5 Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day That You Will Actually Want to Do

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Love sign at the Distillery District

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away!

If you want to try something different with your sweetheart, then I have a couple of recommendations that I think real couples would really want to do. I say that because around this time of year I feel like there are a whole bunch of recommendations of date or gift ideas floating around, but none really resonate with my social group who are mostly millennials that are in school or have just graduated. I often find myself just scrolling through lists of date ideas and not really choosing anything by the end because it’s either too expensive, too flashy or too – something. There’s a disconnect. I feel like the best dates are ones that are romantic, personalized and thoughtful. For Valentine’s Day, most people are just looking for a new environment that will give them a positive experience and space to spend quality time with their partner and learn more about them. I really think these Toronto spots are ideal to spend a low-key, stress-free, budget-friendly evening. In no order at all, here is a list of my recommendations for Valentine’s Day dates on Thurs, Feb 14, 2019.

1. Enjoy the Toronto Light Festival at the Distillery District
The Toronto Light Festival at the Distillery District is running from Jan 18 to March 3, 2019. On Valentine’s Day, you can expect the lights to turn on from sundown to 11PM. Since it’s an outdoor exhibit, dress warm so you can stay comfortable as you walk around with your date! The sun sets around 5:30PM, so I would recommend coming a little earlier like 4PM if you can to see how the area changes from the day to night time. I honestly think this is one of the prettiest and romantic neighbourhoods in Toronto because of the love-themed art installations, the red bricks, and just the fact that it seems like an enclosed place to escape the downtown core. I would first spend time exploring the cute boutiques and stores that close around 6PM, then I would walk around and enjoy the art, and finally grab a bite to eat. Don’t forget to go to the chocolate stores – Soma Chocolate and Cacao 70. You will most likely have to make a reservation at a restaurant to eat there for dinner on Valentine’s Day! Check out this post I wrote about the Distillery District if you want to learn more.

2. Cook a Valentine’s meal for each other in an affordable Loblaw’s cooking class
It’s always really sweet when you stay at home and make meals for each other from the heart. I searched around for cooking classes to learn more recipes and cooking techniques from experts, but they easily range around $100 for one class alone. I found out that Loblaws offers cooking classes at several locations on Valentine’s Day called “Valentine’s Day Delights” for only $30. If you think about it, you would be paying much more for a dinner if you went out, but this way you will be having a hands-on experience with your date and you’ll be able to cook them a meal from scratch and take those skills with you for the future! There are a few locations that have sold out, but many that still have spots (I would book it fast if you’re interested). The only catch is to see if you actually want to eat the items featured on the menu and check if your date has no dietary restrictions or allergies. The class description says that: “Your elegant menu features Smoked Salmon Cobb Salad; succulent Chicken Marsala served Buttered Egg Noodles and Asparagus Gremolata; and a sensuous Chocolate Torte with fresh berries and whipped cream for dessert.”

3. Enjoy the Winter Light Exhibition at the Ontario Place
This date idea is really similar to the Distillery District, but in all the best ways. What can go wrong with free, beautiful art to enjoy in a popular Toronto spot? The Winter Light Exhibition opened on Nov 23 and will stay open until March 17, 2019. The hours of operation are 4PM to midnight. There are really romantic pieces here like “A Warm Hug” which is an interactive sculpture that lights up when you hug it. Isn’t that cute?! The difference with this area is that you can also go skating here as well (skate rentals are available on site). If you just want to go skating, then there’s always the Bentway Skating Trail and Nathan Phillips Square.

4. Spend the night laughing at Absolute Comedy, Yuk Yuks or Second City
Absolute Comedy at 2335 Yonge St. has an 8:30PM Valentines Day show with Headliner Casey Corbin and MC Andrew Vaughan featuring Jesse Singh. It is $30 per couple or $70 per couple for buffet dinner and the show. This is actually a great deal considering the buffet dinner includes options like roast beef, lasagna and chicken, sides, coffee/tea, desserts and a complementary glass of champagne. Yuk Yuks at 224 Richmond St W. has an 8PM show featuring Lauriee Elliott for only $11.50. There is an a la carte menu of pub fare items that you can order during the show. Finally, Second City at 51 Mercer St. has a 7PM and 9:30PM show called “Hooking Up with The Second City: Third Base” for $30. There is an in theatre menu, as well as the option to order a pre-fixe 2-course or 3-course dinner at their partner restaurant Wayne Gretzky’s for $38.94 and $46.02 (not including tickets), respectively. If you just want to sit back and relax, this is the option for you!

5. Can’t decide? Enjoy fun games, great food AND hilarious comedy at The Rec Room
The Rec Room has an amazing assortment of things to do and eat. There’s a good selection of video games, and once you finish playing you can head over to The Void which currently offers a Star Wars, Ralph Breaks VR, Nicodemus, and Ghostbusters experience for $35. At The Rec Room, you can fill your belly eating delicious Canadian meals at THREE10 or with incredibly satisfying poutine and donuts at The Shed. For Valentine’s Day, they have a special $20 show at 6:30PM and 8:35PM called “Tinder Tales Presents a Not-So-Valentine’s Day Show” where comedians share their real dating experiences using the app. There’s so much to do here!

Well, there you have it. Actual dates to go on for Valentine’s Day. Choose soon, as things will sell out closer to the date. Have a wonderful time wherever you choose to go, and happy Valentine’s day to all!

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