Our Top 6 Cities to Help Heat Up Your Love Life This Valentine’s Day
Ahh, Cupid Day. Why is a supposedly romantic holiday now hyper-focused on getting the kids’ Valentine’s written to deliver to their classmates and making school-approved treats for the classroom party?
That’s enough to leave one exhausted once the special day arrives, and quick to grab take out for dinner, pour a glass of wine, and potentially enjoy a movie or favorite Netflix show with your significant other once the kiddos are sound asleep.
But, how about we switch things up? No, I’m not talking about getting a babysitter for a short night out at your go-to restaurant in the neighborhood. I’m talking about booking a quiet, relaxing, romantic getaway—just the two of you.
It sounds pretty blissful to me. The planning for something like this requires serious effort on your part, however. So, to save you some time, I’m sharing our top six cities to heat up your love life this Valentine’s Day.
1. Portland, Oregon
This cozy, quirky town is perfect for couples who appreciate nature, microbreweries and the art of city strolling. Average temps in February are between 49-54 degrees, which just screams snuggle season!
Most importantly, it’s home to two of the most unusual and spectacular parks in the country: the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. The Chinese Garden is considered one of Portland’s greatest treasures and is among the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to another world when you step through the gates. (You can purchase general, student, or senior admission tickets on its website before arriving.)
The International Rose Test Garden, on the other hand, is located right across the street and is home to more than 7,000 rose plants. The view of snow-capped Mount Hood, coupled with the scent in the air, is worth the trip alone.
Additionally, Multnomah Falls is just a short 39-mile distance from the city and worthy of a visit. I would argue that there are few things more romantic than a hike to the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon. This one’s a beauty!
Lastly, there’s no shortage of nightlife and spectacular locally-sourced dining options. Broadway in Portland offers a vast wellspring of national acts and traveling shows. If cinema is more your thing, be sure to check out one of Portland’s “brew ‘n’ view” theatres.
2. Charleston, South Carolina
As the oldest city in The Palmetto State and one that’s filled with southern charm, you’re bound to re-spark the flame among the cobblestone streets. For starters, pack a picnic and a bottle of wine to enjoy at White Point Gardens. Then, set your sights on The Battery—a landmark defensive seawall and promenade—for a walk to catch the sunset. And, if your legs are feeling up to it, meander a few blocks to a tourist hotspot: Rainbow Row, which is made up of a series of 13 colorful, historic houses.
Another favorite, just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Charleston, is the preserved plantations, such as Middleton Place. This National Historic Landmark is known for its 65 acres of year-round blooms. Be sure to enjoy a tour (self-guided or guided) or even reserve a kayaking tour.
Now, for the dining and nightlife experiences, which are endless! You’ll have a tough decision to make if it’s a short getaway. But, we’ll help narrow down the list of favorites for you.
One option is you can visit any of the numerous rooftop bars in the area—Élevé at The Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston on Wentworth is a popular one.
Or, you can savor a dining experience, just the two of you, at literally any restaurant, with a good chance you’ll love it. But, if you want specifics, S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad) is the place to be.
After a filling meal, hit up Comedy Night on a Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday at Theatre 99 on Meeting! The shows are probably not for the kiddies. And, they’re improv, so there’s a good chance you might get picked out of the crowd.
Afterwards, if you’re up to keep the evening going strong, you can grab drinks and crème brûlée at The Gin Joint on East Bay Street. Name any two flavors, and the bartender makes it.
3. San Francisco, California
San Fran has no shortage of classic, romantic activities—from bike riding across the Golden Gate Bridge (our favorite: Dandyhorse San Francisco Bike Tours & Rentals) to trolley rides, shopping, and lunch in the waterfront village of Sausalito; the list goes on. One of my favorites is a stop at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown to craft personal wishes to each other for just $1/cookie.
