Editor’s note: This Vs. That is Travel Boulder’s weekly comparison guide designed to help you pick the activities, food, drinks, hotels and events that best fit your preferences. It’s like if a traditional newspaper review had a love child with Yelp, except always reliably researched and experienced firsthand by our local writers. Because sometimes you can best understand an option by seeing what it is not and by placing it side by side with something else.
V-Day is going to be epic (even though that word died in 2017). Snuggled up against the Flatiron Mountains with views for days, Boulder is packed with plenty of romantic activities. The real question is this: Do you want to go out on the town or would you rather cuddle up alone in privacy?
For Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together two romantic itineraries in Boulder, one action-packed in town and the other where you don’t need to leave your hotel room. Like at all. Compare the two date inspirations and pick the one that makes you swoon the hardest.
Valentine’s Day on the Town
This itinerary requires no overnight and it centers around the sweet Pearl Street Mall; stroll down the brick-lined streets hand-in-hand and take time to stop and smell the coffee.
Start your day at the Dragontree Spa, 1521 Pearl St., in the sexy Sangha Room. This dim community room is where you and your lover can sip fine tea and munch on chocolates and receive foot massages and soaks. Then retreat to one of the cozy, warm treatment rooms for a 60-minute Swedish couples massage. Ask about the Valentine’s Special, which in the past has included a free collection of Naked lotion and Love massage oil.
After your massage, head to Upstairs, 1039 Pearl St., an intimate cocktail lounge above The Kitchen, and get a seat by the crackling fire. Sip wine or a cocktail and exchange gifts. We recommend a Downtown Boulder gift card, which your sweetheart can use on more than 190 different shops and restaurants downtown. Add a personal touch by presenting the card in a heart-shaped box of dark salted butter caramel truffles from Boulder-based Piece, Love, & Chocolate, with a V-Day card from locally owned Bliss.
Many restaurants offer special Valentine’s Day menus. In the past, The Kitchen has had a four-course meal. Or venture just one block away to Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar, 928 Pearl St. (We don’t have to tell you to make this reservation well in advance.) Jax’s Valentine’s Day menu in the past has been a three-course prix fixe menu that included options like the French Kiss Oyster (ooh la la) or a braised beef cheek tortellini, with red velvet joconde or chocolate lava cake for dessert. You can also order from the regular menu. The dark and sultry (yet upbeat and friendly) atmosphere here is the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner, Boulder style.
After dinner, if you want to extend the festivities, wander next door to the West End Tavern.
If you want to do something different than dinner in Boulder, skip the table entirely and venture to Longmont, where you can learn how to make cheese at the Haystack Mountain Creamery, 505 Weaver Park Road. The class, called The Art of Cheese, has celebrated Valentine’s Day in the past with a special champagne pairing and Coeur de la Creme, or Heart of Cream, a yummy dessert cheese. Of course, you get to make your cheese and eat it, too.
A Romantic Valentine’s Night In
Sometimes the best date night doesn’t even require putting on shoes. For the perfect one-on-one Valentine’s Day without leaving your room, first swing by Cured, 1825 Pearl St., a gourmet grocery store and little sandwich shop, with a small wine store in the back.
You know what to do there.
In the past, Cured has offered a Love Bird Special, a dinner for two to go. In the past, the meal included twin roasted cornish game hens stuffed with wild rice and house-made sausage, a blood orange and watercress salad, Delice de Bourgogne with a baguette and a chocolate and red currant Eton mess with chocolate meringue, cocoa cream and chocolate sauce. Included in your feast: sparkling rose’.
Even if you don’t score a Love Bird Special, there’s no sexier meal than a handpicked charcuterie plate, which you can craft here and take with you.
Take your mountains of cheese to the new Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel, 500 Flatiron Blvd., in Broomfield. Yeah, it’s a bit out of town but this hotel has offered special Valentine’s Day Packages with the likes of a deluxe suite, three-course meal at the on-site restaurant, Flatz, a bottle of champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and a late check-out the next day so you can sleep off that bubbly.
After filling up on food and then filling up some more, order a couples’ massage to be delivered right to your hotel room. Zeel Massage On Demand sends massage therapists to you with a click of your phone, so you don’t ever have to get out of your bathrobe. Zeel is on call seven days a week every day of the year, as late as 10:30 p.m.
After your massages, exchange sweet gifts. We recommend gifts you can consume, like a growler of the special Valentine’s Day beer made by Grimm Bros. Brewhouse in Loveland. Because Loveland. For the morning, snag some of Loveland’s official Valentine’s coffee made by the LoCo Artisan Coffee House.
Top off the day with cupcakes — also delivered to your room. Boulder Baked is known for delivering cookies but it also will bring you cupcakes. We say go for a full dozen of red velvet cupcakes. You don’t have to eat them all (but you will). A big box of fresh-baked cupcakes definitely tops a cliche box of chocolates.