This Valentine’s Day, instead of making a reservation at an overpriced restaurant and shelling out for a bouquet of red roses, take your significant other for a fun and unique date night. One of the best ways that you can get closer to a partner is by sharing common experiences and learning new things together.
Think outside of the box – it doesn’t necessarily have to be a stereotypically romantic outing. Anything where you’re intentionally taking time out of your schedule to be together is romantic in our eyes. Check out some of the best experiences you can have with your significant other this Valentine’s Day.
1. Visit a Distillery
This year, instead of spending $50+ on mixed drinks at a boring restaurant, put that money towards supporting a local distillery. Most cities now have distilleries located well within the city limits – you don’t need a huge warehouse to make amazing liquors.
Distilleries large and small offer tours where you can see how their product is made and what goes into making them. If your local distillery doesn’t offer tours, you may still be able to sample their products at their bottle shop. Both the tour and the tasting will give you a chance to speak to the workers who are directly involved in the drink’s production. Bonus: they’ll be able to tell you the best way to drink it once you’ve got your bottle home, too.
2. Do a Cooking Class
A cooking class is a great date night any time of the year but especially on Valentine’s Day. It really beats having to wait ages for a table at your local date night spot. You’ll get an amazing meal and you’ll also learn the skills necessary to reproduce it at home whenever you want.
Some popular cooking classes cover skills like pasta making, food prep, or even a complex regional cooking style, like Indian or Thai. Most of these classes run between $75 and $200, which covers the instructor, the tools, as well as the ingredients that you’ll need to make your meal.
3. Get a Couples Massage
Another great experience that you can have with your partner for Valentine’s Day is a couples massage. This involves two massage therapists massaging both you and your partner while you’re in the same room. You can choose to get the same type of massage or opt for different treatments.
Typically, these massages last 30 to 60 minutes and cost upwards of $200 for both therapists. If you want to enjoy a date night after your massages, stay away from a deep tissue or Swedish massage, which can often leave you sore and uncomfortable for a few hours.
4. Visit a Spa Together
If you want to be able to chat and spend time together while you’re relaxing, consider a spa date night. Depending on where you go, you’ll have access to therapeutic soaking pools, saunas, and steam rooms that are perfect for soothing sore muscles and melting away tension.
You can often indulge in a luxurious facial, pedicure, or light massage, or snacks and beverages by the pool. Many of these spas recommend that you spend two to three hours per visit, so you can really get the benefit of the pools and treatment rooms.
5. Visit a Winery
Instead of buying a hugely marked up bottle of wine at a restaurant this Valentine’s Day, head straight to the source and visit a local winery for a tour and tasting. Even if you don’t live in Sonoma or the Willamette Valley, you may be surprised at how many wineries are located within driving distance of major cities.
You won’t be able to tour the fields in the winter, but many wineries will offer tours of their wine-making and aging facilities, as well as a tasting of their different vintages.
6. Make Your Own Jewelry
If you’d like to learn a unique skill and make yourself a gorgeous new accessory, consider taking a jewelry-making workshop with your significant other. There are many local jewelry makers that will teach their skills to beginners in a workshop or course format. Some people now are taking these courses so they can craft their own wedding rings!
Typically, classes are at least three hours long and are focused around one project rather than teaching a whole roster of skills. The goal at the end of the workshop is for you to walk out with a handmade ring, bracelet, or necklace that you’ve made for yourself.
7. Hire a Photographer for a Cute Photoshoot
You don’t need to be engaged or getting married to invest in good-quality photos of yourself and your significant other. Too many people overestimate the cost of a photographer when in reality there are many affordable photographers who offer very reasonable rates for casual photoshoots.
Depending on your location, you may be able to work with an entry-level or mid-priced professional photographer who will charge you less than $250 for a full hour of shooting. If you just want a few images, some photographers offer mini-sessions that last 15 to 30 minutes.
8. Go for a Hike
If you’re looking for an active date night activity, hiking is a great choice. It’s a good way to explore a new area of your city without having to spend any money. If you’ve got a car, you can get further out of the city, and potentially even visit a national park or nature area, but you’d be surprised how many great hiking trails can be accessed using only public transit.
Before you head out, make sure you’ve got the gear for a hike. Even if you’re just going on a casual trail walk, you’ll need to have the appropriate footwear and cold-weather clothing.
9. Do a Food Tour of Your Neighborhood
Food tours aren’t just something to do while you’re on vacation! Restaurants change so quickly that even if you’ve been in your neighborhood for a long time, you probably haven’t eaten everywhere.
If you want to try out a few different places in your area, structure your evening so you eat your appetizers at one restaurant, your main courses at another, and dessert at a third! You’ll work up an appetite between courses and sample some of the best food your neighborhood has to offer in one delicious evening. If you’re feeling up to it, make your food tour a city-wide affair!
10. Go on a Day Trip
If you want to get away for Valentine’s Day but don’t have the budget for a larger-scale vacation, you can organize a day trip. Pick a place that you can get to easily using transit or a car, and check into a hotel or B&B for an evening. You’ll get all the benefits of being away from your normal routine, but you won’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars on flights.
Use sites like Hotwire to secure great last-minute deals on hotels or Airbnb if you want an apartment or home of your own.
11. Learn How to Ski
If you live in the northern hemisphere, take advantage of the snowy winter weather by learning how to ski with your significant other. If you’re both beginners, you can take a class together at a local ski slope before testing yourselves on some of the easier hills. Most ski slopes rent gear, so you don’t have to buy your own. Plus, the feeling of taking off your tight ski boots and all your layers at the end of the day is just unforgettable.
12. Indulge in a Nostalgic Childhood Favorite
This Valentine’s Day indulge your sense of nostalgia by taking your partner to an activity that you remember from your childhood. Depending on where you lived, you may have gone to lots of birthday parties at a bowling alley, played laser tag or mini-golf, or decorated pottery at a paint-your-own-pottery studio. Once you get there, see who has learned the most since childhood – you can even make it a friendly competition, staking the first round of drinks on the outcome.