Like most holidays in the age of COVID-19, we’ll all likely be celebrating Valentine’s Day a little differently this year. While many local restaurants and bars are offering themed meals for dine-in or take out, there are other ways to connect with the ones you adore the most on the holiday beyond the delicious three-course meal. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, consider one of our ideas below for an alternative celebration with your partner or friends.
Plan a hike at sunrise or sunset
Catching a glimpse of the sun rising or setting behind Colorado’s majestic peaks is the ultimate romantic experience. Prime viewing locales in the area include the moderate South Mesa Trail, which offer gorgeous sights of the sun casting a golden glow over the Flatirons in the early morning or evening; and the more difficult Mount Sanitas Trail, a great spot to bask in a vista of Boulder and Indian Peaks. Keep in mind: Trails can be icy in the wintertime, so be sure to pack appropriate gear, such as traction devices for your shoes or boots.
Take a tour of the public art in Sweetheart City
Embark on a day trip to Loveland, dubbed “The Sweetheart City” and home to more than 300 public works of art. Don’t miss the Benson Sculpture Garden, where you can view more than 150 eclectic bronze masterpieces spread across 10 acres, and check out the selfie-worthy love lock and arch sculptures. At the latter, you can “Lock your love” to the soul of your choice by purchasing a lock at the Loveland Visitors Center and securing it to the sculpture.
Cook a locally-sourced meal
Whip up a lovey-dovey feast at home and spread the love to local farms and producers with the help of Boulder County Farmers Markets. The organization’s online marketplace is currently accepting online orders for pickup in Boulder, Lafayette, Longmont and Denver for dates leading up to Feb. 14 (depending on the pickup location). Market items include perfect-for-searing Buckner Family Farm pork chops; charcuterie-board-ready items from Haystack Mountain Creamery and sweet beets from White Mountain Farm. The BCFM staff also designed seven too-cute-for-words vegetable- and fruit-themed valentine cards.
Embrace your inner artist
Paint-your-own pottery studios in Boulder County give aspiring creatives the chance to create something special for a loved one (or themselves). Order a Valentine’s Day kit for pickup or delivery from Crackpots in Longmont, which includes a ceramic piece of your choice, instructions and a set of colors. All you have to do is paint the piece at home and bring it back to the shop to be glazed and fired. Choose from heart-shaped piggy banks, spoon rests, dishes and more. In Boulder, Color Me Mine offers similar options with shipping and pickup options from its Pearl Street store.
The Art of Cheese in Longmont is hosting two virtual classes on Valentine’s Day weekend. You and your favorite fromage fanatic can learn how to make your own three-day aged farmer cheese (a table cheese that can be infused with different flavors) on February 13 or gain the know-how you need to produce coeur de la creme (a rich French dessert often served with fruit or chocolate sauce). Both classes will be led by Art of Cheese owner and lead cheese coach Kate Johnson, who will also provide a list of equipment and ingredients, with guidance on where to buy and source everything. The registration fee includes access to the school’s Cheese 101 class, downloadable recipes, a recording of the classes and interactive instruction with a live Q&A session.
Go ice skating
Bundle up and head to the Longmont Ice Pavilion, where you can glide arm-in-arm in the outdoor rink. If you get too chilly, the pavilion also has a heated tent to warm up in, and skate rentals are available on-site (reservations required; view open skate times online). Or venture to Louisville, which hosts WinterSkate in a small rink in its historic downtown area until February 15 and grab a rum-spiked hot apple cider on the patio at 740 Front after your icy activity.
Book a staycation
Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, offering the perfect opportunity to make a weekend out of the holiday and book a staycation. If you want to stay close by, go for a room and spa treatment at the St Julien Hotel & Spa, where the luxe rooms and pampering amenities will make you feel worlds away. Or opt for a getaway a bit farther afield in an enclave like Fort Collins, where you can visit over 20 breweries and go biking, hiking or snowshoeing at scenic destinations like Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Pineridge Natural Area. We recommend slumbering at the Armstrong Hotel, a newly renovated beauty housed in a 1923 building at the heart of Old Town Fort Collins.