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

Ad failed to load

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.

Ad failed to load

"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.

Ad failed to load

1Go Somewhere Whimsical And Listen To Live Music


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


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


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.

Ad failed to load

4Try A Picture-Perfect Picnic


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


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


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.

Ad failed to load

7Prepare To Laugh Until You Pee Your Pants


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


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


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.

Ad failed to load

10Plan An All-Star Game Night


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


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.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Your Weekend Love Horoscope For May 19-20, 2018

We’re constantly fascinated by what our zodiac sign says about our lives, whether it's which signs are most compatible or how each sign handles conflict in relationships. That's why Bustle has enlisted Mecca Woods, a New York City-based astrologer of…
By Mecca Woods

7 Last-Minute Royal Wedding Party Ideas Worth Waking Up Early For

We're only two days away from the royal wedding, so it's safe to assume Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are finished with their planning (we hope). But if you're a commoner who's procrastinated on planning a watch party, you still have time to decorat…
By Ayana Lage

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

16 Brand New YA Rom-Coms To Add To Your Summer Reading List

Ah, summer. Post-Memorial Day it's all about being outside in the sunshine, lazy pool days and exciting beach trips, warm weather treats, and — most important of all — tote bags packed to the brim with all of the biggest and best summer reads. Whatev…
By Kerri Jarema

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

9 Mother's Day Gifts For Your Mom That Also Give Back

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and unless you’re the type who’s got gift-giving on lock months in advance — and seriously, who is that person? — you might be scrambling a bit for great Mother's day 2018 gift ideas. And while it’s important to cho…
By Carolyn de Lorenzo

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

These 4 Zodiac Signs Are Going To Have The Best Luck In Love This May

Spring fever is here, but not all signs in the zodiac are dealt the same dose of lovin'. Some signs are going to have a better love lives than the rest of us in May, because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. According to astrologer Linda Furia…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

9 Hacks For Fighting Jet Lag That Actually Work

Jet lag is the worst. There's no doubt about it. And it's only natural to want to find a way to prevent it. Searching for jet lag cures online often means encountering expensive products and sketchy supplements. Luckily, there are ways to train your …
By Eva Taylor Grant

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan