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45 Valentine’s Day Ideas That Are Better Than an Overpriced Dinner

Go beyond dinner and flowers with these fresh, fun Valentine's Day ideas for couples

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Valentine’s ideas that are uniquely you

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to all things love. Celebrating love is easy. The tricky part is figuring out Valentine’s Day ideas that celebrate your unique love.

Start with some questions: What do you enjoy doing? How long have you been together? What’s your budget? Some couples love romantic movies, romantic restaurants and exchanging Valentine’s Day gifts, while others prefer to keep it simpler with Valentine’s Day flowers, Valentine’s chocolates, Valentine’s candy and a fun game of Valentine’s Day trivia. They could even ask these questions that lead to love to establish a stronger connection.

There’s no right way to spend Valentine’s Day, but if you and your number one are looking for new ways to celebrate your affection, consider these Valentine’s Day ideas for an extra-special Feb. 14.

Portrait of stylish black couple at summer street cafe.
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Recreate your first date

Whether you’ve been together two months or 20 years, your first date was likely pretty memorable. Even if it was a comedy of errors, it still ignited something! Reignite that spark of first love in the same date night dress by recreating that first date, from the Valentine’s Day rose that kicked off the celebration to the chocolate-covered strawberries that ended it.

young couple making a photo album at home
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Create a photo album

Go through your favorite pictures together—stopping to talk about all the memories—and put them in a digital album celebrating your relationship. You can print it out or share it online with a cute couples caption. Include some Happy Valentine’s Day messages.

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Fill out love journals

This is the Valentine’s Day gift that keeps on giving: Make or buy a love journal in which each page prompts you to write a fun memory, a story or something you adore about your significant other. Share your books with each other on Valentine’s Day. This is perfect for folks who are better at expressing their love through writing rather than talking. Flying solo this year? Grab your gal pals for a Galentine’s Day celebration.

man and woman buying plants at plant nursery
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Have a “favorite things” day

Pick a few of your favorite things to share with your partner. They could be small, like a favorite lotion or rose color, or bigger, like hiking to your favorite view. Knowing why it’s meaningful to you will increase your bond.

valentines day bingo
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Play Valentine’s Day bingo

Print out our Valentine’s bingo card and challenge each other to complete as many items as you can throughout the day. Whoever gets bingo first gets to decide the evening’s activity.

Cheerful senior female friends having fun in restaurant
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Create a signature cocktail

Having a signature drink for the two of you is a fun way to celebrate now and can become a tradition. Look up interesting recipes online or take a mixology class together. Mixing a drink together is one of the things happy couples do after work.

Man Smiling While Laying On Bed Messaging Using Smartphone
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Start with sexting

Use technology to build anticipation throughout the day by sending each other sexy pictures and chats. By the time you meet up, you’ll both be in the Valentine’s Day spirit. For fun, sprinkle in some of these hilarious Valentine’s Day memes.

Married couple dancing in residential living room
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Take a relaxing staycation

Use the holiday as an excuse to fully disconnect and escape somewhere together. You don’t have to go far to make it fun; check out these staycations that make fantastic Valentine’s ideas.

Kiss on a mountaintop

Nothing is more romantic than Mother Nature’s grand displays. Take a hike together and check out the sunrise over the mountains or the sunset at the beach. Love nature? You’ll want to consider these ideas for outdoor dates.

Man Sitting On Sofa At Home
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Make homemade gifts

Whether you’re on a budget or trying to be more creative, make a rule that you can only gift each other something homemade. Top it off with one of these printable Valentine’s Day cards—they’re free!

young man writing on the beach
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Write each other an annual Valentine’s letter

Write your sweetheart a love note expressing your gratitude and what you adore about them. Both new and long-term couples will strengthen their bond and have a yearly keepsake. Get your creative juices flowing with these quotes about love.

Young couple kissing in bathtub at home
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Take a romantic bath together

As far as Valentine’s Day ideas go, this one is among the sexiest. Go all out with the bubbles (or bath bombs!), candles, music and rose petals to create a romantic bath. Enjoy the tech-free quality time together.

Young couple singing karaoke at home
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Play love song karaoke

Load up a playlist with romantic songs—including the best love songs—and serenade each other karaoke-style. It’s one of those Valentine’s Day ideas that will have you laughing and swooning (but mostly laughing).

