40 Best At-Home Date Night Ideas for When You Just Reallyyyy Don’t Want to Go Out

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It happens to the best of us, even to folks in the happiest of relationships: It’s date night, but the thought of squeezing into a cute outfit and making small talk in a crowded restaurant sounds about as appealing as a root canal. We get it x 10000. Who needs the stress of securing a reservation and cab? Not you! What you do need, though, are some *chef’s kiss* at-home date night ideas that make staying in as good (if not better) than going out.

Now, before you think that at-home dates aren’t as ~adorable~ as those out and about, sexpert Leah Carey says swapping those crowded bars for some quality couch time can actually ramp up the romance. But here’s the catch: it’s all about the setup. “Think of your home as a love nest,” she suggests. “Turn off the digital world and focus on creating a space where it’s just the two of you, uninterrupted.”

In fact, professional matchmaker and dating coach Thalia Ouimet says it takes some extra special planning to make the date feel, well, extra special. “Being organized is crucial,” she insists. “Gather everything you need a few days ahead of time. Lack of planning can lead to a disorganized and less enjoyable experience, and there’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot something—like an ingredient for a new recipe—just as things are heating up.”

Oh, and before you start worrying about breaking the bank, remember that the best things in life (or, in this case, date nights) don’t have to cost a thing. “Sometimes a thoughtfully-planned evening in can mean more than any fancy dinner or show,” says therapist Ciara Jenkins. Say it with me: Cheap date nights don’t = less special date nights!

So, whether you’re looking to spice up your relationship, connect with your partner on a deeper level, or just enjoy each other’s company without the backdrop of a bustling restaurant, we’ve got you covered with ideas that’ll make staying in the highlight of your week. Trust me, your sofa has never looked so sexy.

1. Play a card game

A game? For date night? Groundbreaking. But! If you really wanna get to know your partner, Ouimet suggests playing a conversation card game to “deepen your understanding of each other in a playful way.” You can snag a pre-made deck or just look up questions to ask each other and take turns getting deep. For a sexier twist, add a strip element where you have to remove an article of clothing for any questions you skip. Whether this leads to stripping down or opening up, it’s an intimate activity that’ll literally help you bear it all.

2. Have a movie night

Yeah, yeah, yeah, watching a movie may be something you do every night anyway, but why not add a lil something? Build a fort, light some candles, put together a cheese board, and watch your movie. Make sure to tailor the experience to your partner’s preferences, advises Jenkins. “This demonstrates that you’re listening, you want to please them, and want to have a nice evening together.”

3. Have a *themed* movie marathon

Spending too much time debating what to watch? Narrow options by picking a theme and diving deep into a specific genre. Decor, snacks, and costumes are optional but hiiiiighly recommended for full immersion. If you still can’t settle on a few flicks, flip a coin and then take on the roles of film critics instead. Scorecards, thematic snacks, and passionate discussions post-film add a new layer to the usual flick-watching.

4. Take an online baking class

Sweeten your relationship with an online baking class! Whether it’s mastering the art of French pastries or the perfect chocolate chip cookie, it’s about learning, laughing, and licking the spoon together. Not only does this basically guarantee an adorable flour fight, but the end result is dessert! Win-win!

5. Make candles

Ouimet is a big believer in the soothing power of crafting together. “Making candles can be a relaxing and creative activity,” she says. It’s romantic, hands-on, and ends with you both lighting the very essence of your love. Plus, every flicker will remind you of this night spent pouring wax and being passionate. Très hot.

6. Prepare a special dinner

If your partner is the one who typically finds new restaurants or likes to show off their cooking skills, treat them to a nice home-cooked meal every once in a while. Try a recipe you’ve never done before and pull out a nice bottle of wine for the occasion. Bonus points for lighting up a few candles and bringing out your best plates.

7. Have a wine-tasting night

Skip the dinner and get right to the vino with an elevated evening of wine tasting. Explore different regions and flavors from the comfort of your home with a premade tasting kit (…or by pursuing our list of best wines ever). Discuss each taste, pair ‘em with fine cheeses, and pretend you’re a sommelier. It’s about savoring the notes of each other’s company as much as the wine.

8. Have an old-school MTV night

Turn your living room into a blast from the past with an MTV-themed night, where you and your partner queue up classic music videos that defined your younger years. It’s a playful way to share parts of your history and musical tastes, discover each other’s all-time hits, and maybe even stumble upon your shared jam. Keep it light with snacks and commentary, making for an easy, nostalgic date night.

9. Get your karaoke on

If you can’t seem to stay in your seat while watching music videos, go ahead and become the performer. Set up your living room for a night of belting out your favorite tunes. You can buy a karaoke mic, download a karaoke app, or just YouTube some sing-along versions of your fave songs. (Psst: If you’re stuck on which ballads are the best to belt, we’ve rounded up the top karaoke songs—YW!) Prepare for a lot of laughter and more than a few off-key duets.

