As if finding a creative idea to celebrate Valentine’s Day wasn’t difficult enough, this year lovebirds have to navigate the public health challenges of a global pandemic.
The rise in COVID-19 cases may have you rethinking your typical Valentine’s Day dinner reservations. Though you’ll find a lot of options this year if you opt for takeout (while also supporting local restaurants that need your business), after almost a solid year of pandemic stay-at-home orders, perhaps the idea of a romantic Valentine’s night in has lost its luster.
If you’re stir crazy for a date night out and scrambling to find something to do that also balances public health concerns, here are a few ideas to reignite that spark while taking steps to stay safe.
It goes without saying, but make sure you wear your mask and respect others by maintaining 6 feet of distance.
Stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden
Stroll the Desert Botanical Garden’s trails and enjoy its newest exhibit, “Wind, Water, Earth” by Natasha Lisitsa and Daniel Schultz of Waterlily Pond Studio in San Francisco. The large-scale living sculptures use “florals and plant materials as the medium and desert elements as the inspiration.” The Wind portion of the exhibit is open through Feb. 19.
If you’d like to put the night to tune, considering reserving a table for a Music in the Garden show. Hourlong shows are on Friday nights through March 26. Tables for two start at $60 for nonmembers and you can explore the garden before the show.
COVID-19 protocols: You’ll need to book in advance and masks are required for everyone older than 2.
How to book: https://dbg.org/explore/events.
Book a private movie party at Harkins Theatres
Instead of sitting on your sofa and scrolling through Netflix, why not rent a whole movie theater for you and your sweetie?
Reserve a private movie party at Harkins Theatres. Select the location, time and movie from a list of options that cost $99-$149 depending on whether you select an old title or a new release. The fee covers entrance for up to 20 guests, so this could also be a fun activity if you’re part of a pandemic pod as well.
COVID-19 protocols: You have to reserve at least six hours in advance. Face coverings are required if you are not eating and drinking.
How to book: https://www.harkins.com/private-movie-party.
Snuggle up at the Princess
We rarely get snow in Phoenix, but you can still create some snuggle-weather moments with your sweetie. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is hosting Winter at the Princess through March 21.
General admission is $60 and includes self-parking for one car and four wristbands that give you access to the Alpine Village for unlimited rides on Snow Mountain and the chair lift, live music, ax throwing, a climbing wall and fire pits. You’ll have to pay $25 extra for a pass to ice skate.
Winter at the Princess is open 5-10 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and 5-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 21.
COVID-19 protocols: Masks are required in all areas of Winter at the Princess, including outdoor spaces, for everyone older than 6. Masks may be removed while eating or drinking in an area with appropriate social distancing.
How to book: https://www.scottsdaleprincess.com.
Celebrate your love and Arizona with a picnic at a park
Feb. 14 isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s also Arizona Statehood Day, celebrating the fact that Arizona became the 48th state on Feb. 14, 1912.
Get out and enjoy all of Arizona’s beauty with a trip to one of its many local, state or national parks. To put a little adrenaline in your relationship, consider hiking the steep Hunter Trail at Picacho State Park, where you’ll need to grab hold of cables to make your way up to the mountain top for 360-degree desert views.
COVID-19 protocols: Masks are required inside buildings and at group events. If you’re out hiking, bring a mask or gaiter and put it on in places where you can’t safely distance from others.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Valentine’s Day and COVID-19: Romantic date ideas for Arizonans tired of being cooped up