I think we can collectively agree that the typical Valentine’s Day dinner date is a tired concept. Whether you are in a relationship or looking for something to do with friends/ platonic soul mates on possibly the most divisive holiday of the year, we are here to offer you some alternative suggestions for the big day.
#1: Day Hike
Best for: outdoorsy types, fans of après-ski culture
Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, guys, so this option is particularly appropriate for 2015. Winter hikes are amazing and, arguably, the best part is coming home after, getting warmed up, and drinking hot beverages. Throw in a romantic bath if you’re feeling saucy.
#2: Go to a Concert
Best for: a musically-inclined friend group, for relationships new and old
Going to a concert is a neutral activity so it’s great for newer couples and single friends alike. It is also a bonding experience, which is perfect for all. You can go indie or classical (if you’re feeling fancy).
#3: Draw Mandalas
Best for: couples that have been together for at least six months, friends who enjoy yoga or have professed an interest in studying the I Ching
Put on some ambient music (we’d recommend Pantha du Prince or Monster Rally to get you started) and light a few candles to set the mood. Mandalas require minimal supplies (thick paper, pencils, pens, a ruler, and a compass) and here is a simple guide if you are new to the art. If mandalas seem too intimidating, we’d recommend collaging or finger painting. Both are surprisingly cathartic activities.
#4: Register to Vote
Best for: the civically-minded
Civic responsibility is important, you guys. While you’re at it, become an organ donor.
#5: Go see The Vagina Monologues
Best for: your lady friends, male friends who are comfortable with the word “vagina” and discussions of vagina maintenance
Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues is definitely controversial, but eminently admirable for, among other things, inspiring a movement known as V-Day, which raises money for female victims of sexual assault and violence. Some of their most popular events are Valentine’s Day productions of The Vagina Monologues. We have yet to make it to one ourselves, but it’s only a matter of time.
#6: Get an STI test
Best for: new relationships, best friends
This is an entirely serious suggestion. Getting tested for STIs is probably the most mature and romantic thing you can do for the person you are seeing. We are adults now, living in a sexually liberated society, and I think we can all agree that our health is or should be a major priority in our lives. You should be 100% comfortable discussing your sexual health with a partner. If you need some suggestions for broaching the topic, here’s a helpful website.
Best for: guilt-prone types, those who feel their privilege
This is easily one of the best options for an alternative Valentine’s Day. Instead of spending the day loathing your friends in relationships or spending absurd amounts of money at garishly decorated restaurants, give a little something back. When in doubt, go local and find something to do that directly benefits your community.
#8: Take a Cooking Class
Best for: mature couples who have been together for at least one Valentine’s Day
Do you and your partner have a desire to try Thai cooking? Do you want to learn to make real French macaroons? Options abound. Alternatively, you could make dinner together. Then you can feed each other.
#9: Take a Brewery Tour/ Go to a Vineyard/ Moonshine Distillery
Best for: friends who enjoy a good craft beer or local Chardonnay, couples of all kinds
This one is another no brainer. The current explosion in craft breweries should mean you have multiple options. If you are lucky enough to live in a wine-growing area or near West Virginia for this gem of a distillery, by all means, take advantage.
#10: Go to a Sex Shop
Best for: mature couples, sexually liberated friends
I would say that this is the gem in our alternative Valentine’s Day suggestion crown. It’s definitely not for everyone, but pushing boundaries both for yourself, with your friends, and with your partner is a wonderful thing. Give it a go, you won’t regret it.