Whether you’re brand new to Valentine’s Day traditions or you’ve been celebrating for years, the holiday can sometimes be a difficult one when it comes to planning. Maybe you’re having trouble deciding between sticking to last year’s date itinerary or going with something entirely unique. Maybe Plan A was shot down because that restaurant is fully booked. Or maybe Valentine’s Day hadn’t even crossed your mind until you started reading.
Athens County has a wide selection of restaurants, shops, and events to satisfy your Valentine’s Day needs. Whether you see yourself as the romantic picnic type or envision yourself in full fan gear watching the Superbowl together, this date list has you covered.
Don’t forget to book your romantic cabin stay for the weekend. Southeast Ohio has tons of unique lodging options and hotels to choose from. There are many quaint and cozy stays in the area which you can easily explore here.
Friday, Saturday, and Monday
You can never go wrong with the timeless dinner-and-a-movie date. Just don’t forget to make a reservation! If you’re planning the special evening for Friday or Saturday, Rhapsody Music and Dining is sure to please your partner. Otis Crockron will perform 6-9 PM both nights to set the romantic mood. Dinner specials include tender beef wellington, a creamy white truffle risotto, and a butter-poached lobster fettuccine.
Maybe a date on the 14th makes more sense for you. Athens Uncorked has a delicious dinner for two lined up. The 4-course meal is paired with two glasses of bubbly champagne with the star entree being a chicken caprese pasta. Valentine’s dinner is a great time to reflect on memories and accomplishments of both you and your partner. Consider setting goals and anticipating what’s to come in the next year in your relationship as well!
After polishing off your romantic fare of choice, settle in for a movie. Depending on where you went for dinner, the Athena Cinema, Athena Grand, or Movies 10 are all great options to finish out the night. New releases Marry Me, a rom-com, or Death on the Nile, a mystery thriller, are both date-worthy. Look out for Athena Cinema’s lineup as Valentine’s Day approaches.
Traditional dinner dates are a hit, but you may consider getting outdoors this Valentine’s Day. Not only is it a great way to enjoy the local scenery, but new activities enjoyed together can strengthen the bond in relationships. No really – it’s backed by research, according to a Bustle article.
Begin your adventurous Saturday date with an early afternoon of climbing at Blockhouse Bouldering Gym in The Plains. You will be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff who can teach you and your sweetheart the basics if you are first-time climbers. Why does this climbing gym make for the ideal date activity? Every climber needs a spotter. The climbing gym is a great way to strengthen trust and communication skills in a relationship. Blockhouse Bouldering is a very affordable date option with the purchase of day passes and rental shoes.
Despite passes being valid all day, you and your significant other may find yourselves with an appetite after an hour or two. Little Fish Brewing Company will be serving a Valentine’s special for two all day Friday and Saturday; with only a five minute drive from Blockhouse, it just makes sense to stop in for a late lunch. Split a pizza of choice or swap for two local smash burgers as the star of this 3-course fare. Pair with a pint of choice and finish off with decadent chocolate souffle cakes.
After enjoying the afternoon at Little Fish, the adventure continues. The Sweetheart’s Hike in Hocking Hills starts at 5 PM, so you’ll want to plan for the 45 minute drive. Make sure to layer up since Ohio February’s tend to be on the chilly side! The hike tours the Ash Cave trail at a leisurely pace beginning at the trail parking lot. Depending on the temperature, you may catch some cool views of icicles or the serene falls of Ash Cave.
Cozy up around the outdoor fire after the hike and enjoy some provided refreshments. The best thing about the Sweetheart’s Hike? It’s open to everyone, whether you’re in a relationship or celebrating Galentine’s Day! Wrap up your evening with a cozy cabin booked in the hills; this is the perfect way to relax and reflect on your adventurous day together..
Originating from a Parks and Rec episode, Galentine’s is observed the day before Valentine’s Day as a way to celebrate friendship. With Valentine’s Day falling on the cusp of the weekend, Saturday is a perfectly acceptable day to observe Galentine’s. What’s the ideal way to celebrate in Athens, you ask? Let’s break it down.
