Local spots offer creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

In Arts & Entertainment, Top Stories
The Gondola Getaway in Long Beach is the oldest gondola operating company in America. Every day, love is celebrated here but Valentine’s Day patrons can look forward to an extra spark of romance. ( courtesy of Gondola Gateway )

For those who have surrendered to Cupid’s arrow this year and are still looking for a romantic place to take that special someone for Valentine’s Day, there can be a lot of pressure. Fortunately, there are plenty of options.

A practical bouquet of red roses, a heart-shaped box of delicious chocolates and a fluffy, life-size bear are all great gifts that can put a smile on your significant other’s face, although planning a special date to an enchanting place will not only make him or her feel loved but create heart-felt memories both can share.

Restaurants are always a good starting point. Luckily for students, Orange County offers a plethora of restaurants that are romantic, modern and classic getaways for all lovebirds to enjoy.

For couples who fancy live entertainment, the Green Parrot Villa in Santa Ana is the place to go. Patrons are serenaded by the sounds of a live mariachi band while indulging in a glass of bubbling champagne. “It’s a beautiful atmosphere, a beautiful courtyard, like a hacienda-style place,” said Anahi Gonzalez, the manager of Green Parrot Villa. Couples can enjoy a carving station buffet with dishes of seafood, pasta and Mexican food. Reservations are required for the brunch event Sunday, Feb. 14, with a $24.95 charge per person.

Interested in classic Mediterranean specialties with a modern twist? Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar in Downtown Disney is an elegant and serene eatery that offers a panoramic view of Downtown Disney. The Mediterranean menu offers grilled seafood, signature burgers, select meats and fresh salad entrees. Prices range from $31 to $50 per person.

Dinner at a restaurant is a traditional and effective way to treat one’s significant other, although for some sweethearts, a romantic adventure and a new scenery are exactly what they need to electrify their Valentine celebration. Venice, Italy is one of the most romantic places in the world and known for its maze-like canals that wraps around the entire city. The Gondola Getaway in Long Beach offers lovers a chance to experience a Venetian escape.

The Gondola Getaway offers a relaxing and romantic cruise that goes along the canals of Naples Island, consisting of three islands in the bay. The Valentine’s Day package includes a 55-minute cruise, a long stem rose or chocolate strawberries and a framed photograph. The ride passes under five bridges in the canal. It is tradition for couples to share a kiss under the bridges.

The Orange Great Park is hosting Cupid's Date Night for the first time, offering people a special Valentine's Day experience with hot air balloon ride, picnics and painting classes. ( Courtesy of Wikipedia )
The Orange Great Park is hosting Cupid’s Date Night for the first time, offering people a special Valentine’s Day experience with hot air balloon ride, picnics and painting classes. ( Courtesy of Wikipedia )

“Every day is Valentine’s Day at the Gondola Getaway, but obviously Valentine’s weekend is extra special,” Michael McBride, general manager said. The Gondola Getaway is the oldest operating Gondola company in America, this year being its 34th Valentine celebration, McBride said. Rides will need to be reserved ahead of time and will begin at 10 a.m. to midnight on Valentine’s Day. Prices range from $125 to $165 depending on the day.

“With the canals of the Naple islands and the history that our gondoliers get to bring to our guests, we feel that allows us to be able to say it’s the best gondola experience in America,” said McBride. “We do promote love around here as much as we can.”

Cupid’s Date Night at Orange County Great Park is a unique experience for couples looking for something out of the ordinary. For the first time ever, the Orange County Great Park is hosting Cupid’s Date Night. 

“(It’s) a night where couples can come and they can have a whole date night at the park,” said Kim Mohr, senior media service coordinator for the city of Irvine.

The event will offer couples a night to remember Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For $132, couples can enjoy the romantic package that includes a ride on the Great Park hot air balloon, a picnic dinner and a painting class in the Artists Studios. The last day to book a reservation is Feb. 11.

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