Non Restaurant Valentine’s Dates


Ah Valentine’s Day. I have a love/hate relationship with the greeting card invented holiday. On the one hand, I love that there is a holiday devoted to love and relationships. On the other hand, it feels very mass marketed and forced. I also HATE (sorry, I’m trying to get my kid not to say “hate”) LOATHE going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day: restaurants are packed, reservations need to be made weeks in advance, the price-fixed menus are often dull and predictable; it’s just not for me. So a few years ago, after many bad Valentine’s dates out, my husband and I called it quits. 

Instead, we make a pallet on the floor using every blanket/comforter/pillow we own, have a picnic of sushi, fine meats and cheeses, fruit, and wine, and watch a romantic comedy on Netflix. It’s super fun, actually. We usually end up ignoring the movie and instead lounge around and talk. This is (obviously) after the kids have gone to bed and it’s nice to be able to hang out with my husband in quiet, eat the food that I want to eat, and if other things happen, we’re already in a super comfy place…

Ahem, anyway, here are some other non-restaurant ideas for Valentine’s Day!

Go Back to Your Roots

What did you and your significant other do for your first date? Or your first Valentine’s Day together? My husband and I met at Moe’s for lunch between classes for our first date. So it would be sweet to meet for lunch there for Valentine’s Day. Another MMB contributor said that for Valentine’s Day one year when she and her now husband were in college, they ordered Pizza Hut and hung out just the two of them in his room at his Fraternity House (kinda makes me miss college), so some years they order Pizza Hut for Valentine’s Day. So sweet and so romantic! This kind of date is the perfect opportunity to take a walk down memory lane and reminisce about the “good ole days” pre kids.

The Grocery Store Date

Another idea was to go to a grocery store with a cafe area (think Whole Foods), get your dinner, then eat in the store. There are already flowers on the tables. People watching would be great (think frantic boyfriends buying last minute gifts). And, let’s be honest, the food rivals some restaurants! I love any date idea that includes people watching!

Cook at Home

Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “This is what I do every night,” but hear me out. There are some really fun couples’ cookbooks out there. Check out these two that are full of recipes for two that work to get you in the mood for later. Just make sure you put the kids to bed before you start cooking!

Bookstore Date

My husband and I did this for a non Valentine’s date, and it was super fun! We did it at a Barnes and Noble, but Novel would be the perfect location for this date. Basically, in each section of a bookstore, you and your significant other to a little challenge. Visit the cookbook section and you each choose a recipe you would want to cook for your spouse. Then head to the magazine section and do a fun quiz together. Next up head to the children’s section (which is amazing at Novel). Each of you find a book that was meaningful to you as a child and read them to each other (aww!). Next, head to the travel section and plan your dream trip! Finally, head to the poetry section and find a poem that tells how you  feel about your spouse. I loved this date. I’m a huge book nerd anyway, and a date at a book store is literally my dream.


Pick another night

As I mentioned above, restaurants on Valentine’s day are the absolute worst. But restaurants on other nights are awesome! So instead, go have a nice romantic night with your plus one on a different night and do fun Valentine’s stuff with the kids at home on Valentine’s Day itself: heart shaped cake, cheesy cards, sparkling cider, etc.

No matter how you choose to spend Valentine’s Day, I hope you’re able to be with the person you love most! Enjoy!! 

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Crady is a native Memphian, but she left for twelve years only to return at the end of June 2016. She is wife to Brad, who is a pediatrician in the ER at LeBonheur. Together, they have three children: Cooper (August 2010), Semmes (March 2013), and Katherine Cobb (September 2016). Cooper has special needs, so she is constantly balancing being a special needs mom and a typical mom. She lives with her family in Central Gardens, where she spends her days wrangling children and trying to limit screen time. She loves vacations, book clubs, dinners with friends, and a hoppy IPA at the end of the day. She hates kids’ TV shows, people who park in handicap spots when they aren’t handicapped, and tomatoes.