It’s that time of year again: Valentine’s Day. While a lot of people will knock this holiday as being unnecessary and cheesy, I think that it’s a great excuse for couples to step outside their regular routine and do something romantic and memorable. As BC students, the city of Boston is only a short T-ride away, and there are countless romantic locations and activities that are calling our names. Here’s a list of 10 places I personally recommend for Valentine’s Day this season, or any other occasion you want to spend with that special someone. Even if you’ll be spending the 14th with your friends this year, don’t feel discouraged. Who says you can’t buy yourself chocolate and flowers?
1. Petit Robert Bistro: Located in both Kenmore Square and the South End, Petit Robert Bistro is an excellent option for a date because no one does romance better than the French. Described as having an intimate and cozy interior with a friendly staff and delicious French cuisine, Petit Robert does both lunch and dinner, with a fully stocked bar for the over 21 crowd. Ambiance is key for a romantic date, and is created here by the dim lighting and a view of Downtown Crossing from the second floor. Prices are also reasonable for the quality of the food: always a consideration for the college student.
2. Ice-skating at Frog Pond: Yes, this is about as cliché for Boston as it gets, but that doesn’t detract from the adorableness one bit. Right in the middle of Boston Commons, Frog Pond is the perfect place to bring your valentine for a more active date instead of dinner and a movie. You can cling to each other as you skate around, and afterwards enjoy a walk to through the park or to Faneuil Hall for some hot chocolate.
3. New England Aquarium: Venturing to the aquarium is like embarking on an adventure into a whole new world. The aquarium is chock full of awesome things to see, ranging from the giant ocean tank to the penguin exhibit, which is designed so that it can be seen from virtually any spot in the aquarium. It’s a unique place to explore with your significant other, and if you plan your visit wisely, you might even get to help feed the penguins.
4. L.A. Burdick: With two locations in Back Bay and Harvard Square, L.A. Burdick is the place to go for the best hot chocolate in Boston. Valentine’s Day is arguably the holiday of chocolates, so why not indulge? Both the milk and dark hot chocolates are recommended, along with the variety of pastries they have to offer. Even though it’s not cheap and it's often a bit crowded, a splurge is always worth it in the name of chocolate.
5. Fireplace restaurant: Located off of the Washington Sq. T stop on the C line, Fireplace has one of the most romantic ambiances I’ve ever experienced. The name says it all: what’s more romantic than the flickering flames of a fireplace lighting up your table for two? Notable for its use of local ingredients in all of its dishes, Fireplace is open for brunch, lunch and dinner. Entrees usually cost between $25-$35, but the quality of the food, the environment, and proximity to BC all make it a great choice for a V-Day date.
6. Top of the Hub restaurant and lounge: This option is for the adventurous and affluent college student, but the view from Top of the Hub is definitely worth the price tag. The atmosphere is utterly sophisticated, complete with live jazz and $13 cocktails, but if you can snag a seat by the window, you will get to see the whole of Boston from 52 stories up. It’s even just a great option for dessert and drinks, but perhaps more geared to the over 21 crowd.
7. Stargazing at the Gilliland Observatory at the Museum of Science: This observatory can be found on the roof of the Museum of Science, and it allows guests to use a powerful telescope (with the help of friendly and informative employees) and view the night sky. A good idea is to call ahead and find out what the predicted weather is for the night: this date would be no fun if you could only see clouds. The observatory is also free for all guests on Friday nights from 8:30-10:30 pm, making it one of the most feasible dates on this list in terms of cost. Rooftop locations and stargazing are practically romantic by definition, and provide plenty of material for cheesy, adorable compliments.
8. Trident Booksellers & Café: This is an excellent choice for breakfast or lunch with your valentine, and it’s conveniently located right on Newbury Street for a post-brunch stroll hand-in-hand. Trident is known for its delicious and fresh cuisine, varying from fresh smoothies and omelets to delicious Lemon Ricotta French toast and a multitude of sandwiches. The ambiance here is not too upscale, but it’s classy and cool enough for a date. Adding to its charm, Trident doubles as a bookstore, so while you wait for your table, you can both peruse the shelves like the intellectual college students you are.
9. The Arch Tunnel at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park: Perfect to visit after dinner in the North End, the arch tunnel in this park is gorgeous to walk through at night. Lit up with Christmas lights during the holiday season, strolling under this arch will make you and your date feel like you are both part of a movie. The entire park is also a pleasure to explore, including rose gardens and a view of the harbor.
10. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market: Even for Boston regulars, Faneuil Hall and Quincy market are vibrant and varied enough to be worth the trip. You can buy almost any type of food or dessert, and sampling all the different shops and restaurants with your valentine will be hilarious, exciting and delicious. You can also just grab some warm apple cider and a bench and people-watch the day away. One thing’s for sure: you won’t be bored or hungry.