“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get–only with what you are expecting to give–which is everything.”
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Even people who find it easy to plan exciting and unique date nights may struggle to organize a memorable Valentine’s Day. First, there’s the pressure—you know it’s something your partner is expecting and anticipating. Second, there’s the execution of the date itself. Sure, Valentine’s Day date ideas may seem easy to come by, but navigating your partner’s expectations and smoothing out the details all at once can be flat-out stressful.
If you’re overwhelmed by the holiday and considering throwing in the towel altogether, wait a beat. Consider your significant other and your relationship, and reflect on easy, meaningful ways to express your love. A perfect Valentine’s Day date doesn’t necessarily have to be the most over-the-top, grandiose experience of all time. In fact, as marriage and family therapist Sean Davis explains, sometimes planning a great date is as simple as starting with your partner’s personality type.
“Creative ideas tailor-made to your partner are the best,” says Davis. “Prior to Valentine’s Day, do a quick brush-up on the five love languages to find out what really says ‘I love you’ to your partner,” he continues. “Then, surprise them by giving them something they’ve said they want that corresponds with that love language.”
Read on for 22 Valentine’s Day date ideas that range from over-the-top to DIY to unbelievably simple—all are sure to make your partner’s day.
In terms of getting to relax and spend quality time together, spa days are often the biggest bang for your buck. You can go as luxurious or as budget as you want, depending on how you’re feeling. But, most importantly, you’ll be able to get in some real bonding time and come out feeling refreshed. A couple’s massage can go a long way, especially during a chilly February. Plus, many spas have special packages for Valentine’s Day with add-ins like Champagne and chocolates, so you’ll be sure to feel the romance while you’re getting pampered.
create a romantic, relaxing environment in the privacy of your own home. “Turn your bathroom into a spa with candles, music, and your favorite, refreshing adult beverage on ice,” Wade says, noting that it’s pretty easy to make this date extra romantic if you just use your imagination.
This Valentine’s Day, focus on what you want out of your relationship—and your life. Buy a nice bottle of wine, curl up, and take some time to make a couple’s bucket list. Not sure where to start? Just let your imagination run wild. Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? What does your dream home look like? Now that you’re established as a married couple, it can be romantic to look forward to your life together.
You put so much time and energy into planning your wedding, but a lot of us will only look at the photos or videos a few times before putting them on the shelf. Use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to reminisce on the best parts of your wedding day. Cook a lovely meal (or order one in) and cue up your wedding video or flip through your photo album. You’ll feel closer in no time.
Even if it’s cold where you live, taking a scenic hike is a great way to unplug and unwind this Valentine’s Day. Maybe there’s a favorite spot where you live, or you might want to try one of the best hikes in the U.S. Either way, you’re bound to have a fun time because you’re in great company.
Check out our “How to plan a day hike” blog
If you’ve never cooked your loved one a homemade meal before, nothing will be as romantic as choosing Valentine’s Day to display some newfound kitchen skills. “Stay at home with the right music and candles for mood, and cook a sumptuous meal together. Or, you can order in, but at least make dessert. This is a time to enjoy creating together. Sit on cushions on the floor or on a couch where you can recline.”
For an added touch, make it personal. For example, if your partner loves television and movies set in France or Italy, consider planning a French or Italian meal to cook together before watching their favorite show or film. You can buy all the ingredients, set the table, and pick out the music to set the scene.
One of the best ways to reconnect with your partner is to remove technology from the equation. Why not go off-grid for a while this Valentine’s Day? Make an agreement that phones are for emergency use only and plan a lovely day together. You can visit a museum, go to dinner and a movie, or spend some time in nature with a hike or bike ride. Or, make it really intimate and don’t even leave the house (or the bed)—the choice is totally yours.
If your partner is all about quality time, do everything you can to plan a date that emphasizes this. Clear your work schedule and contact your partner’s employer ahead of time to see if you can clear theirs as well, then spend the day doing something you both enjoy.
