Valentines Day is coming up and youre sick to death of all the usual cultural go-tos: roses; chocolates in a heart-shaped box; and a too-expensive dinner. Yawn.
So we scoured the DFW romantic landscape and came up with some ideas that should stop you from being a Cupid cliché. If nothing else, it should save you from the embarrassment of dashing into the closest convenience store for a last-minute Valentines Day card.
Create your own La La Land
Ryan Goslings character in La La Land uses jazz to charm and seduce Emma Stones musically clueless character, taking her to Hermosa Beach, Calif.s legendary Lighthouse Cafe. You can do something similar in DFW by heading to Scat Jazz Lounge in Fort Worth. Granted, theres no ocean nearby but the almost speak-easylike entrance and cozy environment make for a unique showcase for the distinctly American art form. Coming up at Scat Jazz Lounge are Liz Mikel (Saturday), Black Dog Jam (Sunday), and a Valentines Day Soiree on Tuesday with notable actress Sheran Keyton singing classic romantic songs. 111 W. Fourth St., Fort Worth; 817 870-9100; scatjazzlounge.com
Get a heart of glass
Something called Flaming Cocktails Hot Date Night certainly gets our attention, and thats the name of a Valentines event taking place Friday, Saturday and Valentines Day at Vetro Glassblowing Studio and Gallery in Grapevine. You and your date can register online for a class with one of the glassblowers, where you can learn to make glass hearts and flowers. Hors doeuvres and, yes, flaming cocktails will be served. $195 per couple; reservations are required. At press time, slots were still available in these windows: 5-9 p.m. Friday, 1-9 p.m. Saturday, 1-9 p.m. Valentines Day. 701 S. Main St., No. 103, Grapevine, 817-251-1668, http://www.vetroartglass.com
Throw some Shade
The first film of the would-be romantic trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey wasnt a great movie by any stretch, but the story of naive Anastasia and her mysterious and weirdo lover, Christian, with his kinky tendencies, had a certain hoot factor. No doubt, that will hold true for the sequel, the R-rated Fifty Shades Darker, opening Friday, in which actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan try to rekindle the flames awkwardly lit in the previous movie. So, if you and your partner have something of a warped sense of humor and can bond over beautiful bodies and bad dialogue, this could be the way to go. Check out the Alamo Drafthouses Rowdy screenings at 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Saturday (Dallas) and 10 p.m. Saturday (Richardson) where you are free to yell back at the screen. drafthouse.com/dfw/show/rowdy-fifty-shades-darker;
Laughter is a great way to your partners heart and what better way to keep your love torch burning than being funny together? Dallas Comedy House which recently moved into a new spot is a prime place to take improv classes and perhaps eventually perform onstage. If you cant afford to hit the road to join the Groundlings in Los Angeles or Second City in Chicago, this could be your next best option. 3025 Main St., Dallas; 214 741-4448; http://dallascomedyhouse.com/
Not ready to perform yet? North Texas is crazy with comedy clubs, so you dont have to go too far to find one. If youre on the western side of DFW, check out the Fort Worth comedy troupe Four Day Weekend. It performs 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. A microphones throw away is Hyenas, a comedy club featuring different up-and-coming comics. The bonus here is that theres no cover on Thursday nights. Hyenas also has Dallas and Plano locations. Improv has two DFW locations, one in Arlington and the other in Addison. If youre in North Dallas, check out Backdoor Comedy Club, which has open-mic nights Thursdays and regular performances Friday-Saturday.
Four Day Weekend, 312 Houston St., Fort Worth; 817 226-4329; fourdayweekend.com; Hyenas, 425 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 5321 E. Mockingbird (in Mockingbird Station), Dallas; 1941 Preston Road, Plano, www.hyenascomedynightclub.com; Backdoor Comedy Club, 8250 N. Central Expressway (in the Doubletree Hotel), Dallas; 214 328-4444; www.backdoorcomedyclub.com✔; Improv Addison, 4980 Belt Line Road, Addison; www.improvaddison.com; Improv Arlington, 309 Curtis Mathes Way (at Arlington Highlands mall), Arlington; 817 635-5555; www.improvarlington.com
Become An American in Paris
The 1951 film, inspired by the George Gershwin composition of the same name, is a whirlwind of romance starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Not only that, its considered one of the great movie musicals of all time. Now, it has been transferred to the stage with this Tony Award-winning production that begins a six-night run at Fort Worths Bass Hall on, appropriately, Valentines Day. Tickets start at $44 for the performances at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday and $55 for performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. www.basshall.com
Adopt a penguin together
Not quite ready to take the giant leap into parenthood? Adopt a penguin together at the Fort Worth Zoo. Think of the pros: no diapers, no late-night feedings and you could visit your baby anytime. Bonus: Youll be supporting the quality care and conservation efforts of the zoo. Adoption packages start at $40 and include a stuffed animal, adoption certificate, photos and fact sheet about your penguin; you can choose between an African black-footed penguin or a Rockhopper penguin. After you adopt, you may want to sweeten the deal with a zoo membership, which will provide unlimited access to your cute friend. Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth. fortworthzoo.org
Take a walk on the wild side
If your Valentines Day needs a little spice, look no further than the adults-only (age 21 and up only) Pretty Things Peep Show at Oak Cliffs Kessler Theater. Billed as a gaudy bawdy variety show [that] is a unique blend of circus, sideshow, burlesque and variety arts, the evening should be filled with thrills, chills and some scantily clad performers just the sort of thing that can really liven up an evening dedicated to romance. 8 p.m. Saturday. 1230 W. Davis St., Dallas. $30; thekessler.org.
