11 Unique Valentine's Day 2018 Date Ideas That Aren't Dinner & A Movie

No matter how long you've been dating someone, you may be tired of "dinner and a movie (and chocolates)" being how you two celebrate Valentine's Day. While they're nice, you want to do something different and more one-of-a-kind. Of course, there are plenty of unique Valentine's Day date ideas out there — they'll just take some planning and creativity. However, once you think of a couple ideas, you'll think of more and more, trust me. Plus, chances are, whatever you think up will be much more memorable than the time you were able to score a dinner reservation at "X" restaurant.

"So many times, we are somewhat forced to picture Valentine's Day a particular way — roses, chocolates, tiny plush bears — and it seems like the romance is manufactured for us," Tyler Turk, Founder, Crated With Love, a monthly date night subscription box, tells Bustle. "In reality, Valentine's Day is meant to celebrate your love for that special someone. Love is rarely contrived — it is unique, spontaneous, and needs to be special! Instead of falling into doing the same thing, find a unique activity that helps spark some of those feelings of excitement and anticipation, just like you had when you first started dating!"

Like Turk says, whatever unique date activity you choose, it should elicit excitement and anticipation. And the sky's the limit — literally and figuratively if you're talking about skydiving — when it comes to planning a unique Valentine's Day date. Below are some ideas, and perhaps they'll give you even more #valentinesdayinspo, too.

1Experience Virtual Reality

Museum of Sex

As technology continues to increase in the virtual reality world, there are more and more places where you can go experience VR for yourself. And, if you haven't, it is *amazing*. For instance, if you're in New York City, the Museum of Sex has a new physically immersive Virtual Reality Gallery. Called Celestial Bodies: The Couples VR Experience, it lets visitors test out an immersive room scale VR installation. As a participant, you don't just put on the VR headset and Optitrack motion sensors and stand still. In this exhibition, you and your date can move about freely within the controlled environment in order to enhance your experience, and you have avatars that connect and collide in outer space. Sounds ~out-of-this-world~, right?

Of course, if you're not in NYC, going to a VR exhibition is always a fun time, so do some investigating where you live and you're bound to find one. For instance, there's IMAX VR, which has locations in various cities, including Los Angeles and Toronto. According to their website, their VR experience will "launch you and your friends into virtual worlds more realistic than anything you've ever imagined." Sold! Otherwise, if you can't find a VR location nearby, it's time to take a road trip with your significant other to find one — which also makes for a unique Valentine's Day date idea, as you will see in #2.

2Rent Or Test Drive Your Partner's Favorite Car

Courtesy of GMC

A lot of people have a favorite car, even though they don't own it at the moment. Maybe they hope to get it down the line or maybe the price tag is way out there, so they always plan on it being a dream car, not their actual car. Whether you rent a car from a place like LA Luxury Car Rentals or go test drive your partner's favorite vehicle, like GMC's 2018 Terrain, it'll make for a fun and unique Valentine's Day surprise. For instance, with the latter, through their Infotainment System, you can use Spotify to have a personalized playlist waiting for your date. You can also use the SUV's Marketplace app to make dinner reservations or order your partner's favorite coffee in advance. With the vehicle's Skyscape Sunroof, come nightfall, you can stargaze together.

Whatever car you rent or test drive, one thing's for sure: It'll make for an unforgettable date while stopping and taking your date to all their favorite places along the way.

3Go Stargazing

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Speaking of stargazing , you don't just need to do so from a vehicle. Instead, why not go old-school and grab some blankets, sleeping bags, a thermos of hot chocolate or mulled wine, and get out of the city to see the stars? Once you're at your remote location away from the city lights, the sky will do the rest of the work for you as you and your date look for constellations and shooting stars. Personally, this is one of my favorite date activities, Valentine's Day or not. Not only is it so easy, but it is also so romantic. And if you're feeling especially adventurous, you can turn it into an overnight camping trip.

4Warm Up In Some Hot Springs

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Since it's very cold in much of the world right now, warming up with your date for Valentine's Day would be nice, right? For instance, even though people think California is hot and sunny 24/7, that's not the case once the sun goes down. If you want to take a trip to Big Sur, The Esalen Hot Springs are on a picturesque cliff and known to have healing properties — aside from just romantic ones. Or you may prefer finding some natural, unadvertised hot springs.

For example, if you're in Utah, you can find plenty of hot springs, aka all-natural pools of water that are geothermally heated by the Earth. Yep, they are just as magical as they sound. ICYMI, some of the healing properties include pain relief, helping with circulation, and promoting a restful sleep. Some springs allow you to drink beverages, too — though not always alcohol since it causes conditions like dehydration — so you can toast to the love-filled day (but perhaps with water for now).

