Dammit, it’s here again. Can you even believe it? Your sweetie’s already texting you on what you’re doing next Tuesday night even though you usually just go home, watch Netflix with no pants and snack on lunch meat because you don’t feel like cooking. Congrats on another year with your honey! This year, if you want to treat your special baby boo cake, maybe do it without breaking the bank. Or maybe you’re in a new relationship that started a week ago and you’re considering ending it on February 15. Either way, we’ve given you a budget of $20 so that even if this is an awkward fourth Tinder date, you can rest easy knowing that your checking account isn’t taking a punch in the gut.
Spread your love, but not your wealth. Happy Valentine’s Day, you frugal feller.
Show them your rugged side.
Nothing is hotter than a sweaty traipse into the depths of the only slightly touched edge of wilderness with your attractive mate. The elevation has you both gasping for air and your cell phone reception is gone. The only thing left to do is share the inner workings of your soul between jagged breaths to fill the empty slicing silence of Mother Nature, the true matchmaker. Luckily, nature is free (sometimes), so you can explore intimacy with your beau and really get to know what he or she looks like at their dirtiest.
1. Go for a winter hike.
When: During park hours
Where: Check out popular winter hikes in the Denver area here.
Cost: Park admissions less than $20
What: Although the mountains have snow, that shouldn’t stop you from making a hiking trip this Valentine’s Day weekend. Get your warmest coat and boots on and explore the outdoors with your S.O.
2. Strap on snowshoes.
When: During park hours
Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park
Cost: $5 for daily rental not including park admission ($20 per vehicle)
3. Share s’mores under a full moon.
When: Saturday, February 11, 6 – 7 p.m.
Where: Standley Lake Regional Park, Westminster
What: Join a park naturalist for a full moon stroll and enjoy some s’mores under the full moon. No flashlights needed. Dress appropriately for the weather. Register here.
Show them your soft side.
If this side doesn’t exist inside of you, then on Valentine’s Day just pretend to have the soul of a kitten. Shower your lover with lots of hugs and puddles of emotion by letting them know that you too sometimes cry during those ASPCA commercials. They will feel good knowing you are a human being and cuddle you with feverish passion.
4. Kiss a puppy.
When: Saturday, February 11, 11 a.m.– 2 p.m
Where: Halcyon, a Hotel in Cherry Creek, 245 N. Columbine St., Denver
What: Visit Smooches with Pooches, a doggie kissing booth inside the lobby at Halcyon. Get your picture taken smooching an available MaxFund animal, or bring your own furry friend. For a small donation to MaxFund, you’ll walk away with a snapshot of you and your real Valentine.
5. Watch a movie.
When: Sunday, February 12
Cost: $7 per ticket
Where: UA Meadows Stadium 12, Littleton
What: Sobbing to A Dog’s Purpose and pretending you just got fake butter in your eyes.
When: Tuesday, February 14
Where: Century 16 Bel Mar, Lakewood
Cost: $5.25 per ticket
What: Sobbing to A Dog’s Purpose again and being honest about it.
6. Go to the zoo.
When: Sunday and Monday, February 12 and 13, 10 a.m.– 4 p.m.
Where: Denver Zoo
What: Unlimited lions, tigers and bears.
Teach them a new trick.
Are you a well-rounded individual? Prove it. Spice up an old relationship or excite curiosity in a new one by showing your lover what you’re good at. Or, if you’re not good at anything besides binge drinking, take a class to learn something you lazy ass.
7. Learn how to make pasta.
When: Monday, February 13, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
Where: 1818 N. Gaylord St., Denver
Cost: $10 per ticket
What: Take a class from the Denver Makers Collective on how to make delicious noodles from scratch and then take them home to eat with your lover.
8. Get on your dancing shoes.
When: Tuesday, February 14, 7 – 8 p.m.
Where: The Grizzly Rose, 5450 N. Valley Hwy, Denver
What: Get line-dancing lessons from Miss Rosalie and show your honey pie you’re light on your feet.
9. Pretend you’re good at ice skating.
When: During public skating hours.
