20 Date Ideas That Aren’t Just Going Out To Dinner

Valentine’s Day, which began as a commemoration of a martyred saint, was first romanticized by the medieval British poet Geoffrey Chaucer. His 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules” included the line: “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” It has now grown into a commercial celebration of romantic love in numerous countries.

By Molly Farinholt3 min read
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Shutterstock/Eugenio Marongiu

While many women appreciate the traditional flowers, chocolates, and candlelit dinner, others hope for a less cliche day. Instead of making reservations at the French bistro downtown, try out one of these date ideas instead.

1. Go on a hike

Get your heart rate up, marvel at nature’s beauty, and dive into meaningful conversation.

2. Play Topgolf

Even if you have never been to a golf course or driving range, reserve a bay with your bae, practice your swing, and order some of their delicious apps and entrees. See if there’s a location near you.

3. Get tickets to a game

Enjoy a local college or professional basketball or hockey game. Share a bag of buttery popcorn and root for the home team.

4. Explore a thrift store

Find a thrift store and see which of you can find the neatest, strangest, or most useful item(s) for twenty dollars. Pick out a zany outfit, find (and then play) a classic board game, or choose a piece of furniture that you can refinish and make your own.

5. Run a race together

Sign up for a Color Run, mud run, or road race. Run for fun or push each other to a new personal best. Head to a local pizza or burger joint to fuel up afterwards.

6. Go ice skating

Perhaps the quintessential winter date, ice skating is perfect for laughs, great conversation, and holding hands. There’s nothing more romantic than the night sky and rosy cheeks.

7. Try swing dancing

Even if you both have two left feet, taking swing dancing lessons is bound to be loads of fun. Loosen up, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself, and have a ball twirling around with your man.

8. Go rock climbing

Perfect for a couple that loves to adventure and be active, rock climbing presents a fun challenge, opportunities for communication and building trust, and that triumphant feeling when you both make it to the top.

9. Have your own bake-off

Are you a fan of the Great British Baking Show? Create your own showstopping cakes, choose a GBBO signature recipe to recreate, or attempt one of the dreaded technical challenges. In the end, indulge in the fruits (or pastries) of your labor.

10. Visit an art gallery

Head to a nearby art gallery and take your time wandering through the rooms. Linger in front of your favorite pieces and discuss why you like them.

11. Go to a wine and painting shop

Find a wine and painting shop near you. Sip chardonnay and pretend you’re Picasso. If you don’t have a shop near you, purchase some canvases, paints, and a bottle of your favorite wine and set up a studio at home.

12. Enjoy an opera or the symphony

If you love dressing to the nines, this is the perfect date for you. Put on your pearls and listen to moving melodies and grand vocal performances.

13. Attend a couples’ cooking class

Don’t just go out to dinner; make it yourself - with the help of professional chefs. This is the date that keeps on giving, as you will not only have a tasty meal that evening, but also take home some new skills.

14. Go stargazing

Bundle up, pack blankets, and fill thermoses with hot cocoa. Find a spot where the stars are bright, search for constellations, and cuddle up.

15. Have a picnic (indoors or outdoors)

Pack a picnic basket with your favorite foods and choose a romantic spot to spread out a blanket. If it’s too cold outside, opt for an indoor picnic (complete with flowers, candles, and charcuterie).

16. Go for a boat ride

There’s just something romantic about being out on the water. Ride the ferry, rent a rowboat, or - if you’re feeling a little fancy - go on a dinner cruise. There’s no better way to end the day than watching the sun set over the horizon.

17. Take a trip down memory lane

Visit your favorite childhood spots or the places you went to in the early days of your relationship. Swap stories, share fond memories, and see how far you’ve come!

18. Visit the zoo or the aquarium

The zoo and the aquarium are not just for children. Meander around, gaze at the gazelles (or manatees), and maybe even leave with a cute stuffed animal (because what’s Valentine’s Day without receiving a stuffed animal?).

19. Get out of town

Find an unexplored spot on the map, book an Airbnb, and take a little road trip. Maybe you want to explore a new city in your home state or maybe you just want to go somewhere peaceful and quiet. Either way, it’ll be an adventure to remember!

20. Go on a scavenger hunt

Create and swap scavenger hunts that take you on a walk, bike ride, or drive around town. Include items such as a vanilla latte, photos in front of local landmarks, and a trip to the bookstore where you first met!

Closing Thoughts

Take your next date night to the next level with one of these creative options!