Our Favorite COVID-Friendly V-Day Experiences

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9 Experience Gifts for Valentines Day to Keep the Spark Alive

A bouquet of roses will wither, a box of chocolates will be devoured, and a piece of jewelry can go out of style. Fellas, if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift that lasts a lifetime, you truly can’t beat an experience. Unfortunately, many of the tried-and-true experiences of prior Valentine's Days are currently unavailable or unsafe because of the COVID-19 situation

There’s a slew of reasons why an experience gift is ideal for shaking things up. For one, it doubles as a bonding opportunity for you and your partner, allowing you to learn new things about each other and make new meaningful memories together. Not only that, but trying something new can push you out of your comfort zones as a couple — which, let’s be honest, is key to keeping things interesting in a long-term relationship. 

RELATED: From 1 Month to 1 Year: Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Every Phase of Dating

The keyword here is novelty. A 2000 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that couples who engage in fun activities together that are outside of the “norm” for them (something other than dinner out or a Netflix binge session), are more likely to report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. 

And yes, the times aren't exactly ideal for "outside the norm" adventures, but luckily for you, there are countless, COVID-safe experiences that would make killer V-Day gifts. All it comes down to is factoring in your partner’s specific passions, interests, and preferences.

Need some inspiration? Here’s a handful of experience gifts that are guaranteed to re-ignite the spark this Valentine’s Day, without putting you or your partner at unnecessary risk of catching COVID.

Couple hugging and looking at laptop from couchGettyImages

Most massage parlors and spas are off-limits, but that doesn't mean you can't provide a sensuous, relaxing massage in the comfort of your own home. Watch some YouTube tutorials ahead of time, pick up some essential tools (we recommend, at a minimum, picking up some massage oil, but if you want to go all-out you can also add a massage table and some heating stones).

This is a great option because it's tactile and relaxing, and in stressful times, few things are better than proximity to a loved one. It's also scalable: you can spend $0 and just rely on your massage skills, or you can go all-out and mimic the spa experience.

Cozymeal Cooking ClassGettyImages

Whether you’re foodies who just appreciate a quality home-cooked meal or novice chefs who are seeking to enhance your skills in the kitchen, a cooking class is a fun alternative to dining out. Not only will you leave with new recipes to remake at home, but the dishes will no doubt taste even better given that you made them yourselves. Cozymeal offers a range of cooking classes in cities all over the U.S., but with those temporarily out of order, you'll have to restrict yourself to the online classes. You can opt to have the chef lead the class in your own home for maximum safety & convenience. 

From traditional Italian and gluten-free Indian to Asian street food, there’s a wide variety of cuisines to choose from, and chefs can accommodate most dietary needs as well. Scope out the menus and book your class ahead of time, or you can buy a gift card and choose a class together at a later date.

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Heart print on puzzle pieces set on woodGettyImages

Don't laugh or dismiss this out of hand! Your relationship is fundamentally a partnership, and there's no better way to renew your bonds than to target your partnership towards a shared goal. Puzzles are fun to build, but they take time and teamwork, and cooperation. We recommend this 1000-piece adult jigsaw puzzle from Flame Tree Studio, or if you're feeling really ambitious, this 1,767-piece LEGO Empire State Building. Bonus: the Empire State Building LEGO can double as a sculpture in your apartment or home, a permanent testament to the good you can both two when you put your minds together.

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If your partner is all about self-improvement, Masterclass is the ultimate gift of education. Collect some cooking tips and tricks from Gordon Ramsay, delve into the world of jazz with Herbie Hancock, or take guitar lessons from Carlos Santana. From filmmaking, acting, and music production, to poker strategy and photography, the possibilities are endless for picking up new skills via online videos and supplemental materials. You can either choose a single class to take together or purchase an all-access pass to keep the learning going all year long.

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What’s better than going out for a wine tasting? Hosting one in the comfort (and safety!) of your own home. Vinebox allows you to do just that — their mail-order personalized flights emulate the experience of a professional class. First, you’ll take a quiz to help Vinebox select wines that best suit their preferences. Each shipment includes a series of nine high-end wines in single-serving vials that you can sniff, swirl, and sip your way through together, using the tasting notes and pairing suggestions to enhance the learning experience.  It’s a great way to expand your palette together, and perhaps even discover a few new go-to varietals. And if you find a wine you both love, you can purchase a full-size bottle.

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Couple facetiming with friends from their kitchenGettyImages

Too many people are losing touch with friends and family, and while that's understandable, given all of the constraints our lives are currently under, it's also a tragedy. Make a commitment to spend at least some of your V-Day evening catching up with your favorite couple via Zoom or Skype or FaceTime. You can do so over drinks or food, to mimic the experience of a night out, or you can drop the pretense and spend your time catching up on everyone's developments. Either way, you'll reap the benefits of renewing your friendship, and maybe help another couple cope with the difficult times in the process.

Couple hugging and looking at laptop from couchGettyImages

There’s hardly a better way to reconnect while simultaneously satisfying your sense of adventure than with a scavenger hunt via Let’s Roam. You’re bound to stumble upon a few scenic spots you’ve never seen in your home city, and it goes without saying that there will be countless photo ops along the way. Some of their packages are obviously now unavailable (mostly those involving indoor activities at bars, pubs, and museums, for example), but they offer enough outdoor activities to keep you active and safe, as well as a variety "in-home" options, from trivia to at-home scavenger hunts. When you’re buying your pair of tickets for a single hunt, be sure to add the “Date Upgrade” to boost the romance factor. 

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Plant NiteGettyImages

Move over, Paint Nite, there’s a new boozy class in town — and you don’t need to have a green thumb to enjoy arranging Instagram-worthy succulent terrariums. Did we mention that you can down a drink or three to help get the creative juices flowing? Best of all, you’ll have a souvenir to take home as a reminder of your shared experience. Scope out The Sipping Plant and Yaymaker to find a Plant Nite near you. Both companies have upgraded their experiences to comply with COVID regulations (including mask and distancing requirements), but if you or your partner are uncomfortable at a physical venue, they also offer virtual classes – just make sure you place your order early enough to give them time to ship you your plants.

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Couple doing a dance workout in the living roomGettyImages

For obvious reasons, the fitness industry has had to make some major adjustments since COVID hit, but one of the better developments has been the easy accessibility of virtual classes. Famous trainers lead Instagram workouts or virtual private coaching, to help you get in shape from the comfort of your own home. Celebrate your V-Day together by taking a virtual dance exercise class – you'll burn calories and have a lot of fun laughing and dancing together. We recommend scheduling through the Peleton app.

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