5Make Some Valentine's Day-Inspired Desserts

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With companies like Red Velvet NYC, you can order DIY dessert kits — yes, please. There are all kinds of choices, from Red Velvet Cupcakes to Chocolate Truffles. And when all the ingredients are sent right to your door, how can you refuse? However, you and your date can also go shopping together and pick out all the ingredients yourselves, which is also a fun adventure in and of itself. And, even if neither of you know how to bake, you can learn together and laugh about it later — how you burned the cupcakes or got more sugar on the floor than on top of the cookies.

Of course, the point isn't how the desserts turn out, but about the fun you two had in the process… although the sweet treats are an added bonus, as is taking turns feeding them to each other.

6Go Sweat It Out

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Whether you take a popular class at your local gym or try something new altogether, like a class at a UFC GYM, where you can become a master at Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) — or at least a novice. There are many MMA classes to choose from, including boxing, kickboxing, krav maga, muay thai, jiu-jitsu, or Daily Ultimate Training (UFC GYM's signature high-intensity interval training boot camp).

By doing this as a Valentine's Day date, you'll definitely be doing something fun and challenging, but also something that brings you closer together. Plus, you both will then have more workouts to look forward to as you take more classes in the future.  

7Go Jump It Out

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If you're more of a trampoline person than a gym one, a trampoline park could make for a great unique Valentine's Day date (and you can still work off all those cupcakes from above!). Plus, how many people do you know that have gone to a trampoline park, especially on a date? Exactly. For instance, Sky Zone Trampoline Park has more than 160 locations nationwide, from Missouri to Chicago and beyond. The park combines fun and fitness, and there are a ton of activities to choose from, including Open Jump, Ultimate Dodgeball, SkySlam, and the Foam Zone.

8Go To A Local Park In The Dark

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Even if you opt to not go to a trampoline park, you can still go to a regular park and find some swings for you and your date to swing (and hold hands) on or some slides to go down. If you haven't been to a park at night, it's a fun (and free!) thing to do, and also a romantic one, since the moon will likely be out. And, TBH, you may never have had a date at a park before, and Valentine's Day gives you the perfect reason to do so.

9Escape To A Hotel — Even In Your Own City

The Mark Hotel

You know how you walk or drive by certain hotels in your city and wonder what it would be like to stay there? Well, there's no time like Valentine's Day to find out. Plus, many have various love- or sex-centric themes for the holiday. For instance, The Mark Hotel, on New York City's Upper East Side, is featuring an Aphrodisiac Package for guests on February 14. It includes aphrodisiac-infused cocktails and small bites prepared by award-winning Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, The Mark Silk Eye Mask, a pair of Agent Provocateur Panties, and a candid Sexual Satisfaction Scoring Card.

Similarly, Arlo Hotels have a "NSFW" Valentine's Day special, too, running from February 1-28 — why not celebrate Valentine's Day all month long? ;) With the NSFW package, guests will receive all different facets of romance, from roses on the bed along with a curated selection of sex accessories and games (from handcuffs to sex position cards). If you want to venture outside of the bedroom, the package also includes tickets to New York's Museum of Sex — great way to check out the Celestial Bodies VR exhibit — as well as a pole dance class at Body & Pole.

If you're looking for unique Valentine's Day — and night — ideas, hotel specials are the way to go. You can also check out ones near you, or use these ideas to create your own Valentine's Day hotel surprise for your partner. You can always throw in other hotel perks, like spending the day at the hotel spa together, getting a couples massage, and so on.

10Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride

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A few years ago for Valentine's Day, a boyfriend surprised me with a hot air balloon ride in Temecula, CA, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. You probably know that many hot air balloon rides take place at sunrise, which means you arrive even before then, but if this non-morning person can do it, so can you. Plus, it gives you and your date a good reason to spend the night somewhere nearby the night before, like at one of the above hotels.  

11Escape Together — From An Escape Room

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If you haven't been to an escape room, you're missing out. As far as a unique Valentine's Day date idea is concerned, it's a great way to assess each other’s problem-solving skills, as you need to use clues to solve puzzles and, eventually, escape within a certain time frame. You can find escape rooms in many different cities with many different themes. For instance, you can try out Escape Artisty in Chicago or Texas Panic Room throughout cities in Texas (as well as a location in Rockville, MD). Whatever escape room you choose, there's no doubt you and your date will get closer — literally and figuratively — both during and after your escape.

After reading all of the above unique Valentine's Day date ideas, if you're still stumped, you can always check out sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for more inspiration. You can check them out regardless, because maybe they'll also have a deal on one of the above. Whatever you and your date decide to do on February 14, it's bound to be fun since the two of you will be together, and that's what it's all about.