8 Romantic, COVID-Safe Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

By Morgan Mandriota

Valentine’s Day is going to look a lot different in 2021 than it has in years past because of the pandemic. However, it’s still possible to celebrate the holiday without compromising safety or fun. Below, we’ve compiled a list of COVID-safe, romantic Valentine’s Day dates for you and your partner to enjoy this year. (Some work if you’re solo, too!) 

Make a photo album of your relationship

Create a book of memories to reflect on your happiest moments together. “This is great because you’re focusing on shared memories and positive experiences,” says relationship scientist Dr. Marisa T. Cohen. “Especially now, when there’s so much stress and uncertainty, putting a positive spin on Valentine’s Day by focusing on your wonderful history can be really valuable.” 

Host a romantic book club

Leah Koch, owner of the romance-focused bookstore The Ripped Bodice recommends reading the same romantic book, short story, or poem, then having a chat to share your thoughts. “If it’s you and your S.O. reading the book, it can be a great lead-in for a conversation around your own relationship and what makes yours so special,” she says. “And if you pick a steamy read, it can be an easy way to start the conversation around what turns you on.” 

Dine in the dark 

For anyone looking for a super romantic activity, dating coach and matchmaker Tennesha Wood recommends creating a sensory experience by dining in the dark. “Removing your vision intensifies your other senses and creates intimacy with the person you’re dining with,” she says. So after you set up the meal, turn off the lights and get in touch with your senses (and each other). 

Make a romantic dessert together

Sure, you can go ahead with classic chocolate-covered strawberries, but Dr. Cohen recommends making the activity more personal by “picking something special that has meaning for the two of you.” For example, make an apple pie if your first date involved apple picking. If no meaningful dessert inspo comes to mind, Wood suggests making dessert more romantic by baking fortune cookies stuffed with surprise love notes and inside jokes for each other. 

Hit the drive-in

If you want to go out for Valentine’s Day but still stay in your own bubble, Koch suggests finding an open drive-in near you. “Drive-in movies are inherently nostalgic, so this is a fun way to pretend like you’re in your very own rom-com,” she says. “And since you’re in your own car, no one’s going to get mad if you smooch a little.” 

Play intimate question games

You can create a romantic game by grabbing some Valentine’s Day candy, sitting across from your partner, and asking each other questions to “earn” the sweets. “Start with simple questions and work up to deeper, more intimate questions,” advises Wood. If you’d rather skip the DIY, try a card game like We’re Not Really Strangers

Write each other love letters

Whether you’re giving your partner a Valentine’s Day card or not, a handwritten love letter is a beautiful way to showcase your feelings toward them and your relationship. For folks who aren’t natural writers, Dr. Cohen suggests starting with a prompt like “My most treasured memory with you is…” or “Knowing you has changed my life because…” to get started. 

Re-create one of your favorite dates

For couples who have been together for a while, it’s likely that you’ve been on a few dates. You can use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to discuss which dates were your favorite. Maybe it’s your first dinner date, or that spontaneous trip you took to Paris together. Recreate one of those memories at home for a sense of romantic nostalgia.

Keep in mind, though, that this is the perfect opportunity to take yourself out on a date if you’re solo this year. “Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers; it’s also a day to express your love for yourself,” says Wood. So connect with your loved ones, and focus on self-care and pleasure by doing the things you enjoy most. After all, it’s a day of celebrating love—however and whatever that means to you.