10 Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day That Aren’t Cheesy

Whether you just started dating or have been together for what feels like forever (because we all get to that point in a LTR relationship), it’s important to keep things feeling new and exciting. Valentine’s Day might sound like you need a candlelit dinner at a fancy (read: expensive) restaurant with a bouquet of roses and a bottle of wine. But who in the world decided that that expensive, cliché, cheesy date night (that you’ve likely been doing since you were in your first relationship at age 16), is the only way to celebrate your love? Cupid!?

Well it’s time we take Valentines into our own hands and celebrate V-Day our way. Whether the day of love is a “Hallmark holiday” or not, it’s an important opportunity to take a break from the craziness of everyday life and celebrate your relationship, remembering how lucky you are to have your partner, and creating new memories together. This year, think outside the box (of chocolates — sorry, had to!). Plan a V Day that will not only make your partner feel cared for and special, but will create new memories together.

1. Have a picnic

Because what’s more romantic than grabbing a blanket, packing up some food, and spending a sweet, simple, thoughtful meal together, just the two of you? There’s a reason it’s a rom-com classic! Even if you live in the frozen tundra like us in Chicago, surprise your partner with a candlelit picnic spread out on your living room floor. It’ll be a thoughtful, romantic gesture that feels so much more special than a normal dinner at the table or dressing up for a restaurant meal.

2. Listen to live music

Whether it’s a concert for your favorite artist or a speakeasy with a swing band, hearing live music will be so much more fun than just sitting at a boring restaurant! Check out a local band, find out which major artists are coming to your city, or for a more romantic vibe, see if there’s a speakeasy, pub, or piano bar near you for some extra-memorable fun. You’ll sing, you’ll dance, and you’ll fall in love all over again.

3. Take a class

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be boring, and romance doesn’t always have to be, well, romantic! Sometimes learning together and seeing each other in a new setting feels just as romantic as candlelight and fancy food. Whether it’s a pottery class or cooking class, consider trying something new with your partner for a V-Day you’ll surely remember.

4. Breakfast date

Sure, your partner will expect that your Valentine’s Day date is reserved for dinner time. But why not start off the day with romance, too? February 14 falls on a Thursday this year — planning a breakfast date or coffee run before work will set up the whole day to feel extra special and more exciting than your typical Thursday, plus, having that bonding time in the morning will make you even more excited to see each other at the end of the day. Even if you both have early mornings and fitting in a date before your day starts is hard, making your partner pancakes or their favorite omelet would go a long way.

5. Be a tourist

In the mood for a little adventure? Look up your city’s local museums or favorite tourist sites. Many museums will have Valentine’s Day specials (cheaper tickets!) or events (cocktail hour and appetizers while you peruse the Modern Wing? Yus!). If you’d rather be more active than intellectual (and live in a warmer climate or can brave the cold), take your significant other to your local amusement park. Riding roller coasters and eating cotton candy will be so much fun for you two to do together, but there’s also something romantic and playful about amusement parks, isn’t there? (Or is that just me after watching Beyonce’s XO Music Video?)

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