Chocolates and roses are nice but unlike a romantic getaway, they’re not going to leave you with memories to last a lifetime. If you’re looking for a little lovey-dovey travel inspiration, look to these 10 destinations, the most popular spots for Valentine’s weekend, according to Travelocity booking data. Lucky you, we created amorous itineraries for each city.
1: Las Vegas
Vegas is an incredibly romantic city. Home to the $750 cupcake (available at Decadence D’Or Cupcake at the Palazzo), sky-high honeymoon suites and erotic-themed cabarets, there’s no desire the city can’t fulfill. But let’s face it, no lovey-dovey couple would idyll in the city for a weekend without strolling hand-in-hand past the dancing Bellagio Fountains. Unfortunately, that makes you just like everyone else. Instead, book a patio table (well in advance) at Italian resto Lago and watch the city’s greatest show from the comfort of your own table for two while twirling pappardelle on your fork. Thinking of proposing? The waitstaff are happy to help. Elsewhere around town, check out bawdy and delightful tent-style circus show Absinthe at Caesars, head downtown for a nighttime tour of the Neon Museum, tour the private art collection at the Louis Vuitton at the Shops at Crystals and split the best dessert in Vegas—the chocolate cream pie at Bavette’s at Park MGM.
2: New York City
Opportunities for romance in Gotham are too numerous to count. “An Affair to Remember” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” turned the Empire State Building into a romantic icon. Its 86th floor has incredible panoramic city views and every year, engaged couples can enter to win a contest for a chance to tie the knot here. For popping the question, Central Park has many memorable spots: the Bow Bridge, Shakespeare’s Garden, Bethesda Fountain and The Loeb Boathouse—even in winter they ooze amore. In Brooklyn, take in the beauty as you dine at the River Cafe, with its waterside setting under the Brooklyn Bridge. Once Aaron Burr’s carriage house, One if by Land, Two if by Sea in Greenwich Village has a timeless setting and pre-fixe and chef’s tasting menus. Meanwhile, the Gramercy Park Hotel not only has luxuriously furnished suites and an Italian restaurant managed by Danny Meyer’s hospitality firm, but guests get exclusive key access to Gramercy Park, Manhattan’s only private park. Fun fact: Humphrey Bogart married his first wife here.
Disney World is full of fictitious love stories, but for your own fairytale romance, head to Bösendorfer Lounge, the bar at downtown Orlando’s Grand Bohemian Hotel which drips with romance thanks to sultry lighting, bold red upholstery and live jazz music. Whether or not you spring for a stay in one of the lavish guest rooms, you can still drool over the paintings, sculptures and jewelry in the hotel’s world-class art gallery. And this isn’t the only place to find your happily ever after in Orlando: Work up a sweat together as you pedal a swan boat around the fountain in downtown’s Lake Eola Park. Next, stop and smell the roses at Harry P. Leu Gardens; if you happen to be there on the first Friday evening of the month, bring a blanket and a picnic, and stick around for outdoor movie night. And take your love to another level when you reserve the private Romance Capsule at ICON Orlando, the city’s larger-than-life observation wheel offering views for a perfect storybook ending.
It’s easy to feel amorous in this beach town laced with ocean breezes and beautiful people. To kick off your romantic rendezvous, head to Area 31 at the Epic Hotel, an open-air perch in the Brickell neighborhood, and toast your special someone with a champagne cocktail while the Miami skyline glitters behind you. Of course, there’s plenty more romance to be had in Magic City: Grab a couple of Cuban sandwiches at Las Olas Cafe for a picnic at South Pointe Park. Then change into something more chic and dine al fresco at Café Roval, where the lush garden and bubbling lagoon make for a setting that’s as delectable as the restaurant’s Mediterranean fare itself. If you have an extra day, head to nearby Homestead and pay a visit to Coral Castle, where an eccentric Latvian immigrant spent nearly three decades crafting this sculpture garden in an effort to woo his dear Agnes. Talk about a labor of love.
5: New Orleans
Being romantic in “The Big Easy” is just that. Have a picnic under the ancient live oaks within City Park, followed by a gondola ride in the lagoon, or go for in Audubon Park in the Uptown district. Walk hand in hand in the French Quarter, taking in views of wrought iron balconies or a carriage ride through its streets by catching drivers at Jackson Square. Hop onboard the St. Charles Streetcar and pass along historic homes, or partake in an evening cruise along the Steamboat Natchez. At Bourbon French Parfums on Royale Street, create a signature parfum. Dance the night away to live music on Frenchmen Street joints like Vaso, the Blue Nile or The Spotted Cat Music Club. Enjoy an intimate dinner at a classic Creole restaurant like Bayona or make a toast to your love at Effervescence, a champagne bar. The Hotel Monteleone, a 19th century luxurious property on Royale Street, is noted for its literary author suites, and slip into its famous Carousel Bar & Lounge to sip on a Sazerac or Pimm’s Cup.
