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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Your Last Minute Valentine's Getaway

Valentine's Day is coming and for some of you who like to go all out and have been saving up to do something cool, I've got a great list of vacation destinations for you. On Wednesday, I'll give you some fun ideas for romantic staycations, if you're like me and don't have money right now to get away, or have a trip planned later. Of course, there's always the option to plan one of these trips away from the holiday week.


Opentable has compiled a list of the top 25 most romantic U.S. cities, so it's possible you live near one of them:

25. Atlanta
Start your trip off with a little walk through the airport, taking in their art. You can find eight permanent displays, including A Walk Through History of Atlanta, and rotating exhibits. From mosaics to sculptures, you can really get lost in the creative pieces throughout each terminal. 

Once out of the airport, plan a night under the sea during one of Georgia Aquarium's adult-only sleepovers.  Take your Valentine to see a movie at the Starlight Six Drive-In. Have dinner at Nikolai's Roof on the top of the Hilton hotel.
24. Chicago
Get yourself a CityPASS to gain entry to Chicago’s 5 best attractions: Shedd Aquarium, The Field Musem, Skydeck Chicago, John Hancock Observatory or Museum of Science and Industry and Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago. Go take your picture in front of the giant silver bean and don’t forget to pack a warm coat for those windy Chicago days and nights.
23. Cincinnati
There's cool stuff in the Midwest and this Ohio city gives visitors a retro vibe while giving them hip and modern restaurants and breweries. It's a great place to just slow down and enjoy life.
22. Indianapolis
Looking for a great restaurant to get all cozy? Book a table at the Saffron Cafe, Canal Bistro Mediterranean Grill or Ball & Biscuit. Take a trip down the Canal with Old World Gondoliers, get outside on a stroll through the Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve or go hiking, fishing and sailing in Eagle Creek Park.
21. Nashville

Known mostly for producing the majority of country music superstars, Nashville might surprise you as being a metropolitan city with so much more to offer besides Taylor Swift and the Dixie Chicks. Did you know that it is also the hometown of Kesha? It’s true! You’ll find amazing southern history around Nashville, including Civil War plantations. These grandiose homes are both awe-inspiring and educational. There’s no better way to learn about significant times in American history than to go right to the source. You can top off your days with down-home southern meals out and a vibrant nightlife full of all types of music.



20. San Diego
When you think of wine, you might not think of San Diego, but the truth is, the West Coast is packed with vineyards and wineries and San Diego is home to one of the finest. Orfila is a boutique winery close to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which means there are plenty of other nearby attractions if you don’t plan to spend your whole trip drinking wine. Just there for wine? Make sure to rent a car, as most of the wineries in the area are a short drive from downtown (think 45 minutes to an hour). Most have picnic grounds as well, so you can save a bit more by bringing your own lunch and snacks. 

And if you want other ideas for what to do there, you can check out my post here.
19. Philadelphia
Not only is Philadelphia full of awesome and unique restaurants and museums, but you can purchase the Philadelphia CityPASS for $59 and check out 4 of these 5 things:
  • The Franklin Institue
  • The Big Bus & Philadelphia Trolley Works
  • One Liberty Observation Deck
  • Adventure Aquarium OR Philadelphia Zoo.
18. Houston
It’s not exactly a tropical paradise, but Houston has mild winters that are way more comfortable than you’ll find further north. It’s definitely not Michigan. 
  • With the second largest theater district in the nation, you’ll find a performance for anyone, whether you’re traveling as a family or a couple. 
  • Enjoy the weather and nature out at Discovery Green. This park hosts free weekly music performances, a permanent art installation and even two restaurants. 
  • When I think of Texas, I think of BBQ. Save on a diner favorite at Triple J’s Smokehouse, where you can order ribs, burgers, sausages and more for under $15 per person.
17. Dallas
Everything's bigger in Texas, except the travel rates in the winter. Flights from anywhere in the U.S. are generally short, the weather is often warmer than many other destinations, and there are a lot of events and free activities. From an outdoor art walk, indoor museums, and an Audubon center, things only get more awesome from there. Save even more in Dallas with CityPASS.
16. Miami Beach
There are a lot of places to visit and explore in Miami. The Art-Deco District brings memories of Florida's past. It is restored with 1930s Art-Deco buildings in pastel colors. These buildings and structures display neon signs and awnings that cover the outdoor dining areas. After visiting the Art-Deco District you can pay Ocean Drive a visit. Ocean Drive is a popular for some drive-by sightseeing. There are other interesting places to visit too such as Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Little Havana, Zoo Miami and Jungle Island, Miami Seaquarium and so much more.