It’s also home to some of the zaniest Valentine’s Day activities, such as the Great San Francisco Pillow Fight. This annual tradition takes place in the Justin Herman Plaza at 6 p.m. sharp on Cupid Day each year. Hundreds of people show up to participate in this fun, free-for-all event.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has long been considered one of the most romantic cities in the United States—and, for a good reason. The architecture, history, food, and sultry jazz music can get anyone in the passionate spirit.
A must during your visit is grabbing a beignet at Café Du Monde and taking a carriage ride through the nearby Jackson Square. While in the area, stop and get your fortunes read, and have a local artist prepare a quick sketch as a cute and romantic souvenir.
You can also choose to hop on a streetcar, stroll through the Garden District, and pop into the Commander’s Palace for lunch—a New Orleans landmark since 1893, serving up Haute Creole cuisine.
And, if you’re looking for even more exciting ways to experience the history and culture of The Big Easy, be sure to stop into Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. She is said to haunt the house after stories claim she drowned in Lake Pontchartrain in 1895.
Additionally, the New Orleans Cocktail History Walking Tour in the French Quarter provides a great way to see the town, make new friends, and savor a Sazerac (a local New Orleans variation of a cognac or whiskey cocktail) in a former icehouse that once supplied ice to many of the bars in the city.
5. Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is known to be one of the most romantic cities in the United States. After all, there’s something about those giant red rocks that have been there for hundreds of thousands of years that help put everything into perspective. Reserve a suite with an outdoor jacuzzi for the best glass of wine and stargazing you can imagine. The sky is so dark and clear that it’ll take your breath away. It’s also a great way to recover from one of the city’s incredible hikes.
And, after some much-needed relaxation, if you’re craving a more profound spiritual experience, consider booking a guided tour through Sedona Red Rock Tours. They’ll help you and your loved one tap into the area’s vortexes, which are said to transform, awaken, and heal all those who enter—something almost any relationship can benefit from.
Also, be sure to make a pit stop for a quick happy hour priced drink at Mesa Grill, located within the quaint Sedona airport. It offers great views of the sunset and fire pits right on the tarmac—the perfect way to end a romantic day.
6. National Harbor near Washington, D.C.
This exciting city is located along the Potomac River, just minutes from Washington, D.C. Thus, everything you need to have a fun-filled, romantic Valentine’s Day is within walking distance, which makes for a super relaxed getaway.
One of my favorites is the Capital Wheel. This enclosed (and heated!) Ferris wheel takes you 180 feet above the Potomac River for views of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Washington Monument and the Washington National Cathedral.
For an even closer look at some of the history and architecture of the nation’s capital, take the convenient water taxi! It docks right in the heart of the city.
When dinner hour rolls around, you’ll be tempted to merely drink and dine in the streets at places like The Walrus—a spunky oyster bar, McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, Grace’s Mandarin, and Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar.
Afterwards, if you feel like extending dinner for a little taste of the nightlife, be sure to try the new MGM National Harbor with a Vegas-style casino. It’s just a quick $5 Uber ride away. Just be sure to explore the resort’s entertainment calendar before you go! You never know who might be performing (ahem, Cher or Bruno Mars could be the night’s artist!).
If relaxation and pampering is more your style, however, try the Night at Relâche Couples Spa Package at the Gaylord National Resort. You’ll savor a champagne toast, chef selection of gourmet bites, robes to keep, an 80-minute couples massage, and private use of all spa amenities from 9:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. That’s all at an investment of $1,500. How dreamy!
Sometimes, it’s more than necessary to take a break from the stresses of day-to-day life and serious Wonder Woman (or Wonder Man) parenting to spend quality time with the person you love the most. So, take this list and get to dreaming of a romantic getaway—whether for Valentine’s Day or “just because.”
If you’re eager for a couples’ escape in a sweet suite booked in either San Fran, The Big Easy, Sedona, or National Harbor, give us a call today at 1-888-816-5214. Our team of friendly, knowledgeable, vacation-loving travel coordinators will take care of the booking process for you.
What’s your favorite city for a romantic getaway? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!