A Single’s Guide to Valentine’s Day: 6 Ways to Have Fun

It’s finally here: Valentine’s Day, a seemingly endless brouhaha over flowers, chocolates, and romantic dates. Some singles may lament that Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, because wanting to unwind from the workweek, they find restaurants and bars infiltrated with couples celebrating love. But the holiday is so formulaic that it is easy to avoid the crush of couples and still have a good time. So for all you single folks out there, you could wallow in being single or you could try out one of these six options instead.

Image Credit: Colleen Casey

Source: Colleen Casey

1. Go out to dinner

Just avoid any restaurant that sounds French, romantic, expensive, or any other setting where a typical Valentine’s Day date would occur. As diners prepare to pair off in cozy booths, gather your fellow single friends for a night out at all of the other establishments and cuisines that don’t cater to couples. Dates are less likely to select restaurants serving food in a family style format, tapas, or buffet. Also likely to still have space? Burger joints, Mexican restaurants (tequila is so not Valentine’s Day material), and any place that prides itself on chicken wings (which no one eats in a romantic manner) will hopefully be roomier than the downtown bistro and a much better place to spend Valentine’s Day with friends or family.

2. Catch a show or head to an event

Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean the world stops spinning. Concerts, shows, movies, and other events will still take place, and not all will have lovey dovey overtones. Should you avoid the romantic comedy or Michael Bublé-esque singer? Probably, unless you don’t mind being subjected to dozens of people on dates surrounding you all evening.

Cities are even catering to the single crowd on Valentine’s Day now, using the theme to draw people in. An art show taking place on Saturday in Seattle is called the “Loves Me Not — an Anti-Valentine’s Day Celebration.” Washington, D.C., has a slew of options specifically meant for the non-Valentine crowd, as does Los Angeles, Austin, towns that have the Howl at the Moon piano bar, and probably most major U.S. cities.

3. Host a movie night

If you have a craving for romantic comedies, it is best to indulge in a marathon at home on Valentine’s Day. A night full of eye candy never hurt anyone, and it’s a great excuse for inviting over a group of friends. Sappy love stories may be too much to take, but there are many other fish in the movie sea. Action, adventure, and horror movies will keep your mind from straying to thoughts of the single life.

You can even bust out the booze with a movie-themed drinking game – Alcohollywood has dozens of ideas on this front. If you and your guests plan on tipping a few or more back, have the couch ready in case anyone needs to crash. Alcohol alone shouldn’t have to sustain a movie marathon, so stack up on theater-style snacks, too. Jack up your popcorn by giving it a peanut butter flavor, chocolate, caramel, or pad thai.

4. Throw a party

Of course, movies aren’t the only reason to host your single pals. Whether you want to take a stance against the holiday with an anti-Valentine’s Day party or completely eschew the matter by embracing an ’80s theme, the choice is yours. Like any other option, what matters is that you’re celebrating — or not celebrating — the day how you want to, regardless of what the day “should” be.

For anyone sticking with the anti-Valentine’s Day idea, there are endless variations of appetizers, drinks, and desserts that gently mock being single on the holiday. Serious Eats rounded up eight “bitter” cocktails, or you could pucker up to a Sweet Heart Sour. For broken-hearted sugar cookies, follow this recipe using heart-shaped cookie cutters to form the cookie. After they have baked and cooled, break in half (or into as many pieces as you’d like) and decorate. You can also take out any aggression by shooting a toothpick skewer through heart-shaped meatballs.

5. Embrace your inner child

Remember when Valentine’s Day meant heart-printed sweaters and a class party involving punch and swapping chocolate? No, this isn’t a recommendation to craft a shoebox card holder. Instead, embrace your kid self by finding a way to shirk responsibility (just like how you got out of afternoon classes). One “kid-friendly” way to do this is to head to an arcade, or bar with games galore. Dave & Busters has made this a popular idea, and your town may have another option for a dose of nostalgia with a side of alcohol.

6. Treat yourself

One place that is almost a surefire bet to be free of paired-off partnerships is the mall or any other shopping-centered area. As such, that makes it a retreat for anyone who is single on February 14, as well as an equally great opportunity to engage in retail therapy. For therapy of a different kind, seek out a spa. You can stay sheltered in seclusion while getting some much needed R&R. Combine the best of both worlds by picking up takeout, slathering on a mud mask, and shopping from the comfort of your couch.

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