valentine’s Day? Not surprising, as this is one of the most popular ‘outside the box’ date options for the holiday. If you and your sweetie still have your hearts set on firing up the stove, cook a new dish together at home in the comfort of your pajamas. There are endless recipes with instructional videos online that will show you, step by step, how to make pasta, poach an egg, or bake an impressive molten chocolate cake. If you liked the idea of a cooking class because you’re genuinely bad at it (no shame!) order a meal kit from a company like HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, or even Amazon Fresh. The kits come with pre-measured ingredients and detailed cooking instructions, making the meal fool-proof.
Take a yoga class together. You might have to call ahead to reserve your spot, but there are almost too many yoga studios these days, so it’s very likely that you’ll be able to find one for the time you want. This is a great date idea for the early birds: take an early morning yoga class and after your limber and sweaty, go out for a nice breakfast together and sip a mimosa before you dive in to your day.