Valentine’s Day gets an unfair rap. While many lament the consumerism associated with the “Hallmark Holiday’”— yet buy up discounted candy on February 15— we have a sweet spot for any day that inspires us to shower our loved ones with affection, chocolate and flowers. Fortunately, romance in Toledo doesn’t require a seasonal excuse, so to try out these date ideas, on Valentine’s Day, or any day.
Swing by Sofo’s Italian Market (5400 Monroe St., shopsofos.com) to pick up pizza makings and a bottle of wine. Cut the crust into a heart shape and cover with your love’s favorite toppings. Pop the cork on a bottle of your favorite vino and enjoy each other! On the first and third Thursday of each month, seniors shopping at Sofo’s can enjoy samples and save 10% off.
Visit the Docks for a riverside walk and then stop at the Real Seafood Company (22 Main St., realseafoodcotoledo.com) for music and oysters, the food of love. There’s live music in the lounge on Thursdays-Fridays, beginning at 6pm. Happy Hour specials— which include oysters for $1.75 apiece— last from 4pm-close on Sundays through Thursdays (drink specials end at 9pm) and from 4-6:30pm on Friday and Saturday.
Throw on a coat and scarf and visit Wildwood Metropark (5100 Central Ave., metroparkstoledo.com) for a romantic, late afternoon walk. Afterward, warm up together with a fancy cocktail at Plat8 (4330 Central Ave., 419-214-0370. plat8toledo.com), which offers happy hour from 4-6pm on Monday-Saturday.
Enjoy a dinner of gnocchi, roasted vegetables, or another seasonal favorite, at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Museum Café, which offers happy hour from 4-7pm on Thursdays. Then, hold hands for an adults-only, after-hours docent-led flashlight tour of the TMA collection on February 6, 7, 13 or 14. Snuggle by your favorite artwork. For ticket information, call 419-255-8000 or visit toledomuseum.org.
Like it dimly-lit and personal? Take your lover to Georgio’s Cafe International (426 N. Superior St., georgiostoledo.com) for a perfect meal with great service and plenty of love in the air. Consider beginning the evening with a show at the neighboring Valentine Theatre (410 Adams St., valentinetheatre.com)
Try something different— pedicures and Champagne at Reve Salon and Spa in downtown Sylvania (5633 N. Main St., revesalonandspa.com). Let them know your romantic plans in advance!
Start your day with love at the Executive Diner (5629 Main St., and 2516 W. Sylvania Ave., executivediners.com) for eggs and mimosas. You may need a nap afterward.
Anna Bremer at Massage Bliss, in downtown Toledo (610 Adams St., 419-259-2987. massageblisstoledo.com), will coordinate couples massages for a relaxing hour. Follow up a Friday massage with a prix-fixe dinner next door at The Adams Street Cafe (608 Adams St., 419-214-1819. adamsstreetcafe.com).
A short drive to the Hollywood Casino (1968 Miami St., 419-661-5200. hollywoodcasinotoledo.com) could lead you to riches. Even if the tables aren’t showering you with winnings, your mate will love you for trying!
Check into the beautiful Hancock Hotel in downtown Findlay, OH (631 S. Main St., hancockhotel.com). Go for a walk and then have dinner at Mancy’s Steakhouse, located inside the hotel. Only a few short steps to your room after dessert.
Check out the Bellwether at Toledo Spirits Company (1301 N. Summit St., toledospirits.com/bellwether) for craft-made cocktails, a gourmet hotdog and weekend music. Their Heart of Glass Strawberry Vodka will put you in the mood. On Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm and 4pm, visit for distillery tours.