Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whether you’ve been dating for only a few weeks or are celebrating your 20-year anniversary, there is always a little bit of pressure to make this day memorable. And with a global pandemic, it’s even harder!
Whether you’re planning on staying in for the night or are looking for a socially distanced activity that you can do together, Ann Arbor has plenty of options. We rounded up a few local (and safe!) date ideas so read on to craft your perfect evening itinerary. And of course, remember to wear a facial covering and stay at least 6 feet from other people if you do go out.
Dine inside an igloo or mini greenhouse
While not a lot of good has come out of the pandemic, there is one new development we’re a little in love with: igloo dining! To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, many local restaurants have put together small pods for households to dine in safety, from igloos to mini greenhouses to yurts. The majority of them are heated and can be booked for a small fee online. and make a reservation. Then join your partner for a romantic evening with tasty drinks and food under the stars!
Get ice cream
Who says it’s too cold for ice cream? When you have as many amazing ice cream spots in your town as Ann Arbor, every day is a good day for icy, creamy goodness! Local favorites like Washtenaw Dairy and Michigan Creamery are still open for online ordering and curbside pickup so you and your sweetheart can enjoy a tasty treat this Valentine’s Day. Click here for the rest of our favorite ice cream destinations in the Ann Arbor area.
Go to a virtual movie
We don’t know about you, but we sure do miss going to the movies — and the smell of popcorn popping, buying your tickets, and the excitement of watching the previews before the big show starts. While it’s hard to go to the physical movie theater right now, The Michigan Theater and State Theatre are hosting virtual screenings of films every week—from award-winning documentaries to classic ’90s family films. A portion of the proceeds go towards supporting the Michigan Theater Foundation. You can find the full list of upcoming showings, here.
Located on Main Street in Ann Arbor, Rock Paper Scissors is a paper goods and gift store. In addition to their huge selection of personalized stationery and cards, they carry a variety of fun and funny gifts: mugs, glasses, books, candles, balms, cocktail mixers, keychains, decor and more. Right now, they also happen to have a massive collection of puzzles for sale—to help keep you and your loved one entertained even when you can’t leave the house. Order a few online and have them shipped directly to your door.
Since 1909, the Ann Arbor Art Center has served as a contemporary forum for the visual arts through education, exploration, collaboration and exhibition. They do this through rotating exhibitions in the 117 Gallery, special events, and an impressive lineup of classes and workshops. Right now, they are offering a full lineup of online classes that you can take with your loved one. Learn how to paint, draw, sculpt, make jewelry and even how to paint digitally. Click here to explore their current seasonal offerings and to sign up!
As Michigan’s top escape game, Decode in Ypsilanti offers some of the most interesting and complex escape rooms in the state. And even though you can’t visit them physically right now, Decode is still offering some fun escape experiences for you to enjoy around town! They are currently offering a couple different outdoor, contactless adventures in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that will give you a romantic and safe winter afternoon enjoying everything our beautiful area has to offer. The newest is a Drive-In Spectacular! We don’t know much about this escape adventure yet because Decode doesn’t want to spoil all the surprises, but you can follow them on Facebook for a sneak peek before you go.
Go for a wintery drive
When you think of “scenic drives,” you’re probably picturing sunny pastures and dense forests covered in fall colors. But what if we told you that Michigan was even prettier in the colder months? Frozen lakes, snow-dusted forests, gloomy beaches and adventurous ski resorts are just some of the gorgeous things you can see while on a drive in Michigan in the winter. We have an entire list of our favorite snowy drives right here. Just don’t forget to check road conditions before you go out!
Take an online baking class
Zingerman’s Bakehouse is our go-to destination for baking classes in the Ann Arbor area. Here, you can learn everything from cake baking to cheese pairing—even when you can’t visit them in person. Click here to explore their full list of online classes, which includes favorites like croissants, sourdough and cookies, and book one for you and your partner! Afterward, you’ll have a new skill and a tasty treat to enjoy on your at-home date.
Order a pizza kit and a growler from Jolly Pumpkin
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Since 2004, Jolly Pumpkin has been ingrained in the A2 community—from their pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit and more, to their full-service, cafe and brewery downtown. Right now, they are doing as much as they possibly can to help support Ann Arbor, by serving great food, delicious beer and plenty of opportunities for us to stay entertained. One of our favorite recent Jolly Pumpkin developments is the introduction of their new “pizza kits.” Order one for yourself and make a classic Jolly Pumpkin at home, using their dough and toppings and adding a few touches of your own! Make sure to add a growler of beer to your cart as well—because nothing will pair better with that pizza than 64 ounces of La Cosecha or Madrugada Obscura.
Try a virtual museum tour
See a jazz show
Trumpeter, Marquis Hill , Photographer: Lisa Gavan, Gavan Photo, courtesy of Blue LLama Jazz Club
One of the biggest things we’re missing right now is getting to experience Ann Arbor’s thriving music culture. While nothing beats hitting the town and watching music legends perform live in person, Blue LLama Jazz Club is offering us the next best thing—select virtual concerts each month! Visit them online to find out when their next show will be.
Order some curbside cocktails
Last March, as many restaurants and bars were closing their doors for in-person dining, many innovative small business owners had a brilliant idea: ready-made cocktails or cocktail kits in cans, bottles or mason jars that locals could take away and enjoy at home. While it is almost a year later, many A2 bars and restaurants are still selling to-go cocktails as they close once again for in-person dining to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the new year. for a list of our favorites and then order a few rounds for you and your partner to celebrate the day with!
Have a DIY spa night
We could all use a little TLC, so why not spend Valentine’s Day pampering yourself and your significant other? Put on your favorite TV show, soak your feet, put on a face mask and relax. If you want to support some local businesses while you’re at it, check out Jessica’s Apothecary, Bellanina Day Spa, Prestige Skin Care and Lily Grace Cosmetics for all your skin care needs!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
How are you planning on spending the day with your SO? Let us know in the comments below!