Valentine's Day -- to some, the world's most overblown holiday; to others, a welcome celebration of love -- is right around the corner. And whether you're single, in a relationship, or married, you're probably feeling the pressure. Nobody wants the same, tired flowers and chocolates. Everybody wants something fresh.
So if you're looking to spice up the weekend, here are a few ideas (all of which are sure to make your special someone smile).
1) Grab a meal with the animals
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is hosting a love-filled dinner during Valentine's Day weekend. Saturday's event is already sold out, but a Sunday (Feb. 14) dinner is also in the works. Starts at 6pm. $150 per couple.
2) Live the fairy tale with Cincinnati Ballet
Cinderella just might be one of the most romantic fairy tales ever told, and the Cincinnati Ballet's interpretation takes it to another level. Featuring new sets and costumes, the production starts on Friday, February 12, and goes through the weekend. Ticket prices vary.
3) Hit the ice
Fountain Square looks magical this time of year, and the iconic U.S. Bank Ice Rink makes a fantastic spot for an offbeat date. During "Skate with your Date" on February 14th, the rink features two-for-one skating, on-site music, and some pretty sweet prizes.
4) Find the perfect wine at the Taft Museum
Perfect Pairings, the museum's signature romantic event, is back on Saturday, Feb. 13. And this year, the evening will feature six wines paired with delectable small bites from executive chef Luke Radkey. (Don't forget to take a tour of the museum while you're at it.)
5) Raise a toast to (the end of) Prohibition
The Woodward Theater plays host to this rollicking homage to the cocktail. And lucky for you, the event is throwing down on the Saturday before V-Day. If you're looking to score an extra brownie point or two, make sure to fold this party into your weekend's itinerary. (Plus, the $15 ticket won't break your date-night budget.)
6) Get haute-y with it (a.k.a. check out the latest fashions)
Black Rabbit Salon, Casablanca Vintage, Knickers of Hyde Park, and Hi-Bred Vintage will come together on Friday, February 12th for a sensual fashion show guaranteed to add some spice to your weekend. "Infatuated Fashions" starts at 8pm at Myrtle's Punch House. Don't be late.
7) Aphrodisiac, anyone?
Nothing says "amorous" like oysters. On Valentine's Day, Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant is serving up a dozen of 'em as part of its special Valentine's Day menu, which also includes two entrees, a starter, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a carriage ride. Starts at $125 a couple. Reservations required.
8) Wine it up at the Phoenix
This iconic Cincinnati venue is teaming up with The Wine Merchant to create a delectable experience that features four courses and wine pairings to match. It's guaranteed to satisfy any palate. Space is limited.
9) Cruise the Ohio
Go classic this Valentine's Day weekend and hop aboard a dinner cruise with BB Riverboats. On both Saturday and Sunday evenings, the experience begins at 7pm and features a dinner buffet with a live music backdrop.
10) Book a breakfast in bed
Cincy's favorite brunch destination, Sleepy Bee Cafe, is giving you a major alley-oop this Valentines Day. Pre-book a "ready-to-go, picnic-style meal" and start the day off at romance-rockstar status. Orders must be placed by Friday (Feb. 12) and will be ready for pick-up on Sunday (Feb. 14).
Keep it real (Burgers & Fries!)
Showing your significant other some love doesn't have to break the bank. Nobody knows this better than White Castle! Take advantage of this reservation-only event and say "I love you" in the most kitschy way possible. Love is all about having fun, collecting memories (not things), and enjoying the moment, right?
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Whether you're a Valentine's Day fan or foe, here's hoping the weekend brings ya exactly what you're looking for. Have a good one, Cincy!