How to Set Up a Romantic Date Night In
You don't need to leave the house to rekindle the romance. Find fun ideas for Valentine's Day—or any day!
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Are you and the S.O. overdue for a date night? And are you considering doing takeout and Netflix for the 25th Friday in a row? There’s nothing wrong with that—Bridgerton isn’t going to watch itself—but maybe it’s time to mix it up a little. Why not step out on a romantic limb and try one (or all!) of these ideas instead? All you need is a little prep and an open mind.
Start with the Food
You knew we had to suggest cooking, right? Frankly, cooking together can be a date unto itself—especially when you add classic cocktails, and maybe some jazz, to the mix. Wait until the kids are down for the night before nixing the nuggets and going for something a bit more adult-themed. Recipes to try: Homemade Manicotti, Stuffed Chicken Rolls or any of our other date night dinners. Want to skip right to the eating part? Start the cooking earlier in the day with a meal like slow-cooker carnitas. And for even more delicious ideas, check out the Date Night In cookbook.
Don’t Forget Dessert
Nix the Table
One perk of going out on a date is that you’re in a new environment, and trying to re-create that at home by topping your dining room table with placemats and a candle won’t cut it. Step outside the normal eating area and consider taking your fancy-shmancy dinner to the living room—lay down a blanket and have a picnic—or head to the backyard. After all, what’s more romantic than a meal under the stars? You’ll find the change of scenery will make the night memorable.
Sorry, we’re not talking about hopping aboard your private jet. From wine flights to beer flights (I even know someone who enjoys creating her own ice cream shake flight), the concept is simply to have a sample-sized portion of several different types of the same thing. Set up anything from a champagne flight, to a chocolate-covered strawberry flight, to a smelly cheeses flight. Choose some of each and sample away. Compare and discuss which ones are your most and least favorite.
Travel the World
You don’t have to go to another country to experience its culture at home. Choose a destination and use it as the theme of your date night by re-creating some of its flavors and traditions. Salivating over Spain? Put on flamenco music and whip up Spanish-style paella. Pining for Paris? Try your hand at coq au vin and homemade macarons.
Get Dressed Up
Give date night all the pomp and circumstance it deserves and wear date-night clothes. You can take this challenge seriously and put on that cocktail dress that desperately wants a turn in your wardrobe rotation. Or, go the more humorous route—when was the last time you put on your bridesmaid’s dress from your best friend’s wedding? See if you and your partner can out-style one another with your fashion choices. If anything, it’ll make cooking pasta together all the more fun (though you may want an apron).
Try Something New—Virtually
You don’t have to leave the house to enjoy a new experience. Enroll in an online cooking class and learn how to make sushi together. Or, pick up tickets to a virtual theatre performance. Tight budget? There are plenty of free virtual tours for museums, theme parks and zoos.
DIY Spa Night
Toddlers shouldn’t be the only ones who get mashed bananas all over their faces, am I right? There’s something cute about a controlled food fight, so pick one of our favorite homemade beauty recipes and get to work. (Don’t worry—they all rely on common kitchen ingredients like turmeric, olive oil and cucumber). For an even more relaxing experience, dim the lights and put on some calming music. Bathrobes required.
Pop Quiz, Hotshot
It’s time to get personal. Come up with a list of 10 questions for your partner—things they should, in theory, know. “Where did we first kiss?” “What’s my favorite movie?” Go back and forth asking the questions. Each wrong answer earns that person a dare they have to take. (Keep it fun, like “I dare you to jump in the swimming pool even though it’s October,” not “I dare you to do my laundry.”). Turn down a dare? You can come up with the consequences, but maybe that’s where the laundry comes in.