Valentine’s Day always has a lot of potential to be an expensive holiday. Between gifts, going out to dinner and splurging on a pricey bottle of wine, the night can really start to add up. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to treat yourself and your significant other, not everyone wants to dip too deeply into their wallet on February 14. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly way of celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, here are a few ideas to think about.
Plan an Indoor Picnic
Snagging a seat at your restaurant of choice on Valentine’s Day can be tough so instead of scrambling to find the ideal table for two, plan a romantic DIY picnic. Head to one of Toronto’s best gourmet and specialty food shops and stock up on some goodies like cheeses, olives, bread, local preserves and whatever else you think will round out the meal. Add a well-priced bottle of wine and you’re all set to have a cozy night in with some delicious food and drink – minus the hefty price tag.
Alternatively, if you’d rather celebrate with some of your favorite people, coupled or otherwise, plan a Valentine’s Day potluck wherein everyone brings their favorite dish and drink of choice.
Learn About Beer on a Brewery Tour
If you and your Valentine enjoy tossing back a pint here and there, you can head to Amsterdam Brewhouse on the 14th for a brewery tour. The free tours happen on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include a tasting. Just remember to sign up for a spot in advance to make sure you’re not disappointed.
Check Out Some Free Art
There’s always something going on at the Power Plant, a gallery dedicated to contemporary visual art located at Harbourfront Centre – and the best part is, checking out the exhibits is always free. Exhibitions are always unique and rotate regularly. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Combine your visit with some time exploring Toronto’s waterfront (weather permitting).
Play Some Board Games – Loser Has to Buy Drinks or Coffee
Toronto’s interest in board games is so far not waning. In fact, bars and cafes dedicated to board game culture continue to thrive. So if you and your Valentine are feeling a bit competitive, spend the evening with your favorite games. There are plenty of options when it comes to where to play, including Castle Board Game Café, Snakes and Lattes (which has two locations), For the Win Café and A-Game Café. Up the stakes by having the loser be responsible for drinks or dinner afterward.
Take a Winter Island Getaway
Toronto Islands aren’t just a spring and summer destination. So long as the weather is fairly cooperative (as in, there’s no mega wind chill or a massive blizzard), bundle up and take the ferry (a mere $7) across to the Islands for a fun, budget-friendly Valentine’s Day. While there’s not as much to do during the winter as there is in the warmer months, you can still enjoy an outdoor escape minus the crowds you’d see in the summer. Active couples can spend some time cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
If you need to warm up or fuel up, The Rectory Café on Ward’s Island is open year round, Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Just note that the kitchen closes 30 minutes prior to the café closing.