If you and your partner have been together for years, the usual dinner, flowers, and chocolate box routine may seem a little been there, done that. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about checking off the traditional to-dos. This year, celebrate with one of these unusual, but still romantic, options.
Take a cooking class
Instead of sharing a meal in a crowded restaurant, try a cooking class. Hone your knife skills and learn a new recipe or two, then enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. Check out the Culinary Institute of America, Sur la Table, or local restaurants for classes. Or take it online—Airbnb’s experiences include plenty of cooking classes (such as learning how to make pasta with grandmas from Italy, or French desserts from a Parisian pastry chef), and Uncommon Goods offers cooking classes—some of which come with all the ingredients shipped right to your door.
Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year—but you could celebrate it the weekend before with a day of service. Sharing your time and skills with others can intensify your own bond, so find a local food bank, Habitat for Humanity project, local humane society, or turn to Volunteer Match to find somewhere to help that suits your schedule and your interests.
Embrace your inner teenager
The intensity and novelty of young love doesn’t last forever, but you can recapture that rush by regressing a little. Hit the arcade, spend an hour playing laser tag, or hop on go-karts. Get cotton candy and a Big Gulp and hold hands. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can even steal a kiss.
Work up a sweat
Go for a hike, try a yoga class, or take a bike ride together. Burn some calories and work up an appetite before you head out for dinner. The endorphins will put you in a great mood. And you might want to keep it up past the 14th: Studies show that couples who get healthy together are more successful than those who go at it alone.
Get out of your comfort zone
Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to try something new—take a dance class together (in person or online), try a pottery class or paint and sip, or test out a new sport you’ve never played before. Novelty will make for a more exciting date.
Let fate decide
Throw plans out the window and hit the town with nothing but your wallets and a quarter. Flip a coin to make every decision—turn left or right, step into a bar or keep walking, eat at a pub or a nice restaurant, drink wine or beer, catch a late movie or go back home—and see what happens. There’s something freeing about leaving it all to chance. After all, that’s probably how you met in the first place.