Where: Evergreen Lake, Evergreen
Cost: $14 for two adults
What: Named one of the 10 most beautiful ice rinks in the world by CNN and Sunset Magazine, Evergreen Lake is the world’s largest Zamboni-groomed outdoor ice rink. Drink hot cocoa and sit by the fire inside the picturesque lake house after a day out on the ice. Call 720-880-1391 for ice conditions, or visit the recreation website for more information.
Note: Fireworks not scheduled for Valentine’s Day
Prove that you’re an intellectual.
Is your muffin sauce attracted to your brains? Are you sure? Writing poetry just won’t cut it anymore these days, so read an article from a credible news source that you find engaging and share it in the middle of conversation with your own insightful opinion attached to it. Your butter bunny will feel so great they scored you, and now daydream about how your future offspring together would definitely be honor roll students.
10. Sit through a Shakespeare performance. Sort of.
When: Monday, February 13, 7 – 9 p.m.
Where: Thump Coffee Capitol Hill Roastery, 1201 E. 13th Ave., Denver
11. Go see a comedy show.
When: Monday, February 13, 8 – 10 p.m.
Where: Rackhouse Pub, 2875 Blake St., Denver
Cost: $5 per ticket, includes a beer
What: The Pussy Bros. are turning one, so watch some stand-up by Denver comedy favorites Christie Buchele, Janae Burris and Rachel Weeks (The Pussy Bros.), Mara Wiles, and headliner Josh Blue. Also enjoy your first Bierstadt Lagerhaus or C Squared Ciders drink included with your admission.
12. Take a trip to the see the cosmos.
When: Anytime from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Cost: $10.99 for two
Where: Fiske Planetarium, 2414 Regent Drive, Boulder
What: Enjoy two tickets to learn about the galaxy at the University of Colorado Boulder planetarium. Grab your discounted (45% off) tickets here.
Ravish them with fine cuisine.
Good food doesn’t have to be overpriced, so make sure your sweetie pie is well nourished before you hold their hand or caress them sweetly in the night—and save some cash!
13. Drink inside the grocery store.
When: Friday, February 10, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods Market—Pearl location, 2905 Pearl St., Boulder
What: Come to Mingling and Mixers to enjoy two spirits, one beer and one sparkling wine all paired with bites from Whole Foods Market. This is a stoplight themed mixer so wear red if you’re taken, yellow if you’re unsure, and green if you’re single.
14. Go to the Valentine’s Day Gummy Heart Festival.
When: Saturday, February 11, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Where: The English Teacup, 1930 S. Havana St. #5, Aurora
What: Enjoy a free chocolate and tea tasting and make valentines. There will also be a drawing for imported chocolates.
15. Enjoy an Italian dinner for two.
When: Sunday, February 12, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Inga’s Alpine Tavern, 5151 Leetsdale Drive, Denver
What: Enjoy two spaghetti dinners OR a pizza with a bottle of wine as you listen to lounge favorites by the Dave Aurthor Trio.
16. Get free Krispy Kreme donuts.
When: The whole damn month of February
Where: Click here for participating locations in Denver, Lone Tree and Thornton.
Cost: Free donut with the purchase of a coffee
What: A free donut dammit.
Make a grand gesture
Last but not least, remember what Valentine’s Day is all about—bullshit. If you don’t overdo it, it probably doesn’t count in your baby’s mind, so even if you’re going through a drive-thru at 3 a.m. to get a Fiery Doritos Tacos Supreme at Taco Bell, you better lean over into the passenger seat and look deep into their eyes and muster something sentimental. After all, it really is the thought that counts—and the effort—and the execution—and the timing—but not the money.
17. Visit the Loveland Fire & Ice Festival
When: All weekend, February 10-12. Click here for festival schedule.
Where: 4th Street in downtown Loveland
What: The nation’s largest Valentine’s Day celebration. Find out more.
18. Get married. Sort of.
When: Tuesday, February 14, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Where: Red Rocks Amphitheater
What: Get married or renew your vows at the top of Red Rocks with like-minded people at Uncle Nasty’s Mass Wedding hosted by 103.5 The Fox radio station. There’s no judgment and there will be prizes. Click here to register and be part of the ceremony.