Poor Valentine's Day. How does a holiday devoted to love get such a bad rap? If you've been dreading spending the 14th at home with your cat, or stuck on another stuffy, over-planned date, then we have better ideas for you! We promise. Check out the following list for some great ways to spend Valentine's Day (or any day, for that matter) in Newport Beach.
A chocolate buffet? Pastries? A wine bar? Chocolate...nachos? Okay. We think it's safe to say that the Cocoa Lounge at the Island Hotel Newport Beach is the ultimate Valentine's date idea. "Cupid himself would be in awe," Hotel General Manager Donald Stamets says. "It is the perfect spot for a special Valentine's night, especially when combined with an elegant meal or a weekend stay complete with spa treatments you will fall in love with." Do we even need to say more? But hurry! It ends on the 17th!
If you haven’t been to Old Vine Café in nearby Costa Mesa yet, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to check it out. If you have, you know that the tasting menu has some of the best wine-paired plates in Orange County (maybe even the world). Where else can you start a meal with a sautéed sea scallop drizzled with tarragon chardonnay sauce and atop a bed of crispy fried yucca?
Date or no date, Alta Coffee is a perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day. Sit in the outdoor courtyard under the heaters and fairy lights, or warm up around one of the old wooden tables inside. Order a couple of their famous Chai Tea Lattes and split a piece of their decadent chocolate cake. Or eat it all yourself.
Remember last Valentine’s Day when you saw that couple snuggled up in a gondola while a handsome man in a straw hat rowed them across the harbor? Yeah, forget it. Grab your best friends and rent a kayak, Duffy, or paddleboard from Balboa Boat Rentals. That guy in the straw hat will wish he was you. (psst…if you still want the gondola, we don’t blame you. Make a reservation for you and your valentine here).
Single and (not) ready to mingle? Grab your friends and head over to the nearest Pavilions with a Redbox (seriously). Grab a six-pack and a pint of ice cream, and rent one of those prom-gone-wrong, so-bad-it’s-good horror movies like The Loved Ones. It’ll be the best 99 cents you’ve spent on a Valentine since second grade.
Your babysitter has a date planned with her boyfriend, the kids have been eating candy hearts since 8 a.m., and you don’t want to spend the afternoon chasing them around the house. Why not rally up the family and head over to Newport Landing for whale watching. Don’t have a spouse or children? Bring your friends! Whales don’t couple up either.
If you feel like watching the sun go down over the water, but don’t feel like sharing the view with every other romantic in the city, head over to Little Corona Beach in Corona del Mar. Tucked away at the end of Poppy Avenue, this strip of the coast doesn’t get as much traffic. The forecast predicts it’ll be in the low 60’s, but nothing says romance like sticking your hands in each other’s armpits to keep warm.
Why buy her a rose when you can give her the whole garden? Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona del Mar boasts over two acres of beautiful and exotic plans and flowers in an undeniably romantic setting. So romantic, in fact, that the Gardens have become a highly sought-after location for weddings. Just ask Garden Secretary Stephanie Kristiansen (or contact her if you’re interested. Hint, hint.).
Food, music, hot tubs...the Newport Beach Jazz Party has done all the planning for you. Enjoy three days and four nights of jazz at the Marriot Hotel & Spa, starting Valentine’s Day through the 17th.