Try the royal treatment
Nothing says love like being able to eat with your hands in front of your significant other while watching knights in shining armor joust for your favor. Thats what happens when spending an evening at the spectacle that is Medieval Times. You and your loved one will feast on roasted chicken, buttered corn and potatoes while enjoying the show, which really is worth experiencing at least once in your life. A new addition to the feast is a vegetarian version of the platter that includes warm pita bread, hummus and three-bean stew. The Valentines package includes two admissions, a framed photo, two souvenir glasses of champagne and a box of chocolates for $110. Medieval Times, 2021 N. Stemmons Fwy., Dallas; medievaltimes.com
Experience romance with a view
Nestled in the hills northwest of downtown Fort Worth, LightCatcher Winery is the perfect setting for a romantic night out. As one of Tarrant Countys first wineries and tasting rooms, the restaurant will offer its full wine list during its Valentines Day dinners, which will be served Saturday and Tuesday . The four-course dinner, which is $75 per person, plus tax, gratuity and beverages, will be served beginning at 6 p.m. both days with swing music by Aurora Bleu. Reservations required; call 817-237-2626. LightCatcher Winery, 6925 Confederate Park Road (Farm Road 1886), Fort Worth; http://lightcatcher.com/
Get carried away
Blame it on the movies, but somehow being whisked away in a horse-drawn carriage seems to scream heart emojis. Brazos Carriage offers a Valentines Day special that takes couples around charming Sundance Square. The 25-minute excursion via an open carriage ($100) or Cinderella-style carriage ($125) includes a silk rose and chocolates. Pick up is in front of Corner Bakery Cafe at 615 Main St., Fort Worth. The rides are available 6-11:30 p.m. Friday through Valentines Day, plus Feb. 17-18. Reserve your time online at brazoscarriage.com
You can always have Paris
Numerous DFW restaurants are offering Valentines Day meals, but only one Fort Worth restaurant has been voted among the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America for 2017 by OpenTable users and thats Le Cep. It doesnt look all that romantic from the outside, with its strip-center setting, but the outside goes away the moment you walk into the cozy lobby, and the interior is staffed by well-dressed servers and devoid of such modern restaurant encumbrances as TVs or blaring Top 40 music (there is music, mostly instrumental, and barely audible). Chef Sandra Avilas Parisian-inspired menu works two ways: an eight-course discovery menu for $95, or a four-course tasting menu that allows you to pick options from sections of the discovery menu ($55). A cheese course is $18, but go for it: This is one of the few restaurants in DFW with its own fromagier, and the cheese course becomes quite a show. Reservations recommended; you might not be able to land one on Valentines Day, but you can get in pretty close to the date. 3324 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-900-2468, https://leceprestaurant.com
Take a bite of a food tour for amours
The company might be called Dallas by Chocolate, but its tours go beyond chocolate, and several Valentines tours are available: The Have Your Chocolate and Eat it Tour (Feb. 10), of course, but also a Valentines Winery and Jazz Escape (Feb. 10), a Decadent Valentines Dream Chocolate Tour (Feb. 11), a Grapevine/Roanoke Southlake Chocolate Tour (Feb. 11), a Three Wineries Trail Tour (Feb. 11), a Tacos and Margaritas Tour (Feb. 11 and 14) and more. Expect to get on a shuttle bus with a bunch of other chocolate/wine/margarita/taco lovers and hit several spots for tastings, sippings and talking to chocolatiers and others. Tour prices and times vary; for a full list visit http://www.dallasbychocolate.com
Baby, lets cruise away from here
For $149 a couple, you can take a two-hour cruise (night or day) on Lake Grapevine, complete with a three-course dinner, live music and a comedy performance. Thats for the main cabin; for $129 a couple, you can get top-deck seating, which means that you wont be able to see the band, but you can still hear it and dance to the music (and you might want to bring something warm to wear). Couples Retreat packages are also available; they include the cruise, dinner, etc., plus a one-night hotel stay at either the Embassy Suites ($299 per couple) or Gaylord Texan ($389 per couple). Feb. 10-14; at press time, main-cabin seating was still available Feb. 13 and 14, and top-deck seating was available all five days. Reservations required; http://www.valentinescruisedfw.com/.