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12 Cheap, Easy Ways to Avoid Couples on Valentine’s Day

A woman drinking wine and rolling her eyes in a kitchen with a man and woman taking a selfie behind her.
El Nariz/Shutterstock

Whether you’re not in the mood for Valentine’s Day or just don’t like it, it’s hard to enjoy a normal day when everything around you is taken over by coupledom. But don’t worry—you can still have fun on February 14 without even acknowledging Cupid.

The simple existence of Valentine’s Day can throw a wrench into perfectly ordinary plans. Want to grab a quick meal? Sorry, all the tables are booked. Plan to see a movie? Prepare to roll your eyes all evening at all the smooching couples.

However, if you can adjust your plans a bit, we’ve got some ideas that will help you enjoy a beautifully unromantic February 14 this year!

Try That New Recipe

What do couples do on Valentine’s Day? Most make reservations for dinner. What don’t they do? Go to the grocery store—which is now your safe haven for food this February 14.

A chill night in with a new recipe and your beverage of choice is an ideal way to keep away from the crowds of so-in-love couples. All you have to do is make your shopping list, run to the store, and spend the rest of the night safely sequestered away at home with your custom menu.

You don’t even have to change out of your sweatpants. If you need some inspiration, we’ve got lots of recipes to get you started.

Fall in Love with Nature

While your city’s chicest parks might be packed with couples vying for the perfect Instagram shot, rugged hiking trails and state or national parks are likely to be a lot less crowded. If you really want to avoid everyone on Valentine’s Day, head for the hills! (At least until the sun goes down.)

While February is still cold in many areas, a brisk walk or hike will warm you up fast and provide the perfect chance to get some of that vitamin D you’ve been missing all winter.

You can go it alone, with a partner, or a group of friends. If you go alone, just make sure to follow all outdoor safety protocol, and let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Spoil Yourself

If the very existence of Valentine’s Day annoys you, maybe it’s time to give yourself a more positive association with the holiday.

Self-love is love, too, so why not gift yourself something you’ve had your eye on for a while? It doesn’t have to be the priciest item on your wish list. Even a small gift for yourself might lessen your general annoyance with Cupid.

Hit the Club

Group of people toasting with drinks at a bar.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

If you still want to go out, but avoid irritating couples, you can! The one place you won’t find a ton of them on Valentine’s Day is a noisy, packed nightclub. Grab your single friends and head out, or go solo.

Of course, any club on Valentine’s Day is probably going to be full of single people hoping to find their next date. But if you and your friends are single and looking, too, that’s a bonus!

If you’re on a budget, look for a club with no cover charge and have a couple of drinks at home first (only if you’re not driving, of course).

Have a Spa Night

If you feel more like staying in so you don’t even have to hear the word “Valentine,” an at-home spa night is a super idea! It’s also another cost-effective way to enjoy yourself without leaving the house.

To prepare, visit your local drugstore and pick up some candles, bath bombs, face masks, pedicure supplies, or anything else that will make you feel pampered. Don’t forget to buy or prep a few spa-friendly snacks, too.

Queue Up Some Romance-Free Movies

Love seems to be a plot or subplot in nearly any movie you can name. However, there are actually plenty of love-free movies out there. This list on IMDb is a great place to start; it includes classic picks in all genres.

You can also center your movie night around a specifically unromantic genre, like horror or nature films. Don’t hesitate to order a pizza or some takeout to complete your movie night—just avoid ordering from the fancier places, which might be slammed with Valentine’s reservations.

Work Out

While couples spend the evening waiting forever for their food in a crowded restaurant, you can get your workout in! Consider signing up for an invigorating workout class. Some individual classes cost as little as $10 or $15, so it’s not a huge investment.

Of course, you’ll want to avoid the couple-friendly workout classes, like partner dance or AcroYoga. But something like aerial yoga, kickboxing, or belly dancing would be ideal! Just make sure you choose something that’s new and interesting to you, so it won’t feel like work.

Pick Up an Extra Shift

If your job requires evening and weekend shifts, why not pick up some extra cash this V-Day?

Hear us out. Yes, you might have to deal with a ton of couples, but it (might) be a bit less painful when you’re paid for your time.

Plus, many people will want the night off, so you might find a desperate coworker who’s willing to offer you a bonus or a future favor if you take her shift.

Go Out for Brunch, Lunch, or Coffee

If avoiding restaurants all day doesn’t really appeal to you, don’t worry—you can still go out. Just make your plans for earlier, before date o’clock hits. Make some brunch, lunch, or coffee plans with a friend. Or, just enjoy a peaceful daytime outing alone with a book if that’s more your style.

Not free in the morning or early afternoon? You can also beat the crowds if you make late-night plans. You probably won’t find too many couples at the diner or 24-hour coffee shop past midnight.

Get Your Game On

Arcade and pinball bars are trendy enough that you probably have one near you. Sure, there might be some younger or game-loving couples there, but it won’t be on the scale of the local fancy eatery.

Plus, games cost mere quarters and some might even be free, so you won’t have to spend a lot to have fun.

Plan a Private Tasting Event

Nothing is quite as fun or luxurious as tasting a selection of fine cheeses, wines, or beers. Of course, if you head to a tasting event on February 14, there’ll be couples for days.

Instead, you can keep the price and irritating sappiness low by hosting your own private tasting at home. You can find inexpensive options for your personal tasting menu at grocery stores like Trader Joe’s or Aldi. Take notes on what you like, so you can remember to buy it again.

Tackle a Project

If you want, you can make your free time productive. Take a look at your to-do list and pick a project you’ve been putting off for weeks (or months). Make February 14 the day you get it done!

It might be something as big as cleaning out your closet or updating your resume. Or, it might be as small as washing your filthy makeup brushes or scheduling a dentist appointment.

No matter what it is, finally completing the task will be so satisfying, you’ll forget all about annoying Valentine’s Day.

It’s easy to see why many people dislike Valentine’s Day. It’s expensive, cliché, and actually leads to more breakups than the average day. But you don’t have to spend your day fuming about the faux-love foolishness. Any of these ideas will help you enjoy yourself and celebrate you!

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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