No matter how you like to celebrate love, we’ve got all the ideas you need to plan a romantic Valentine’s Day evening — or a fun-filled Galentine’s Day with friends.
by Kara Adams and Addie Ladner
Do you like jazz and ballet — or perhaps a piercing party, historic tour, or selfie opp with baby goats? There are so many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Raleigh and the Triangle. Whether your taste runs towards romance, history, or just an excuse to try something out-of-the-box with friends, consider this roundup of all the dreamiest happenings this year.
Enjoy a Sweet Night In
If you’re not feeling up to a night on the town this year, have yourself a self-care day by streaming one of the many rom-coms or swoon-worthy Valentine’s Day classics available on streaming services, like Netflix’s Holidate and Valentine’s Day on HBO. Or, immerse yourself in the magical chocolaterie of Chocolat by trying your hand at one of these indulgent chocolate recipes, including Yellow Dog’s chocolate peppermint cookies, German chocolate pie, and Trinidad cocoa.
Snuggle Up with Baby Goats
Head out to Chapel Hill’s Spring Haven farm to snuggle and feed barn animals including Peppa the pig, fluffy highland cows Wilbur and Orville, Annie the Donkey, and the guests of honor: baby goats. After frolicking around with the kids, enjoy hot cocoa and snacks courtesy of the farm. Don’t forget to snap a picture with your favorite baby animal at one of the romantic photo spots scattered around before you leave.
Feb. 2 – 13; $13.50; 5306 Homer Ruffin Road, Chapel Hill; visitchapelhill.org
Get Swept Off Your Feet at Romeo and Juliet
One of the most well-known (and tragic) love stories of all time will be told through song and ballet this month at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Carolina Ballet will present Romeo and Juliet with thrilling sword fights, swelling musical numbers, and awe-inspiring dancing along with all the heartbreak you’ve come to expect from Shakespeare’s original screenplay. See it in person or opt for the live streamed performance available on February 4.
Feb. 3 – 20; from $27; 2 E. South Street; carolinaballet.com
Zoom-In for a Double Chocolate Date with La Farm
It’s a date! Zoom with esteemed local French baker Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery and Triangle-based wine importer Queen of Wines in preparation for Valentine’s Day for a virtual Chocolate & Wine Double Date. For two interactive hours, guests will learn to prepare chocolate mousse and molten chocolate lava cake. The recipes, ingredients, tools needed to make the desserts, and a bottle of sparkling wine will be available for pickup ahead of time at La Farm so you can cook and sip right alongside your hosts.
Feb. 8 | 8 p.m.; $150; virtual; lafarmbakery.com
Learn to Create Your Own Bouquet at Rosé & Roses
Sip on a refreshing glass of rosé as a florist from Élan House leads a class in designing your own flower arrangement to take home. Located in Raleigh Founded’s spacious shared workspace in Gateway Plaza, this free event also includes tasty sweet treats to pair with the wine.
Feb. 11 | 3 – 5 p.m.; free; 2409 Crabtree Boulevard; eventbrite.com
Enjoy a Staycation at The Willard
Keep the night going after dinner by reserving a table for two at the Willard’s Rooftop for an intimate dessert and champagne pairing. Choose from a mixed berry pavlova with strawberry mousse or a warm petite brie with fig and blackberry jam to go with your flutes of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne and the breathtaking view of the downtown Raleigh skyline. This romantic experience and more are included in the AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown’s Valentine’s Day room package, which features chocolate dipped strawberries and a bottle of sparkling wine in the room, complimentary parking, and a European-style breakfast in the morning.
Feb. 11 – 14; from $40; 9 Glenwood Avenue; thewillardraleigh.com
Get Dressed Up for a Night Out
Stay warm around indoor fireplaces with a reservation at one of these relaxed, warm eateries for this year’s date night. Try something new at Margaux’s Restaurant, serving a special Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe Dinner in their quirky, cozy space at $74.95 a person, or hit up tried-and-true downtown spots like Cafe Luna or Vita Vite for a convenient location for a night on the town.