The days of commuting are so done
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Make a romantic breakfast

It doesn’t have to be dinner to be romantic! In fact, morning larks may find a loved-up breakfast (in bed?) or brunch to be way more romantic. Here are some heart-shaped recipes perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Smiling lesbian couple lying in bed together and listening to the music on a smartphone
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Share a sexy playlist

Music is a great way to bond emotionally. Start a shared playlist; each of you can add your favorite songs to get in the mood. Be sure to share what it is you love about the song—and your lover. You can also share these funny Valentine’s Day cards.

Senior women looking at shop window
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Go shopping together

Rather than stressing out about choosing the perfect gift (and then picking something random), go shopping as a couple. You’ll learn what your partner likes, and it’s a fun activity. Or take one of these romantic weekend getaways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Gay couple at home using laptop to plan future
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Create a couple’s vision board

Talking about and planning your future together is a great way to bond on a deeper level. Create a vision board with things you’d each like to accomplish, then figure out what you can do together. Not only will you connect with your significant other, but you’ll also improve your relationship communication.

happy couple walking on the beach
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Take turns planning the fun

Planning a Valentine’s Day celebration often comes with a mountain-high list of expectations (many of them unrealistic), so reduce the pressure by taking turns planning. You can alternate years or split the planning for that day—one of you plans dinner while the other chooses an activity. Start the fun before Feb. 14 by creating these homemade Valentine’s Day cards together.

couple eating sushi
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Bond over a new cultural experience

Is there a cuisine you’ve been dying to try? A country you’d love to learn about? A language you’d like to practice? Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to create a fun cultural experience together. If you’re still hunting for Valentine’s Day gifts for him, our list has you covered.

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Work up a sweat together

Exercise releases natural hormones, which can improve your sex life. Pick an activity you will enjoy together, like a Valentine’s Day fun run. You can always shower off the sweat together afterward!

Couple wrapped in blanket taking a photo while on a scenic hike
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Gift an experience

Flowers, chocolate and candy are great, but experiences are often a lot more meaningful than things. Schedule an activity during which you can create memories together, like an escape room, a morning hike or a paint-and-sip class.

Proudly in love
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Stay home and chill

Valentine’s Day ideas don’t have to be fancy, which is why we love this low-key activity. If your lives are busy and you’re always on the go, the best Valentine’s Day celebration may be to skip the high-priced dinner and do something at home. Still shopping for the perfect present for your special someone? Check out the best Valentine’s gifts for her.

Count the stars

Nothing is more romantic than laying under the stars together. If the weather permits, take a blanket and a stargazing app and spend some quiet time watching the night sky (or not) together. Or take your cue from the stars and pick your Valentine’s Day celebration based on your zodiac sign.

pink sticky note that says "I love you" on mirror
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Go on a scavenger hunt

Make the day into a fun game by creating a scavenger hunt of love notes. Each note can remind your loved one of a happy memory together and then end at a romantic dinner spot. Add the first clue to your Valentine’s card. Here are a few trust-building games for couples.

Couple decorating a cake at home
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Try a new dessert recipe together

Put on your aprons (perhaps only your aprons) and cook up a new Valentine’s Day dessert recipe. Find one online or create your own. Then take turns feeding it to each other.

Group of seniors on ceramics workshop.
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Create a piece of art

Get creative and paint, sculpt, draw or craft something that commemorates your relationship. New couples can make something that can be added to, like a collection of matching painted mugs, while long-standing couples can honor their years of memories with a sculpture or photo collage. Want to make your love laugh this holiday? Share these Valentine’s Day puns.

foreplay dice for adult game
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Play an adult game

Dice, cards, board games, role play—whatever type of game you enjoy, there’s an adult version of it, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to try something new to spice up your sex life. Valentine’s Day ideas can be as subdued or racy as you’d like, and this one brings the heat.

Couple laughing while watching a comedy show
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Hit up a comedy show

Laughing together can be incredibly romantic and sexy. Check out a live Valentine-themed improv or get tickets to a comedy show. Feel like staying in? Cuddle together on the couch and stream your favorite comedy movies. Or ditch the flicks and tell each other Valentine’s Day jokes.

young couple shopping at thrift store together
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Go thrift-store gifting

On a budget? Head to your favorite thrift store. Each of you gets $15 and 30 minutes to find the perfect inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift for the other. If you have a few more dollars, pick out the perfect date-night outfit—and you have to wear whatever your partner picks!

A young couple playing cards together at home
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Play a modern Newlywed Game

This classic game is just as fun for couples who’ve been together for one year as it is for those who’ve lasted 50 years or more. For more fun, play it with other couples who’ve been married for varying times. Speaking of friends, don’t forget to buy some small Valentine’s Day gifts for the best friends who get you through the ups and downs of your relationship.

