Date Ideas to Love On and Off Campus

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Published February 8, 2022
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The Montclarion
A couple walks through Montclair State's beautiful campus during sunset. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m sure many of you are stressing about what the heck you are going to do with your partner on the special day, which is unfortunately placed on a Monday this year. Another factor foiling Cupid’s plans is the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Due to Montclair State University’s COVID-19 restrictions, guests are still not allowed in any of the residence halls. This means many students will not be able to spend Valentine’s Day with their partners in their dorms.

If you’re like me, this puts a major dent in your plans since my favorite V-Day date consists of pajamas, ice cream, a movie and snuggles. But fear not, I have compiled a list of some other great options for a perfect Valentine’s Day date on or off campus.

On-Campus

Behind the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS) Building

One of the best views on campus can be found behind the CELS building. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

One of the best views on campus can be found behind the CELS building.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

This may be an obvious one, but if you’re a sucker for gawking at a great view with your significant other like I am, this is the perfect spot. It may be a little cold for this on Valentine’s Day, but it is looking like the Saturday before it will be on the warmer side of February.

The best thing about this is you can order food to-go from Panera Bread or Jersey Mikes. Then, enjoy your food while looking at one of the best views on campus.

Sprague Library

A cozy spot in Sprague Library. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

A cozy spot in Sprague Library.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Since Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year and not even Cupid’s arrow can halt this semester, there is a good chance that students may need to study that day. But why not study hard with your partner?

Sprague Library is open to the public, so even partners who are not Red Hawks can join you there. Find a cozy corner and hit the books with your favorite person.

Cafe Diem

Cafe Diem is located right in the middle of campus, making it a great meet-up spot. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Cafe Diem is located right in the middle of campus, making it a great meet-up spot.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

This is the perfect first date spot on campus. So, if you’re one of the brave souls giving love a go on Valentine’s Day, this is the place for you. Grab a cup of coffee, a spot in one of those comfy chairs and good luck to you!

The Red Hawk Diner

Getting milkshakes at the Red Hawk Diner was one of my roommates and I's favorite things to do our freshman year, before COVID-19. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Getting milkshakes at the Red Hawk Diner was one of my favorite things to do with my roommates our freshman year, before COVID-19.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

I may get some eye rolls for this one, but what’s a better way to celebrate love than with one of the Red Hawk Diner’s crazy but delicious milkshakes? This would be a great spot for a Galentine’s Day gathering because Valentine’s Day should be a day when we celebrate all the love in our life. To top it off, the grand reopening of the diner will be on Feb. 14 itself!

Off-Campus

Eagle Rock Reservation (West Orange, New Jersey)

My boyfriend and I at Eagle Rock Reservation on Halloween. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

My boyfriend and I at Eagle Rock Reservation on Halloween.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

This is another spectacular view and a totally Instagram-able option. This was a date I actually tried earlier this year, and some of my favorite pictures with my boyfriend were taken there. Just make sure to dress warm, as the wind can be incredibly chilly up there.

Java Love (Upper Montclair, New Jersey)

Java Love decorated with some beautiful winter decor. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Java Love decorated with some beautiful winter decor.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

This is an adorable and delicious coffee spot that would be another great first-date idea. The atmosphere is super welcoming and cozy. The drinks and sweet treats are perfect for any valentine.

Mills Reservation (Cedar Grove, New Jersey)

Mills Reservation is less than a five minute drive from campus. Just watch out for ice! Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Mills Reservation is less than a five-minute drive from campus. Just watch out for ice!
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

This is for all my nature-loving and/or fitness lovers. Mills Reservation has some beautiful trails and there is even one that leads to a cliffside that has — you guessed it — a beautiful view of New York City.

Willowbrook Mall (Wayne, New Jersey)

CineMark is connected to the Willowbrook Mall. Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

Cinemark is connected to the Willowbrook Mall.
Emma Caughlan | The Montclarion

For those of you who would rather not make a big deal of the holiday of love, there is always shopping. The Willowbrook Mall has almost any store you can think of, so you can spoil your partner with whatever they desire.

When you are done shopping, you can catch a movie at the new Cinemark theater which is also part of the mall. This is a great place to take yourself as well because self-love is just as important as any other love in your life.

Hopefully, these ideas helped you find something you want to do with the ones you love most. No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, take the time to tell the ones you love how much you appreciate them. The little things are really what make love so special. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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