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Romantic spots and activities for Valentine's Day dates

One Valentine's Day idea you can do wherever: Get out of your house.
One Valentine's Day idea you can do wherever: Get out of your house.
  • A list of 13 romantic spots and ideas that'll work wherever you live
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is an under-appreciated romantic gem
  • Relive the past by stopping by the site of your first date
  • Try a new activity that you could continue beyond Valentine's Day
  • Romance
  • Romance Films
  • Dating

(The Frisky) -- When you're in a relationship -- and have been for quite some time -- you and your love bird are bound to have gone on all the usual dates many, many times over.

So for Valentine's Day this year, don't visit the restaurant the two of you eat at on a regular night and order the usual.

We gathered romantic spots from around the country, along with some ideas that'll work wherever you live, to help you plan a memorable day (and night) together.

Because even though there's a lot of emphasis on buying presents that are pink, red, and covered in hearts and roses, Valentine's Day is about showing how much you appreciate your honey. Spend the day enjoying each other's company and think of the rest as trimmings.

Phoenix, Arizona

For great food, delicious wine, and a hip, sexy atmosphere, visit Postino Winecafé. But don't eat too much! You'll want to save room for dessert at La Grande Orange Grocery next door. Pop over some for decadent, gourmet goodies before heading back to your love nest.

Postino Winecafé, 3939 East Campbell Ave., 602-852-3939

La Grande Orange Grocery, 4410 N 40th St., 602-840-7777

New Orleans, Louisiana

There are plenty of romantic restaurants in New Orleans. In fact, almost everything in NOLA is swoon-worthy, save for Bourbon Street at 3 a.m. Feelings Cafe is singular for both its ambiance and location.

The piano bar is dimly lit, so it's obviously got that going for it, and it also features delicious food and an intimate courtyard festooned by plants, a fountain, and fairy lights.

But perhaps its most attractive quality is that it's hidden in the Fauberg Marigny, which is a lovely, picturesque neighborhood around the Bywater area that's close enough to walk to from the French Quarter, but far enough away to weed out the tourists.

Feelings Cafe, 2600 Chartres St., 504-945-2222

San Francisco, California

The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is an under-appreciated romantic gem located in Golden Gate Park. Built in 1879, it's the oldest building in Golden Gate Park, and the grounds around it are perfect for taking a daytime stroll while holding hands, of course.

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, 100 John F. Kennedy Drive, 415-831-2090

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Chicago, Illinois

The Green Mill, a jazz bar on the north side where Al Capone's henchman hung out in the '20s, is full of history and has sexy lighting, great music, and doesn't really get going until well after dark.

Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N Broadway Ave., 773-878-5552

Providence, Rhode Island

If you're the type who believes food is the ultimate aphrodisiac, Al Forno is the place to get you in the mood. Rhode Islanders and weekenders from all over the Eastern seaboard travel to come sample their how-do-they-do-it grilled pizza, which rivals any of the best pies in New York City.

Because the wait is usually long, here's a trick: Put your name on the wait list and travel across the street for a drink at the Hot Club, which overlooks the water.

Al Forno, 577 S Main St., 401-273-9760

Hot Club, 575 S Water St., 401-861-9007

Reno, Nevada

In a city that built its reputation on quickie divorces and casinos, it's best to avoid tourist destinations and romantic casino packages for a memorable date. Reno has an attraction that's getting harder to find across the country: a drive-in movie theater.

The El Rancho , which opened in 1971, is one of two drive-ins in the state. While you can pick up a tub of popcorn or a hamburger at the concession stand, part of the fun is packing food that you wouldn't be allowed to enjoy if you went to the local multiplex.

El Rancho Drive-In, 555 El Rancho Drive, 775-358-6920

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The bar at Lantern Restaurant is dimly lit and sexy with brocade wallpaper. Make your way through the main restaurant or cut through the alley for the direct entrance. Plus, you can order delicious Asian fusion appetizers.

Lantern Restaurant, 423 W. Franklin St., 919-969-8846

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Mobile, Alabama

Since the last century, downtown Dauphin Street has been vibrating with the musical sounds of Mobile. You'll hear jazz, rock and country tunes filling the night air. A favorite spot for lovers around the corner from Dauphin Street is the Blind Mule, which features interesting new artists and taste bud-tingling Southern food.

The Blind Mule, 57 N. Claiborne St., 251-694-6853

New York, New York

While the cocktails at the Bowery Hotel aren't cheap (around $10-$20), it's a small price to pay to sit in one of the most gorgeous hotel lobbies in Manhattan. Lush Persian rugs, Art Deco touches, and rich mahogany and leather furnishings lend the place a unique kind of hunter's-lodge-in-Morocco feel, and there's nothing dreamier than sipping hot spiced wine beside the cozy fireplace.

The Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery, 212-505-9100

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London, England

The most obvious way to express love is physically, with hugs, kisses, and other good stuff, but on the London National Gallery's special Valentine's Day tour at 4 p.m., you and your honey will see how love has been depicted with a paintbrush.

National Gallery Love Tour, Trafalgar Square, 020 7747 2885

Paris, France

Le Petit Prince de Paris is a cozy restaurant on a super quiet street with some of the best food in Paris. The rich red interior provides a lush background for inspiring feelings of l'amour.

Le Petit Prince de Paris, 12, rue de Lanneau, 01 43 54 77 26

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Places to go anywhere

1. Get out of the house: Go ice skating, take a walk, or swim in the ocean. You spend a lot of time indoors in your day-to-day life, so enjoying the outdoors (and each other's company) will feel different and special.

2. Learn something: Shared experiences are a lot of what makes a relationship. Visit a museum, check out an art gallery, or go to a reading. You might discover new things about each other as you pick up some new knowledge.

3. Test-drive a hobby: Instead of spending another night cuddling on the couch, watching reruns of "The Biggest Loser," try out a new activity. The two of you could even pick up a pastime that you'll continue beyond Valentine's Day.

4. Relive the past: Stop by the dive bar that was the site of your first date or another relationship-related location, but only if you haven't been there in ages. It'll help you remember the early feelings of excitement and pull you out of the rut of familiarity that's developed.

5. Celebrate with friends: We put a lot of emphasis on couples in February, but friendships enhance relationships. Toast your significant other in the company of intimates with a dinner celebration full of shared stories and laughter.

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