Planning a date night in Rochester is easy when you have lists of winter events and local summer attractions. The city is teeming with top eateries, hang-out spots, and nearby couples activities that showcase Rochester’s artistic streak.
But what about the introverts who prefer staying in?
We’ve compiled a list of at-home date night ideas to help you elevate Netflix and Chill into something a little more special! This guide is great for renters who love enjoying their apartment home and those who just want to spend quality time at home with their loved one.
Have a partner but need a room? Explore Doud’s available two-bedroom apartments to find your next home!
How to Build Your Own Stay-In Date Night Ideas
Before we get into our list, it’s important to note the main components of an at-home date night. What separates an average night in and a date night is the effort you put into the event. After all, dining at a restaurant while dressed up and eating at home are ways to enjoy a meal, but the mindset between the two is different.
You should consider:
- The Atmosphere – It goes without saying that your apartment should be tidy to put your best foot forward. From there, set the mood by investing in soft, warm lighting and the right Spotify playlist. Then, dress for the occasion.
- The Activity – What are you going to do together? The activity can be whatever you want it to be. But there should be a clear activity, even if it’s as simple as making coffee together or as complex as building Ikea furniture.
- The Connection – The whole point of having a date is to get to know your partner better. For some people, that means hanging out and reacting to the same things (date night movies, anyone?). For others, it’s a good idea to have 2–3 conversation starters to see each other’s perspectives.
- The Food – Eating together can build intimacy. Not to mention, full stomachs keep the “hangry” feelings away! Cook together or order take-out from your favorite Rochester restaurants.
If you need inspiration, Happily offers several on-demand date night inspiration packs. Some of our favorites include making tortillas and enchiladas by hand while learning basic Spanish phrases and testing our baseball trivia at a “night at the stadium.” When done, scroll through their flirty conversation starters to continue the fun!
Of course, the best dates are familiar but a bit unexpected! Try some of our suggestions below to inspire your Valentines at home ideas!
Test Your Partner’s Make-Up Skills at the Spa
Every at-home date night ideas list includes a spa day. And, we get it, exfoliating your skin and treating yourself to facial masks is a perfect way to practice self-care while bonding with your partner. Soak in a bubble bath, massage your partner with scented oils, place cucumbers over your eyes—it’s all part of the package.
But for a real twist, try adding make-up! Some ideas:
- Do a manicure treatment and paint each other’s nails
- Use colored eyeliner pencils to draw temporary tattoos
- Follow a YouTube beauty guru challenge (“My Boyfriend Does My Make-Up,” anyone?)
- Try creative, adventurous looks that only make sense in the safety of your home
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing night of conversation or prefer the creative energy that comes with new make-up, this salon-meets-spa night is sure to entertain!
Elevate Your Date-Night Movies and Take-Out
For a low-effort but high-reward date, shake up your average movie night! Pick up to-go orders from 2–3 restaurants of your choice. We recommend picking restaurants you’ve always wanted to try or going to your favorite restaurants but choosing dishes you’ve never had.
Many local Rochester restaurants have daily and seasonal specials, so you’re bound to find something exciting to try. You can’t go wrong with anything on Roc City Mag’s Best of Rochester: Food list.
Our favorites include:
Bond Over a Game Night
What better way to get to know someone than a little friendly competition? Classic games like Scrabble, Connect Four, Uno, and Taboo are easy fun. But you could also try new games such as CULTivate, Anomia, and Sushi Go.
Video games on console or PC also offer a wealth of collaborative and competitive games. Mario Party and Mario Kart are tried-and-true games with amicable competition. Portal 2 is a humorous puzzle-solving game that requires cooperation.
Finally, there are several story-based games that are great for back-seat gamers! We suggest Oxenfree, Life Is Strange, and the wildly popular horror game Until Dawn. These role-playing games allow you to debate your choices and see how you’d react in similar situations.
Cook a Gourmet Meal Together
Cooking is an expression of love. It’s a tangible product of your time, efforts, and affections for your partner. And it’s also an affirming feeling knowing that you can feed yourself and others!
You don’t have to make something complicated to have fun. Instead, stick to simple recipes that hit the right notes or try something you’ve never made before. To create a well-balanced menu, incorporate elements like an acidic, bitter salad with a saucy main.
We recommend erring on the lighter side for portions and flavors so that you have energy for… the rest of the night!
Some easy recipes include:
- Steamed mussels with olive oil toast
- Lemony roasted chicken with carrots
- Brown butter salmon with dill
- Wedge salad (bleu cheese optional, tomatoes not!)
- Roasted asparagus
- 5-minute mocha pots
Prefer to keep it simple? Have an indoor picnic with a charcuterie board, appetizers, and dips that you can pick at. Treat it like a taste test where you each pick out meats, tinned fish, and vegetables that you’ve never tried before and rate them to see your favorites!
Get Creative Together With Crafts
You’ve probably heard of sip and paint (where you drink wine and follow a tutorial to paint a picture). But there are plenty of arts and craft ideas that allow you to practice your creativity with your partner! You’re learning a new skill, creating functional art that you can display in your home, and are forming positive memories with a loved one—it’s a win-win!
If you’re a beginner to a craft, you can purchase starter kits to minimize material waste. Our favorite date-night activities include:
Our activities are beginner-friendly and pretty low-stakes, making them ideal for a stay-in date night. For more advanced kits, try taking a class at the Brainery! They connect local artists of all disciplines with the community to guide people through crafting their own custom pieces.
Learn the Choreography of a Music Video
Yes, this could easily be a “create a concert” night where you cast your favorite concert on the TV, wear merch, and sing along to your hits. And that would be fun, do doubt. But, in the words of Dua Lipa, “Let’s get physical!”
There’s something about capturing the magic of being a teenager and learning the choreography to the latest MTV music video with your best friend. In the age of viral TikToks and intensive K-Pop dance challenges, that’s become more fun than ever!
Try dancing to your favorite tracks and film the results. Even if you don’t post the dance, you’ll at least have a memento you can share with your partner between inside jokes!
Get Excited About Date Night Again
A cozy night in doesn’t have to be boring. Rethink at-home date night ideas by taking something familiar and giving it a twist! At the end of the day, you’re just trying to spend quality time with your partner in a casual setting. Cooking food, doing crafts, and practicing self-care are just activities to enhance your romantic bond!
If you’re shopping for your next home with your partner, check out our two-bedroom apartments to learn why renters love Doud!