11 Last-Minute Valentine's Day 2018 Date Ideas That Are Way Better Than A Fancy Dinner

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Valentine's Day dates can be stressful, whether you're going on a third date with someone you just started seeing or you're planning a night for a partner you've been with for years. Not only does Valentine's Day fall right smack in the middle of the coldest, darkest, and shortest month of the entire year, but there's also the added pressure of thinking of original date ideas that diverge from the cliché. The fleeting time, combined with your busy schedule, might just leave you struggling to think of a stellar last-minute Valentine's Day date idea.

But fret not: just because your favorite fancy restaurant has been booked for months doesn't mean you'll find yourself on the couch with your partner, eating pizza and watching The Bachelor (although if you ask me, that doesn't sound half bad).

Instead of planning an elaborate night out, or treating your significant other to a fancy meal, consider going off book and designing a last-minute, make-shift night yourself.

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"It's important to sometimes do things that are out-of-the-box," Dr. Gary Brown, Licensed Psychotherapist in Los Angeles, writes. "It's a nice way to break up some of the routine in our relationships". So this Valentine's Day, opt out your premeditated plans and settle on a more spontaneous mode of memory-making instead. Here are 11 last-minute ideas you'll both love.

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1Go Somewhere Whimsical And Listen To Live Music

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Although many concerts and private shows sell out well before Valentine's Day, there are always bars that host Open Mic nights, Jazz restaurants that hold hourly shows, or DIY college venues that feature unsigned bands.

Pro tip: if it's a spot that fills up fast, go straight from work to ensure that you and your partner have great seats.

2Ditch The Suit And Tie And Go Dancing

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Dancing is a fantastic way to promote intimacy between two people because it physically brings you so close together. The best part is, you can do it absolutely anywhere. Take a tango class, or hit a bar with a backroom dance floor.

If that's not your style, light a bunch of candles in your living room, and put on a smooth playlist of your partner's favorite songs, then ask, "Can I have this dance?"

3Embrace Your Environment & Go Camping

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Sometimes you don't need to travel anywhere or break the bank to experience something magical. Try pitching a tent in your basement or living room and fill it with pillows and blankets. Then, rent your partner's favorite movie and pair it with a bottle of wine. Best camping trip ever.

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4Try A Picture-Perfect Picnic

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Weather permitting, pick a picturesque spot in your hometown: perhaps a small park, riverside, or rooftop. Then bring all the outdoor essentials: charcuterie, fruit, sushi, craft beer.

Bonus points for style: Look for an affordable woven wooden basket and checkered tablecloth. It'll feel like a passport to Paris.

5Board A Time Machine To An Old School Cinema

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Going to the movies can kind of seem like your basic third date idea, but this one has a twist: see if your hometown has an old school movie theater that shows classic films and golden oldies, grab a blanket, and go. See if you can score a cinema with reclining seats, or a liquor license. If not, try DIY: invest in or borrow a projector and bring the 'Big Screen' to your bedroom!

6Don A Chef Hat And Take A Global Cuisine Tour

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Cooking for your significant other is always a crowd pleaser, but has definitely be done before and can require a lot of prep. This Valentine's Day, consider traveling the world from your kitchen counter by preparing a tasting menu that separates each course by cuisine. Pair the playlist with the palate and each piece will feel like a plane ticket. The best part: you don't have to make too much of one thing.

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7Prepare To Laugh Until You Pee Your Pants

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In the same vein as going to listen to live music, taking in a show at a comedy club is a great way to ease some of the tension and pressure associated with Valentine's Day. If all of the clubs in your community are sold out, try going to an amateur open mic night instead (I promise, it'll still make you giggle). If the hustle is more of a hassle, cue up a compilation of Comedy Central Stand Up or Roasts and pair it with wings, tater tots, and beer!

8Return To The Classroom And Take A Course Together

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Learning something alongside your partner always strengthens your connection, because you're expanding your minds together. Take a cooking class, or try a wine and painting night, then swap each others' art as gifts! For a discounted course in your community, checkout Groupon or LivingSocial. If classes are sold out, provide your own supplies and try doing the same at home to an online tutorial.

9Take A Bike Ride Through A Brand New Borough

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There's no better way to explore your neighborhood than renting city bikes and taking a ride. If the weather allows, take a scenic bike ride to a part of your hometown you might not have ventured into and discover a brand new locale. Once you arrive at your destination, brand it in a way that makes it your spot. Then return to it for any Valentine's Days together to come.

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10Plan An All-Star Game Night

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Fun fact: everybody loves a game night of friendly competition paired with cards, a board, or a pair of dice. Collect your favorite oldies, from Scrabble to Guess Who, and challenge your partner to an epic night of Rivalry. Find a creative way to reward the winner!

11Take A Romantic Night-Time Lights Tour

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Order an Uber, Lyft, or even get a taxi for an hour and ask the driver to take you on a sight seeing lights tour of your hometown. Bring a bottle of champagne and pretend to be a tourist for a night. Get out at your favorites sites and snap pictures to commemorate the night.

This Valentine's Day, whether you find yourself with a last-minute hot date or if you're just the victim of poor planning, break from tradition and try something spontaneous. As Dr. Brown says, it's the key to adding spice to your relationship, all year round.

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