Rolan and I just finalized our plans for Valentine’s Day, electing to take a hike or visit our favorite greenhouse depending on the weather, watch Dirty Dancing (He’s never seen it!), and try the Saturday night prix fixe at Da Vinci in the South End. Whether you’re celebrating with friends, an SO, or someone whose label is a little more ambiguous, I thought you might enjoy some date ideas for Valentine’s weekend and onward. Boston has a wonderful assortment of activities indoors and outdoors, cultural and culinary, to keep you busy day and night!
Under the Sun
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of the most enchanting spots in Boston, housing art collected from all over the world and a garden courtyard wrapped in four stories of balconies. It is free for many college students in the Boston area.
The Museum of Fine Arts is never a bad idea.
The Top of the Hub, on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building, can be as affordable as Panera if you visit between three and four PM and order lightly. The views are without equal and tend to provoke big conversations. For more logistical tips, check out this post.
Although a little pricey, afternoon tea at Langham Boston offers a thoroughly British atmosphere and scones that may take too long to prepare but which are perfectly buttery and come with jam, clotted cream, and lemon curd. Anglophiles, take note.
What Coolidge Corner Theatre lacks in movie display technology, it more than makes up for with its old Hollywood glamour and quirky character. Admire its 1933 architectural details as you watch the velvet curtains pull back on your indie flick of choice.
The Blue Hills, located just outside of Boston, are a natural retreat. Scramble through rocks and trees to reach a tower with panoramic views of Boston and beyond, and maybe spring for a tour at the weather station perched there.
The Wellesley College Greenhouse is my go-to place to de-stress when it’s too cold to truly enjoy the outdoors. Resting among the palms of the tropic house is my bliss.
The Arnold Arboretum is a jewel. Its 281 acres include brooks, ancient cedar forests, bonsai and rose gardens, and so much more, making it stunning year-round. The snow-covered branches, golden witch hazel, and budding snow drops are currently adding to its charm.
Ice skating is usually good for cute self-deprecation. You can enjoy Winter on the Wharf at the Boston Harbor Hotel‘s seaside rink, join the crowds on the Boston Common Frog Pond, or get some practice in at the less crowded Harvard Skate.
In the Moonlight
The Boston Symphony Orchestra offers $20 tickets for patrons under 40 years old. Feel sophisticated together.
Of course, I would be remiss not to discuss places to eat. Any of the following options are fabulous and have cozy mood lighting. Many offer Valentine’s Day prix fixe menus:
- Tres Gatos, Jamaica Plain – A tapas bar with a book and record shop in the back. The tortilla española and patatas a la brava will make you melt.
- Mamma Maria, North End – Mamma Maria is the peak of romantic, visually beautiful, and as flawless with its steak as with its pasta.
- Nico, North End – A cute and cozy restaurant whose pasta is deadly in the best way.
- Taranta, North End – Peruvian meets Italian. A combination to die for.
- Temple Bar, Cambridge – Rolan and I went here for Valentine’s last year. The prix fixe was wonderful, with pomegranate-studded panna cotta winning the night.
- Toscano, Cambridge & Beacon Hill – It doesn’t get more delicious than Toscano. I always go for a split plate of rigatoni Toscano and gnocchi quattro formaggi.
- Orinoco, Cambridge & South End – This relaxed Venezuelan restaurant is my favorite place in Harvard Square, serving up overstuffed arepas and bacon-wrapped dates by candle light.
- Max Brenner, Back Bay – Order dessert first at this chocolate-themed restaurant, then see if you have room for dinner.
- Da Vinci, Back Bay/South End – I’ve never been, but I’ll be trying it for Valentine’s. I love that their prix fixe centers on sharing a variety of appetizers and desserts.
- Picco, South End – A trendy and casual pizza and ice cream restaurant in the South End good for a low-pressure date. Alsatian pizza is the way to go.
- Barcelona, South End & Brookline – Hip tapas bar with great people watching and even greater empanadas.
What are your favorite places for a romantic rendezvous? Share in the comments section!