February 14 is just around the corner, and if that thought stresses you out, you’re not alone. Whether you’ve been in a romantic relationship for four months or four decades, planning the perfect Valentine’s date can cause anxiety for even the most seasoned sweethearts. To help, we’ve curated a list of some of the best date ideas right here in Chattanooga that will turn your heart-filled holiday from ordinary to extraordinary.
Be a tourist in your own town.
When was the last time you marveled at Ruby Falls or explored the exhibits at the Tennessee Aquarium? For a Valentine’s Day celebration that’s authentically Chattanoogan, spend a few hours playing the role of tourist around town. See seven states from Lover’s Leap at Rock City, sail along the Tennessee River on the Southern Belle, or travel to the top of Lookout Mountain on the Incline Railway. Say “hi” to the giraffes at the Chattanooga Zoo, or ride a vintage train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Commemorate your date with a souvenir so that you’ll remember it for years to come!
Enjoy a romantic dinner for two.
Whether you’re in the mood for an intimate candlelit dinner or a more adventurous dining experience, Chattanooga has a restaurant that fits the bill. Reserve your table early if you’re hoping to dine at one of the city’s most popular fine dining establishments like Whitebird, Hennen’s, Easy Bistro, or St. John’s Restaurant. For those who equate Italian cuisine with romance, you’re sure to be impressed with the dreamy ambience (and the blue crab gnocchi) at Alleia. If it’s the view you’re after, head over to the Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar for all the seafood you could want and a direct view of the Tennessee River.
Walk the Walnut Street Bridge.
Speaking of the Tennessee River, you’ll get no better vantage point than the Walnut Street Bridge – one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges. Although it’s bound to be a bit chilly in February, a nighttime walk across the bridge gives you the perfect excuse to snuggle up to your date as you take in the twinkling cityscape. Better yet, cap off your excursion with a scoop of ice cream! Whether you choose The Ice Cream Show located on the downtown side of the bridge or Clumpies Ice Cream Co. on the Northshore side, it’ll be a sweet gesture for your special someone.
Learn something new – together.
From The Chattery to The Sweet & Savory Classroom and beyond, there are so many fun and informative classes to take advantage of in the Scenic City. Around Valentine’s Day, you may even find specially themed classes designed for couples that will not only help you learn a new skill, but connect with your partner as well. Just don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone – learn to ballroom dance at Dance Tonight Chattanooga, create handmade pottery at Scenic City Clay Arts, or make your own candle at Good Fortune Soap and Spa. The sky is the limit!
Catch a live performance.
Another benefit of living in Chattanooga is the access you have to live performances of all types and sizes. Some of the city’s top venues, including The Signal and the Walker Theatre, are hosting musical performances from the likes of Drew & Ellie Holcomb, Elvie Shane, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Departure – The Journey Tribute Band the week of Valentine’s Day. If you and your partner would rather laugh the night away, a show at The Comedy Catch on Chattanooga’s Southside could be just the ticket to making your Valentine’s Day a memorable one.
Explore the Bluff View Art District.
If you can’t whisk away your significant other to Europe this Valentine’s Day, Chattanooga’s Bluff View Art District is the next best thing. Start your evening at the Hunter Museum of American Art, which houses the most complete collection of American art in the Southeast. Split a few appetizers and the low country linguine at Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria before ending your date at Rembrandt’s Coffee House – don’t forget to grab a pastry to go! Or, make it an overnight trip by booking a room at the Bluff View Inn, one of the city’s best bed & breakfasts.
Wine down at a winery.
For a romantic excursion just outside of town, head to a winery and enjoy a glass of your favorite vino with your favorite person. At Look Out Winery, the hand-crafted wines are paired with wood-fired pizza and an incredible view of the Tennessee River; the wine, which is blended, bottled, and labeled on the property, is made by the Bordogna family using techniques that have been passed down over generations. In nearby Ringgold, Georgia, the Georgia Winery has over 20 wines to choose from and offers tastings as well as winery tours every Saturday at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.