Relationships should always have romance, Valentine’s Day or not. But the pressure is definitely on come February 14, no doubt about it. So what are some romantic Valentine’s Day date ideas that aren’t cheesy? Great question.
“Valentine's Day is just one day out of a remaining 364 in which to demonstrate your affection,” Susan Winter, relationship expert and bestselling author of Allowing Magnificence, tells Bustle. “Don’t buy into the consumer marketing ploy. Meaningful relationships are built on small, consistent acts of kindness over the entirety of a relationship. Grand gestures pale in comparison to the littler acts of ongoing appreciation and thoughtfulness.”
But, meanwhile, what can you do on the holiday itself? For one, don’t think of it as the ~huge deal~ people make it out to be. “Don’t let special occasion days like Valentine’s Day add pressure to a relationship,” Antonia Hall, psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life, tells Bustle. “People can have a love or hate feeling towards the holiday. Maybe you would both rather stay in, cook together, and watch a movie, which keeps things low-key and not out in the frays with symbols of love staring you both in the face. Or perhaps you’d prefer an evening out together. Either way, treat it like just another date with your sweetheart so you can continue to get to know them and enjoy them without any added pressure.”
Exactly! And, let’s face it — you can make almost anything romantic; it’s all about execution and creativity. Here are some romantic Valentine’s Day date ideas that aren’t cheesy, because everyone can use some new inspiration on how to celebrate February 14, right?!
1Go On A Second First Dinner Date
“Instead of just picking any restaurant for your Valentine’s Day dinner, recreate your very first date,” Tyler Turk, Founder, Crated With Love, a monthly date night subscription box, tells Bustle. “A night or two before, write down everything you did on the date, where you went, and even what you wore (if you have a photo, that’s an added bonus). On the night of your Second First Date, recreate the event as best you can. This date idea is great because it allows you both to reminisce on where it all began and it requires you both to work together. Even though you may be creating a date from the past, the adventure of reconstructing (along with all the new experiences) will create a very memorable date!” Clever, right?
2Dance At A Speakeasy Or Supper Club
In L.A., there’s a fab place called the Cicada Club, a vintage nightclub where you go listen to in-person music, like Swing, and get all dressed up in vintage attire as though you’re in a silent film. There are probably similar places in your city, so why not go explore them with your significant other on Valentine’s Day? It takes the definition of going out to a “club” to a whole new level! Plus, some have a meal option, too, so you can have dinner and go dancing, just like people did back in the day!
3Make Chocolate Together
No one can forget the movie Ghost, where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s characters make pottery together, right? Well, you can have a similar experience when you and your date create something together, like, let’s say, chocolate. Yep, you can go to a place like VoilàChocolat in New York and create wonderful chocolately confections together. Yum! If you’re not in NYC, I’m sure you can find something comparable where you live.
“You create intimacy by doing,” Rhonda Milrad, Founder and Chief Relationship Advisor of Relationup & a relationship therapist, tells Bustle. “People create connection by experiencing and engaging in a task together. The event itself creates an opportunity to interact in ways that don’t occur when you are sitting politely across the table from one another. In an activity, you are negotiating, compromising, collaborating, demanding,sharing, and often working toward a common goal.” Yes, and remember — chocolate counts as this goal!
4Take A Ride On A Ski Gondola — Even If You Don’t Ski
Not much in life is better than a view from the top, i.e., from a ski gondola. Even if you don’t plan on skiing afterwards, you can still go for a scenic ride with your romantic partner. Better yet, talk to the ski lift people ahead of time and see if you can have a gondola to yourselves. And, yes, you can add some romantic touches, like a homemade card listing all the reasons you love your partner, or possibly some champagne (or sparkling apple juice if they don’t allow alcohol).
5Go Sledding, Ice Skating, Or Build A Snowman
Really, any snow activity is fun — what’s more romantic than falling snow?! — and you can even have a bouquet waiting in the snowman’s branch arm. Plus, let’s not forget about snow angels or ice skating. You probably remember uber romantic ice skating scenes, such as in movies like Serendipity.
