By now you probably have a stream of go-to date night ideas: Dinner at your favourite restaurant, enjoying cocktails at a near by bar, and Netflix and chill for those times you don't quite feel like leaving the house.
But sometimes, branding outside of you usual one-on-one routines can make a positive impact on your relationship.
"Its easy to fall into a rut, and inturn to simply take your partner for granted," says licensed clinical psycologist Ramani Durvasula, phD, author of Should I Stay of Should I Go? "By mixing it up, the relationship remains interesting and you continue to discover new things about your partner."
Of course, wanting to try some new dates together and actually coming up with the ideas are totally different things. And really, who has time for that? So, we consulted relationship therapists for their ideas. Here are 30 fun things for couples to do together - and take their relationship to new romantic levels.
1. Check out a new neighborhood together
You probably know your area pretty well, but it’s easy to bypass the neighborhoods around you. Check out the local coffee shop in the next town over, and take some time to just explore. “It may even inspire you to think about the future, perhaps moving to a different neighborhood down the road,” Durvasula says.
2. Plan a themed dinner
Think: Make French food, drink French wine, and watch a French movie together. “Creating novel fun together can bring out some of the higher aspects in your relationship,” says licensed family therapist David Klow, owner of Skylight Counseling Center in Chicago and author of You Are Not Crazy: Letters from Your Therapist.
3. Do a concert challenge
Here’s how it works: You each buy tickets to a show you want to see (just make sure it’s for different nights), and accompany each other to the concert of your choice. “This is a great one because it ensures both parties get to hear their favourites, but also gives the other insights about their partner,” Durvasula says. “It may even lead them to share old memories.”
4. Create a dessert sampler
You can do this with apps, entrees, or whatever you like—it’s just an easy way to try new things and spend less than you would at a restaurant. “Indulging in new experiences can create a shared sense of enjoyment,” Klow says.
5. Go see a play
If you both love to go to the movies, a play could be a good way to mix things up. “Art of any sort has the chance to be inspiring,” Klow says.
6. Have a cocktail date at home
Get dressed up like you would if you were going out, but make the drinks at home. “You don't always have to go out to create a date night,” Klow says.
7. Try a new workout class together
8. Sit and watch the stars come out
It’s so simple and anyone can do it. “It works at any budget and is deeply romantic,” Durvasula says. You can even have conversations about what you’d wish for if you spotted a shooting star. And even if you live in a city, staring at the moon and taking in the evening sights can be a good time to de-stress and unwind together.
9. Visit a museum together
When was the last time you did this together? Find a cool exhibit that you’re both into, and spend some solid time exploring new art together. “Regularly enjoying art and culture helps ground your relationship in mutually nourishing experiences,” Klow says.
10. Dole out massages
You can do this right now: Get fancy essential oils, slip into some skimpy clothes, and take turns, well, feeling each other up. “Always a winner,” Durvasula says.
11. Hit up an amusement park
There’s zero reason not to go to an amusement park when you’re an adult, especially since it can bring some serious excitement to your relationship. “It can be childlike fun, which makes the world seem more manageable,” Durvasula says.
12. Bake a cake for a reason only you both know
You could do this just because you want to, or you could do it to celebrate a fun milestone in your relationship that only the two of you know, like the anniversary of the first time you had sex. “It’s just something fun,” Durvasula says.
13. Have a board game night
Stock up on the classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Connect Four, and spend the night just playing games. “Games are a great way to connect,” Klow says. You can even spice up the stakes, like the winner gets a favor from the runner-up. Who's doing dishes for a week?
14. Buy tickets to a sports game in a different city
If you both love sports, try scoring some tickets to a game someplace far from home. You can make a whole weekend of it, and spend your non-game time exploring. “Travel can be the ultimate therapy,” Klow says.
15. Try to recreate each other’s favorite childhood dishes
Obviously, this only works if you both had good dishes during your childhoods, but it can lead to some story-swapping from when you were kids. “This is sweet and can be a nice way to share memories,” Durvasula says.
16. Create your own little book club for two
If you both love to read, you can make your own intimate book club. Take turns picking and then have a “meeting” once a month or so to talk about the book. “Reading a book together can be a lovely experience,” Klow says.
17. Blind taste-test wines at home
Grab a few wines from different local liquor stores, cover up the labels, and see which one you like best, based on taste alone. It’s just straight-up fun and a great way to try something new together, Klow says.
18. Pick a random spot on a map and go there together
Pack your favorite snacks and make a whole outing of it. “The randomness of this plan can keep things exciting,” Klow says. (Just have a plan B location in case the place turns out to be not quite what you hoped.)
19. Go offline and wireless for the night
That means no TV, no Internet, no phones—just the two of you, hanging out. “See if you can do something other than have sex,” Durvasula says. “It would be a great way to have a deeper conversation and laugh together.”
20. Go camping
Escape the rest of the world for a weekend and enjoy the outdoors—just the two of you. Pack your favourite foods, find a park you’ve always wanted to visit, and rent some kayaks. You’ll both have to put in some effort to solve problems and keep the conversation flowing.
21. Watch each other’s favourite TV show
You probably have the shows you want to watch alone, but take a night or two to watch each other’s favourites. “It gets at the fine art of compromise,” Durvasula says. “You may be surprised if one of you becomes a convert.” Plus, if you realise you’re just not into each other’s TV taste, it's no harm, no foul.
22. Create a mini garden together
You can try this whether it’s warm or cold out. If it’s warm out, go nuts designing and planting a little garden together; if it’s colder, you can pot herbs and watch them grow. Crank up some laid-back music, open up some beers, and get your hands dirty. “Gardening is a great way to connect to the natural world and to one another,” Klow says.
23. Take a pottery or painting class together
Or really, any kind of artsy class. Trying something new and artistic “can spark creativity in the relationship,” Klow says.
24. Go on a pizza crawl
Every area has at least a few options for pizza, so hit up all the spots near you. Split a slice at each place and rate them. “It can be a nice evening out, open you up to new places, and push you out of your comfort zone,” Durvasula says.
25. Have a picnic in the park
Want to escape the buzz of a hectic week? Spend some time packing your favorite snacks and drinks and head out to the park for a picnic. Better yet, go to a park you’ve never been to before to explore a new green space together.
26. Have a random gift challenge
Think of it like a white elephant for two. Challenge each other to find the coolest, most random gift on Amazon for under $5 and then have a gift swap “party” to unveil your presents. “It’s very fun, and everyone likes getting gifts,” Durvasula says. “It also takes the pressure out of gift giving in terms of money and getting it ‘just right,’” Durvasula adds.
27. Take a hike
If workout classes aren’t your thing, try going for a hike instead. Pick a place with a stunning view if you really want to make the experience extra memorable. This way you’re both working toward a common goal, and can push each other if the climb gets tough.
28. Make a list of the holidays you want to book
If you’re in a new relationship, maybe skip this one. But if you’ve been together for a long time (and plan to stay that way), grab a few travel magazines and mark down places that you want to visit some day. “Anything aspirational—vacation, what you want to do when you retire, dream homes—can help with thinking about a future together and pull you out of your head in the present,” Durvasula says.
29. Teach each other a new hobby
Does he love playing pool? Do you love painting? Take a night to teach each other your favorite hobby. This is great if your partner has never even attempted it, because they will see you in your own element. Teaching and learning together will also bring you that much closer, especially if you’re patient and goofy with one another.
30. Have sex!
No excuse needed! Feel like you want to spice things up? Try these 10 tips to make the missionary position even better.
This article originally appeared on Prevention US.