Even if you don’t particularly care for Valentine’s Day, you may still have a good time whether you’re in a relationship, have a large group of pals, or are celebrating on your own. The key, we’ve learned, is to observe the holiday in your own unique way.
We asked relationship specialists Sean Davis and Brenda Wade for advice so you can enjoy a special Valentine’s Day, whether you want to celebrate your own worthiness or express your affection for a special someone. All sorts of relaxing things to do with a loved one, friends, or by yourself are available. There are also opportunities to give back to the community and learn something new.
Here are ten fresh ideas for Valentine’s Day celebrations to help you show your loved one how much you care.
1. Try a Wine-And-Dine Movie Theater
Upscale movie theaters like IPIC (with locations all over the U.S.) offer cozy seating and full wine-and-dinner service. While the price may be higher than a regular movie, elevated big-screen amenities like truffle fries and a glass of cabernet delivered directly to your seat kick up the movie-going experience, exponentially. Some theaters even have blankets—perfect for cuddling.
2. Space Out
The romance of stargazing isn’t lost on planetariums. Many of them host couples’ events around Valentine’s Day, so do a little digging to see if one is happening near you. Clear skies are always in the forecast, no matter what Mother Nature conjures up outside.
3. Turn Your Bathroom Into a Spa
Wade suggests creating a romantic, relaxing environment in the privacy of your own home. This is a great solo activity, too. “Turn your bathroom into a spa with candles, music, and your favorite, refreshing adult beverage on ice,” Wade says. To make the date even more special, gift your loved one (or yourself!) a luxury robe, a new pair of slippers, or some gourmet chocolates to eat after a soak in the tub.
4. Plan a Special Hike
For those who love to hike, it might be tempting to visit the same trails over and over again. For a date that feels both special and familiar, why not take a hobby you both share and put a unique spin on it? For the holiday, you can pack Champagne to pop at the end of the hike or go in the morning to watch the sunrise from the peak. Alternatively, you can visit a trail that’s off the beaten path or one that ends near a brewery with great outdoor seating.
5. Take Breakfast in Bed
This luxury shouldn’t just be reserved for hotel stays. Wake up an hour early, whip up something special like a childhood favorite or a twist on your most indulgent brunch order, and settle in for some undivided together time before you head off to work
6. Highlight What You Love About Your Partner
For people who crave words of affirmation, hearing a list of “specific, nuanced” things that you love about them is incredibly important, Davis explains. This means things that go beyond mundane, everyday compliments. For a Valentine’s Day date to remember, brainstorm how you can incorporate a list of these things into a date or event. Maybe you simply write a letter to your significant other and present it with another special gift, or perhaps you can tell them after you both do something you love together, like hike, cook, or exercise.
“Small gestures like that are the glue that holds relationships together, but they rarely get any mention,” Davis says. “You’ll be surprised at how seen your partner feels once you do this.”
7. Take a Mixology Lesson
Sip on something tasty as you learn how to make your favorite cocktails. Head to the exclusive Apothéke Academy in New York, for example, which features ingredients from the rooftop garden and farmers market, or a craft cocktail bar near you.
8. Recreate Your First Date
Go to that restaurant where you first met or the cocktail bar where you said cheers over martinis and reminisce over your first impressions of each other. Feel like celebrating with friends instead? Round up your pals and make it a group date.
9. Hire an In-Home Massage Therapist
Order a massage therapist duo to come to your home with an on-demand app like Zeel or Soothe. You’ll enjoy a shared experience of relaxation and tranquility while letting any stress melt away—emerging refreshed and renewed with new energy to bring into your relationship.
10. Have a Themed Dinner
This one is pretty flexible, and the good news is you can alter it based on your partner’s favorite things. You could cook dinner based on your partner’s favorite movie or country. You could have a nostalgia-filled evening with all your partner’s favorite meals from childhood, paired with their favorite movies, shows, and music from growing up. You could make a three-course meal that’s based on your and your loved one’s most beloved restaurants to visit. The point here is to give a home-cooked meal some meaning and some thought and to make it personalized. It’s more romantic than you might think.
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