Date nights should be a part of your relationship no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been with your partner.
But a lack of free time (if you have kids at home) or money can make it difficult to get out for one on a regular basis.
But fear not! You can have a romantic date night at home instead.
If you aren’t sure where to begin beyond dinner and a movie, check out some of these ideas for couples (married or otherwise) who want to enjoy a special evening in together.
1. Reminisce over old photos.
Reliving shared memories is a fantastic way to remind yourself of how much you love your partner.
And one of the easiest ways to spark those memories is to look at all the photos you have taken over the course of your relationship.
From vacation snaps to wedding photos and everything in between, browsing your albums (or digital collections) is a fun way to spend an evening.
If you have some home movies, watch them together and gasp at how young/different you look.
2. Write love letters to each other.
It can be difficult to put how you feel into words, but writing them down can make it a lot easier.
So why not spend a little time writing each other love letters before either reading them aloud or, if you’re too shy, giving them to another one to read.
Alternatively, write a selection of short “open when” letters to your partner. They may not get read straight away, but they will provide moments of love and connection at some later point in time.
3. Draw or paint each other.
It doesn’t matter how artistic you are, getting some pencils or paints and creating a portrait of one another is a great way to spend an evening in with the person you love.
You can do this on multiple dates by choosing different styles each time such as surrealism, drawing caricatures, or turning your partner into a superhero.
4. Plan a trip, vacation, or adventure.
Discuss places that you’d each like to visit, settle on one, and then go about making that trip a reality.
Find places to stay, work out an itinerary of sights you’d like to see or things you’d like to do, and mark a date on your calendar of when you’re going to go.
The excitement of making travel plans together will make the evening fly by (pun intended!)
5. Watch concerts online.
Going to see some live music is a great date, but it’s not always possible. Concerts can be expensive and your favorite band might not always be touring.
But you’d be amazed at just how many full concerts you can watch on YouTube. And it makes for a completely different experience to simply listening to an album.
From huge global acts to smaller artists, stream them on your TV and crank up the volume to get the feeling of being there in the audience.
Singing and dancing are encouraged!
6. Hold a karaoke night.
Speaking of singing, why not belt out some of your favorite tunes with the help of… you guessed it, YouTube.
There are thousands upon thousands of songs available, all with on-screen lyrics for you to sing along to.
Grab a hairbrush as your microphone, do some vocal warm-ups, and spend the night serenading each other with romantic hits or sharing duets.
7. Listen to an audiobook.
Reading the same book can be fun, but people read at different speeds and it can be quite a separate activity.
With audiobooks, however, you can curl up together on the couch, listen to a story at the same speed, and share in the experience.
And it’s a lot easier to eat/drink at the same time than with a physical book.
8. Cook together.
Making dinner can sometimes feel like a chore, but on a date night at home, it turns into a couples’ activity and becomes a lot more fun.
It doesn’t matter how good you are in the kitchen, anyone can follow a recipe. Choose a cuisine you don’t normally cook (but enjoy eating) and try making a restaurant favorite yourself.
Creating a delicious dish and then eating it can be incredibly bonding and make for unforgettable nights.
9. Bake together.
Perhaps you keep the main course simple and save the culinary adventure for dessert.
Whether it’s a classic apple pie, heavenly chocolate brownies, or a more unusual pudding, you can not only get a little dirty making it, but you can feed each other spoonfuls once done.
10. Be takeout food critics for the night.
If cooking doesn’t float your boat, why not order a takeout and spend the evening discussing the good and bad points of it?
Write a review between you and post it online so that others can benefit from your experience.
Try new eateries often and create a league table from best to worst so that you know where the tastiest bites are to be had.
11. Have a tasting night.
Sticking with the food and drink theme, you could buy in a range of one particular item and taste test the lot.
Wine and cheese are the obvious candidates (and they go well together), but you could do the same with cured meats, other drinks, or even sweet treats like chocolate.
It’s a lovely and indulgent way to spend an evening with your partner.
12. Shake and stir up some cocktails.
Is there anything to get that Friday night feeling (or that vacation feeling) going more than a delicious cocktail?
But if you can’t head out for one, you could try mixing your own at home.
Simply get a few of your favorite spirits or liqueurs along with a range of mixers and try some classic recipes from a cosmopolitan to a long island iced tea.
If you don’t drink alcohol, there are loads of tasty mocktails too.
13. Play with your kids’ toys.
If you have children, you have toys – and no doubt plenty of them.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re never too old to enjoy some of the family classics.
Build something out of Lego, race Scalextric, or try two-person Twister!
Let the children inside of you out and smiles and laughs are guaranteed.
14. Give each other massages.
Life is often stressful and this can take its toll on our bodies.
So why not help each other relax by taking turns to give and receive a massage?
Get some proper oils, light a few scented candles, and spend a good while working the knots from each other’s muscles.
Massages are also very sensual and… you know… one thing can lead to another.
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15. Camp out in your backyard.
Sleeping outside is an adventure, no matter where you pitch your tent.
If you can’t get away into nature, don’t be afraid to make use of your own garden (if you have one).
Assuming you live in a relatively peaceful neighborhood, you can snuggle up and keep each other warm whilst escaping the usual routine.
