Hearts and flowers...and big restaurant tabs. If the thought of obligatory Valentine's Day dates leaves you cold, the warmer weather has opened up other options. Instead of huddling by the fire, you and your beloved can get up and get out to some of the city's most romantic spots. Here are six of our favorites for today.
Denver Botanic Gardens
1107 York Street
Love is always in the air at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Even in the dead of winter, the atmosphere is heated in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory, where the top of the treehouse is a favorite romantic spot. (In summer, try the Green Solarium; in spring and fall, the Romantic Garden.) If you can tear yourself away from your treetop idyll, the 2018 Orchid Showcase is on view through February 19 in the Orangery. But the weather should be balmy enough today that you don't need to confine yourself indoors; you can stroll the lovely walkways for hours, taking time out to make out on one of the secluded benches. And in case the mood moves you to buy something for your beloved, the Shop at the Gardens has a special Valentine's Day selection. (Hint for tardy valentines: Admission to the shop is free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so even if you don't have time to go inside, you can grab a gift.)
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave
987 Lookout Mountain Road, Golden
Don't fasten your seat belts, because the winding ride to the top of Lookout Mountain throws plenty of curves, offering ample opportunities to be thrown up against your sweetie. Which means that by the time you reach Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, a Denver Mountain Park, you might not be in the mood to take in the exhibits (the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or even shop in the city's best tacky tourist gift shop, but simply want to continue cuddling as you ooh and aah over the stunning view of Denver and the plains below. Still, don't ignore one time-honored legend about this place: Any single woman desirous of matrimony who throws a hairpin over Buffalo Bill's grave will be wed within the year.
Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office
201 West Colfax Avenue
The City of Denver supports free love, at least on Valentine's Day. Last year the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office registered a record number of weddings, and 2018's numbers could get a big bump today, when the city will offer free Valentine's Day wedding ceremonies, courtesy of Mayor Michael Hancock, several retired judges, and officiants with Amazing Weddings and Ceremonies. A special room at the Wellington Webb Building, 201 West Colfax Avenue, will be set aside for the ceremonies — whether Christian, secular or simply romantic — which will be offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and happily hitched couples will also get some special gifts. (Fair warning: You'll still need to ante up $30 for a license.)
Movie theaters might be fertile grounds for seedy activity (dark, virtually no interruptions for a few hours), but the Mayan isn't just any old sticky-floored venue. Built in 1930, she's the grand dame of theaters in Denver, a city-designated historic landmark that has played for generations of cinephiles the best of Gable and Wayne and Hanks and Streep. Although the balcony was divided into separate theaters during a renovation decades ago, the overall ambience still transports ticket-holders to a time when life was a little slower. Buy a ticket to the latest and greatest in indie movies, cozy up to your sweetheart with a glass of wine from the theater's bar, and pretend your partner is days away from being deployed to the South Pacific.
The A Line
Travel can bring out the worst in your relationship, but as with all things in life, your experiences depend on your perspective. The train that takes travelers to and from Denver International Airport and Union Station might be a way to get from point A to point B (and back again), but damn if there isn't something romantic about a train ride (even if you run the risk of missing your flight because said train craps out on you). Whether you're traveling for business or, ahem, pleasure, hop on the A Line today, put away your phone, and ponder a long-romanticized mode of transportation.
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Assuming you return from your jaunt on the A Line, end your Valentine's Date with a drink at the Cooper Lounge, our Best Classic Cocktail Bar in the Best of Denver 2017. A seat at the bar on the mezzanine of the station offers a beautiful, romantic view of downtown. You might be so transported by the setting and those classic cocktails that you contact the Crawford Hotel to see if there's a room available.
What's more romantic than making a real commitment to your relationship? Time to toss all those souvenirs and reminders of your lost love. Junk King of Denver has branded one of its trucks as the “Dump Truck” for Valentine’s Day, and is inviting people to dump their ex-lover’s forgotten belongings and other memorabilia into the truck for free.
The Dump Truck will be in the Lamar Donuts parking lot at 2120 South Broadway today from 2 to 3 p.m., and at
Sugar Rush Donuts, 5771 Washington Street, from 3 to 4 p.m. Remember: "You have to declutter to let your heart flutter!"