5 Valentine’s Day Alternatives to Dinner and a Movie

The average person celebrating Valentine’s Day will spend $142.31 on candy, flowers and apparel, according to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending survey. Of those surveyed, 35.1 percent plan to spend money on a date night, like a movie or dinner out. That number may seem like a fraction of what you would spend on a year of dates, but overall, Valentine’s Day is a $18.9 billion industry.

Whether you plan to lavish your loved one in gifts or opt for a frugal date, make this Valentine’s Day unique. There are plenty of ways to plan fun and unexpected Valentine’s Day activities without resorting to the traditional dinner and a movie standby. Here are some ideas to get started:

See a Broadway Show

Skip the big screen, and watch a Broadway show instead. Look for fun and romantic Broadway show ideas by visiting Telecharge to pick up tickets in advance. Experience the energy of the stage together, and try to guess which actors have been in other plays, movies and TV shows. After the show, wander around the outside of the theater to see if you can catch an actor slipping away from the crowds and score an autograph on your playbill to commemorate your romantic date night.

Go on an Instagram Date

Document your date by snapping selfies and photos of you and your valentine, and post them on Instagram. Make it into a photo series, being sure to capture every moment from the surprise gift to getting caught in the snow. Remember to stage some silly moments and embrace spontaneity. Use a special hashtag, so your followers can make suggestions in real-time on what you should do next.

Plan a Staycation

There is plenty going on around your town or nearby city that deserves another look. Plan a Valentine’s Day staycation, and hit up area attractions like a museum or Ferris wheel. Grab a beer at the touristy pub downtown, and buy some souvenirs at a local shop. Visit a site like TripAdvisor to see what’s off your radar that’s worth visiting. End your evening at a lavish suite at a local hotel, and enjoy its hot tub or steam room before calling it a night.

Get Physical

Get some exercise this Valentine’s Day, and enjoy the great outdoors together. Weather permitting, go on a snowy hike and stop in an out-of-the-way cafe or shop for a hot chocolate or coffee. Plan a route that overlooks a valley or scenic backdrop to enhance the romance. If the weather isn’t cooperating, do something fun and active indoors, such as going to a circus school and learning how to sail through the air on a trapeze together.

Try BYOB Painting

Grab a bottle of wine or a craft beer, and head to a BYOB painting class. Bring along a surprise, like chocolate dipped strawberries or red velvet cupcakes, to make it extra special. Make it exciting by hiding your painting until it’s a finished masterpiece. Exchange your paintings as a gift and start your first installment of your Valentine’s Day BYOB painting collection. And if your masterpiece ends up being less than masterful, head to a wine tasting or jazz night at a local gallery and select professional art for each other.

Ragna Stamm'ler-Adamson