Romance in February can be tricky, especially with the wind chill factor and long underwear you’re probably wearing. Then there’s the fact that you’ve just finished paying off your credit card bills from Christmas. So if a romantic (expensive) sunshine and swimsuit-filled vacation isn’t in your near future, don’t stress — an amazing date can be easily arranged in your own home town. Check out these achievable date ideas for some romantic inspiration:
Blessed with a sunny day? If you live in an area that has a lot of history or artistic culture like Kingston or Old Montreal, take a tour of the small art galleries clustered around your town. Stuck in the rain, sleet or snow? Then consider spending the day at the major gallery of your choice. Up the romance factor by taking a cute couple selfie (or a whole bunch of them) with your favourite art piece as a backdrop.
Camp without the elements
Build a pillow fort in your living room and cue up some romantic movies or a TV show to binge on. Buy some fancy beers and stock up on fun movie snacks from specialty candy stores, too. Better yet: make s’mores in the toaster oven. It’s just like camping, minus the weather and bug bites.
Go to the really nice farmers’ market or upscale grocery store in your town (like Pusateri’s in Toronto) armed with a special recipe you’ve been wanting to try. Shop together for ingredients (be sure to splurge on the good cheese), and cook a romantic dinner together. And wine is an absolute must.
Explore the nature near you
Take a romantic walk or hike through local conservation areas or a city park. Don’t worry if it rains — imagine how romantic it’d be to huddle together under an umbrella in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Just be sure to pack a thermos with something hot to drink. Plus, all provincial parks in Canada are free to visit this year if you order a Parks Canada pass in advanced of your trip (thanks to Canada’s 150th anniversary).
Kick back at your favourite café
Head to your local bookstore and buy a book for one another. Make it a surprise, or choose something you know your significant other’s been wanting to read. Next, head to your favourite cozy café to read it while sipping on lattes and snacking on pastries all afternoon.
Take a boozy tour
Go on a brewery, winery or distillery tour to make some unforgettable memories. Prince Edward County is perfect for this, but small, independent local brewers and distillers are popping up all over the country in both urban and rural areas. Using the magic of Google, find one near you and see if they do tours or tastings. Bring home a bottle to share for later.
Check out what’s playing at your local independent movie theatre to see something rare and romantic. If mainstream movies are more your thing, splurge on a VIP screening and go all out with full service snacks and drinks delivered to your reclining seats.
Pick a board game and a latte
Try out a board game cafe. They’re pretty common in larger cities (Toronto has at least four or five), but if your town doesn’t have one, you can always BYOB (that’s bring your own board game). Just be sure the cafe is okay with you camping out to play for awhile, and don’t be that person who buys one cup of tea and monopolizes a table for three hours.
Treat yourselves to a spa day
Couples massage? Yes please! If it’s out of budget, buy a few simple things from the drugstore (massage oil, some bubble bath and a scented candle should do it) and have a romantic spa day at home instead.
Splurge on a boutique hotel
Spend the night in a boutique hotel or bed and breakfast (bonus: one with a pool or hot tub). If you don’t travel a ton, a night in a hotel (even in your own city) can be a nice treat (hello, room service!).
Challenge each other at the local bowling alley or arcade bar. Because competition is hot — even in rented shoes.
Try out a workshop
Take a class together. Work up a sweat in a hot yoga class, learn to cook something super fancy, or try your hand at painting or pottery. Even if you’re both terrible at it, the point is to bond over the experience. Romance!
Picnic in style
Organize an indoor picnic. We get it, it’s February in Canada and the “great outdoors” isn’t so great by everyone’s standards. If snow pants have no place in your definition of romance, set up the blanket and basket indoors and have a candlelit nighttime meal under imaginary stars (extra points if you can get a skylight and/or fireplace put in ahead of time).