Whether the budget is tight or you just don’t feel like going out and socializing, staying in for a date night doesn’t have to mean sitting in bed, nodding off as you watch 3 seasons of your favorite show.
Sometimes really connecting with your significant other can feel tricky if you aren’t going out and doing something new and “fun”. But really, just getting out of the usual rut can be a great way to get the conversation flowing – and who knows? Maybe one of these ideas can become a new weekly date night tradition!
Wine and Cheese Tasting
Buy a few different types of wine, cheese, or beer (or all three, go crazy!) and have an in-home tasting night! Put on some music, set everything up on a beautiful cutting board with your finest china, and have the whole tasting by candlelight to make the event feel a little more special. Discuss your favorites and what pairings you liked best!
There are so many karaoke tracks on YouTube. Set up a BlueTooth speaker so you can really blare the music, and sing your little hearts out – bonus points for using a hairbrush or spatula as a microphone, and/or coming up with some sweet choreography to go along with your track.
Indoor Paint and Sip
Real talk: Those paint and sip nights? Way too expensive, and way too easy to replicate to not be doing them yourself! Grab some canvases, paint, water cups, wine, and yummy snacks and get everything set up on a table – use a folding table outdoors if you’re worried about the mess. Look up a Bob Ross painting tutorial on YouTube (there are over 500, so you’ve got plenty of options), and get to painting!
Have a Video Game Night
Whether you do a throwback to Mario Kart or opt-in for something new, a night in playing video games is great for some friendly competition and hours of staying entertained. Make sure to grab some blankets, pillows, and enough snacks so that you don’t need to get up mid-boss fight to recharge. If you really want to throw it back to your college days, order in a pizza and grab some sodas from a nearby gas station ahead of time!
Romantic Candle-Lit Dinner
Just because you’re staying in doesn’t mean you can’t treat yo self! Splurge on some quality ingredients from a specialty grocery store, dress up, and put on some music (try looking up a pre-made playlist on Spotify, there are hundreds!). Make sure to include candles on the table, put some wine glasses in the freezer beforehand so your drinks are chilled, and serve the entrees on pretty platters. Even something as simple as adding a sprig of fresh thyme on top of your meal can make it feel like you’re out enjoying a high-class night on the town!
Make Your Own Pizza
Buy some pizza dough from your local grocery store, and get lots of toppings! Veggies, different sauces, several types of cheeses, and lots of spices are all great options, and you can come up with some crazy combinations. Try splitting the pizza in 4 or 6 parts so you can mix and match several items. If you really want to commit to the pizza theme (and who doesn’t want to commit to anything pizza themed?), do the same thing for dessert! Cinnamon, bananas, and even ice cream are all great toppings.
Living Room Campout
All the benefits of camping without the bug bites, hard ground, fear of raccoons stealing your food, and general dirt? Yes please! Lay out sleeping bags on your couch or pull-out bed, use only candles or lanterns, and stay up playing card games and telling ghost stories. Try going on a long walk or hike before you head in for the night to add to the campy feel, and roast marshmallows in a fire pit, fireplace, or over your stove top!
Grown Up Pillow Fort
Remember how much fun pillow forts were as a kid? There’s no reason not to make them now! Put blankets over your table, drape them over chairs, and turn your living room into a giant, grown-up pillow fort. Watch movies on a laptop, drag in some sleeping bags, and enjoy just being kids for a night!
Board Game Night
Have you and your spouse pick a couple of board games each (if you don’t already have a favorite, head to your library and rent some for free), and spend the night having a fun board game competition. Let the winner choose where you’re ordering dinner in from, and maybe even invite over a few other couples to get a real competition going!
Whether you have a balcony or full backyard, an outdoor picnic is an easy way to get out of the usual dinner date rut. Add some lanterns, citronella candles to keep the bugs away, and pillows for lounging after your meal. Even if you’re going no further than your own backyard, putting in the extra effort to pack up a picnic basket, lay out a blanket, and put the food in mason jars makes it feel special!
Read Out Loud
This one may sound weird, but before TV and radio, this was the original Netflix and chill. Try reading a few poems and discussing them, or commit to reading a series like Harry Potter for a weekly date night tradition that will last for weeks!
Plan A Vacation
Even if a vacation isn’t in the budget this year, planning where you’re going to go on your next adventure can be a fun way to connect and look forward to the future. Another option? See what money you can spare for a vacation, and figure out how much you can do and how far it will get you!
Work On A Puzzle
Before you argue that this is what your grandparents do for fun, listen up: Doing something relatively low key side-by-side for a couple of hours is a great way to get the conversation flowing. Not only are you working together to get something done, it requires communication and focusing on something together.
Write Out Your Love Story
Buy a cheap notebook and write out your love story, from the very beginning to where you are now. Feel free to add illustrations, funny memories, and song lyrics. Once you’re done, make it a date night every few months to add to your story and see how it grows!
Even if you live somewhere with heavy light pollution, there’s something inherently romantic about laying on your back, looking up at the night sky. Keep an eye out for falling stars, and check to see what planets are visible to the naked eye ahead of time so you have something to look for! Don’t forget blankets and hot drinks to keep cozy.
Give Each Other DIY Facials
While some men may gawk at the idea of their partner giving them a facial, trust us: They won’t gawk at their perfectly smooth skin afterward! There are so many DIY facials that can be found on Pinterest, and most require ingredients that you already have on hand in the kitchen. Try mixing oats, plain yogurt, and honey together for a yummy-smelling and moisturizing face mask, and put on your favorite TV show while your skin marinates.
Ok, this one technically requires you to leave the house – but it also requires that you stay in pajamas the whole time, so it evens out. Put on your comfiest PJ’s (fuzzy slippers encouraged), and drive through your favorite fast-food chain or dessert place. You can drive straight back home if being outside in your nightgown mortifies you, or you can drive around town with your desserts and enjoy talking the night away.
Dress in your best Mad Men-style clothing, make yourself some fancy midcentury-inspired drinks, and spend an evening in watching classic old Hollywood films. If the 50’s and 60’s aren’t really your era, put the same twist on any time period you’d like – or make it a series of date nights, and pay homage to a different era each time.
Home Improvement Project
Nothing says sexy date night like redoing baseboards, am I right? While doing a home improvement project sounds like the least date-nighty thing you could possibly do, try jazzing it up. Order in your favorite meal, and put on a podcast or comedy special in the background to keep it interesting. You can even make it a competition: See who can paint their half of the wall fastest (and best), and the winner gets to choose where you go for dessert!
See who can bake Grandma’s famous chocolate pie the fastest, whose macaron has the best presentation, or whose cake-pop inspired by Pinterest looks the least like something exploded in the general shape of an oval with a stick in it. Whatever you choose, this competition is sure to get messy, stay fun, and encourage lots of laughter!
When is the last time you purposely stayed in for date night, and what did you do? Which of these ideas do you think you and your significant other would enjoy?