“There’s no competition, because few individuals are good at skating unless they grew up on an ice farm,” Winter says. “Plus, you’ll need to hold hands for balance.” Exactly! And, all these activities ~beg~ for getting close and keeping each other warm during or afterwards, right?!
6Attend A Burlesque Show
Chances are, there are some good burlesque shows in your town and you may not even know it. Look them up and make a date with your SO and go. For instance, in L.A., The Edison has a great renowned one a couple times a week in its cool and hip renovated power plant setting. In smaller cities, like Asheville, NC, they have a weekly one that’s smaller in nature than the one at The Edison, and held in a local coffee shop, put on by Deb au Nare’s Burlesque Academy of Asheville. Even though it’s at a smaller venue than The Edison’s, it can still make for a great date night. Plus, these shows may inspire you for when you’re back at home. (Wink.)
7Have A Night At The Museum, The Valentine’s Day Version
Have you ever wanted to wander around a museum at night? Well, certain ones, like the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, have events going on, like a date night in the Hayden Planetarium on February 14. First, there is a cocktail hour, which includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and chocolates. (Another idea involving chocolate — I see a theme here!) Plus, live music. Then, attendees will go into the planetarium for not just stars, but also romance stories.
Not in NYC? Look for similar evening events in your city and you’re bound to find one — or create your own for you and your partner (see #3 again!).
8Make A Heart-Themed Meal
Though certain people may find this cheesy, I think it’s fun and tests your creativity. Whether you surprise your significant other with a Valentine’s Day lunch or dinner or cook as a couple, the creative possibilities are endless. From heart-shaped mozzarella cheese in this Caprese recipe to making “homemade” fortune cookies (out of Fruit Roll-Ups!), now’s the time to show off your love. Or, you can go the non-heart-shaped-foods route and just make something from the heart instead, no pun intended, aka your partner's favorite meal that you always said you’d make but never did — until now. Another idea? “Take a couples French technique cooking class,” Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and author of the relationship blog, You’re Just A Dumbass, tells Bustle.
James Preece, aka The Dating Guru, has a similar idea. “Set up an indoor picnic with your favorite food items and put it on a rug on your living room floor," he says. "Choose some romantic music, light some candles, and you have a wonderful date sorted. Also, have plenty of your favorite drinks ready to make sure the meal goes well.”
Silva has a twist on this, too. “You can start by creating signature cocktails for one another at home,” she says. “And if you can’t get reservations at your favorite date spot, set up a candlelight dinner in the bedroom.”
9Try The Penny Adventure Date
“If you want to add some spontaneity to your Valentine’s Day dinner, the Penny Adventure Date will do just that,” says Turk. “Get dressed, jump in the car, and head downtown or where there are a lot restaurants in the area. Each of you choose a number from one to 10. Say your numbers out loud and add them up. Take a penny and flip it. If it is heads, make a right at the next right, and if it is tails, make a left at the next possible left. Keep doing this until you’ve reached the number you both came up with. Once there, find the nearest restaurant to your location. You’ve found your dinner date! Want some added adventure? Use this same process to choose the menu! One of the best ingredients to a great date is surprise and adventure, both of which are stirred using this date!” Interesting, huh?
There you have it — nine Valentine’s Day date ideas that aren’t cheesy. “The beginning of a relationship is exciting and Valentine’s Day is often viewed as an extension of what two people feel for one another,” says Silva. “Often, it’s treated like a high-pressure competitive sport, where you must do this or gift this to express how much you mean to someone. Make Valentine’s Day a day that is about developing your relationship, learning more about each other, and having fun.”
Whether you believe in celebrating February 14 or not, it’s still a good reason to remind your partner how important you are to them and how much you value them in your life. And, as you can see above, there are plenty of ways to do so.