15. Scottsdale, Arizona
In the middle of the desert, Scottsdale is a haven of spa and wellness venues, but aside from couples massages, you can take a romantic stroll through Old Town, hang together among the beauty at Butterfly Wonderland, and then shop for art (or just appreciate it) in the Marshall Way Arts District.
14. Portland, Oregon
I know I'm biased, but I love Portland. It's a fantastic place to live and visit, any time of year. If you're looking for a few days worth of fun here, you can check out my two-day itinerary.
13. Lahaina, Hawai
It seems like you would just assume anywhere in Hawaii would be romantic, but Oahu can be very crowded and other parts can be very secluded, which you may or may not love. Maui may be your best bet. You can see the budget-friendly recommendations I found here.
12. Louisville, Kentucky
Make a plan to take your Valentine to one of the city's most romantic restaurants (Jack Fry's has live music and consistently voted #1 romantic, Lilly's Bistro, and Proof On Main are all great options), cruise the Ohio River on Belle of Louisville, or rent a bicycle built for two and peddle along Waterfront Park. 
11. Charlotte, North Carolina
You don't need to have cash to do a budget getaway with your sweetie here. Hit up free Wednesday nights at the Mint Museum, get a taste of Nola awesomeness with live jazz and Cajun cuisine from Cajun Queen, or even get down to "your song" if you bring your favorite record to Petra's Bar in Plaza Midwood during Bring Your Own Vinyl night and they'll spin it for you.
10. Baltimore 
It's not called Charm City for no reason. Baltimore has plenty of romance in the achitecture itself. It's also the where Edgar Allen Poe fell in love with his future wife. Capture the magic yourself by taking in a show at the Hippodrome, climb the steps of the pagoda in Patterson Park for stunning views, wander the cultural heart of the city in the Mount Vernon district, or sip cocktails in Clark Gable's famous haunt, 13th Floor.
9. Austin
While the city may be weird, it's also romantic and unique. Learn to get down and lose your two left feet on Saturdays at the White Horse for free with lessons from Two Left Foots. The Blanton Museum of Art stays open late on Third Thursdays, so it's the perfect post-dinner activity. The New Movement has free and affordable comedy shows all week long. And what's more romantic than a speakeasy? Behind a false bookcase in Firehouse Lounge, you'll find a secluded bar for a drink with your Valentine.
8. Kansas City, Missouri
Besides amazing musical venues, Kansas City, Missouri, "The Jazz Capital of the World, dishes up world-famous barbecue. Tailgating outside Royals and Chiefs games is where sports enthusiasts to really showcase their best barbecue. See a bit of Europe at the Country Club Plaza, a large shopping district built using Spanish architecture and featuring European art.
7. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is just altogether stunning, but if you're used to seeing it everyday, then here are some other ideas for making it more romantic: Take a sunset stroll through Pitt Street Bridge Recreation Area and maybe pack a picnic dinner (at the very least, a bottle of wine), take in a show at the historic Dock Street Theater, or get your hands dirty by taking a cooking class at Zero George.


6. Richmond, Virginia
I grew up near Richmond (for most of the summers, at least) and there are tons of cool things to do there. It's historical and beautiful, but it's also romantic. The Virginia Museum of Fine Art is completely free and has plenty of rotating exhibits to make it fresh for even the frequent visitor. Instead of a traditional sit-down dinner, take your sweetheart on a food tour to find some of the city's gems with River City Food Tour. Grab your inner tube, bathing suit and a stash of drinks and snacks and float down the James River.
5. Brooklyn
New York can be pretty spendy at the best of times, but that doesn't mean you can't have a night out on the town without going broke. Getting creative is a good way to save some bucks and also impress your other half. Grab your camera (and possibly pop some Benedryl) and stroll hand in hand through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Snag a seat aboard The Water Table, a restored Navy Yard patrol vessel that floats down the East River as you imbibe. Feel like a kid again with a spin on Jane's Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
4. Memphis
If you think music is sexy, because Justin Timberlake did bring it back, though it possibly never left from Elvis's reign, then you don't have to look very hard in Memphis. Beale Street Historic District is full of nightlife with live music. You can walk down the street and pop into any of them for a bite and some tunes. There's really nothing better than that.
3. Savannah, Georgia
Want to get really cozy with your love? Take them on a ghost tour of the city where you'll have to put your arm around them when the ghost stories give them the willies. Wine and dine your sweetie at one of these downtown spots: Olde Pink House, Chive Sea Bar Lounge, Vic's on the River. While a bit morbid, a stroll through Bonaventure Cemetery can be creepy, but also romantic and beautiful.
2. St. Louis
Get dinner and views of the Arch by booking a table at Kemoll's at the Met Building. Take a trip to one of the city's chocolatiers, because who doesn't adore chocolate? Take in a movie while snuggling on couches at Moolah Theatre and Lounge. You may also want to get a little drunk wine tasting at Stone Hill Winery.
1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I know, OK City doesn't sound like a romantic place at all, but it takes the #1 spot on OpenTable's list. Cruise along the river on a Bricktown Water Taxi, even if you have nowhere to go. Of course, you can take one and get off in the Boathouse District to do some outdoor fun like ziplining and paddleboarding. If that's not for you, head to Will Rogers Park to smell and gorgeous flowers at Ed Lycan Conservatory. Take in a piece of the city's history by taking a tour of the 1903 Henry Overholser Mansion. You can even drink some delicious wines at Pinot's Palette.

Where will you go this February? Perhaps you still have a budget to make it a very romantic month and head to Paris (or at least you can plan the trip now and give the gift of knowing you're heading there later in the year).

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