10. Dance! Dance! Dance!

Whether you watch a salsa tutorial, grind to the nostalgic jams from your youth, or throw on a literal prom dress and sway to some R&B, a night of dancing with your boo is top-notch romantic. Cue up a playlist, create a dance floor in your living room, and let loose. The best part? No chaperones making sure you keep things at arm’s length.

11. Plan a fantasy getaway

In a dream world, we’d all just jump in a private jet for date night. But hi, not always an option. That doesn’t mean you can’t fantasize about your ideal vacation together and detail the first two days, though. Research, create itineraries, and even set a local dining scene to match. It’s a future trip made more exciting by the shared anticipation and creativity. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end the night by actually booking that dream trip to Paris. I said who knows!!!

12. Have a virtual travel night

If booking a trip isn’t in the cards (and you don’t wanna tempt yourself), try ~traveling~ from home. “Pick a culture you both love and immerse yourself by cooking a traditional dish,” suggests Ouimet. This date night is about more than food; it’s focused on fostering a shared sense of adventure and curiosity. In addition to chowing down, watch travel vlogs, play tradition music, and even dress the part. It’s a passport-free journey that’s as much about exploring new cuisines and sights as it is about discovering each other’s wanderlust dreams.

13. Be a sports girlie

Whether you knew who Travis Kelce was BT (before Taylor) or not, sports are like, a big deal to a lot of people. Cheer for your (or your SO’s) fave team from the comfort of your couch with game-day snacks, ‘fits, and hype songs. Go team, etc!

14. Vision board together

Pull out the glue sticks + magazines and look forward to your future by creating vision boards, Ouimet suggests. “Mapping out your dreams and goals for the next year can be a powerful way to align your future aspirations,” she says. Not only is it a visual representation of your goals, dreams, and shared aspirations, but it’s also a beautiful (re: crafty!) way to see into each other’s hopes and dreams.

15. Host a PowerPoint night

If you haven’t yet hosted a PowerPoint night, consider this an order to do so. Basically, you each pick topics you’re passionate about and make a whole presentation complete with slides, laser pointers, and prepared talking points. From “Why my pet is the best” to “Places I want to kiss you,” it’s about sharing interests and a good laugh over creative slideshows.

16. Pick up a new hobby together

Having a shared hobby is a really fun and organic way to keep the spark alive. Brainstorm a list of activities you’d like to try—from knitting to taking up a new language to finally nailing “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder—then go forth and dominate together. It’s about the challenge, the joy of learning, and supporting each other through the inevitable bloopers along the way.

17. Sync your cals

Maybe this is my Enneagram 6 showing, but IMHO there’s nothing more romantic than syncing calendars. It’s basically saying, “I want you to know everything I’m doing so we can spend our free time together.” Cute, no? Whether you set something up via Google or go out all with a fancy Skylight Calendar, you can hang in your shared space, it’s not true love until you’re getting notifications for each other’s teeth cleanings.

18. Watch the sunrise or sunset

Dates don’t always have to start at cocktail hour. Plan something special around watching the sunset or sunrise from a prime location in your home, balcony, or garden. Prepare some snacks and drinks, and enjoy the quiet moments together, reflecting on your day or setting intentions for what’s ahead.

19. Have an interactive storytelling night

Transform an evening into an interactive storytelling adventure where you both contribute to telling a story. Start by setting the scene and characters, then take turns adding twists, conflicts, and resolutions. For added fun, use story dice or prompt cards to inspire plot points. This activity not only sparks creativity but also fosters a unique connection as you build a world together from your imaginations.

20. Have a reading night

If making up a story on the spot sounds a little too hands-on, have a simple reading night instead. Light a fight (or cue one up on Netflix), select a novel, and take turns reading the chapters to each other aloud. You can also just grab your own books and cuddle up under a blanket together, enjoying your own literary journeys side-by-side. It’s not only cute, but it’s just about as low-key and low-lift as it gets. Bless.

21. Create a time capsule

For a truly unique at-home date night, gather memorable items from your relationship, like concert tickets, photos, love letters, or small trinkets, and place them in a time capsule (shoebox works, folks). Decide on a future date to reopen it—maybe an anniversary five or ten years from now. This activity not only celebrates your past but also adds an element of anticipation for your future together. Aww, right?

22. Take your date outdoors

If you’re one of the lucky ones who have a backyard or balcony, take your date outside. Whether you’re cooking a special meal or hosting a movie night, bring it out into the fresh air and enjoy being under the stars together. Make sure to pack the food into a cute picnic basket and put your wine in an ice bucket.

23. Spend the evening in separate rooms

Although this might sound counter-intuitive, this might make it easier to talk about those topics you’d rather not look at someone when talking about. “Think about how easy it is to let down your guard and disclose things you would rarely say face-to-face when you’re getting to know someone new on the phone or through an app,” suggests Carey. Think of it as being two contestants on Love Is Blind.

24. Institute a no-touching rule

If you want to level up the intimacy, avoid touching each other throughout the evening. Find other ways to connect with each other and tease the hell out of your partner. “If you spend a few hours concentrating on exciting your partner without touching them, it’s going to get really hot when you finally let your hands and mouth take over,” says Carey.

