9 Experience Gifts for Valentine’s Day That Put Flowers to Shame

Valentine’s Day Experience Gifts That Are Better Than Flowers and Chocolate

A bouquet of roses will wither, a box of chocolates will be devoured and a piece of jewelry can go out of style. Fellas, if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift that lasts a lifetime, you truly can’t beat an experience. There’s a slew of reasons why an experience gift is ideal for shaking things up. 

For one, it doubles as a bonding opportunity for you and your partner, allowing you to learn new things about each other and make new meaningful memories together. Not only that, but trying something new can push you out of your comfort zones as a couple — which, let’s be honest, is key to keeping things interesting in a long-term relationship. 

RELATED: From 1 Month to 1 Year: Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Every Phase of Dating

The keyword here is novelty. A 2000 study in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” revealed that couples who engage in fun activities together that are outside of the “norm” for them (something other than dinner out or a Netflix binge session), are more likely to report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. 

Lucky for you, there are countless experiences that would make killer V-Day gifts. All it comes down to is factoring in your partner’s specific passions, interests and preferences. For example, a museum tour would make the perfect gift for an art buff, while an annual pass to the United States National Parks is fitting for an outdoorsy type.

Need some inspiration? Here’s a handful of experience gifts that are guaranteed to re-ignite the spark this Valentine’s Day.

Escape RoomGettyImages

Are you and your partner the competitive type? Consider looking into one of the thousands of reality game experiences that have popped up all over the country. Here’s the gist: You and your partner-in-crime have to manipulate objects in your surroundings to achieve a goal and escape the room within a designated amount of time. There’s something inherently thrilling about trying to conquer these challenges before time runs out, and you’ll no doubt grow closer while collaborating on a common goal. Plus, the rush you get when you win is unbeatable. To find one near you, just Google your city with the search term “escape rooms.”

Cozymeal Cooking ClassGettyImages

Whether you’re foodies who just appreciate a quality home-cooked meal or novice chefs who are seeking to enhance your skills in the kitchen,  a cooking class is a fun alternative to dining out. Not only will you leave with new recipes to remake at home, but the dishes will no doubt taste even better given that you made them yourselves. Cozymeal offers a range of cooking classes in cities all over the U.S. Some of the classes take place at the chef’s kitchen, but in some cases, you can opt to have the chef lead the class in your own home for maximum convenience. 

From traditional Italian and gluten-free Indian to Asian street food, there’s a wide variety of cuisines to choose from, and chefs can accommodate most dietary needs as well. Scope out the menus and book your class ahead of time, or you can buy a gift card and choose a class together at a later date. Most of the chefs allow you to BYO libations, so if the class permits, don’t forget to snag a bottle of wine to share while the chef coaches you through the steps. 

sofar sounds

What could possibly be a better gift for the music fan in your life than a secret concert in an intimate setting? Sofar Sounds transforms unlikely spaces (like yoga studios, skate parks, rooftops and boxing rings) into live music venues, where guests get to check out a few different indie acts. They host gigs in hundreds of cities around the world, and you can check out the nearest shows on their website.  

Most Sofar shows are a lottery, so you have to apply for tickets a week before the event, and wait to hear via email if you’ve been invited. If you’d prefer to let your partner pick the date, you can also gift them two tickets to use whenever they please. You won’t know who’s playing until you arrive at the venue, but that’s the fun of the Sofar experience. And who knows? You just may discover some local acts that blow you both away. 

MasterClassGettyImages

If your partner is all about self-improvement, Masterclass is the ultimate gift of education. Collect some cooking tips and tricks from Gordon Ramsay, delve into the world of jazz with Herbie Hancock, or take guitar lessons from Carlos Santana. From filmmaking, acting, and music production, to poker strategy and photography, the possibilities are endless for picking up new skills via online videos and supplemental materials. You can either choose a single class to take together or purchase an all-access pass to keep the learning going all year long.

Vinebox Wine TastingGettyImages

What’s better than going out for a wine tasting? Hosting one in the comfort of your own home. Vinebox allows you to do just that — their mail-order personalized flights emulate the experience of a professional class. First, you’ll take a quiz to help Vinebox select wines that best suit their preferences. Each shipment includes a series of nine high-end wines in single-serving vials that you can sniff, swirl, and sip your way through together, using the tasting notes and pairing suggestions to enhance the learning experience.  It’s a great way to expand your palette together, and perhaps even discover a few new go-to varietals. And if you find a wine you both love, you can purchase a full-size bottle.

Cloud 9 Living Date NightGettyImages

Not sure what experience to gift your partner? Let them choose their own adventure with Cloud 9 Living’s Date Night Collection. Simply choose your city, snag a gift card and your partner will get to pick from a plethora of top-rated itineraries, ranging from bike tours and Sunday brunch cruises to glass-blowing classes and indoor skydiving sessions.

A City Scavenger HuntGettyImages

There’s hardly a better way to reconnect while simultaneously satisfying your sense of adventure than with a scavenger hunt via Let’s Roam. You’re bound to stumble upon a few scenic spots you’ve never seen in your home city, and it goes without saying that there will be countless photo ops along the way. As an added bonus, you have the option to pause the hunt at any time if you want to pop into a bar for a quick bite or beverage. When you’re buying your pair of tickets for a single hunt, be sure to add the “Date Upgrade” to boost the romance factor. 

Plant NiteGettyImages

Move over, Paint Nite, there’s a new boozy class in town — and you don’t need to have a green thumb to enjoy arranging Instagram-worthy succulent terrariums. Did we mention that you can down a drink or three to help get the creative juices flowing? Best of all, you’ll have a souvenir to take home as a reminder of your shared experience. Scope out The Sipping Plant and Yaymaker to find a Plant Nite near you.

Couple taking dance lessonsGettyImages

Sometimes, the best way to bond is by getting physical — like through the many dance classes offered by Xperience Days. Don’t stress if you have two left feet, because a private instructor will coach you through the basics of your dance style of choice step by step, whether you’re eager to learn salsa, tango or something else entirely. It’s a win-win, gentlemen: She’ll feel like she’s living out her “Dirty Dancing” fantasies, and you’ll feel like a boss busting out some new moves next time you’re out on the town or at a wedding.

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