Valentine’s Day, the most romantic of all holidays, can also be the most divisive. Whether you go gaga for candy-colored hearts or you’re sick to death of cookie-cutter Hallmark cards—if you’ve been with your partner for a minute, chances are you can stand to shake things up.

Research shows that couples who regularly try new things tend to have happier relationships.  This Valentine’s Day why not ditch the classic standbys, jump out of your comfort zone and plan a romantic date you and your love will never forget.

A young couple stands in a mountainous desert with backpacks about to begin their hike.

Get Active

You may think the least sexy Valentine’s plans involve watching your partner work out—but hear me out! Couples can reap a multitude of benefits by turning up the heat together. Studies show that couples who are active together have an increased emotional bond and are happier overall.

Even better, that rush of endorphins a work out provides mimics the symptoms of physiological arousal, making your partner seem even more attractive! Bottom line: any type of physical activity that sparks a little sweat and healthy competition between you and your boo is awesome.

Elevate Your Love

For a potent mix of endorphins and adrenaline why not try indoor rock climbing? Rock climbing is a great Valentine’s Day activity as belaying your partner requires complete trust and communication. Most gyms have excellent deals for beginners or all day passes. If you’re in Toronto, check out Joe Rockhead’s Indoor Rock Climbing which offers a medley of passes and classes including a beginner package.

Channel Your Passion for Each Other into Ax Throwing

Looking to master the medieval art of ax throwing? For a super unique date, why not try your hand at this indoor competitive sport that’s skyrocketing in popularity. Get your aggression out by hurtling a 1.5 lb wooden hatchet for points all while drinking beer. Urban Axes has locations all across the U.S., many of them licensed or BYOB.  

Or Just Skip to Leisure

In need of a little more low-key relaxation and rejuvenation with your loved one? Turkish Baths or Spas offer a more intimate way to connect. Here, clad in just a comfy robe or towel, you can indulge in a steam, sauna, or even a deep-tissue massage treatment. Turkish Baths and Spas are in most major cities, but longtime favorite Russian & Turkish Baths in the East Village is always well worth the trip if you’re in New York City.  

Man and woman kiss with pane of glass between their lips.
Enact your own rendition of the ‘Please Mr. Jailer’ scene in “Crybaby.”

Get Creative

Engaging in artistic endeavors together is super romantic. Being creative, even if it’s as simple as taking a paint by numbers paint class, has also been shown to improve brain function and physical health.

Channel Your Patrick and Demi

Prepare to get dirty and learn how to ‘throw’ a pot by taking a pottery class. Working with your hands is very tactile and a sneaky, sensual way to connect with your partner. Look into booking a class at your local pottery studio. For instance, D.C.’s hand-painted pottery experience All Fired Up lets you can create anything from clay masterpieces to photo mosaics.  

Book an Impromptu Photo Session

Is your couple selfie game severely lacking? Source it out to the experts and book a professional photography session. Not just for engagements or weddings anymore, a couples shoot is a unique way to show off your personalities and create beautiful lasting memories.

Does your Valentine go bananas for riddles, trivia or puzzles of any kind? Pull out all the stops and create a personalized Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt based on your memories. Enlist the help of friends and family to scatter clues throughout various locations that all harken back to different epic moments in your love story. For example, one clue might send your amour to the spot of your very first kiss. Let your labor of love culminate in an epic Valentine’s Day surprise or gift of your choosing.

May we suggest a luxury day use hotel room with wine/champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries?

People watch chef in cooking class.
Chef instructing class at the Wooden Spoon in Chicago.

Get Gourmet

Do you and your partner abuse Uber Eats more often than you’d like to admit? Tantalize your taste buds and hone your knife skills by taking a cooking class together. Cooking with your significant other teaches you to work effectively as a team, an essential component of happy long-term relationships. If you’re in Chicago, the Wooden Spoon offers a variety of couples cooking classes like rustic Italian and sushi making.

More of a dessert lover? Skip dinner and take your paramour on a dessert taste test. Does your partner melt for red velvet cupcakes? Conduct a taste test of red velvet delights from the three best bakeries in your hood.

Get Cultured

Make good on your New Year’s resolution to explore the arts unexpectedly with your Valentine. After all, witnessing the beauty of art together is not only highly stimulating but also romantic.

Attend a Sexy Theater Experience

Shakespeare, masks, and a sprinkling of sexy film noir are what’s on the menu at the infamous Sleep No More — an award-winning interactive theater experience. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth invites the audience–all clad in masks—to immerse themselves in the world of play and wander around at their own pace through a variety of rooms designed to look like a 1930’s-era hotel.

If the thrill of theatrical voyeurism gets you going, book your tickets now as performances sell out fast!  Although Sleep No More is based in Manhattan, this type of immersive theater is growing in popularity. Similar productions can be found in many major cities.

Take in a Museum After Dark

Galleries, games, and champagne more your scene? Plan a visit to your local art museum after dark. Not only is everything sexier in the dark, but later hours also mean fewer people, no kids and shorter lines! Most museums have special late-night hours or will host ‘after-dark’ cocktail events a few times each month.

Notable standouts include the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, which hosts an evening event the first Friday of every month, and The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s rousing Valentine’s day performance of celebrated jazz vocalists singing famous love songs of past and present.

Couple laughing in field of grains on clear afternoon.

Whether it is your first Valentine’s Day together or your 30th, all relationships could benefit from an injection of novelty and excitement. Experiencing new activities together that both of you enjoy is a way to bring back that elusive hit of dopamine and norepinephrine we feel when we first fall in love. No matter what Valentine’s date idea you choose, keep it fresh and prepare in style.

Book a day hotel room this Valentine’s Day so you and your special person can get ready in the leisurely, romantic fashion that your love deserves.

Image Credits: 

Featured image “Dog asking for V-Day Date” by Laula & Co. via Unsplash

“Man and woman couple in love kisses” by QuoteCatalog via Unsplash

“Two People Hiking” by Maddy Baker via Unsplash

‘Patrick and Demi’ GIF via GIPHY

“Cooking Class” by Leigh Ann via (CC BY-ND 2.0)

“Laughing by the tracks” by Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash