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15 Valentine’s Day ideas that will turn the date from mediocre to memorable

Valentine's Day is usually dinner and roses - and while there's nothing wrong with that, sometime's it's fun to step outside the box.

Updated

Couple at a festival holding hands in a love heart.

Flowers and roses getting old? Surprise your special someone with date ideas that will liven up your next Valentine’s Day.

We’ve got you covered whether you and bae are brand new and want to make your first extra special or you’re at the been there/done that stage and want to show your partner you still have a few surprises up your sleeve.

Valentine's day

1. Go on a hot air balloon ride

It’s romantic (tick), memorable (tick) and you can do it from nearly every major city.

Bonus points: it’s not as expensive as you think. Groupon has deals on hot air balloon rides, many of which come with yummy extras like breakfast or bubbly. Win-win!


Valentine's day

2. Book a romantic weekend away

Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, which couldn’t be better timing.

To save you the effort, Expedia has a dedicated section for flight and hotel packages so all you have to do is decide where you want to spend the weekend.

Bonus tip: tell your partner you’re planning dinner Friday night and to clear the weekend because it’ll be a big night.

Then pack their bag in secret and drive to the airport instead.


Couple having romantic getaway holiday in safari lodge

3. Or simply book a hotel room in your own city

Staycations give you all the benefits of a holiday without the lengthy travel time.

Spend your mini-getaway in the pool, the spa and your room without ever having to worry about making the bed or washing dishes.

The next morning, indulge in breakfast in bed or head to a new spot for brunch.

Check out Trip.com to see what’s available.


Young man performing on stage for an audience

4. Tickle their funny bone

Laughter is a great way to get to someone’s heart and a night at a comedy club pairs well with dinner and drinks.

See a headline act or discover your new favourite up-and-coming comedian at a stand-up or open-mic night.

For ideas, head to StubHub to see what tickets are floating around.


Shot of a mature couple enjoying a relaxing massage

5. Indulge in a couples massage

Schedule in an hour or two of total relaxation with your date without needing to return the favour.

You’ll still get all the brownie points of helping them unwind without having to lift a finger.

If you’re up for a challenge, try something new like a hot stone or Thai massage. See what's on offer at WagJag.


Picture not described

6. Cook up some love

Shop local and head to your nearest market for all the ingredients you’ll need to create a romantic, home-cooked meal.

Or, take some notes from the experts at a couples’ cooking class where you can learn to make authentic Italian, Spanish, Moroccan, Indian or French dishes.

Check out what you can book at Groupon and you’ll leave with recipes to recreate the magic at home.


Young couple

7. Or leave it to the professionals and get wined and dined

You could stay classic and treat your sweetheart to dinner at their favourite restaurant or step outside your comfort zone and try something completely new, whether it’s an exotic cuisine, a dessert-only restaurant or even a dinner completely in the dark.


People meetup in downtown going to work in the morning .

8. Be a tourist in your own city

Chances are, there’s a lot about your own town that you don’t know. Join a tour group and see it through brand new eyes.

Isango has a stack of different short tours to choose from including walking or food tours and even some behind-the-scenes tours.

Hot tip: make a game of it and develop new personas while on tour. World, meet Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt from Germany.


A man and woman enjoy a cross-country skate ski in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada.

9. Get sweaty…. in the great outdoors

Brave the elements and head out for a skate night under the stars coupled with some hot chocolate.

Or if you’re feeling adventurous, make a beeline for the closest ski resort and hit the slopes. There’s nothing like a little bit of adrenaline to heat up a romance.


Ferris Wheel in Old Montreal during Winter

10. Go to a local festival

There’s actually a lot going on this Valentine’s Day, giving you tons of options to wow your date.

Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival ends on Valentine’s Day and in Winnipeg, the Festival du Voyageur kicks off the same day.

In Toronto, you’ve got the new Light Festival plus the culinary-focused Winterlicious going on. Ottawa’s Winterlude and Quebec’s Winter Carnival are both on all weekend also.


Young women drinking red wine

11. Brewery or wine tasting

Whatever your poison, there’s a vineyard, cellar or distillery out there that’ll make for a perfect date night.

WagJag's got dozens of tours on offer from the bar crawl variety to posh private tours with limo service.

For something a bit different, isango is offering wine tastings at private clubs and five-part saké tastings.


Friends having a fun day out in the woods

12. Experience an adrenaline rush

Did you know that nothing brings people closer together than a surge of adrenaline?

Go as mild as watching a scary movie or as hardcore as ziplining, bungee jumping or skydiving.

Make it a thrill ride with a view and take off on a scenic flight.


Hand holding a ticket

13. Score tickets to a sold-out show

Festival, concert, the big game, whatever. Nab two tickets to the event they haven’t been able to stop talking about and it will definitely be a Valentine’s Day to remember.

Head to TodayTix or Buytopia to start your search.


Young couple playing chess

14. Challenge each other

Seek out a nearby board game cafe or bar and spend a couple of hours with something classic and lighthearted like Monopoly or really up the ante with a match of Settlers of Catan.

See what they’re made of under pressure but try to keep things civil.


Diverse group of people waiting on a train. Senior couple using phone and killing time while waiting for the train to come.

15. Book plane tickets. Anywhere

Are you ready to make the Big Gesture? Trying to out-romance Romeo? Do you want to sweep – oh, you get the point. Go big or go home, right? Book plane tickets. Anywhere.

Just get a couple of tickets, print them out, pop ’em in a card and start planning an adventure.


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