Unexpected & Cute Valentines Day Date Ideas (Inexpensive & Fun)

Couple standing in front of Love statue kissing.

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We love the idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day and those precious relationships that you have in your life. But we look at Valentine Recreation a little differently . . . are you surprised?

Valentine’s Day falls on a different day each year, but it’s a good time to get your husband to do something more romantic . . . especially after watching the Super Bowl last week.

Valentine Recreation with Thought

Love is not based on how much we spend, but how much we spend time thinking about the other person. It’s easy to just go for a standard “dinner and a movie.”

But how much more fun and how much more exciting and romantic is an evening of planned surprises or special activities.


Check your local high school, community college or university for concerts that are performed around Valentine’s Day. Usually, tickets are reasonably priced or free!

Dining Smarter

We don’t usually go out for a date on Valentine’s Day — it’s too crowded and most restaurants won’t accept coupons that night. So we go out the prior or following night when there are fewer people and more deals. Get dozens of restaurant hacks to save more money.

Progressive Restaurant Date: One year Steve surprised Annette with a date night that featured 3 of her favorite restaurants.

  • Appetizers: First they went to Lunt Avenue Marble Club for deep-fried zucchini and mushrooms
  • Main Dish: They ate steak at Black Angus steak house
  • Dessert: They finished up the evening with Annette’s favorite, a Buster Bar from Dairy Queen

Lover’s Lane

An outdoor mall near our home hosts a “Lovers’ Lane” with free horse-drawn carriage rides, chocolate tasting and dancing to big band music.

If you’re in colder climates, there are still special indoor events being hosted that don’t cost a lot – check your local malls and churches for events.

Gather Friends

Last year we hosted a dinner party that included four other couples we’ve known for years. Annette cooked the main dish and everyone else brought side dishes. Then we sat around the table, taking turns sharing stories of how each couple met and fell in love. It sounds kind of “corny” but it was so much fun to sit with friends we’ve known for decades and share old stories and lots of laughter.

5 couples dressed up for Valentines day.

Sharing the Love with your Kids

Help your kids write out little Valentine Cards of appreciation for their siblings, grandparents, other relatives, neighbors, teachers, coaches, etc. There’s always a need for kind words and thoughts.

We’ve also baked simple heart-shaped sugar cookies and let the kids ice them with pink frosting and sprinkles. The cookies can be delivered with their Valentine cards.

Family Games:

  • Playing Board Games or Card Games
  • Charades with a group of friends
  • Play Balderdash – we usually laugh until we cry.
  • Play Mennonite Madness (watch this video – it’s so simple)

Outdoor Activities

  • Bonfire: Have a bonfire at the beach, in a forest glen or in a fire pit in your back yard. Remember to bring makings for s’mores
  • Ice Skating: Outdoor or indoors, it’s fun, good exercise and a great reason to break out a thermos of delicious hot chocolate.


If you and your date like dancing try some of these options:

  • Go to a local swing dance club
  • Research historic colonial balls in your area. We’ve attended these where participants dress up in period costumes. Lots of fun and very memorable.
  • Irish Contra Dancing – this is another style of group dancing that is loads of fun. Search for: Irish Contra Dancing Near Me
  • Give Greek Dancing a try – usually done in groups in a circle. It’s easy to learn and fun.
  • Go to a cowboy bar that has Western Line Dancing. It’s easy and fun.

Valentine Recreation for Family Outings

  • Factory tours—check your local area for candy, bread and milk production facilities. Many give free tours. We love touring a small family-owned candy factory in Glendale, Arizona – Cerreta Candy Company. It’s delicious!
  • Visiting someone who’s been on your mind and you haven’t seen in a while.
  • If you’ve got snow on the ground – go ice skating, sledding or tobogganing. In the Phoenix area, if we want to go sledding, we’ve got to drive 2 hours to Flagstaff – but it sure is fun.

Romantic and/or Family Movies

We’ve combined some of our favorites with a huge list provided by our Facebook Fans!

You may want to preview some of the movies produced after 1970 before watching them with your children.

  1. 13 Going on 30
  2. A Walk in the Clouds
  3. Amazing Adventure, The (Cary Grant)—One of our all-time favorite movies. Fantastic story, Fair movie quality * 
  4. An Affair to Remember (Deborah Kerr / Cary Grant) 
  5. Beauty and the Beast – Musical *
  6. Best Years of our Lives, The * 7 Academy Awards
  7. Big Fat Greek Wedding *
  8. Bridget Jones
  9. Captain Horatio Hornblower (Virginia Mayo / Gregory Peck)
  10. Charade  (Audrey Hepburn / Cary Grant)—suspense
  11. Desk Set (Kathryn Hepburn  / Spencer Tracy) 
  12. Dr. Zhivago  7 Academy Awards
  13. Ella Enchanted (Ann Hathaway) — Musical
  14. Enchanted Cottage, The  
  15. Ever After: A Cinderella Story (Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston)
  16. Every Girl Should be Married (Cary Grant) 
  17. Father Goose (Cary Grant) *
  18. Goodbye Mr. Chips  1939 Academy Award 
  19. High Society (Grace Kelly / Bing Crosby) — Musical *
  20. Hot to Steal A Million (A. Hepburn / P. O’Toole)
  21. Houseboat (Sophia Loren / Cary Grant)

See the rest of our growing list of Valentine movies here

* This is an Economides Family Favorite Movie!

We’ve provided some links to Amazon (these are affiliate links from which we receive commissions). Of course, you could always check your library for these movies and take them for a “test drive” and purchase only the ones you like.

More ideas:

A creativityinspiring little book we have is 258 Great Dates While you Wait. It’s written for dating singles who want more out of life than, well, than what Hollywood portrays as normal relationship activities. But if you’re married and want some out of the box inspiration, you’ll like reading these ideas too. 

Hope you have some romantic and loving fun with your family this year. And if you have some unique, fun and creative ideas that have worked for you, could you share them below – we love hearing your ideas.

Valentine Recreation/ Activities for Couples and Families!

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