If you’d rather avoid what many in the restaurant industry call “amateur night,” spend this Valentine’s Day at home or at an outdoor event. Here are 10 creative ideas to sharpen Cupid’s arrow without having to make a dinner reservation.
Get crafty with your partner
Grab you and your beau DIY kits from Revel Madison. With plenty of customizable and mini kits to choose from, you’ll end the night with something new for your home. Create and personalize a picture frame, door handle tassels, string art or etched drinking glasses. $14-40. Online. Click here for more information
Browse art from the couch
Cozy up under a blanket and spend a night at the museum with a virtual tour of Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts’s online collection. Spanning both local and global works, these exhibits bring decades of vibrant, absurd and realist paintings by Chicago Imagists and the world-renowned Frida Kahlo right into your home. Free. Online. Click here for more information
Make dumplings with your dumpling
As the saying goes, the way to a lover’s heart is through their stomach. Put your teamwork to the test with a virtual cooking class with farm-to-table deli Pasture and Plenty. Hop online over Valentine’s Day weekend and learn the ropes of dumpling making with cooking instructor Monique Lu. With omnivore and vegetarian options for a four-dish meal kit that includes everything you’ll need, you’re in for a mouthwatering night. $25-75. Online. 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12. Click here for more information
Go outside of the box with a homemade meal
For the more adventurous cook who likes to follow their own recipe, create a one-of-a-kind dinner using a handcrafted chili paste from Madame Chu. The sauce company owned by Josey Chu specializes in Southeast Asian delicacies. Use sambal nyonya, ginger garlic or satay peanut nyonya to create an unforgettable Valentine’s Day meal. Chu offers a few recipes on her website if you need a place to start. $14. Online. Click here for more information
Check out this outdoor art installation
Brave the Wisconsin cold and take a romantic stroll through How Lovely are Thy Branches, the art installation currently at Olbrich Park Beach. The 89-foot diameter labyrinth created by local artist Lillian Sizemore breathes a second life into this past year’s Christmas trees that have been donated by local community members. Spend the evening getting lost in each other’s eyes while you try not to get lost among the trees. Free.Click here for more information
Skate figure eights with your sweetie
Show off your best ice skating moves at one of the many rinks around town. If you’re in the mood to get a bit funky, join other lovebirds at Elver Park for a Groove & Glide event taking place Valentine’s Day weekend. A lively night beneath the stars with your beloved is sure to have your heart going in figure eights. Free. Friday, Feb 11. 6-8 p.m. Click here for more information
Host an at-home couple’s spa night
Wind down from the work day with a massage or a bubble bath with your partner.Pick up some products for your at-home spa night from Restoration Soap & Body Care, which offers handmade, cruelty-free products including bath salts, body polishes and creams. Shop online or stop by the Allen Street shop to pick out a treat for a night of romance and self-care. $6-28. Online and in-store. Click here for more information
Find your center with a yoga class
If you’re looking for a way to recenter together after a long day apart, consider taking a virtual yoga class with your boo. Don your best athleisure attire and turn sweating into a bonding activity for a night of strength-building and sun salutations. BothDragonfly Yoga andInner Yogaare offering 60-minute virtual classes on Valentine’s Day evening that’ll have your blood flowing and your faces glowing just in time for a romantic dinner. $15-45. Online. Tuesday, Feb. 14. 5:30 p.m. Click here to book your Inner Yoga class, and click here to check out Dragonfly’s 60-minute classes
Create your own wine flight and pair with a charcuterie board
Bring the rich flavors of Wisconsin, New York and California home with your favorite bottles of red and white fromCambridge Winery. Test your connoisseur instincts and create your own flight for you and your significant other. For something to nibble on while you sip, local charcuterie business Tricky Foods is selling special Valentine’s Day spreads that’ll have your night feeling extra cheesy. Wine: $18-49. Charcuterie Box: $45-150.
Become your own bartender
Pick up one of State Line Distillery’s many cocktail kits, which all include spirits made in Madison from Wisconsin grains. Get that downtown bar feel without having to pack into a tight space. Choose a vodka-, rum- or gin-based concoction and serve your love on the rocks. $24-45.Click here for more information
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