Alternative Valentine's Day Ideas

06:00 February 11, 2016

While some might argue that every day should be a day that celebrates love, that doesn’t change what it says on your calendar on February 14. Whether you are coupled up and so in love or single and hating it, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a day to dread, or a day that is so sweet and romantic that it makes you sick.

Forget the typical over-priced V-Day dinner and toss out those carnations and boxed chocolate; the day doesn’t have to be boring or expensive. Show some love this year in the most unforgettable and unconventional way possible by going all out and trying something new and different for you and your significant other. 


Group Date

Who says that Valentine’s Day has to only be about one couple? Romance can exist in crowds, and with love comes appreciation, so go ahead and show all your friends some by putting together a fun event for Valentine’s Day. Invite your coupled or single friends over for an intimate home-cooked dinner or head out on the town for a fun group date. Try inviting some friends over for a DIY Sips and Strokes gathering, where each guest brings a canvas and wine to paint and share, or head out to the levee for a picnic. With a group of loved ones in tow, the possibilities for a fun day are endless. 


Mardi Gras

Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras nearly overlap this year, and whether you decide to just focus on one or go crazy celebrating both, you’ve got to be sure to have a good time. 2015 can be your year to ditch Valentine’s Day and throw yourself into the Mardi Gras festivities and parades. Or, try taking your significant other on a fun-filled date to some of the city’s best parades for a Mardi Gras love fest.

Whether you’re going solo or with loved ones, Mardi Gras is always a good idea. 


Themed Party

Celebrate the day of love with an off-the-wall at-home event and throw a theme party that is clearly not associated with Valentine’s Day. Invite all of your anti-V-Day single and coupled friends to a non-Valentine’s Day bash. While some might opt for an actual “Love Sucks” or an “Anti-Valentine’s Day” party, feel free to get a little more creative. No need to throw a love fest that could end up more bitter rather than sweet. Host an 80s get-together or a costume party to liven everyone’s spirits and have some fun without pink hearts and carnations floating around everywhere. 



Create your own version of the Love Boat this Valentine’s Day with an offshore fishing trip. A day of fishing is fun for newbies and pros at the water sport, and New Orleans has plenty of spots for catch and release. Whether you’re looking to take some fish home or are just fishing for fun, it’s bound to be a fun way to celebrate the holiday. You and your loved ones don’t necessarily have to take a boat trip to have the real fishing experience; try spending an afternoon at City Park and have some fun fishing in the area's 10+ miles of fish-filled lagoons. Just be sure to have a valid fishing license if need be. 


Brewery Hopping

Any day is the perfect day to pay a visit to some of the city’s greatest breweries, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Get a group of friends together or just partner up with your sweetie for a day of fun brewery tours at spots like Jax Brewery, the Abita Brew Pub, the Crescent City Brewhouse, and NOLA Brewing (which offers free tours. Check online for scheduling.) If you’re looking for a little more structure, try going through a company like NOLA Beer Tour, where a guide will lead you through breweries in the area and discuss culture and history. Stay hydrated throughout the special holiday with lots of pints and samples of delicious, local craft-brewed beers. 


Aphrodisiac Walking Tour 

Aphrodisiacs get a lot of their popularity around Valentine’s Day, when anyone and everyone is looking to reap the benefits of oysters, wine, and chocolate. One of the biggest downfalls of V-Day are the crazy expenses that typically go along with it, so this year, give Groupon a visit and snatch one of the tours from Witches Brew. Available for two or four people, you can make the event an intimate evening or a fun group date with friends. The event begins with a bag of coupons and aphrodisiac samples to learn about and enjoy throughout the tour, Treat yourselves to a walking tour through New Orleans to experience some of the cities greatest aphrodisiacs. 


Airbnb – Home Away From Home

Take the “get out of town” concept one step further and look into the popular website of Airbnb, even if you just end up 10 minutes away from home. A new space is fun, exciting, and the perfect spot for a holiday. Give yourself and your loved ones the perfect accommodations and choose from hundreds of available (and affordable) spaces on the company’s website. Settle down in a funky shotgun or get cozy in a historic French Quarter spot. No matter the place, you’re nearly guaranteed a fun, memorable Valentine’s Day wherever you end up. 


Murder Mystery Dinner

Go beyond the traditional Valentine’s Day dinner date and spend the evening solving a live mystery at an interactive theater-style meal. New Orleans is home to several murder mystery theater companies, where you can settle in for some dinner, drinks, crimes, and clues. Many theater dinners include multiple-course meals to enjoy during your night of whodunit, and you can prepare for an interesting night of fun characters and costumes while you break out your inner detective. Make the night extra fun and dress for the show’s theme, but just be sure to purchase tickets early to ensure your seats. 

One option is Clue Carré, New Orleans' first live escape game, which recently opened at 337 Baronne St. You can find out more and book your daring romantic escape today at


Volunteer at an Animal Shelter/Rescue

Love goes beyond just couples. Volunteering anywhere is a great option for V-Day, and if you are spending the holiday with animals you’ll be spreading plenty of love around for everyone (and everything).  There are tons of animal shelters and rescues all around Louisiana, with several of them, including the Louisiana SPCA, calling New Orleans home. Take some pups for a walk or help around the shelter for a day. You never know, you and your significant other might even end up bringing a furry friend home as a foster or a new pet (AKA your new permanent cuddle buddy). Best Valentine’s Day ever. 

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