Love is always in the air here in Pasadena, and when Valentine’s Day rolls around in February, the romantic vibes get amped up to full blast. Looking for some creative inspiration for Valentine’s Day? Here are some memorable ideas to set the mood and shower your love with affection. And actually, these ideas are a good recipe for romance all year long.
A Romantic Walk in the Botanical Gardens
Stroll the 120-acre grounds of The Huntington Botanical Gardens, and explore the 16 different themed botanical wonderlands hand-in-hand. Wander through the Desert, Rose and Chinese Gardens. Admire the exotic orchids in the conservatory. Sit for a spell in the Camellia Garden, where the luscious blooms are at their finest in February. Surrounded by exquisite beauty at every turn, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to scouting the perfect location to pop the question.
DIY Wine Tour
Surprise your sweetheart with a personalized wine tasting tour through Pasadena. Get started at Everson Royce. You can time your visit for one of their three weekly tasting events (Tuesdays 5:00-9:00 p.m.; Fridays 5:00-9:00 p.m. or Saturdays 2:00-6:00 p.m.). Or, if it’s outside of those windows, you can always request to taste any wines they have open for sampling, or purchase a bottle of something sparkling and sip onsite while chatting with the knowledgeable staff. Next, pop into Vertical Wine Bistro where you can taste through a wine flight or order by the glass. Make it something white or light to pair with snacks from their raw bar menu. Keep grazing at Bodega Wine Bar, which also offers interesting wines by the glass and a menu of complementary bites. Complete your evening at The Cellar, a hidden gem, whose entrance is tucked between Vans and Lush on Colorado Boulevard. Settle into the cozy, lounge-like atmosphere and savor a robust red paired to cheese or a sweet dessert.
A Day of Pampering
Couples that spa together, stay together. Visit one of Pasadena’s decadent spas for a day dedicated to pampering as a duo. The Chuan Spa at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena has a Spa Suite, where couples can enjoy massage and skin treatments side-by-side. The exclusive room provides an oasis of privacy, complete with a dedicated relaxation zone and an “experience shower” for two. Shiatsu of Pasadena Day Spa offers a White Tea Essential Oil Couples Massage package delivered in a private suite for two—priced at an affordable $150 for 60 minutes or $200 for 90 minutes.
Dance the night away
It takes two to tango, and to swing dance. Learn to Lindy Hop at LindyGroove’s weekly “Pre-Lindy” class held 7:50-8:40 p.m. every Thursday night in the grand ballroom of the Pasadena Masonic Hall. You’ll learn the basic footwork from the instructors, and then can dance the night away together until the clock strikes midnight. Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association also offers group and private ballroom and swing dance lessons if you want to arrange something special for your dance partner. Their instructors can teach you to jitterbug, tango, two-step, street hustle, country western and many more styles.
Take your date to the Pasadena Ice Skating Center for a night (or afternoon) of good, clean fun gliding together on the ice. After your skate session, get a gourmet ice cream at Afters on Green Street. Treat your taste buds to the divinity that is the MilkyBun, their signature hot glazed bun filled with the ice cream flavor of your choosing.
You Can’t Go Wrong with Chocolate
Gift your love with artisanal chocolates or sweet treats from one of Pasadena’s many dessert specialists. Have the full aphrodisiac experience at Amara Chocolate & Coffee, where you can sip on their Venezuelan hot chocolate and bite into to-die-for churros. Have an all-American dessert date at The Pie Hole, where the pies are made from scratch daily and you can order by the slice or bite-sized hole. Mignon Chocolates is the place to hit for gorgeous gift boxes, whether you customize a selection of hand-crafted chocolates and truffles, or simply pick-up one of the charming prepared Valentine-themed boxes. Presentation is everything at the sweet boutique Sugarfina tucked in One Colorado. Their cheeky and charming Valentine’s gift sets come in a range of sizes and flavor assortments. They even have a “Love Bites” break-up survival guide if you want to brighten V-day for anyone suffering from a broken heart.
Table for Two
Secure a romantic table for two and enjoy a multi-course feast for the senses. If your amore loves Italian cuisine, Union is guaranteed to impress. The Raymond 1886 oozes romance in its cozy cottage-like setting, and the elevated service makes it worthy of a special occasion. Osawa will delight sushi and shabu shabu lovers with their meticulously prepared Japanese cuisine and artful presentation. Bistro45 brings the joie de vivre to their French-Californian fine dining fare. Oysters are touted for their aphrodisiac properties and Fishwiveshas one of the best selections of the beloved bivalves. And if a steak is in order, Alexander’s Steakhouse, The Royce and Arroyo Chop House all know how to keep it classic.
Commune with the birds and the bees while enjoying quality time together in the great outdoors. The Angeles National Forest abounds with hiking trails—including the most grueling and ambitious, Mt. Baldy. For something on the mellower side, take your partner in adventurous crime on a hike through Eaton Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains. The lower falls trail leads to a 40-foot waterfall that’s active after rains.
Love & Laughter
Secure tickets to a comedy show at Ice House Comedy Club and laugh the night away together. The intimate 200-seat club has been a Pasadena institution since 1960 and is known for its consistently stellar line-up of comedic talent. Buying tickets in advance is strongly recommended to make sure your date night goes according to plan!