Every Valentine’s Day, lifestyle sites and online magazines feature posts on how to have a picture-perfect Valentine’s Day or personal essays bemoaning the single life. Personally, whether I’ve been in a relationship or not, I’ve never really worried about Valentine’s Day— it’s one of my favorite holidays, and I’ve always gone out of my way to celebrate a different kind of love on Valentine’s Day: the love I have for my family, and for my girl squad! So, with that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 14 fun, festive, and sweet Valentine’s Day outings and activities for you and your gal pals to enjoy this year.
1. Go thrift shopping! In my opinion, thrift shopping always makes for a fun outing. If you have a favorite district in your town for vintage shopping, make a day of it! If not, maybe you could find a neighborhood nearby. Alternatively, go thrifting! Bonus points if you take fun pictures in your fun vintage duds.
2. Have a themed movie marathon. Set up a popcorn bar with different toppings and mix-ins, and screen movies from a specific genre or with a theme in mind. Need some ideas? Consider a “chick flicks” marathon, action movies, or something more specific, like Wes Anderson films or 90’s Cult Classics. If you’re not a huge movie fan, host a Netflix binge-a-thon, and put on Gilmore Girls or Twin Peaks. Feeling extra ambitious? Serve themed snacks! Pair a showing of Heathers with Slurpees, a Gilmore Girls marathon with a Lorelai-and-Rory-style smorgasbord of movie night junk food, or, if you’re a Twin Peaks fan, serve some “Damn Fine” cups of coffee with slices of cherry pie.
3. Go roller skating! Grab some knee pads and go hit your local roller derby! Most rinks are unapologetically retro, and the strobe lights and disco music surely create an atmosphere perfect for a fun night with your girl squad! For some extra fun, round out the throwback evening with Shirley Temples and ice cream sundaes at the local diner.
4. Have a craft day! Crank up some tunes and plug in the hot glue gun! Craft nights make a frequent appearance on my calendar, but for some reason, Valentine’s Day has just always struck me as the perfect occasion for a girls’ night of pin and patch making, flower crown DIYs, and whatever else your craft bin and DIY-ing heart desires. A single trip to the craft store or dollar store can provide plenty of materials, from pom poms and glitter to fake flowers and plastic alphabet beads. With just a few dollars on materials, you and your friends can have a blast making custom flair and accessories to jazz up your outfits and backpacks.
5. Go old school, and hit an arcade! Gather up some spare quarters and go spend a couple hours at the arcade. Whether it's asteroids or PAC-MAN, there’s a retro video game for everyone—for nostalgic reasons, if nothing else. For a bit of extra fun, add some 80’s flair to your outfits and take photos in the photo booth!
6. Have a Valentine’s Day baking competition. Personally, I’m not the best baker, but I’ve been an official taste-tester many a time. Make lots of pink and red icing and decorate cookies, cupcakes, brownies, whatever suits your fancy. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like sweets! Spend the day baking, and then spend the evening filling up on your concoctions.
7. Go out to a dinner theater. Some might say there are few things more romantic than dinner and a show— but why just romantic? Why not put on a pair of heels and go out with friends for a classy night out? Dinner theaters are old fun that I, personally, haven’t experienced in a while—no better time than a fun holiday to beat the mid-February winter blues and, and enjoy some good old dinner entertainment. If theater isn’t your thing, a fancy dinner can be fun nonetheless: go somewhere out of the ordinary! Fondue, crepes, or a Japanese steak house are all really fun with a group!
8. Host a zine-making afternoon. There are virtually endless possible topics for zines, and they’re so simple and fun to make! Consider spending the day starting your own small press—gather inspirations, a solid selection of snacks, and get publishing! Who knows—if they turn out especially well, you could make copies and turn your work into a bona fide business venture!
9. Have a spa day. What better way to celebrate the day of love than with a little TLC and self-pampering? Serve some light, refreshing food, do face masks, manicures and pedicures, makeup, the whole nine yards! If you’re looking for some next-level pampering, consider splurging on a massage, or a hand massage and manicure.
10. Put on some records & make fun valentines! Dance parties go perfectly with glitter and collage materials— load up on Izze and foreign soda, put on some records, and make some fun valentines!
11. Go book shopping. Treat yourself to a cappuccino or a bubble tea and go browse with your besties! If you’re feeling particularly romantic, spend some time seeking out some Victorian poetry, or visit a foreign art museum through the store’s art book selection! If you and your pals are more music fans, go record shopping instead!
12. Go museum hopping. One of my personal favorites, museum hopping is an activity I have taken to on multiple Valentine’s Day outings with friends. I can’t quite describe it, but for me, there is something especially magical about art museums on Valentine’s Day. Of course, I’m an artist, so I’m quite biased, but to me, Valentine’s day in an art museum is a way of celebrating my first true love = ART! (Corny, yet true, my friends.) But, in all seriousness, a museum trip followed by brunch or a favorite snack is a really perfect way to celebrate with the friends you love most.
13. Have a board game marathon. Admittedly, it might seem to be a strange suggestion, but it’s fun to pull out the old classics now and again! Whether you’re a Monopoly fan (like me!), or Operation is more your style, a rotation of a few different favorites, along with a couple pizzas, makes for a night of low-key fun.
14. GO DANCING! This idea shouldn’t even need an explanation, but here’s one anyhow: who doesn’t love dancing? Whether it’s disco or swing, it’s a really fun way to spend an evening, and laughter is inevitable, which means, so are making some great memories!
Have a Happy Galentine’s Day, however you choose to celebrate!
text and visual: jackie andrews