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13 creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in DFW

Posted 1:07pm on Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2017

Valentine’s Day is coming up and you’re 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 Valentine’s Day card.

Create your own ‘La La Land’

Ryan Gosling’s character in La La Land uses jazz to charm and seduce Emma Stone’s 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, there’s 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 Valentine’s 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 that’s the name of a Valentine’s event taking place Friday, Saturday and Valentine’s 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 d’oeuvres 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. Valentine’s 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” wasn’t 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 Drafthouse’s “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;

Laugh together

Laughter is a great way to your partner’s 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 can’t 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 don’t have to go too far to find one. If you’re 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 microphone’s throw away is Hyena’s, a comedy club featuring different up-and-coming comics. The bonus here is that there’s no cover on Thursday nights. Hyena’s also has Dallas and Plano locations. Improv has two DFW locations, one in Arlington and the other in Addison. If you’re 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; Hyena’s, 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, it’s 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 Worth’s Bass Hall on, appropriately, Valentine’s 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: You’ll 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 Valentine’s Day needs a little spice, look no further than the adults-only (age 21 and up only) Pretty Things Peep Show at Oak Cliff’s 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. That’s 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 Valentine’s 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 County’s first wineries and tasting rooms, the restaurant will offer its full wine list during its Valentine’s 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 Valentine’s 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 Valentine’s Day, plus Feb. 17-18. Reserve your time online at brazoscarriage.com

You can always have Paris

Numerous DFW restaurants are offering Valentine’s 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 that’s Le Cep. It doesn’t 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 Avila’s 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 Valentine’s 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 Valentine’s tours are available: The Have Your Chocolate and Eat it Tour (Feb. 10), of course, but also a Valentine’s Winery and Jazz Escape (Feb. 10), a Decadent Valentine’s 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, let’s 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. That’s for the main cabin; for $129 a couple, you can get top-deck seating, which means that you won’t 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/.

Cary Darling: 817-390-7571, @carydar

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