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10 Casual Valentine's Day date ideas

Julie Kraut is a freelance writer and the author of Slept Away and Hot Mess. Visit JulieKraut.com for more.




Take it easy on Valentine's Day

Flowers. Chocolates. Planning. Expensive. Conversation hearts. These are the words most associate with Valentine's Day. But maybe this year, that's not what you're thinking for Valentine's Day. You might be in a new relationship and grand gestures could be overkill on a third date. Maybe the recession is making big time spending impossible. Or you're just in a casual state of mind. Whatever the reason, it's fine to go a little counter-culture and keep it low-key this V-Day. Here are some ideas that aren't over-the-top romantic, but are still fun ways to spend time with your honey this Valentine's Day.

Couple on dateDive bar

Find the grungiest dive bar with the wateriest beer and most acerbic regulars and saddle up on a stool next to your sweetie. It doesn't scream romance, but really, even if it did, could you hear it over the blaring Johnny Cash?

Bowling

Hit up your local bowling lanes for a relaxed night of active fun. Place bets on who wins or who gets the first strike and feel free to get a little frisky with the stakes! (What? Casual doesn't mean boring.)

Karaoke

Sing your heart out at karaoke and prevent any Valentine cheese factor by forbidding love songs. Break up songs really are the best for belting anyway. I will survive...

Dinner at home

Keep it really laid-back with a home cooked meal. And we don't mean the candlelit, highfalutin kind of meal. Make something the opposite of romantic, like sloppy Joes, to keep the night casual.

Gruesome movie

There's nothing like a horror movie to take your mind of the pressure of mandatory romance. Go to the theatres or rent an old favorite and watch the gore unfold from behind your fingers.

Open mic night

Amateur night at a comedy club or music venue is guaranteed to be full of surprises. You could see some real talent or you might need to make an early exit. Research cheap eats in the area just in case you need to flee.

Hiking

Take a walk somewhere gorgeous. While there are opportunities for this to err on the side of romance with spectacular views and picnic potential, the sweat factor will keep it casual.

Bar trivia

You can find bar trivia almost any night of the week and it's a super fun way to spend an evening. And who knows, you might even win a prize of 15% off a future tab at that bar. So your next date is planned.

Gym date

Getting together to work out kills two birds with one stone. Since this is Valentine's Day, try to get bikes next to each other during spin class or do your cool down stretches on the same mat.

Dinner al Tivo

For the ultimate in unfussy together time, get some take out and take in all of those back episodes of 30 Rock on your DVR. Ending the night with a box of Russell Stover chocolates would be a perfect touch.

Keep it casual this Valentine's Day. After all, cupid only wears a diaper, so how fancy is this holiday really?

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