25. Build pottery together

Buy a cute pottery kit (like the ones from Sculpd) and give it a go. Not only would it be spontaneous, but it would give you a chance to try out a new hobby. I have high hopes that it would turn out like the scene in Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. (IYKYK.)

26. Be part of a remote escape room

Turn your Friday night into a game by signing up for a virtual escape room, such as the ones provided by the Escape Game. You’ll work together, which = teamwork, and if you’re one of those competitive couples, winning will be that much sweeter.

27. Buy a dating subscription boxes

A subscription box like Date Box Club will make planning your date nights way easier. You’ll find everything you need for your night in, and you only spend a set fee each month. If that’s too PG for you though, there are also some subscription boxes specifically meant for spicing things up in the bedroom.

28. Host a game night

If you feel confident that your relationship will survive, try a game night with your partner. You can show off your competitive side, while also being fully present in your date with your person, suggests Jerry Han, chief marketing officer behind PrizeRebel.

29. Have a date night cooking show

Dan McCormick, director of partnerships and senior content strategist for Perfect Brew, suggests putting your imagination to work and pretending to be in your very own cooking show for your next date. If you have a big enough kitchen, you can both dress up in aprons, come up with a joint recipe, and document your night as you would on TV.

“You can turn what would’ve been a normal dinner into a really great bonding experience where you and your partner try new recipes, make yummy food, and have fun in the process,” suggests McCormick.

30. Learn how to make cocktails

Instead of going out to a bar, try learning how to make your favorite cocktails at home. Not only is it going to be cheaper in the long run, but it’ll be a cool party trick for when you get together with friends.

You can make things even easier by simply ordering a cocktail kit online from Cocktail Courier and letting them do all the hard work. All you need to do is get some nice cocktail glasses and make a cheese board to snack on.

31. Give back

Diane Lebson, CEO of Evergreen Philanthropic, suggests spending time with your partner either making sandwiches for the homeless or putting together care packages for those in need. “You can do these at home and use it as an opportunity to engage your partner in conversation about what causes matter to you, past experiences of engaging in charity, and projects you might engage in the future.”

32. Make your own beer

If you’re not one for cocktails, why not try your own beer-making kit? Brewvana offers all the products you need to make your own beer while also hosting a live online class to give you some tips and tricks. You can also choose to make this into a group date activity or a little one-on-one experience.

33. Do a DIY marriage retreat in a box

This DIY Retreat activity comes with two guide books, conversation starter cards, and note cards to share cute love notes with each other. It’s specifically designed to improve your communication, share your commitment with each other, and simply get to know each other all over again. People change and your relationship should evolve with it as well.

34. Visit a virtual museum

If one of you is a total history geek and making it to your nearest museum is not an option, bring the museum to your home by setting up an interactive experience. Many museums around the world offer this experience, and you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to see some of the most inspiring pieces of art in the world.

35. Redecorate your home

Whether you live together or separately, working together to improve your living space is always a great bonding experience. Pick out some paint, supplies, order your favorite take-out, and get to rearranging your furniture.

36. Recreate your first date

Depending on what your first date looked like, you could recreate the meals you had, make the dessert you shared, or have an impromptu Spotify concert in your living room. Find a way to make your first date adaptable to an at-home setting.

37. Paint and sip

Personally, I’ve always wanted to go to a paint and sip, but the thought of showing my poor painting skills to strangers is not my thing. However, the idea doesn’t sound too shabby in the privacy of my home, with my partner, as we proceed to down bottles of our favorite wine. The best part about this idea is that you can either show off your competitive side by choosing to paint the same image or you can show off your skills by painting something that comes from the heart.

38. Stargaze

If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, take out some blankets and a few beers, and lay back to stare at the stars and moon. Bonus points if you can actually spot a few constellations or planets. Love the vibes so much? Consider turning it into a backyard camping sesh (which, yes, means camping sex is def in the cards).

39. Journal together

Journaling together might make talking about the Hard Things much, much easier. Seriously, buy a couple’s journal and fill out a few pages and prompts together. This could turn into a weekly activity.

40. Have an at-home spa day

After a long and stressful day or week, surprise your partner with an at-home spa. You can have a bath together or move things to the bedroom and give each other massages. Make sure to light up a few candles and have your favorite cocktails in hand.

Headshot of Sophia Melissa Caraballo Piñeiro

Sophia Melissa Caraballo Piñeiro

Sophia is a freelance writer based in New York City with experience in writing everything from beauty and lifestyle to health and wellness. She hails all the way from Puerto Rico and lately, you’ll find her writing stories that exhaust the Latinx voice in the United States.

Headshot of Rachel Varina

Rachel Varina is a full-time freelance writer covering everything from the best vibrators (the Lelo Sona) to the best TV shows (The Vampire Diaries). She has over 10 years of editorial experience with bylines at Women’s Health, Elite Daily, Betches, and more. She lives in Tampa, Florida, but did not feed her husband to tigers. When she’s not testing out new sex toys (100+ and counting so far!), she’s likely chilling with her dogs or eating buffalo chicken dip. Ideally at the same time. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter

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