No matter how long you've been with your honey, Valentine's Day can put stress on your relationship. Between scoring that coveted restaurant reservation and fighting crowds at the movie theater, going out on Valentine's Day is, well, overrated. Instead, stay inside, far away from the February chill, and plan a romantic date night that's more affordable and more memorable than any restaurant dinner.
Whether you want to channel your inner child and beat your beloved at Mario Kart or you're ready to spice things up (in the kitchen, of course!), here are 16 cozy dates that will keep you feeling the love without emptying your pockets.
01 of 20
Netflix and Chill
"Netflix and chill" might be a meme-worthy term these days, but if planned correctly, a night in front of your favorite streaming service can be surprisingly romantic and fun. Before you surprise your partner with Netflix, make it special. Create a lineup of your honey's favorite TV show episodes or rewatch that movie you saw on your third date. Whatever you do, don't make it a typical old TV night—add something special and sentimental to show you care.
Most importantly, don't forget the homemade caramel corn.
02 of 20
Enjoy Fondue for Two
Channel the '70s and whip out that fondue pot that's been collecting dust in your kitchen cabinet. There's just something romantic about chocolate fondue, and it's even more delicious when you don't have to leave your living room to enjoy it.
Blogger Dinner With Julie used white and dark chocolate and an array of fruits and cookies to create a fondue for two that's perfect for Valentine's Day. If savory is more your style, melt some cheese and dip your favorite vegetables.
03 of 20
Create an at-Home Spa
With a few candles, massage oil and some facial masks (yes, fellas can get behind good skin care too), you can create a night of pampering for you and your sweetie. You can surprise your partner with a new foot spa or a relaxing bath.
04 of 20
Set Up a Nacho Bar
Break the routine and plan an adventurous and interactive dinner this Valentine's Day with a nacho bar. This DIY bar is a great way to bond with your sweetheart and break from the traditional. If nachos aren't your thing, try a build-your-own pizza station or a mashed potato bar. Interactive dinners will make Valentine's Day feel special and can become a new tradition.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
05 of 20
Plan an Indoor Picnic
Unless you live in a warm climate, February isn't typically considered an ideal month for picnicking. Instead of waiting for warmer months to roll around, pack up a picnic and head to your living room. Prepare a lovely wine and cheese plate that's perfect to enjoy next to a fire. Once you've had a picnic free from bugs and sticky grass, you may never go back to the real thing.
06 of 20
Have S'more Fun
Here's another idea perfect for those of us counting down the days until summer. Pick up some chocolate and marshmallows and channel your inner child with an indoor s'mores station. If you have a gas range, you can toast marshmallows over your stove. Otherwise, bake a sheet of s'mores and enjoy over Netflix and wine.
See who can create the most inventive s'mores and create your own concoction named after your loved one.
07 of 20
Plan a Board Game Night
When's the last time you and your Valentine sat down and played a board game? Pull out those old chess boards and checkers pieces and challenge your partner to a board game duel. Pick games specifically made for two players (think Scrabble, chess, or card games) and spend Valentine's Day brushing up on your favorite strategies.
08 of 20
Order in Your Favorite Meal
Who says Valentine's Day has to be labor intensive? Give your spouse a night off and order in from their favorite restaurant. Make it extra special by ordering a few dishes from a few different places and setting up a smorgasbord of fun flavors.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
09 of 20
Learn a Dance Together
If the last time you two danced was at your wedding, plan an at-home date night that centers around getting down. Look up step-by-steps on YouTube and spend the night learning the cha-cha or the foxtrot. You'll end the night a little lighter on your feet and full of laughter.
10 of 20
Make a Valentine's Day Breakfast
Making breakfast in bed may be an oldie, but it's definitely a goodie. Wake up before your Valentine and surprise them with strawberry Nutella French toast. Who doesn't love a date that doesn't require getting out of bed?
11 of 20
Mix Up a Cocktail
Channel your inner mixologist and shake up a few cocktails from that bar you haven't touched in ages. Romantic crimson-colored cocktails will impress your loved one and give you two an excuse to turn the music up a little louder and dance like you're at your favorite bar.
12 of 20
Learn a New Craft Together
Whether you've been in a relationship for years or you're spending your first ever Valentine's Day together, it's never too late to learn something new. Download tutorials on knitting or watercolor painting and spend Valentine's Day crafting. If you fumble a bit, just remember you're in it together.Continue to 13 of 20 below.
13 of 20
Ask Each Other Questions
This Valentine's Day, open up a little and connect on a more intimate level by getting to know your partner even better. Even if you've been together for years, you'll be surprised to find there's probably something you didn't know about your loved one. Print out the New York Times' 36 questions that psychologists say lead to love and spend the night being a little more vulnerable.
14 of 20
Map Out a Future Vacation
Just because you're staying home this Valentine's Day doesn't mean you can't dream of faraway places to visit. Print out maps and photos and spend the night planning either a real or dream vacation.
15 of 20
Have a Video Game Marathon
Let yourself become a kid again and battle it out over the video game console. Pick up a few vintage video games and debate which classic series is better: Sonic or Mario. If you don't already own a console, head to a thrift store or check out eBay and pick up a video game system from your childhood.
16 of 20
Create a Scrapbook of Your Travels
How many times have you returned from a vacation only to never print out your memories? Cuddle up and spend this Valentine's Day reminiscing about all the adventures you've taken together. Make a scrapbook of all of your memories so you can share them together for years to come.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
17 of 20
Make a Living Room Fort
You don't have to be a kid to build an epic fort. In fact, you probably have better fort-building skills than you did at age 10. You and your partner can set up a cozy nook in your living room and make it feel like a whole new space for a while. It's like camping (without having to camp in the February freeze). Get creative with throw pillows and lighting to set the mood. You'll never want to leave your dreamy new space.
18 of 20
Read a Book Together
Switch things up a bit and turn off your screens for a few hours. Choose a book you both love—or one that you'd like to share with your partner—and read a few chapters out loud. Cuddle up with your beverage of choice and engage in a new story together; it's a sweet gift of shared time.
19 of 20
Get Dressed Up
Have a fancy night in. Plan cute outfits and surprise each other with your looks. You can do it up with formal wear or make it a little more casual with a cocktail dress or a nice suit and jacket. The definition of "dress up" can be entirely your own. Getting all dressed up with nowhere to go can be a total blast—and feel special at the same time.
20 of 20
Cook a Dish for Each Other
Put together a homemade meal by making each other's favorite dish. This could a soup or salad your partner loves—or even a dessert. You can even make a few different things for each other and pull together a feast. No matter what you choose to cook, you'll show a lot of love just by making the simple effort.