Cheap Valentine’s Dates with Big Wow

A thoughtfully planned Valentine’s Day beats an expensive gift hands down. Here are 5 impressive dates guaranteed to wow.

A thoughtfully planned Valentine’s Day beats an expensive gift hands down. Here are 5 impressive dates guaranteed to wow.

1. Play in the snow

Going sledding by itself might not come with a lot of appeal but when you make a day of it, it will be a day you’ll never forget. Start off with a home-cooked breakfast. After you’ve lounged around reading the paper, prepare some spiced hot chocolate in a thermos with a few gourmet sweets and pack it in a thermo-bag. Bundle up in your warmest winter clothes then hit the nearest slope with your trusty sled and soon you’ll remember why you loved sledding so much as a kid.

When it’s time to take a break, surprise your other half with the hot chocolate and treats and if you’ve brought your kids with you, have them give your bestie a hand-made card to warm their heart. You might be worn out on the way home but you’ll have memories to share forever.

For the wow: bring a squeezie bottle filled with dye and write a romantic message in the snow that you “accidentally” stumble upon.

2. Visit a food truck and explore the city

Going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive. Pick a food truck in a neighborhood you haven’t explored yet and walk while you eat. These days, all you have to do is Google “food truck” and you’ll find search results for different food trucks nearby. You can explore the city with a theme in mind such as best graffiti/wall murals, great local architecture, dog watching at the dog park, touring antique stores, exploring newly opened businesses or watching a local sports game. Once your legs get tired you can pop into a local dessert shop or bakery and pick a sweet treat to round out the day.

For the wow: call the bakery or dessert store ahead of time and have them write a special message on a cupcake and surprise them with it over coffee.

3. Spend the day at the museum

Museums and galleries are a great place to hold hands and explore wonderful culture. In a great museum it’s easy to waste away the hours strolling through hallways filled with rare and ancient artifacts and stunning art. Start off with a hot coffee to keep you going, grab a map and plan your path. If you don’t know where your local museums and galleries are, go online first and you’ll find a list of them nearby as well as a list of exhibits, activities and fees which allows you to plan your trip. A lot of cultural institutions are free or accept donations, allowing you to keep your costs down.

For the wow: spend the time in advance to find a particular exhibit or piece of art which makes you think of your main squeeze and write a small note about why it reminds you of them. Give them the note when you are standing in front of it so they get the full meaning.

4. Cook them dinner at home

An oldie but a goodie, a home cooked meal prepared with love is always impressive, even more so when you set the scene. Make sure you use a tablecloth and cloth napkins with candles and flowers as a centerpiece. Make it extra special and be the “servant for the evening.” Dress up, seat your guest, pour their wine, serve their dinner and play their favorite music. You can even throw in a foot rub afterward or a lovely bubble bath to completely relax them.

For the wow: make them something from home. Find out their favorite dish or something their mother makes and prepare it for them. This is even more spectacular if you find an ingredient that is regionally specific and order it especially.

5. Take a hike with a surprise treat

If your love is the outdoorsy type you’ll win them over with this date. Turn an ordinary hike into a scavenger hunt by placing clues with riddles along the trail. For example, start the hunt as soon as you are at the beginning of the trail. Your next clue might be on the nearest tree, the riddle might say, “I have bark but do not bite.” This doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds! Look up riddles and answers on the Internet for ideas and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

For the wow: make a destination spot in the middle of the trail. Set it up with a picnic rug and some champagne and strawberries or a treat that shows them you know what they like.

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