Smoochy-woochy types should not overlook the Aloha State’s biggest city. Adventure-seeking couples should hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail or witness a breathtaking view from Mount Tantalus. For picnicking, Ala Moana Beach Park makes for a lovely spot by the sand, while Kapiʻolani Regional Park is graced with a majestic volcanic backdrop and much shade. For high-end dining, the Top of Waikiki is a rotating restaurant with full panoramic views of Honolulu, while Alan Wong’s boasts upscale regional Hawaiian cuisine and is reported to be a favorite of Barack and Michelle Obama. Or be simple by sharing a sweet frozen treat from Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. Listen to jazz music at Blue Note Hawaii or relax on a sunset dinner cruise with the Star of Honolulu. The staff at 5-star Halekulani, a beachfront property in Waikiki, knows how to make guests feel special with therapeutic Polynesian spa treatments and various romantic dining choices.
7: Los Angeles
The City of Angels can overwhelm with its tangle of clogged freeways, obnoxious billboards and oven-baked heat, but oh boy does this city know how to woo a pair of starry-eyed lovebirds. Leave behind the smog-choked city for a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway starting in breezy Santa Monica and taking in horizon-stretched ocean views from Pacific Palisades along the way. Don’t be deterred by the recent wildfires, Malibu is still a stunner and bursting with boho small inns, waterfront eateries and secluded beaches. Our favorite is El Matador State Beach, a jagged and rocky seascape reminiscent of Portugal’s Algarve Coast. There’s not a couple alive who doesn’t want to get married here, but it’s also a perfect place for a weekday picnic (when crowds are fewer) or a sunset photo shoot. Still feeling amorous? Try skyline drinks at Spire73 (the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere), a couple’s massage at the Langham Pasadena, a stroll through the Rose Garden at Exposition Park and dinner at hilltop Castaways in the Valley—yes, that Valley!
Mother Nature has yet to build a winter storm that will stop Chicagoans from going all out on Valentine’s Day. Hit up the irresistibly twisty rink at Maggie Daley park for some couple skating paired with warm hot chocolate. Next, swing by the “Bean” for requisite selfies before crossing Michigan Avenue and hitting up the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel for romantic tomfoolery. The second floor includes a massive game room where you and your true love can spar over bocce ball, billiards, checkers and more before zipping over to the tucked away Cherry Room for a romantic dinner. Other romantic restaurants around town include slinky Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf, the second floor at Maude’s Liquor Bar, posh brewpub Band of Bohemia, and ain’t nothing wrong with ditching all the fancy pants restaurants in favor of hitting up Pequod’s for the best dang Chicago-style pizza in town. Wanna get boozy and woozy on V-Day? Cocktail bar Scofflaw oozees Gatsby-esque charm; Pops for Champagne offers fizzy spirits including live jazz.
A prime engagement location, the 19th-century Stone Arch Bridge is picture perfect with its gentle curve and arches overlooking St. Anthony Falls and the Minneapolis skyline. At the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, take a selfie next to Robert Indiana’s LOVE Sculpture or the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen. (The Sculpture Garden is open year round.) Minnehaha Falls Regional Park is sprawling with its majestic 53-foot waterfall and various gardens; read an excerpt from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha” engraved in stone within a garden named for the poem and next to the statue of Hiawatha and his love, Minnehaha. The Grand Café, a French bistro, has pink-hued walls and creative takes on classic dishes, while Wilde Café & Spirits carries a Victorian ambience, riverfront views, and fine comfort food. The Nicolette Island Inn is an opulent venue along the riverfront with in-room spa services and elegant dining within its restaurant.
The second-longest running hotel in Denver sure knows how to woo a pair of lovers. At the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, start with an elegant, English-style afternoon tea complete with finger sandwiches, Devonshire cream shipped directly from England and a harpist! Next, retreat to the hotel spa for a romantic couple’s tea. If you’re not inclined to just stay in for the evening (and we could hardly blame you for doing so), have a cozy dinner at Rioja, a sophisticated Mediterranean restaurant in Larimer Square, or a feast for the senses at Vesta, a New American spot in LoDo featuring shareable plates. If you can take the heat, try getting into the kitchen at the School of Culinary Arts for one of their Culinary Date Night classes. Afterward, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown Denver with Irish Rose Drafts followed by an edgy burlesque show at The Clocktower Cabaret.
Where will you and your someone special be celebrating Valentine’s Weekend?
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