Spend the Night at Unscripted Durham
Take advantage of the Valentine’s Day package and 20% holiday discount at Unscripted Durham, a charming boutique hotel nestled in historic downtown Durham. Whether you’re going for a romantic getaway with a partner or a trip with friends, enjoy all the perks of the package from a complimentary bottle of champagne to a trip up to the roof for their one-of-a-kind dining experience inside a private igloo lounge. Make sure to check out the limited-time holiday cocktail menu as well, featuring a cherry old fashioned, pomegranate margarita, and more.
Feb. 11 – 14; prices vary; 202 Corcoran Street, Durham; unscriptedhotels.com
Have a Date Night at Romance in the Air
See voices from the North Carolina Master Chorale perform love songs from pop’s leading ladies, including Etta James, Cher, Adele, Diana Ross, and Lady Gaga. This jazzy Valentine’s performance at Transfer Co Food Hall features a 16-voice chamber choir, drums, romantic piano backing, and a bass line to get you in the holiday spirit.
Feb. 12 | 2 & 4:30 p.m.; $25; 500 E. Davie Street; ncmasterchorale.square.site
Attend A Valentine’s Night of Jazz
Supporting women who are victims of domestic violence, the Junior League of Raleigh’s A Valentine’s Night of Jazz is on the evening of February 12. It is sure to offer a romantic setting for anything from a first date to a romantic night with a spouse. For jazz fans and everyone else, attend to hear a new type of sound that you will never forget.
February 12 | 7 – 9 p.m.; $20; 711 Hillsborough Street; visitraleigh.com
Enjoy Oysters at St. Roch
If you’re struggling to find the perfect restaurant for a Valentine’s Day that falls on a Monday, look no further than St. Roch in the heart of downtown. St. Roch’s simple oysters and champagne menu is the quintessential date night dinner, featuring local oysters from North Carolina beaches like the Outer Banks or Topsail Sound. Get there between 4 and 6 p.m. to take advantage of the happy hour discount, where oysters are just $1.50, and round out your meal with their signature dessert of beignets with a bourbon caramel sauce. 223 S. Wilmington Street; strochraleigh.com
Take Your Afternoon Tea at Fearrington
Book a table during the weekend at Fearrington House Restaurant for an upscale afternoon tea experience that will transport you to a romantic cafe in Europe. Enjoy a rotating selection of savory tea cakes and decadent pastries alongside Fearrington’s extensive collection of loose leaf teas, including hot cinnamon, Darjeeling, and Earl Grey. The sweet offerings often feature berry vanilla cheesecake, strawberry lemonade mousse, and pistachio orange madeleines, but are subject to change. Thursday – Sunday | 12 – 3 p.m.; $35; 230 Market Street, Pittsboro; fearrington.com
Head to Knightdale for the Cupid Run
Lace up your running shoes and don your Valentine’s best for Knightdale’s annual Cupid Run 5k! Round up your galentines or your significant other and start your new favorite Valentine’s Day tradition at Knightdale Station Park. This romantic race rewards participants with a tumbler, timing bib, and commemorative finisher medal.
Feb. 12 | 8 – 11 a.m.; $20; 810 N. First Avenue, Knightdale; knightdalenc.gov
Take a Walking Tour of Raleigh Love Stories & Broken Hearts
In honor of Valentine’s Day, learn about Raleigh’s historic love stories on this stroll through downtown’s historically significant spots. Starting at the Governor’s Mansion and finishing a few blocks away at the Legislative Building, this tour includes many interesting stops, including one at the North Carolina Executive Mansion, where guests will learn about A.G. Bauer, the building’s designer, and his lover, Rachel Blythe, a Cherokee woman from Swain County. The two weren’t allowed to legally marry in the 1800s but went to Washington, D.C., to tie the knot.
