10 DC Experience Gifts for Valentine’s Day That Are Way More Creative Than Flowers and Chocolate

See behind the scenes of the chocolate making process at Clarendon's Artisan Confections. Photo by twohumans via iStock.

If you’re sick of boring your loved ones with the expected Valentine’s Day chocolates and flowers, here are ten great gifts that your special someone is bound to appreciate: experiences that you can share and remember fondly together.

Attend a Cheese Pairing Class

If you come in second in her heart to just one thing–cheese–then you’re relationship is probably in pretty good shape. Help her learn how to enjoy delicious dairy even more with this cheese pairing class by Union Market’s Righteous Cheese. You’ll taste four cheeses, four Champagne pairings, and nibble on chocolates throughout. The classes will be held at 6:30 PM on Saturday, February 13, and Sunday, February 14, at Union Market, 1309 5th St., NE. The $74 tickets can be purchased here.

Take Couples Massage Training

Sure, you could buy your loved one a one-time massage and they’d probably love it. But a much better gift is taking a class that’ll make you their personal live-in masseuse. As an added bonus, you’ll take the class together, so you just might benefit from some improved at-home massages as well. Sign up to participate in one of the Potomac Massage Training Institute’s three-and-a-half-hour Couples Massage classes on February 6, 7, 13, or 14 for $99 per couple.

Escape to a Cozy Cabin in the Woods

Sometimes the best thing for a relationship is to hit pause your busy, fast-paced lives in the city. Bring a bottle of Champagne (or two) and head to the woods for some R&R. Airbnb has some stunning options that’ll have you feeling far, far away from your daily demands, even though you’ll be just a few hours’ drive away.

Up Your Profile Pic Game

It’s perfectly acceptable to schedule a full-blow photo session for engagement portraits, when there’s a baby on the way, or to capture the current stage of life for your growing family. But if you’re just a cute couple that really wants a decent profile pictures, what’s a pair of lovebirds to do? This 15-minute portrait session at Union Market may be the answer. Swing by Lab 1270 with your sweetie (whether it’s your him, your her, your dog, or your mom) and pose for photographer Emma McAlary (the photog who, ahem, took blogger Monling Lee’s portraits for her J. Crew accessories shoot) Even the shyest shutterbugs should be able to stomach 15 minutes in front of the lens, and McAlary guarantees you’ll walk away with three hi-res downloadable images. Tickets for sessions–which will run between 10 AM and 4 PM on Sunday, February 14 at Lab 1270, 1276 5th St., NW–are $83, and they can be purchased here.

Make Your Chocolates and Eat Them Too

Yes, buying a box of chocolates is infinitely easier, but this visit to Artisan Confection’s Clarendon kitchen will be infinitely more memorable. During the two-hour session, you’ll learn how cocoa beans are grown, processed, and turned into Artisan Confection’s gorgeous treats. You’ll also try your hand at making a ganache and decorating some bonbons (snacking is allowed), and they’ll send you home with sweets, so you can still get your sugar fix. The next workshop is February 17 at 7 PM. Tickets are $85–call 703-524-0007 to reserve your spot.

Watch a Love Store Play Out on Stage

Romeo and Juliet may have claimed the trophy for timeless staged love story, but their relationship is a little harder to relate to in the modern day. (Like, really, couldn’t she have texted him, “Hey, I’m gonna look super dead, but just hang on a sec before your poison yourself, boo”?) For a love story that’s a little less predictable (and a lot more modern), try Studio Theatre’s staging of Constellations, the love story between a theoretical physicist and a beekeeper that’ll keep your brain buzzing and your heart a-thumping all the way through. The show runs February 10 through March 6, and tickets, which range from $20 to $55, can be purchased here.

A Style Makeover for Him

You’ve come to terms with the fact that he hates shopping. It’s not that he’s innately unstylish–it’s that the thought of stepping foot into a store is so revolting he’d rather keep wearing the same ratty blazer to work every day. But because you love him too much to let ill-fitting pants and too-wide ties happen to him, you’re going to sign him up for a style consultation at Trunk Club’s Chinatown showroom, where he’ll relax with a cold drink in hand while they parade his wardrobe upgrades before him. He’ll take home his faves, and you’ll both feel better about his workwear. Email to set up the consultation at Trunk Club’s 525 9th St., NW clubhouse.

A DIY Decor Upgrade for Her

Flowers, though romantic, die a few days after delivery, but succulents are forever (or at least as long as you avoid over-watering them). Set her up with an Insta-perfect session with Sill Life, where she’ll learn the art of terrarium building. The hour-long classes are held at The Lemon Bowl studio at 3015 Georgia Ave., NW, and she’ll walk away with a terrarium packed with stylish, spiky succulents or ferns. Upcoming workshops will be held February 7, 10, 15, and 20 at 7 PM. Tickets are $50 to $60, and can be purchased here.

Brew Better at Home

If coffee = love in your lives, we won’t argue with you there. Yet while your standard drip machine fulfills the basic function of making “drinkable” coffee, it probably isn’t producing the barista-approved cup of coffee you truly deserve. At Peregrine Espresso’s Better Brewing at Home class you’ll learn techniques for manual brewing, as well as how your new skills will work in your favor at home. You’ll leave with a bag of coffee beans to practice with and the ability to turn your morning sludge into something delicious. The workshops take place on Monday nights at Union Market, 1309 5th NE, with upcoming classes on February 29 and March 21. Tickets are $60, and they can be purchased here.

Hit the Blizzard-Coated Slopes

There’s no time like the weeks post-blizzard to book a local skiing trip. Forget the icy man-made stuff that sometimes coats small ski resorts: Whitetail Resort is boasting 40 to 44 inches of all-natural white stuff. The resort is only an hour-and-a-half drive away, so you and your snow bunny can make a day trip of it. Spend the day skiing, snowboarding, or tubing, or enroll in lessons. Lift tickets are $63 and up and may be purchased here.

Correction: Tickets to the Righteous Cheese event are $74 each, not $74 for two, as was previously stated.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.