20 Non-Cliché Valentine's Day Date Ideas from Experts for 2020
These Valentine's Day date ideas from couples counselors and other experts will spark serious romance.
Sure, it can be a cliché and corny holiday, but Valentine's Day is also a chance to show that special someone in your life how much you care about them. And while dinner and a movie could do the trick, why not kick things up a notch and really impress your significant other with a night to remember? To help you out, we talked to couples counselors, therapists, and other experts to round up some inventive, unforgettable, and unique Valentine's Day ideas. So cancel your dinner reservations and take your better half for a spin on one of these romantic Valentine's Day dates instead.
Create a romantic scavenger hunt.
Take a trip down memory lane with your partner this Valentine's Day by creating a scavenger hunt for them. It can take place in your house or even in a nearby area where the two of you share fond memories. "Each 'clue' can connect to a memory about the couple," explains Massachusetts-based couples therapist Bri McCarroll. "Each clue leads to another experience the couple had, creating a 'memory lane' experience, and ideally ending with a romantic experience or gift."
Cook your partner a delicious meal at home.
Who says you have to spend exorbitant amounts of money at a restaurant on Valentine's Day to make your partner happy? In a 2020 survey of more than 2,200 adults, eMediHealth found that 41.5 percent of respondents thought that a home-cooked meal was more romantic than one at a restaurant.
Book a couples massage.
A couples massage is a win-win. Not only will your partner love the much-needed R&R, but you also get a massage! In eMediHealth's survey, 26 percent of both men and women said they'd love to receive a massage for Valentine's Day more than anything, so you really can't go wrong with this Valentine's Day gift idea.
Go rock climbing.
Or go-karting or axe-throwing! "A little excitement can be a great rev-up, especially as a precursor to some love-making later," says couples counselor Corrin Voeller, LMFT, owner of Prosper Therapy in Minnesota.
Play some games at the arcade.
When was the last time you went to the arcade? Have some old-fashioned fun this Valentine's Day by taking your date to a place where both of you have nostalgic memories. Playing arcade games will inspire "a good time with some friendly competition," says Voeller.
Take them back to the place where it all began.
Where did you and your significant other have your first date? Where did you share your first kiss? If these places are easily accessible, plan a Valentine's Day date around visiting them, suggests couples therapist Heather Lyons, PhD. "People like to feel seen and appreciated," she explains. "Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to show your partner how well you know them."
Explore your city.
"We rarely get to see our hometowns from the point of view of a visitor," says dating coach Damona Hoffman, host and producer of The Dates & Mates Show. "As corny as tours can be, you and your significant other can have a blast seeing the city through new eyes—and it might cause you to look at your relationship from a new perspective, too."
This year, turn your Valentine's Day date into a more philanthropic effort by giving back to the community. "Volunteering together can help you make others feel good, while also feeding your own soul," notes Hoffman. "Sharing love in any form is what Valentine's Day is all about."
Have a game night at home.
Having a game night will inspire laughs, love, and friendly competition. "Some of my fondest date memories are playing board games or video games with my husband," Hoffman says. She suggests spicier games like Truth or Dare or Never Have I Ever for a Valentine's Day to remember.
Go to a live show.
Instead of seeing a movie like many couples do on Valentine's Day, consider getting tickets to a live show instead. Hoffman notes that this will not only switch things up, but also "win [you] major points for culture and creativity."
Take an art class.
Many towns and cities have studios now that offer couples art classes. And they're the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day, providing both an experience and a gift. "If you can't afford the studio, you can easily create a version of this date in your backyard," says Hoffman. "Just get some supplies at an art store and let yourselves play."
Or a cooking class!
Instead of going to a restaurant this Valentine's Day, consider learning how to cook a meal with the person you love most. "Amateur cooking classes have been springing up all over the place. Learning and creating something together can do wonders for intimacy," says Hoffman.
Go on a weekend getaway.
If you're up for doing something spontaneous this Valentine's Day, Ashley Campana, director of recruitment at Lisa Clampitt Matchmaking, suggests going on a last-minute getaway. "Find a hotel within driving distance, go there, and check out the local attractions," Campana suggests.
Or go to the travel section of your local bookstore and get inspired.
Don't have the time or money to get away? No problem! Instead of traveling, "go to the travel section of your library or bookstore and start planning your next trip," says Campana. This is a fun way to daydream and fantasize with your partner.
Go to a museum.
If you know that your partner enjoys art and history, then use Valentine's Day as an excuse to bring them on a museum date. Checking out a local museum is relaxing, inexpensive, and gives you an excuse to hold hands while you stroll around and take all the exhibits in.
Have a horror movie marathon.
Watching romantic movies on Valentine's Day is so cliché. Instead, Celia Schweyer, dating expert at DatingRelationshipsAdvice.com, suggests having a horror movie marathon. "Movies of this genre are infamous for being the ones where you snuggle up to your partner," she notes. "Physical intimacy increases in dire moments—and there are a lot!"
Make a DIY photo book.
At its core, Valentine's Day is about love. And Sara Stanisz, founder of couples lifestyle blog Our Kind of Crazy, says that the best way to celebrate that love is by "looking back on your year together." How do you do this? By creating a photo book of your relationship!
"There are some great sites online that can put a book together for you quickly and easily, and all you have to do is upload your photos and arrange the pages the way you want," Stanisz says. "This is a great Valentine's Day tradition to start."
Go to a sporting event.
Even if you aren't the biggest basketball or hockey fan, the energetic atmosphere of a sporting event can make your Valentine's Day fun and lively. "Who knows—maybe you will even make it on the Valentine's Day special love jumbotron," says April Davis, professional matchmaker and owner of matchmaking service Luma.
Shop for presents together.
"Instead of buying Valentine's Day presents in advance, go to a store together and give each other a price and time limit. Split up and scramble around the shop looking for goodies to present to each other. This is a fun date idea that doesn't take itself too seriously and is sure to add lightheartedness and less pressure to the gift-giving process," says Davis. "After, grab some dinner while you share your presents and open them in front of one another."
And if you're in a long distance relationship, have a virtual dinner date.
Valentine's Day can be hard for people in long distance relationships, but there are ways to celebrate the day together if you get a bit creative. "Making time to sit down and have that 'virtual dinner date' is always a good idea," says Schweyer. "You can binge-watch your favorite movies together or play a game that the two of you will enjoy."