Feb. 12 – 13 | see website for times; pay-what-you-cant; advanced registration required; 200 N. Blount Street; details here
Get Pierced at Heights House Hotel
Grab your gal pals and head to Heights House Hotel for a Galentine’s piercing party benefiting a Raleigh-based addiction recovery program, Healing Transitions. Steel your nerves with complimentary sparkling wine from Rise Over Run as you choose between 14k gold or implant grade titanium jewelry for your new piercings, done professionally by the owner of Fine Art Body Piercing, Lilith Mae. Leave with trendy new jewelry and a canvas ‘More Self Love’ tote bag filled with all your V-day essentials: perfume, chocolates, and aftercare instructions.
Feb. 13 | 12 – 5 p.m.; $299; 308 South Boylan Avenue; eventbrite.com
Order From Tonya Council’s Porch Drop
North Carolina culinary royalty Tonya Council is celebrating Valentine’s Day with her COVID-friendly porch drops that allow you to feel like you’re dining out in the comfort of your own home! The beloved brunch boxes come in serving sizes of two or four, and feature chicken cutlets, buttermilk biscuits, mini spinach and cheese quiches, candied bacon with pecan crisp crumble, sausage patties, homemade preserves, and a selection of even more add-ons available. Enter the Instagram giveaway for a chance to receive a free brunch box for two or a gift basket stocked with Sweet Tea & Cornbread treats.
Feb. 12 – 13 | from $45; tonyacouncil.com
Savor herb-forward dishes and rose-inspired drinks at Rosewater
Rosewater is opening their doors this Monday so they can offer a Valentine’s Day experience. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to dine in their airy, greenery-filled space on a Monday. Known for their unique and delicious vegetable and seafood plates, rose-inspired drinks, and dessert selections, Rosewater’s charming interior and close proximity to the shops at North Hills make it a wonderful selection for your Valentine’s Day evening.
110 Park at N. Hills Street; rosewaterraleigh.com
Explore Waverly Place
Round up your crew for a unique experience with a paint-your-own pottery class at the Cary shopping center’s Color Me Mine. Afterwards, savor traditional hearty Italian at Enrigo Italian Bistro or spring for Asian-fusion at Tasu Asian Bistro for a night out with your near and dears. While it’s fun to get out, Waverly has options for Valentine’s Day at home too – who about tasty takeout from Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, MOD Pizza, or Chicken Salad Chick? Ggrab a bottle of wine from Triangle Wine Company and sweet treats from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to round out the night.
Head to the Movies
Enjoy dinner (or brunch!) and a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, where you can choose from a selection of Valentine’s Day classics and romance flicks, including Bridesmaids, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Girls Trip weekend brunch screenings, or opt-in for a later showing of In the Mood for Love, Before Sunrise/Before Sunset, and Poetic Justice on Valentine’s Day evening. Chow down on their limited time holiday menus during these dreamy films, featuring a fried egg BLT, french toast, and specialty cocktails for brunch, and shareable milkshakes and classic movie theater fare for dinner. Feb. 12 – 14; From $9.75; 2116-D New Bern Avenue; drafthouse.com
Enjoy an Intimate Italian Dinner at Mulino’s
Grab your lover (or just a friend) and head to Mulino for an indulgent four-course wine dinner featuring dishes like scallops with parmigiana truffle fonduta, braised beef over polenta, and classic tiramisu. The fixed-price menu includes one bottle of premium red or white wine and two welcome beverages. Call ahead or make a reservation on their website to select your time.
Feb. 14; $125 per person; 309 N. Dawson Street; mulinoraleigh.com
Get Dinner and a Show at Hummingbird
For a spicier take on Valentine’s dinner, head to Hummingbird, where dancers from Vava Voom will perform their signature Burlesque dancing during a four-course meal. Enjoy food like lamb borek with lemon yogurt, a charred baby romaine salad, and steak or salmon for savories, and molten chocolate cake or poached pear for dessert. Expect fun music, camp, and incredible costumes as part of the burlesque show. Reservations required (email firstname.lastname@example.org); doors open at 6:30 for the 7pm show.
Feb. 14; $125 per person (beverages not included); 1053 Whitaker Mill Road; hummingbirdraleigh.com