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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cohen

Last-Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

Whether you’re single, soft-launching a new relationship, or celebrating your golden anniversary, it’s hard to escape this Hallmark holiday.

So let’s embrace it. If you’re looking for last-minute Valentine’s Day ideas, spend a couple minutes reading this piece—and let us know how you plan to celebrate!

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Couples

Maybe you have the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience planned for your significant other. Or, maybe you don’t love the idea of the holiday, but you know you have to acknowledge it in some way. And then, there are those of us who just don’t like to plan too far in advance.

No matter what camp you fall under, you’ve got options. Here are some last-minute Valentine’s Day ideas for couples:

  • Book an Airbnb.

Explore somewhere new—or stay close to home—by scrolling through Airbnb and seeing what’s available. You can tailor the experience to your significant other’s preferences and spend some quality time together. Bed-and-breakfasts abound for the foodies among us. A downtown condo might appeal to couples who value nightlife. If your partner is outdoorsy, a cabin near a stunning trail could be a real hit.

  • Enjoy a prix-fixe meal.

If you and your partner can afford a prix-fixe dinner for two, then you should absolutely consider a gourmet multi-course meal this Valentine’s Day. Call around, see who might still have reservations (many restaurants have a handful of super-early and later slots open), and indulge in a delicious dinner together. The beauty of a prix-fixe meal is that you’ll eat well and know exactly how much you’re paying.

  • Hike a new trail.

Put on a warm coat, grab your snowshoes, and unplug on a new trail this Valentine’s Day. Hiking together is a great way to blend quality time and exercise—and you can mix things up from your routine by researching trails in your area. The AllTrails app is a great tool for doing just that. You can use the platform to filter hikes by proximity to home, total distance, difficulty level, and even user ratings.

  • Catch a movie.

Whether you want to unwind in front of the TV at home or get comfortable in the theater, why not see a movie? (A reminder that Jackass Forever has hit the big screen!) Some theaters are offering discounts for the holiday—I received a $3 off coupon via email—while others are screening romantic classics like The Notebook. My ideal evening would start off with some Johnny Knoxville and wrap up with Ryan Gosling.

  • Bake for each other.

There’s a reason so many people resort to buying chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Couples who want to take that to the next level should consider baking together over the holiday. Scour the internet for recipes, or go back to an old favorite, and cross the items you need off your grocery list. You can either bake together, or for each other, and hold a mini-contest to see who pulls off the most mouthwatering dessert.

  • Get tickets to a comedy show.

Life hack! (Did I really just say that? Yuck.) Anyway, plenty of venues across the country host Valentine’s Day comedy specials. So whether you want to see a show this weekend or on Monday, scroll the interwebs and see what’s happening. These shows are a great way to laugh as a couple, or to realize that your senses of humor don’t gel and you should probably break up. Sounds productive either way!

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Singles

I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth. However, as someone who has been single on Valentine’s Day (in the early 2010s and during what I call my Great Freakout of 2019-2020™, during which I took a metaphorical torch and set my life ablaze), it can be a little awkward.

It doesn’t have to be. With the Right Attitude™, you can make the most of the day and even have some fun. Or, since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, you can ignore it with relative ease. But here are some options to consider:

  • Get takeout from your favorite restaurant.

Sounds easy enough, right? Pick up the phone, or locate your food-ordering app of choice, and savor some really good eats from the comfort of home. You could also go out to eat—with friends or alone—but who are we kidding? Watching a bunch of happy couples shovel steaks, roasted cauliflower heads, etc. into their mouths is awkward enough when you aren’t flying solo. Best to just get takeout, yeah?

  • Go on a first date.

As long as you acknowledge the irony of going on a first date on Valentine’s Day proper, this could make for an endearing meet-cute! Find a dive or somewhere ridiculously over-the-top, and roll your eyes at the idea of people feeling forced to contemplate their relationship status and eat (potentially) overpriced food. You can even play subtle games and guess which couples dining in the vicinity are in it for the long hall.

  • Book a massage or sauna visit.

Single or in a relationship, there is nothing like closing your eyes, practicing #selfcare, and pretending you have zero obligations. If you want to leave home but acknowledge Valentine’s Day somewhat privately, a massage is almost certainly the way to go—or, as a more cost-effective alternative, a trip to the sauna. You’ll come out feeling relaxed and pampered, and ready to take on the rest of dreary winter.

  • Splurge on a boutique workout class.

Not up for a massage? Still interested in working up a sweat? A boutique fitness class—spin, HIIT, barre, yoga, you name it—could be the answer. These classes are a great way to burn calories, spend time around other people (without the need to interact directly), and feel like you’re a part of a community. Plus, taking a class on Valentine’s Day will 100% empower you to work toward your fitness goals.

  • Throw (or attend) a potluck.

Why not spend Valentine’s Day with friends? Check in with your circle to see who in your crowd might be up for a potluck—either the evening of Valentine’s Day or this weekend. Chances are, at least a few friends will be open to the idea. Depending on the number of RSVPs, you could even challenge everyone on your guest list to invite someone new. You might just meet your next significant other as a result!

  • Steer clear of social media.

We all know Instagram is essentially a highlight reel of users’ lives. And while plenty of people are happy being single, it can be frustrating, irritating, and downright infuriating to see couples blasting everyone’s feed with gift-unboxings and sappy relationship posts. Delete the app from your phone until February 16—by then, couples’ Valentine’s Day Stories will have long expired. You won’t regret doing this!

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