Robert Arends

Valentine’s Day, LGBT-style, in San Diego

Walking under Hillcrest Sign
Walking under Hillcrest Sign

Feel the love in Hillcrest this Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air and for LGBT couples looking for something romantic to do this Valentine’s Day, San Diego is THE place to cuddle close and feel the warmth – especially in Hillcrest, our fabulous uptown “gayborhood” located just a couple of miles from downtown.

Following are a few unforgettable places to wine and dine your significant other or special V-day date.

Start the Night with Dinner in Hillcrest

Temperatures rising at Kitchen Bar & Kitchen this Valentine's Day

Temperatures rising at Kitchen Bar & Kitchen this Valentine’s Day

In Hillcrest, begin your heart-filled evening at the comfortably modern Heat Bar & Kitchen on Park Blvd. Amber lighting radiates to create a cozy ambiance to enjoy a menu of California fusion cuisine. The steamed local Carlsbad mussels are delish, as is the duck breast and braised lamb shank!

Another tried and true Hillcrest dining option is the chic retro-modern D Bar on 5th Ave. where comfort food based on childhood favorites will have you both smiling from ear to ear – and reaching over to sample each other’s entrees! Highly recommended is the Southern Fried Belgian butter milk fried chicken with sweet potato fries. OMG 😉

After Dinner Drinks in Hillcrest

wine

After dinner, head to The Wine Lover with its intimate little patio to toast your love as you gaze into each other’s eyes. For something extra special, ask for a dessert wine flight (which isn’t on the menu) to sweeten the mood.

Mix it up at Martinis Above Fourth

Mix it up at Martinis Above Fourth

If decadent martinis or craft beer are more your style, grab a nightcap at Martinis Above Fourth or the Hillcrest Brewing Company, the “World’s First Out and Proud LGBT Brewery.”

Fall in Love on Coronado…or is it Italy?

Enchanting Coronado, a bridge away from downtown and Hillcrest, is gay friendly and welcoming with a renowned romantic French bistro called Chez Loma. Couples are drawn to its private candle-lit rooms and delectable French classics like Boeuf Bourguignon.

The Gondola Company's romantic cruises through the Coronado Cays

The Gondola Company’s romantic cruises through the Coronado Cays

Before dinner, take a relaxing sunset gondola cruise – complete with a gondolier serenading you in Italian! – through the Coronado Cays. The Gondola Company provides chocolate-covered strawberries, and you’re welcome to bring your own wine or champagne!

Make a French Connection in Downtown San Diego

In downtown San Diego, Café Chloe holds a special place in my heart as the closest thing to a night out in Paris. The café is small and charming, and they usually do something extraordinarily quaint for Valentine’s Day couples, like little poetry verses you can recite to each other. Ahhh… 🙂

> Find more Valentine’s Day ideas and offers on SanDiego.org

Book your dinner reservations now, as Valentine’s Day tables fill up quickly.

Candice

The Lodge at Torrey Pines – Romance and Relaxation

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Valentine’s Day may be hours away, but February 14th shouldn’t be the only time of year you focus on romance. As a full-time working woman and graduate student to boot, I know how hard it can be to find the time to spend with that special someone. Fortunately for couples everywhere, San Diego is full of luxurious hotels perfect for a romantic weekend escape. And with majestic views, gorgeous Craftsman-style architecture and one of San Diego’s best restaurants, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is an ideal destination a blissful San Diego getaway, no holiday or special occasion required.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Pulling up to the Lodge’s grand yet secluded entrance, dark wood, glowing stained glass windows and the scent of fresh flowers greet you as you step into the lobby. As you head towards your room, the demure hallways feel cozy, despite the Lodge’s vast size.

Romantic Lodging

The Lodge At Torrey Pines Guest Room

The Palisades Suite

The Lodge offers a variety of guest room types that set the mood for romance and relaxation. On a recent weekend, my husband and I settled into a spacious Palisades Suite, complete with a fireplace at the foot of the bed and a balcony looking out onto the resort’s meticulously manicured lawn. As the sun began to set over the world-famous Torrey Pines golf course, we toasted with champagne and a plate of fresh fruit.

Lodge's Champagne and Fruit

A fruit plate from the hotel was the perfect pairing with a bottle of champagne.

Relaxing Activities

Relaxing Activities at the Lodge

There’s no shortage of ways to unwind at the Lodge.

The Lodge offers a range of pleasant pastimes if all the relaxing gets to be too much. In the library, you can settle in with one of the available books or enjoy a game of pool or darts. On the lawn, colorful croquet sets dot the thick green grass. Oh, and I’ve heard golf may be a popular activity here…but I chose to spend an afternoon at the spa. The pristine white marble of the Spa at Torrey Pines had me wallowing in the lap of luxury before my massage even began.

Fine Dining at A.R. Valentien

When it comes to a romantic dinner, few restaurants can top the Lodge’s signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien. Buttery sea scallops and a generous portion of tender New York strip steak were proof enough that Chef Jeff Jackson is one of San Diego’s best, and their friendly sommelier will help even the most novice wine drinker find the perfect pairing. While a bottle of Silver Oak may accompany a birthday or anniversary meal, it’s also nice to be able to indulge in a mini-splurge with their extensive by-the-glass selection of top-notch wines.

It’s the Little Touches at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Lodge's Turndown Service

Chocolate and slippers greet you at bedtime.