A small bonfire and s’mores will really add to the fun.
16. Watch the stars.
You can combine this with the previous suggestion if you like, but you can equally just lay a blanket down on your lawn and spend an hour or two gazing up at the night sky.
Looking at the stars and getting lost in the universe whilst lying in each other’s arms is incredibly romantic and reminds you to be grateful for everything you have.
Just be sure to take lots of blankets as it can get cool quickly, even on a summer’s evening.
17. Talk about your future goals and dreams.
When you’ve been with someone for a while, it can be easy to overlook what each of you dreams about in your shared future.
These are the sorts of conversations you may have had in the early days of dating or your relationship, but you ought to still be having them regularly no matter how many years have passed.
These chats are gateways to what your other half is thinking and what your potential future together may look like.
18. Make it a theme night.
When an evening of food and entertainment revolves around a central theme, it makes the whole thing that little bit more unique.
Perhaps that theme is a country or a historical era. Or maybe you choose a movie or natural event (e.g. full moon) around which to base your date night.
Either way, get into the swing of things by dressing appropriately, getting into character, eating the right food, and listening to the right music (Spanish guitar, anyone?) amongst other things.
19. Have a picnic.
Enjoying a platter of different picnic favorites whilst sitting on a blanket with your loved one is a great evening at any time of the year.
If the weather is nice, you might wish to do it outside. Failing that, you can always clear some space on your living room floor and enjoy the nibbles and drinks inside.
There’s something quite romantic about picnics, so this is a good way to enjoy each other’s company and do something a bit different.
20. Play ‘Favor Pong’
You know beer pong? It’s the drinking game that involves throwing a ping pong ball into cups.
Well, favor pong is the same, only instead of having to consume drinks, your partner has to do you a favor each time you get the ball in one of their cups.
The favors can be anything from a head massage to waking up early with the kids. Of course, they can be as naughty as you like.
Simply write numbers on the bottoms of the cups, randomly assign them to the usual triangle patterns at either end of a table. Then have a piece of paper showing which number means what.
21. Create quizzes for each other.
Test each other’s knowledge of various topics by making up your own quiz.
It might have an intros round where you play the first 10 seconds of a song and they have to guess it. Bonus points if the songs mean something to the pair of you.
Or it might have a round that involves zooming in on digital photos of the both of you and guessing whose body part is being shown.
Or quizzes about shared moments from your life, such as holidays or dates. This can lead to reminiscing over stories.
22. Take a bath together.
Okay, so this one does depend on how big your tub is, but if you can both fit in at the same time (with a little room to move), it makes for a relaxing and sensual evening in together.
Do all of the usual things – candles, nice bubble bath, a glass of wine at the ready.
Simply sit and enjoy being intimate together (note we didn’t say anything about sex, but it can lead there if you like) until the water gets cool or you wrinkle up completely.
23. Couples yoga.
If one or both of you partake in a little yoga now and again, why not join forces and do some together.
Couples yoga is when you perform positions with the help of your partner. It requires you to work together and put your trust in one another.
If you’ve not tried it before, check out one of the many videos online that provide instructions on what to do and how to do it safely.
You’ll both feel amazing afterwards.
24. Dance to romantic songs.
Put on some classic love songs, clear some space in your living room, and get into a comfortable hold with your partner.
Then just let the music take you on a journey as you slowly move around, step by step, until you’re all danced out.
Dancing brings with it a physical connection, and with the slow sensual rhythm of a romantic piece of music, it can build intense feelings of warmth and love.
25. Make sweet music together.
Do you have some musical talent? Can you hold a tune or play an instrument?
If so, a great date night in can be had by making music together… literally.
You can play your favorite tunes, or, if you’re feeling particularly creative, write and compose your own songs.
26. Play truth or dare.
This game can be both revealing in terms of the truths you may learn about your partner, and hilarious as you dare them to do things.
You can let your imagination run wild.
As you play, keep in mind each other’s comfort levels and avoid rubbing up against any boundaries you might have set. Keep it light and fun.
27. Play board games.
Board games don’t need to leave you feeling bored. In fact, they can be a fun way to spend an evening with your loved one.
Dust off an old classic or try one of the many new kids on the block and test your knowledge and strategy.
Have a few games at the ready to fill up the night, or to switch to if one game isn’t floating your boat.
28. Play video games.
If both of you are into video games, that’s great – you’ll no doubt enjoy playing alongside (or against) each other.
If only one of you regularly plays, let that person introduce the other to some of their favorite games.
Try to make it something that can be mastered quickly and enjoyed in isolation (i.e. no games with complicated storylines that take weeks to finish).
29. Start an interesting conversation.
You know what, sitting down and actually talking to your partner can be a hugely satisfying date night in.
If things get a little heated at any time (and they might), agree to move on to more neutral ground before the enjoyment fades.
30. Watch your favorite childhood movie or TV series.
Sure, we said we’d go beyond dinner and a movie, but this is an exception because it isn’t your standard movie choice.
It’s a movie (or TV series) that can create huge nostalgia and, if you haven’t seen it, open up a window into what your partner liked in the past.
Think The Dark Crystal or The Neverending Story and you get the idea.