40 Unique Valentine’s Day Ideas to Make Your S.O. Smile

When the second week of February rolls around each year, Adam and I inevitably look at each other a little bewildered and ask, “So… what should we do for Valentine’s Day?” Most of the traditional ideas can feel a little cheesy (not to mention overpriced), so I’m always on the hunt for unique Valentine’s Day ideas that still feel romantic and special.

I remember the first year we celebrated Valentine’s Day as a couple. We cooked a really fancy dinner at Adam’s place, complete with steak and chocolate soufflés. It was so memorable that we’ve tried to do something outside the box every year since. Whether you’re coupled up or single, keep scrolling for 40 unique Valentine’s Day ideas that will ensure your holiday is actually fun, with no clichés in sight.

Couple looking at view.

40 Unique Valentine’s Day Ideas to Try This Year

1. Go to a drive-in concert. Bonus points for dressing up and bringing your own lawn chairs and snacks.

2. Screen a romantic movie. Create a private theater at home complete with a projector—and of course, all the snacks. Just add popcorn, Raisinets, and two pairs of cozy socks.

3. Go roller skating. Or ice skating. The goal here is to channel your favorite hand-holding scene in just about every classic rom-com.

4. Host a karaoke night in your living room. This personally sounds like my vision of hell, but I know it’s right up some of your alleys. Plus, if you were born with the voice of an angel, this could be a great strategy for making them fall in love with you on the spot.

5. Take an early morning hike to watch the sunrise. I know, I know—sounds kind of painful. But there’s nothing more magical than watching the sun come up. Plus, getting up that early to break a sweat is a total bonding experience.

6. Take a virtual cooking class. Bonding over pots of marinara and pans of tiramisu? Sign me up! When it comes to unique Valentine’s Day ideas, food is always a good idea.

7. Put together care packages for the homeless. Stuff paper bags or shoe boxes with food, water, socks, hand wipes, etc., and keep them in your car for the next time you drive past someone in need. It’s pretty cool to see your S.O. serving others and dedicating their free time to a worthy cause. You’ll likely fall in love with each other all over again.

8. Host an at-home art night. Whether this means sketching in an adult coloring book, making a collage of your favorite photos together, or streaming a documentary, it’s sure to get your creative juices flowing.

9. Schedule a tasting at a winery or brewery. There’s nothing better than a trip to your favorite spot. Or, if you want a more low-key experience at home, buy three bottles of wine: one that is $25, one that is $15, and one that is $10. Cover the bottles in foil and mix them around, then try to guess which is which! It’s pretty surprising sometimes.

10. Pick up your favorite take-out and drive to a scenic location for stargazing. When was the last time you and your S.O. looked at the stars together? There’s something about gazing at the nighttime sky that reminds us of the vastness of the universe—and how lucky you are to have found each other in it.

S'mores by the fire - unique valentine's day ideas.

11. Camp it up. While a get-lost-in-the-woods date can be just the adventure many of us are looking for, there are others who’d rather camp out in the living room. Whether you were a scout in a past life or have never spent a night in the great outdoors, there are plenty of ways to tailor this date for a magical evening (hello, glamping). Just don’t forget the marshmallows.

12. Take a virtual dance class. Check out YouTube instructors that offer salsa or swing instruction. Perfect your dance moves for the next time you go to a wedding or a country bar.

13. Recreate your first date. For Adam and me, this would involve a dive-y Chinese restaurant, Peking Duck, and one too many glasses of chardonnay. If you’ve been together a long time, you’ll undoubtedly have fun laughing about those early days, and it may even be a valuable reminder of why you fell so deeply in love in the first place. Be creative about how to recreate your dates at home! Pick up takeout from the restaurant, dim the lights, use tablecloths, or any unique aspects that a specific restaurant has.

14. Take a “staycation” at a favorite local hotel. I think every couple should splurge once in a while and spend the night away, even when a full-blown vacation isn’t in the cards. Order room service, watch a movie, jump in the hot tub, and sleep in.

15. Pack a picnic and bike ride to somewhere special together. There is something so special about riding bikes together to a special spot to indulge in a picnic together. Pack your favorite cheeses with dips and snacks in a picnic basket—don’t forget the bottle of wine!

16. Make breakfast in bed. Nothing beats feeding each other bites of pancakes while you’re snuggled under the covers. Whether you want something healthy and vibrant or are craving your favorite comfort food (again, pancakes), as long as you’re getting in the kitchen together and sharing a meal, you really can’t go wrong with this date.

17. Travel by train. This idea might be a little more involved, but it’s nothing a little planning can’t make happen. Train travel lets you take in your surrounding sights in the most relaxing way possible. You don’t even have to set out with a specific destination in mind—it’s all about the journey.

18. Theme your date night. Date nights are great and all, but when you center it around a specific theme, you can immerse yourself in a whole new experience. And, of course, nothing says romance like a little jaunt to France. Want all the Parisian vibes without having to get on a plane? Make a playlist of all your favorite French music, plan a French-ified menu, and transform your dining room into the chicest French restaurant, no matter where you are.

