Hey there! Happy Tuesday to you! Well, January is nearly over and February is upon us! Even though I am not a fan of these dreary winter months, I must admit I love Valentine’s Day, always have. With the big day just 2 weeks away now, I did some brainstorming on fun date options that are totally affordable. As much as I love a romantic dinner out, I equally enjoy switching it up with totally different date experiences. You can choose one of these to do on or around Valentine’s Day, or take the entire list and commit to completing the list by next Valentine’s Day by spreading the dates out throughout the year.
In no particular order, here are 14 date ideas for you and your sweetie (or heck, you and a friend!)
- Wine and Cheese Party for 2: Keep it simple with a wine and cheese date-night in. To incorporate an element of surprise, each of you can pick one wine, one cheese, and one other appetizer option, whether that’s crackers, olives, or charcuterie. Don’t tell one another what you’re picking, let it be a surprise…then, reveal your wines and appetizer, plate it up nicely, light a candle, and enjoy!
- Hit up your local bowling alley: Who doesn’t love a little competitive round of bowling? Keep this active date option to just the two of you, or gather a group of friends to join in on the fun!
- Go on a brewery tour: A few options in Chicago: Lagunitas or Revolution Brewing Tap Room. Again, you can venture out as a couple, or put together a group date.
- Wine tasting: Along the same lines, wine tasting is a fun way to get out and enjoy a unique experience. A few options: City Winery or Cooper’s Hawk.
- Take a cooking class: Yes, some cooking classes can get pricey, but be creative! Use the next few weeks to scope out cooking classes on Groupon or check out the cooking classes at your local Whole Foods, which are always reasonably priced. If you can’t get anything within your budget, watch a fun cooking show together and recreate the meal from the show!
- Set up an ice-cream sundae bar: Is there anything more romantic than ice-cream? I think not! Go shopping together and pick out 5 fun toppings, plus a gallon of your favorite ice-cream. Arrange your toppings in bowls and make it an experience, then dig into your sweet treats together while watching a favorite movie!
- See a comedy show: Here in Chicago, Zanie’s or Second City are great options.
- Brunch with live music: Brunch is always delicious, and far more pocket-friendly than a dinner date. Elevate your brunch experience by making reservations at a restaurant that also offers live music. My recommendations in Chicago? River Roast or Bub City.
- Indoor Rock Climbing: This is high on my winter to-do list and it would definitely make for an adventurous date! I reached out to a friend who recently went to Brooklyn Boulders in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood- she said it was not only fun, but a great workout!
- Have a bake-off: If you’re both comfortable baking, have a bake-off! Each person can choose a baked-good recipe (or you can both just choose one together). Save a few cookies, cupcakes, etc. for yourselves, then wrap the rest up in individual gift bags and share them with your family and friends. Not only will you benefit from the yummy treats, but you can spread the love to others as well!
- Go ice skating: You can either brave the cold and head to an outdoor rink or find an indoor one! Several years ago, Matt convinced me to go ice-skating with him while we were visiting his family in Omaha, and to this day, it’s still one of my favorite memories.
- Explore a new neighborhood: This is something Matt and I attempt to do every month. It’s a great way to get out of your usual routine/neighborhood and you never know what you will stumble upon. Once you’ve chosen a neighborhood, spend some time walking around, soaking in the hood’s individuality, then stop into a local bakery, coffee shop, or bar for drinks or small bites!
- Have a museum day: choose a museum you’ve never been to (or haven’t been to in a long time) and make a full day of it!
- Take a fitness class together: The couple that sweats together stays together! If this is too far out of the comfort zone, commit to doing a workout together either at your gym (look up some partner workouts on Pinterest to make it a team effort), or as Matt and I have done, just pop a video in at home.
There you have it! 14 date ideas for you and a loved one to try out this Valentine’s Day! I’m hoping to tackle a few of these myself, though over the course of several months. I hope you got some ideas from this list and if you have any other budget-friendly date ideas, please share them in the comments!