For this Valentine’s Day, more than in most years, an intimate couples’ evening at home is an appropriate way to celebrate. In the past, February 14 probably meant a special restaurant dinner, a show, or film at a local theater. For many of us, it has now been transformed into a stay-at-home event. Really not a bad way to celebrate togetherness.
The availability and range of virtual experiences, classes, and programming has increased over the past year with most of us spending more time at home. For Valentine’s Day, something a bit more special than a Netflix show or movie re-run is in order.
We’ve gathered a selection of things to do, some to observe together, others to learn something new as a couple, and a few interactive choices that will invite someone else—virtually—to join you for a while. A few of these ideas might help you fill other evenings as well. Find one or two to get started, and you might refer back to this list again and again.
Take a one-hour tour with a local expert who will introduce you to the creation of Champagne—its history, geography, and the region in France that produces the popular sparkling beverage. You’ll see the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims and Champagne Avenue in Epernay, a virtual visit to France. As an option, order a bottle or two of Champagne to accompany your tour.
From 100 Euros, plus cost of optional Champagne.
Meryl Feinstein of Pasta Social Club offers private interactive virtual classes on how to make the dough and shape pasta. She provides a list of ingredients and kitchen items in advance and works with her guests to create the pasta. Participants finish their dishes on their own with their choice of sauce. (Ms. Feinstein provides recommendations, and her website has a wonderful selection of recipes.)
From $95 for a private (one device) event. Book through website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top Chef runner-up and head chef of Freight House in Paducah, Kentucky, Sara Bradley offers private virtual cooking classes. Participants can choose the time, topic, and skill level or add a cocktail experience. Her scheduled classes include dishes like fried chicken, rib roast, and her famous biscuits. She also offers a happy hour cocktail class where guests create syrups and learn about ingredients, techniques, and garnishes.
Scheduled classes from $35; private classes as quoted.
Everyone could use a bit of relaxation in their life right about now but it gets tricky to socially distance in a spa. But Exhale Spa came up with an ideal solution: the at-home virtual facial. After booking your appointment, you receive a 15-minute phone consultation from an esthetician to address any skin care needs. They'll then send you customized products and book you for your virtual consultation that includes guided instructions to follow.
Prepare a three-course meal: Panzanella Salad, Fettuccine with Lemon Cream Sauce, and Tiramisu. Italy-trained chef Chris guides guests through the fully interactive two-hour class, answering questions and providing cooking tips along the way. Guests receive the recipe and order ingredients in advance of the class. To end the romantic evening, a live concert is sung by a professional opera singer.
From $49 per device, plus cost of ingredients (private classes available).
A cheese expert from Murray’s, a 75-year old New York establishment with locations in Manhattan's Greenwich Village and Grand Central terminal, guides guests through a tasting of four premium cheeses and four specially paired accompaniments. An experience and an education, the class is made for elite entertaining. The cheese expert will answer questions and discuss pairing principles for the tastiest experience.
From $130 per person, includes ingredients to be provided before the event.
While you might feel that chocolate needs no introduction, there’s a surprising amount to learn about what makes one chocolate “fine” and another just “standard.” Find out how to identify flavors and compare a variety of chocolates as you pick up details about chocolate. Tasting kits are shipped to arrive before the class, each containing full chocolate bars and enough for a couple to enjoy for days after the class. Other class options include cheese boards and tinned seafood.
From $100 per class, including tasting kits.
This menu, one of many international menu options offered by Cuiline, serves two and takes about 3 hours for the live online cooking lesson. Chef Andrea, who runs a cooking school in Trastevere, Rome, guides you through the class. Pre-measured pantry items are sent in advance of the class along with a list of fresh ingredients needed.
From $185 per class, including select ingredients for two people with option to add for more and a Zoom connection for up to 4 people.
Suzanne Henricksen, founder of The Crafty Cask, will customize virtual events for as few as two or as many as 100. Classes on wine tasting, cocktail mixology, or the alcoholic spirit of your choice are available. Sensory experiences focused on a specific type of alcohol can help guests better understand their own tastes and sensory skills in an interactive game-play format.
Prices vary, and supplies can be ordered in advance of the event.
Make cocktails like a fancy bartender with this fun, interactive. You’ll make classic cocktails, pitcher cocktails, mocktails, and even special libations for parties, like color-changing drinks. Learn about garnishes and pick up additional tips through video tutorials.
Private class from $349.
For a virtual wine tasting, BottlesNation will arrange sessions for as few as two guests. They organize, plan, and send the wines to be tasted in advance of the meeting. Four bottles of wine are included, and participants can choose a selection at $85, $150, or $200 per person depending on the price level of the wines to be tasted. The fee includes a guided one hour tasting with one of their experts. Craft beer and whiskey tastings are also available.
Flat event fee of $250 for one to four participants, plus the cost of wine.
Buffalo Trace Distillery is inviting couples to visit and learn about their traditions virtually with a special “Virtual Tour with Trivia'' game that can be played online or on a phone or tablet. They can go behind the scenes of bourbon-making from grain to bottle and test their knowledge along the way. Sipping some bourbon while watching would be perfect.
This is a free event.
In this private workshop, couples work together to create a two-canvas masterpiece. Each partner paints one side with guidance from the instructor.
Price upon request.
You may not be able to travel to New York City, but you can enjoy one of its greatest museums together. Six short videos let you visit virtually and explore some of the Museum’s iconic spaces, in perhaps an even better way than being there in person. The Met 360° Project allows you to see the Great Hall, Temple of Dendur, the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, and more. You might find yourself exploring additional interactive exhibits, getting closer to the works of art than the ever-present museum guards would permit.
There is no cost for a virtual visit.
It may not be the time to visit one of America’s most beautiful and popular national parks, but you can explore as you wish on Virtual Yosemite, an interactive VR tour of the park and surrounding areas. Best experienced on a large screen like a computer monitor or high resolution television, the tour allows you to zoom in to view portions of any scene in detail.
There is no cost for a virtual visit.
Used by some of the world's leading spas, this VR technology provides a relaxing escape to some of the world's most beautiful destinations. This guided VR experience helps you and your partner relax while trekking through forests, beaches, and coastal regions. All you need is a VR set and you can download the app for free.
Oculus VR Headset starting at $299, Guided Meditation VR App is Free
For a bit of friendly competition and amusement, couples can play trivia together. See who can answer first just for fun and bragging rights. Perhaps learn a few things along the way. If that sounds like an enjoyable way to spend some together time, try this “Random Trivia Generator.”
This event is free.