19. Make a vision board. Sharing your dreams and setting the foundation for future plans to come is the ultimate way to connect. You can each create your own vision board or collaborate on one together. It’s a fun and inspiring process and can guide conversations for what you each want for yourselves and your shared goals as a couple. For steps on how to get started, check out our guide to vision boarding.

20. Ask questions designed to build intimacy. These 50 questions are designed to help deepen your relationship. Trust us, you’ll spend all night reflecting on them.

Bookstore.

21. Explore a local bookstore. You don’t have to be a bookworm for this to be a best-ever date (although, bonus points if you are). Head out and browse the stacks! Select a read for yourself or pick one for your partner. When you get home, curl up on the couch and read side-by-side. Nothing like a little literature to set the mood.

22. Read your favorite “Modern Love” stories. Who else skims Sunday’s Style section for these vignettes of real-life romance and heartbreak? If you’re already a fan, help your partner get on board. Pick an essay from the archives and take turns reading them to each other. You’ll get a glimpse into a life unlike your own, as each story is a window into unique perspectives on, and experiences with, love.

23. Get competitive. Game night anyone? Care to challenge your S.O. to a round of tennis? Whatever your competition of choice, gear up! There’s nothing like a little healthy competition to get the sparks flying.

24. Bake a new recipe together. PSA: Valentine’s Day dessert doesn’t have to involve chocolate. In fact, some of the best draw upon unique flavors and clever spins on classics. This is one of those unique Valentine’s Day ideas with endless possibilities.

25. Recreate each other’s favorite cocktails/mocktails. Even if you don’t consider yourself a mixologist, you can have a little fun getting creative at your home bar. Ask (or guess!) each other’s favorite drinks and make them at home. It’s a kind gesture that will make them—and you—feel seen in your tastes and preferences.

26. Play Esther Perel’s conversation game, “Where Should We Begin?” With prompts like “Share something that’s changed your worldview” and questions that ask you to share what’s been keeping you up at night, trust that there’s no holding back. Get your copy here.

27. Write a letter to your S.O. for them to open next year. Who wouldn’t love receiving a letter that took you back to where your relationship was the year prior? Reflect on your feelings, thoughts, and what you love most about them in this moment. It’s a touching gesture and one that you’re both likely to keep stored in your dressers forever.

28. Find out each other’s enneagram. If you haven’t heard, intentional personality tests are back. (Key word being “intentional”—there’s nothing hokey about them.) Discovering each other’s enneagrams is an eye-opening way to dive deeper into what makes your partner tick. Learn all about the enneagram—and what it says about your personality.

29. … or uncover your love languages. If you haven’t done a deep dive yet, understanding the love languages (and knowing which best describes you and your partner) provides insight into how you each give and receive love. Consult our guide to all the love languages.

Ceramic mugs.

30. Try your hand at pottery. This can be a fun (and sometimes messy) way to get to know your S.O. and express yourselves in a non-conventional way. Plus, air-dry clay is inexpensive and makes for a fun at-home experience.

31. Enjoy a couples massage. Everyone comes out of this activity winning. A massage also won’t occupy your entire day, but you’re sure to feel your best after!

32. Scrapbook. Taking a walk down memory lane is always a great way to reconnect on Valentine’s day. Start a scrapbook with any pictures you have lying around, or print some beforehand and get comfy.

33. Watch (or go to) a comedy show. What’s better than laughing until your stomach hurts? Comedy shows are a great conversation starter, and you’ll be sure to come out of it with a smile.

34. Get outside. Even simply taking a stroll around the neighborhood or walking your furry friend can be a great way to spend quality time together. Bonus points if you keep your phones off.

tokyo street

35. Visit somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be a cross-country trip, but driving 30+ minutes can be a great way to experience some novelty. Maybe you find your new favorite coffee shop or a local boutique. Either way, this adventure falls into the category of unique Valentine’s Day ideas that won’t leave you bored.

36. Have a rock, paper, scissors night. This trend originated on TikTok and involves you playing rock, paper, scissors to decide the events of the evening. Whoever wins gets to choose the next stop, and the game can go on for as many places as you’d like to visit.

37. Have an at-home spa night. A spa of any kind is a great way to relax and feel rejuvenated with your partner. Whip out that gua sha that’s been collecting dust and prep for a little zen.

38. Catch a theater performance or ballet. If you’re into the arts, check your local theaters for performances on or around Valentine’s Day.

39. Learn a new skill. Pickleball is still trending—why not give it a try as a unique Valentine’s Day idea? If you’re not feeling sporty, pick something you and your partner have always wanted to dabble in and spend the day trying it.

40. Do the thing that brought you together. Did your first date involve competitive mini-golfing? Or maybe it was cooking at home. Wherever the spark originated, spend Valentine’s Day reconnecting by doing exactly that.


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