Woman holds a jar with pink heart and curled notes in her hands
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Create a date jar

Who says romance is only reserved for Valentine’s Day? Write down romantic date ideas on paper and put them in a jar. When date night rolls around, pick an idea out of the jar and prepare for an adventure with your love.

Gay couple cooking in a kitchen
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Cook a new dish

Instead of going out to eat, flex your culinary skills and cook a nice meal together. Bonus points if you make a dish you’ve never tried before.

Volunteers collecting trash in garbage bags at public park
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Give back to your community on Valentine’s Day by volunteering at a local animal shelter, soup kitchen or another community organization or nonprofit. It’s a great way to bond with your partner and spread the love you share.

Couple Talking While Watching TV In Living Room
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Stream romantic movies

Snuggle up on the sofa with comfy blankets and tasty snacks for a romance-themed movie marathon. Pick your favorite sentimental love flicks or rom-coms to watch and enjoy a relaxing (but romantic) night in.

two women reading poetry to each other on a library floor
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Share love poems

If you and your partner enjoy poetry, pick your favorite love poems and read them to each other. Or write your own love poems and exchange them. It’s a romantic, personal and incredibly sweet activity; plus, you get to keep the poems as souvenirs of an unforgettable Valentine’s Day.

Detective board with photos of suspected criminals, crime scenes and evidence with red threads, toned
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Solve a murder mystery together

Nothing says romance like solving a fictional crime, right? Order a fun detective game (Hunt a Killer is a great subscription option) and spend Valentine’s Day entrenched in mystery with your special someone. There are plenty of chills and thrills to go around.

Couple Looking at Modern Art in Museum
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Visit a museum

Visiting a museum on Valentine’s Day is an excellent date idea because you get to spend quality time with your date and learn something new in the process. It’s a true win-win!

handmade tent with blankets, pillows, toys and lights in room
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Have a fort picnic

This is a cute Valentine’s Day idea for those who want a delicious meal but don’t necessarily want to head out to dinner. Channel your inner child and build a fort in the living room. Then, pack a romantic picnic and share a meal in your special fortress. Stream a movie or play some romantic music for added fun.

Couple dancers practicing in studio, holding hands
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Take a dance class

As the old saying goes: It takes two to tango. Put on your dancing shoes and take a dance class with your love for a unique Valentine’s Day experience.

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Make a relationship scrapbook

Time to get scrappy! One of the best low-key, but sentimental, Valentine’s Day ideas is making a relationship scrapbook. Grab some pictures and special notes to paste into the book, all while reminiscing about your favorite romantic rendezvous. Bonus points if you write down cute Valentine’s Day pickup lines in the pages for future laughs.

Old letters in box
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Create a time capsule

Now this is a fun activity that preserves a timeless relationship. Gather photos, letters and other momentos of love to put in your own time capsule. Bury it this Valentine’s Day and make a vow to dig it up on a future Valentine’s Day.

Male couple reading a book together
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Read a book together

Bookworms, this idea is for you. Head to your local bookstore on Valentine’s Day and pick out a book for you both—this could be a romance book, thriller or another genre of interest. Take some time to read it and then come together to discuss it. It’ll be your own little book club!

Wife and husband spend happy weekend at fashionable
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Set up an at-home spa

Pamper your partner without leaving the house by setting up an at-home spa. Grab face masks, massage oils and other spa essentials for a relaxing night in. Check out more at-home Valentine’s Day ideas to make your partner feel extra special.

Senior Couple In Hotel
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Book a hotel for the night

Looking for a change of scenery for Valentine’s Day? Book a hotel just for the night. Spoil yourselves at a romantic hotel with room service, access to a hot tub and plenty of other special amenities.

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Plan a romantic getaway

If you’re looking to go all-out with your Valentine’s Day ideas, one of the best options is to plan a romantic getaway for your special someone. This doesn’t have to be a huge vacation, either—a romantic weekend getaway is just as special! Pack your bags and hit the road to celebrate your unbreakable bond.

Additional reporting by Kelly Kuehn.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen is a health, lifestyle and fitness expert and teacher. She covers all things wellness for Reader’s Digest and The Healthy. With dual masters degrees in information technology and education, she has been a journalist for 17 years and is the author of The Great Fitness Experiment. She lives in Denver with her husband, five kids and three pets.