This may seem pretty vague, but the key for people who crave quality time with their partners is to simply prioritize being together with zero distractions. The details of the day itself aren’t all that important so long as phones are off, notifications are muted, and you only have each other to focus on. If you find yourself stressing about the specifics of a Valentine’s Day date but know your partner loves quality time, concentrate your energy on eliminating as many distractions as possible first and foremost
If you want to keep it casual this year, spending time with friends and family is a great option. Invite over some other couples who may be a bit over the Champagne-and-roses experience, and focus on relaxing with the people you care about. You can cook up a feast, or take the pressure off and make it a potluck and BYOB affair to ensure there’s plenty to go around.
If you really want to focus on quality time, going away together is a great way to spend your Valentine’s Day as a couple. You can book a night away or make a longer vacation out of it—as long as you embrace not having to deal with anyone else for a while. Think about heading somewhere warm for a long weekend, or maybe book a nearby luxury hotel with an outdoor fire-pit for the night. If an overnight trip doesn’t fit your budget, don’t worry. Even exploring a new town or neighborhood for the afternoon is a great way to make memories together.
When was the last time you played a game with just the two of you? Pick a favorite from the closet, or try a new couple’s themed game, like Talk, Flirt, Dare or Our Moments.
If you want to go right back to your beginning, revisiting your first date can be a fun and silly way to keep that spark alive. If you still live in the area where you met, book the same bar or restaurant where it all began. If not, try to recreate the meal or choose another significant event to relive, like the moment you first said “I love you” or when you got engaged. It can help bring back that flirty feeling from early in the relationship and remind you why you fell in love in the first place.
One of the best ways to spend the day together is to choose a cause you’re both passionate about and sign up to volunteer—you’ll do some good for others and yourself, as volunteering can make you feel more connected to each other and the community. Visit volunteermatch.org to search local organizations and volunteer opportunities.
Learn how to craft cocktails with a James Beard honoree who has been at the forefront of the NYC craft cocktail movement and the founder of the world’s best bar, and become each other’s favorite bartender. → Check out a Virtual Mixology Class
Even partners who aren’t so into crafts will get a kick out of this fun activity. Gather up photos of your relationship, old ticket stubs, and meaningful receipts, and make a beautiful book that you’ll both treasure! → Get Scrapbook Kit
Whip up a delicious breakfast spread on Valentine’s Day and enjoy it lounging in bed. It will be a nice change of pace from the usual morning hustle and bustle. → Search For Breakfast Trays
No destination? No problem. All you need for this fun Valentine’s Day activity is a sense of adventure and a full tank of gas! You’ll both get out of your comfort zones while you explore new terrain. There’s no telling what you might stumble across. You can also check out our list of the best road trips in every state.
Wine and chocolate: Both delicious on their own, but even better together! Come up with your own pairings, or you can opt for a virtual wine appreciation class with wine critic James Suckling. → The Perfect Chocolate For Wine Paring
If you’ve never done it before, now’s the time to put in writing why your partner is so special to you. Tell them which of their qualities you most admire, how they make you feel, and why you fell in love with them. → Love Letter Ideas
No, February 14 doesn’t have to be all about presents, but it is nice to give—and receive—a little token of affection. Consider purchasing an item your loved one has always wanted or even just gifting a DIY Valentine’s Day card.
If gift-giving is your love language, send your significant other on a scavenger hunt dotted with trails of rose petals and handwritten clues to find their Valentine’s Day gift. →Fun Valentines Treasure Hunt Ideas
For a bubble bath worthy of a honeymoon suite, surround the tub with candles, sprinkle rose petals in the water, and set a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of Champagne within arm’s reach. → Rose Petals For Your bath
Every year we get new ideas from new participants and we all try different things. There are hundreds of appetizer ideas. Just Google away, find some inspiration, invite a few friends over and have fun. that’s the most important thing. Have fun!
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