Valentine’s Day Date Ideas That Are Enjoyable and Affordable (Beyond Netflix and Chill)


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Whether you consider Valentine’s Day a holiday worth celebrating or not, it’s usually full of romantic candlelit dinners, couple massages, and cocktails at your favorite, swanky dive bar. But this year, everything is different – as we all well know. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are spending Valentine’s Day at home in 2021. While this might have initially sounded boring in 2019, many of us have mastered the art of the stay-home-holiday in 2020.

Whether you’re celebrating with your special someone, your Galentine, or your entire quarantine pod, we’re here to help you plan the ultimate at-home Valentine’s Day bash. Since you have time to do it up this year, go for it this weekend and put as much thought into the holiday as you possibly can. Start with one – or more – of the 5 ideas below.

Take a virtual class together.

You know what they say: teamwork makes the dream work. So, why not try a virtual class? You can sign up for a cooking class, like one from Sur La Table, that covers everything from full meals to desserts, and treat one another to a feast that Cupid would be jealous of. Or, craft your own cocktails, instead with a little help from a digital mixology class. During these scheduled groups sessions, renowned bartenders teach the essentials of cocktail making, including how to mix the perfect old-fashioned, whiskey smash, martini, or sherry spritz. Want to try something beyond the cuisine world? Popular websites, such as Eventbrite, have options from letter writing to singing.

Have an indoor picnic complete with a delicious spread.

Spread out on the living room floor with a gourmet spread and bottle of bubbles. For the full effect, set the scene with a colorful blanket, authentic picnic basket, and a Bluetooth speaker with a set playlist. Not sure what your spread should be? If you’re not a gourmet college chef, don’t sweat it! There’s nothing better to nibble on throughout the day or evening than a charcuterie board. Add whichever treats you like, and don’t forget to pair your cheeses, meats, nuts, and jams with the perfect wine. Not a fan of cheese? Try your hand a simple brunch spread instead! Pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream served with mimosas, anyone?

Enjoy a game day of any variety from the comfort of your couch…

According to research, couples feel closer and even look happier when they share nostalgic memories, which is exactly why you should dust off your controllers, turn on your vintage video game system or computer emulator, and play your favorite throwback titles – think Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, or the Legend of Zelda! If you want to take the competition to the next level, make a bet on the final score and wager that the loser has to cook dinner – or make that charcuterie board. Not into video games? Take the more traditional route with a board game, like Scrabble, Yahtzee, or chess.

…Or get off the couch together. 

Hanging out in your apartment is nice, but if the weather allows it, you can also consider heading into the great outdoors for a more adventurous Valentine’s Day. Wander around your neighborhood or city and discover hidden gems along the way. Alternatively, you can go to a spin class together, try yoga, or dance along to an upbeat YouTube video. Not only is this a fun way to pass the time together, but physical exercise releases endorphins and is a great mood booster for anyone! Want to step up your Valentine’s Day date even more so? Put on your winter coat, lace up your hiking boots, and hit your favorite trail. You’re guaranteed to see stunning scenery and have a meaningful conversation without any interruptions.

Go camping – in your own backyard.

Consider turning your balcony space or a shared community space into your own personal “campsite.” While we don’t condone building a fire – unless there is community fire pit – we’re all for hanging some string lights or investing in a few eco-friendly lanterns, grabbing a couple cozy blankets, filling an insulated mug with a hot beverage, and transforming a part of your home’s outdoor space into an outdoor adventure of sorts. You can even build your own s’mores and go stargazing. That’s right – you can easily admire the universe with the help of the Night Sky app, which will actually show you what constellations you’re looking at with your true love.

Sure, this Valentine’s Day is looking different, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be dull. We’ve all adapted to life in 2020, and now it’s time to carry those methods over into 2021, continuing with our beloved V-Day celebrations. These 5 suggestions should get you started on the right path toward an enjoyable, memorable, and affordable day with your sweetheart, roomie or best friend…and who knows? Maybe, you’ll even carry on these traditions into 2022!

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Kait Spong earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and is on track to earn her M.A. in American Literature from the the same institution by Spring 2018. With nearly thirteen years worth of experience in creative, academic, and technical writing, Kait has immersed herself in the world of web content writing over the past two years and loves every moment of it. Outside of her career as a Digital Content Director, her hobbies and interests include literature, film, music, traveling, cooking, fitness, and technology.

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