First, brunch. Located on Court Street, Hangover Easy is a delicious way to start a late Sunday morning with friends. All of February, the diner is serving up festive red velvet pancakes with a rich cream cheese filling. If you’re in the mood for savory, you can’t go wrong with the “Hoe Benny” eggs benedict with crispy “Hoe Fries” (home fries). Make sure to order a round of mimosas to toast to another year of friendship!
Second, shop. After your meal with the gals and pals, head over to Arts West for the Valentine’s Prints, Plants, and Pots Sale. This sale does not disappoint with a variety of plants, print work, beautiful ceramics, and handmade jewelry. Spend the afternoon with the BFFs browsing locally made pieces that will make a perfect gift for that special someone.
Third, show. On February 12th, the Southeastern Ohio Rainbow Alliance presents the Lovers Masquerade and Drag Show from 6-11 PM at Eclipse Company Store with Mistique and Lady Dior. This event will give you a reason to go all-out in formal attire and an elegant masquerade mask. Delicious Eclipse appetizers will be provided by SEORA while enjoying the evening.
Red, yellow, and green wristbands will be provided depending on your relationship status. Whether you’re attending to enjoy the show or looking for love, this event is perfect for a group of friends! Don’t forget to grab tickets here.
Some might have mixed feelings about the Super Bowl vs. Valentine’s Day crossover. If you and your significant other are football fans or have a love for The Plains local Joe Burrow, the Super Bowl might be the best way to celebrate the weekend.
Start your Sunday morning right with a trip to Donkey Coffee. Order a “Cup of Joe,” or if you’re craving something sweet, the “Who Dey Latte,” a chocolate cinnamon latte with whip and orange and black sprinkles as tribute to the Cincinnati Bengals. 10% of either of the specials will be donated to the Athens County Food Pantry, so drink up!
Spend your evening together at Cat’s Corner on Union Street cheering on the Bengals at their Super Bowl watch party. Order a festive “orange bomb” drink alongside some Cincinnati Skyline Chili. The bar will also be hosting giveaways, so try your luck at winning a prize for your sweetie.
Little Fish Brewing Company is another great spot for a Super Bowl date night. Starting at 11:30 AM, grab a seat and enjoy Ohio-grown brews, buffalo chicken dip, and hot dogs made in-house.
Whether you’re watching for your favorite team, Joe Burrow, the half-time show, or even the commercials, you’re sure to enjoy the evening together.
All of the dates on this list are romantic in their own way, but this one takes the cake when it comes to the planning and personal touch – a picnic! This date option works whether you’re in close proximity or booking a cabin stay for the weekend.
On Saturday, consider stopping by the Athens Farmers Market on East State Street. The market is open 9-12 and has a variety of vendors ranging from fresh vegetables to locally raised meats. (If you’re planning to prepare any foods, make sure to book a stay with appropriate kitchen tools.)
Some delicious ready-to-eat options are Laurel Valley Creamery’s “Aphrocheesiac” heart-shaped Cloverton cheese, Shagbark’s blackbean tortilla chips, and a variety pack of macarons from UnBEALievable Desserts. This can be a couple’s trip or done solo to surprise them later!
As a part of the romantic evening, treat your significant other to a tasting at a local winery. Make sure to try the new Strawberry Dreams wine at Dutch Creek Winery along with some of their assorted chocolates. Shade Winery is another great option. Order a glass of their 2017 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon or their Sauvignon Blanc if you enjoy a fruitier wine. The best part of including this tasting in your evening itinerary? Your date can pick out a wine for your picnic!
Now, you may be wondering where you might picnic in February. Instead of heading to the park, a local lodging spot is the perfect way to enjoy your spread during the chilly weather. Bring a tablecloth and picnic basket with all the fixin’s, and if you really want to set the mood, some (fake) candles and fresh flowers. Enjoy the evening wining and dining with your sweetheart.
There are plenty of events to satisfy interests, schedules, and budgets. Valentine’s Day is a day of love, so celebrate it with your significant other, friends, family, and show yourself a bit of love!
Published By: Ella Shroll – Events, Marketing, and Support Staff (Visit Athens County)