Romance Can Be Found Anywhere!

Alternatives to Valentine Restaurants

by Lu, OTL City Guides & Seat Fillers

Valentine’s Day is approaching, circling back year after year. And, every February, the search for Valentine restaurants skyrockets.

What are Valentine restaurants? Restaurants with Valentine specials often include romantic decor with tablecloths, rose petals, and candlelight. Valentine Specials may include themed menu items for an extra charge or complimentary dessert or champagne toast with a Valentine dinner package. These special romance-focused meals can be costly and won’t last forever.

If your heart isn’t set on it, don’t let the idea of lavish Valentine dinners prevent you from celebrating the day! Your celebration doesn’t have to look like it came out of a magazine. There are many ways to focus on your relationship without spending hundreds at a “romantic” restaurant or bistro. Check out these alternatives to Valentine restaurants!

Valentines Day dinner at home, Valentine restaurant alternatives

1. Home Chef

No, I’m not talking about spending hundreds on hiring a chef to come to your house and whip up something special. Instead, you can wield the spatula!

If you live in the US or UK, you’re familiar with Home Chef. It’s one of the premier delivery services, shipping all of the supplies you need to make gourmet (well, at least impressive) meals at home. But you don’t need to sign up for the service, as Home Chef also boxes up meal kits for grocery stores. You can pick up a dinner box for about 20.00, and it’ll include everything you need for a romantic meal for two.

Side Note: Home Chef also provides prepared foods that you pop in the oven. But, as an alternative to Valentine restaurants, I suggest you give it a go and buy the prep kit. You’ll get step-by-step cards that’ll walk you through the process. It’s much more impressive!

2. Valentine’s Day at the Movies

Another Valentine’s Day alternative to restaurants is taking in a movie. And, these days, theatres provide so much more than popcorn and Twizzlers. You can have dinner, order cocktails, and cozy up in comfy recliners.

The advantage of seeing a movie together is that not only will it be less expensive than eating dinner at Valentine’s restaurant, but you won’t have to worry about rushing through dinner so you can make it in time before any showings end.

Oh, and if you have a post-movie sweet tooth, then the next one’s for you, too.

sweets for Valentines Day, Valentine sweets

3. A Sweeter Day Outside Valentine Restaurants

Valentine’s Day desserts can be anything from cupcakes, chocolates, cookies, or even Valentine-themed snacks.

So, if going to restaurants isn’t your idea of a great Valentine for you and your partner, then ask yourself what Valentine desserts do you both enjoy?

Buy Or Make Chocolates

Do you guys love to indulge in quality chocolates together? Then pick out some of the best Valentine chocolates in town before heading home, or at least have them delivered for your after-dinner celebration! If Valentine cupcakes are more up your alley, then go ahead and make a batch of light and fluffy little cakes for dessert.

You could also do some at-home candy making. Craft stores like Michael’s or some chocolate shops put together kits that’ll provide you with everything you need. C’mon, homemade chocolates with that special someone? Very romantic!

4. Loving Couples Mixology

I love, love, love this one! You don’t need Valentine restaurants when there are so many creative ways to celebrate from the comforts of home. And, here’s another one.

The two of you can take a virtual mixology class for about 100.00, all supplies included. You’ll want to register early, though, as the ingredients kit is shipped to you. Who needs to go out when you can mix up impressive cocktails at home?! Follow up your class with food delivery or go all-in and whip up something spectacular to go with your Bourbon Bramble, Lavender Vodka Lemonade, or Gin Ranch Water. It’s something special, fun, and unique!

5. Valentine’s Day Bowling or Mini Golf

Just like Valentine’s Day at the movies, bowling or mini-golf is another inexpensive alternative to Valentine restaurants.

Depending on what your partner likes to do, this idea may work well for them, too (miniature golfing might not be their cup of tea, but bowling might be). This Valentine’s Day date can also end with dessert back home, or maybe one of you has to pay up on a losing bet from your friendly competition!

See if there are any Valentine discounts available first. Some bowling alleys include a free game of bowling daily before 8 p.m., and others give discounts on entry fees during certain hours. Valentine’s Day bowling and mini-golf is an ideal  Valentine’s Day activity if you’ve got some little ones who celebrate with you, too!

6. Romantic Theme Park Trip

Another alternative to Valentine restaurants is going to the theme park of your choice on Valentine’s Day. Many Valentine-themed events take place in theme parks over the week leading up to the big day. For example, there’s Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts’ Nite at Disneyland in California. Theme parks might not be top of mind for Valentine’s Day, but maybe they should.

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7. Valentine’s Day at the Spa

Instead of Valentine’s Day dinner out, why not enjoy a day at the spa together?

You could splurge on the premier spa in your area. But there are plenty of other options if you’re on a budget. You could even use this time to sneak away for a much-needed respite. Rejuvenate and spend Valentine’s Day as a couple without being surrounded by crowds or well-meaning family and friends.

Valentine's Day outdoors, romantic hike

8. Valentine’s Day Walking, Hiking, or Biking

Do you and your partner enjoy spending time in the great outdoors? Some people would rather soak up the sun or take a moonlit hike than head out to a crowded restaurant, regardless of the weather.

You might also consider renting some e-bikes and spending the Day exploring a national park in your area. Pack a picnic or at least bring some chocolate-covered strawberries and save the bottle of wine until you get home.

Oh, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

9. Getting Jammy on Valentine Fruit and Wine

This Valentine alternative suggestion for Valentine restaurants is perfect if you and your partner love wine and want to embark on a year-long adventure.

According to Edible San Francisco, making your homemade wine is easy, but it takes a year for it to age properly. So, this suggestion ticks the box for two years! You’ll need to gather up supplies, though. I suggest doing a little shopping or ordering what you need online ahead of time. The experience is the gift, so be prepared!

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10. More At-Home Alternatives to Valentine Restaurants

Instead of going out on Valentine’s Day, why not stay in and eat a meal you both like at home? Just be sure to set aside the chores or to-do list and focus on your special someone. Decorate, use your best china, throw some rose petals around, and pop open a bottle of champagne.

Hey, and who’s to say that a romantic Valentine’s Day can’t include playing with your dog, renting a movie, or playing Monopoly. It’s your Day – celebrate it with your loved one by doing things you both love!

Other Things To Do

Whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend your day or something more low-key, we hope this list of alternatives to Valentine restaurants will help you out. And, when you’re looking for things to do the other 364 days of the year, be sure to check our local event calendars.

Plus, if you enjoy live entertainment, you’ll also want to give a visit. Free pairs of tickets to ticketed events! It’s awesome!