Well, here we are again, Valentine’s Day, and I know what you’re thinking — you’re trying to figure out what in the world you’re going to do to celebrate with that special person in your life. Never fear — you have me, readers, and I’ve come up with a list of six different dates for all different budgets. I’ve even rated them by price and included how much you’re likely to spend. Hopefully, one of them sounds perfect for you or maybe sparks some inspiration. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Up the romance
Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort hot tubs — $$$$ ($13.50 — Monday-Thursday excluding holidays or $17.50 — Friday-Sunday per person per hour)
If you’re looking for someplace really intimate to go with your special someone, make it an hour or two in the mineral springs hot tubs at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort on Avila Beach Drive. The resort itself is outside the City of San Luis Obispo, so it feels like more of a getaway, and the hot tubs are open to anyone. The hot tubs are on a hill surrounded by trees and separated from each other for privacy, so it’s peaceful, soothing and secluded. The whole atmosphere is enough to put anyone in a romantic mood.
Back to the classics
Palazzo Giuseppe — $$ ($12-$28 for a dinner entrée)
If Valentine’s Day finds you on a first date, or if you just want a classic sit-down dinner with your special someone, it should be at a great place. I’m partial to Italian food, so Palazzo Giuseppe on Court Street is a perfect choice. The decor is pretty, and it’s got a variety of appetizers, pizza, salad, pasta and meat dishes, so there’s something for everyone. The location is great too — right in downtown San Luis Obispo but not too noisy. You can even sit outside and watch the world go by. Going out to dinner might be a more traditional date, but Giuseppe’s will still make it a memorable one.
For the thrill-seekers
Margarita Adventures zipline tour — $$$$ ($99 per person)
If you’re looking for something adventurous for a date, why not go flying? It’s not technically flying, but it’s about as close as you’ll get without a plane.
It’s a zipline tour over the hills of the Santa Margarita Ranch. Yep, that’s right. A reservation at Margarita Adventures gets you a trip on four ziplines (more than 3,000 feet combined), a tour of the ranch and a wine tasting at the Ancient Peaks winery (maybe to celebrate the fact that you didn’t chicken out in front of your date). It isn’t the most low-budget experience, but come on — a zipline tour and wine tasting? If you want something unforgettable, this is worth it.
Red Hot Pottery — $$ (average $18-$22)
If you’re looking for a date that’s a little more out of the ordinary, get creative (literally) and go paint some pottery. At Red Hot Pottery on Chorro Street you can relax and spend time with your someone while creating an original piece of art. It’s a great way to let go of all the stress for a little while and just have fun.
You can choose from a variety of pottery pieces, and the price includes everything you’ll need to paint your piece as well as the glazing and firing. Once you’re finished, you get to take home a reminder of the nice date you had — or even use it as your Valentine’s Day gift. How easy is that?
A low-key good time
Sunset Drive-in — $ ($7 per ticket)
All of you loyal fans will remember my previous column praising the Sunset Drive-In theater, but here it is again — so sue me, I like this place. It’s a really fun experience, and drive-in theaters are becoming rarer to find. This makes for a great date when you want something laid-back and comfortable, but more original than just watching a movie in your living room for the millionth time. You can get cozy and watch the movie with your special someone like you would on the couch at home, but you still get that going-to-a-movie experience. It’s the best of both worlds. And you can’t beat the deal, seriously. A double feature for $7? This is a no-brainer.
Don’t break the bank
Montaña de Oro State Park — $ (free)
So you can’t spend too much on a date right now, I get it. In college everyone’s broke. And even if you’re not in school, an expensive date isn’t always possible. So I say go someplace that won’t cost you a cent — like the beach.
I recommend Montaña de Oro State Park — it’s a gorgeous setting with the sand dunes and the amazing views of the ocean, and it’s more out of the way than other beaches, so you don’t feel like everyone else in the world is there, too. There are also hiking trails if you decide you want to explore the park further. So bring a picnic lunch and spend the day with your someone at one of the prettiest beaches around.