Returning to our room, friendly touches from the turn down service made our stay feel even more special. A delicate chocolate bar emblazoned with the resort’s logo rested on our pillows, while bedside mats held cozy slippers waiting to warm our feet before bed. Combined with the beauty of the property and the exceptional food, the attentive and thoughtful service at the Lodge at Torrey Pines make it a can’t-miss hotel for relaxing and reconnecting.

View from The Lodge Torrey Pines

You can’t ask for a better view!

Alison

Valentine’s Day Ideas – Best Places to Kiss in San Diego

Great places to kiss in San Diego on Valentine's Day
Great places to kiss in San Diego on Valentine's Day

Shalalala, my oh my, go on and kiss the girl!

February is for sweethearts. But where’s the most romantic spot in San Diego for sharing a smooch on Valentine’s Day? Ask five locals and get five different answers. We’d love to hear about your favorite place for romancing…

In the meantime, here are a few of our favorites:

Balboa Park

Stroll Balboa Park in late afternoon as the sun casts golden light onto the Prado. Share your kiss on a winding path in Palm Canyon, a 2-acre tropical garden that’s a hidden gem for lovers.

Coronado Cays

Snuggle up under a warm blanket during a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Coronado Cays. It may not be Venice, but the Gondola Company manages to provide a passport to old world magic.

Cabrillio National Monument

Find the bunker just beyond the lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument. The view is breathtaking. It’s easy here to imagine yourself part of that iconic scene on the bow of the Titanic – just lean into your Valentine.

Mission Bay

Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park on Mission Bay is deserted in winter. Build a bonfire in a beach fire ring and cozy up. Move in for your kiss just at the right moment: as fireworks erupt at SeaWorld San Diego. Your date will definitely be impressed.

Embarcadero

Become Prince Charming (or his one true love) during a horse-drawn carriage ride along the Embarcadero. Cinderella-Carriage Co. provides the transportation. You provide the fairytale kisses.

Rooftop Views

San Diego has dozens of romantic dining rooms and rooftop bars that ooze romance. La Jolla’s Marine Room, Bertrand at Mister A’s, the Top of the Hyatt are classics. At Point Loma’s Old Venice, ask for a table under the twinkle lights on the back patio. Or reserve a table for two on the bayfront patio at Coronado’s Il Fornaio; oogle the city skyline – when you’re not oogling each other.

At the Drive-In

For a blast from the past, head to a Drive-in movie. San Diego has three: the South Bay Drive-in, the Santee Drive-in and the new ’50s-retro Full Moon Drive-in in Pacific Beach. Bucket seats make canoodling a greater challenge than it used to be – so improvise.

La Jolla (Of Course)

Last, but definitely not least: The grassy bluff overlooking the surf at Coast Boulevard Park in La Jolla (just south of the backside of the Museum of Contemporary Art). Embrace the salty scent of the sea – and each other. This spot is especially close to my heart because it’s where my husband proposed all those years ago – and where we go year round to replay the moment.

> Browse more Valentine’s Day Ideas and Packages in San Diego

Robert Arends

Valentine’s Day Ideas – Fall in Love with Coronado!

Valentine's Day Idea - Romantic Stroll on Coronado
Valentine's Day Idea - Romantic Stroll on Coronado

Take a romantic sunset stroll on Coronado Beach this Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air! An enchanting Valentine’s Day getaway where couples can find everything their hearts desire is Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, take advantage of beautiful weather and island charms that are sure to sweep your sweetheart off their feet. Following are 5 Fabulous Date Ideas and mini escapes:

Taste buds rejoice…

Eno Wine Bar

Fine wines, cheeses and chocolates at Eno Wine Bar.

Raise your glass and indulge in luscious wines, gourmet cheeses and chocolates at the swanky ENO Wine Bar in the Hotel del Coronado. Afterward, sneak off to Coronado Beach for a moonlit stroll, serenaded by the gentle surf. Equally indulgent is Weincakes Bistro, an intimate new spot in the Village for decadent desserts.

Pack a Picnic…

Gazebo at Spreckels Park - Coronado

Enjoy a picnic for two at Spreckels Park.

In the heart of the island, Spreckels Park welcomes couples to picnic under swaying palm trees or under an ol’ fashioned gazebo. For a secret picnic hideaway {shhh!}, cozy Shoreline Park at First St. & I Ave. offers a magnificent backdrop on San Diego Bay.

Say I Do… Again

Renew your vows in Coronado!

Renew your vows in Coronado!

Renew your vows at the charming new Coronado Wedding Chapel by the Sea, the first-ever wedding chapel on the island! This chic Crown City jewel is located less than a block from Coronado Beach, across the street from the Hotel del Coronado. Two other amazing storybook settings: Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Coronado Island Marriott Resort on San Diego Bay.

Ahoy!

Sailing San Diego Bay

Set sail on San Diego Bay.

Hire a licensed skipper for a romantic sunset sail on San Diego Bay or the Pacific Ocean. Seaforth Boat Rentals on Glorietta Bay and Action Sports Rentals at Loews Coronado Bay Resort promise to make it memorable. Don’t forget the champagne and chocolate covered strawberries!

That’s amore…

Voga Voyage at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Voga Voyage at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

The Gondola Company offers intimate one-hour cruises and a “Voga Voyage” couples massage(!) on San Diego Bay. The authentic Venetian gondolas depart from Loews Coronado’s marina; a truly magical experience that’s made for marriage proposals!

Coronado…gotta love it! 😉

> Browse more Valentine’s Day Ideas and Packages in San Diego