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5 Valentine’s Day Ideas in Miami That Aren’t Terrible

No white tablecloths and over-priced meals here

We’re not really sure who actually enjoys Valentine’s Day. Those in a relationship and those not in a relationship seem to dread it with equal pain and distain. The reason? Along with the pressure of the day, it tends to consist of mediocre, forced meals at crowded restaurants that cost double what they would on any other evening.

So this Valentine’s Day skip the stereotypical dinner and drinks Valentine’s Day date and opt for something a bit more unique with these five options.

Bring the Meal to You

Magazine dining column on Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab Photo by Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post

Valentine’s Day is notorious for having some of the most over-priced meals of the year. And who wants to deal with the crowds and the absurd pricing for a lousy dinner when it can be as easily enjoyed at home?

The solution: take advantage of stone crab season and head to (arguably) Miami’s most famous culinary institution Joe’s Stone Crab, but instead go to its equally as good, and admittedly, just as pricey, counter-service restaurant next door. Order all the claws the heart desires along with its signature sides — hash browns, garlic-filled spinach, cheese covered tomatoes, Joe’s Take Away has them all — and feast on a high-roller meal without the wait in the comfort of your own home. Diners can even call ahead to place an order and it will be ready for them at their desired time.

Not into to stone crabs? Venture to neighboring Upland, which is offering a lobster frites for two meal for $90, complete with a four-pound lobster, truffle butter, and fries. And for those on a budget, go simple and pick up one of the city’s best subs from Downtown Miami’s Vinaigrette Subs, which is offering a Valentine’s Day-only special where guests can choose any sub, side, drink, and dessert for just $14. (And if lucky, it may even get it served by this guy.)

For those who must go out and dine on Valentine’s Day, here’s a list of the best romantic date spots in the Magic City — but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Get Some Culture

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens/Official Press Photo

Sure, Miami has plenty of stellar museums — but this weekend also marks an especially culture-filled weekend for South Florida. From the Coconut Grove Art Festival bustling with art vendors and plenty of good eats, to Art Wynwood — an offshoot of the mega-popular Art Miami that comes to the Magic City every Art Basel, and even the Miami International Boat Show that showcases some of the world’s most impressive yachts, there are plenty of non-generic and one-time-a-year events to head to.

Feeling in the mood to hit one of Miami’s park or cultural institutions? Take in South Florida’s ideal “winter” weather with a picnic at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens while listening to tunes from jazz and classic soul music artist Kitty Carmichael and a five-piece band. Guests are welcome to bring to bring their own picnic baskets and blankets from home, but wine and bites like “Cupid’s Sweet Box” that includes bonbons, chocolate covered marshmallows and pretzels, and a small red velvet cake are also available for $20. (Tickets are $65 for members and $80 for non-members. Purchase tickets here.)

Dance the Night Away

Valentine’s Day does fall on a Friday night after all — and that means it’s time to party. And whether you and your significant other are more a party-loving duo, or you and friends are just wanting to hit the town, there are some lively choices.

For those who want a late-night fete, they can check into the “Love Motel” and channel some serious disco vibes as the Studio 54-inspired roving Peach Room partners with Basement at The Edition to host a Valentine’s pop-up party. Starting at 10 p.m., Peach Room will be playing plenty of music that proves disco never really did die, while serving up drinks like “Love Punch,” and hosting many “outrageous characters.” The hotel’s marquee bowling alley and ice-skating rink will be open to all — with couples skating gratis from 10 p.m. until midnight. And the music, like all good parties here in Miami, goes well into the wee hours of the night.

Still want to party but staying up late isn’t your thing? Hit the sack early on Valentine’s Day and head to infamous Club Space for its Daybreaker MIA party, which features a daytime (and alcohol free) party, yoga class, breakfast, and kombucha from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on February 15. ($30 per person. Purchase tickets here.)

Go on a Sugar Bender

Cookie cakes from Night Owl
Night Owl Cooke Co./Official Press Photo

Of course Valentine’s Day is the best day to go wild on chocolate and sweets, but plenty of Miami’s best bakeries and sugar slingers are also getting into the action with limited-edition specials in case generic Hershey kisses aren’t your thing.

For cookie lovers, opt for the a giant cookie from Miami’s own Night Owl Cookie Co., which is offering three different mega-sized creations for the day. Guests can choose from heart shaped cookies, personalized cookie cakes, or a six-pack assortment of Valentine’s Day cookies for $20 each. (Orders must be placed by February 11, but for those who procrastinate both stores will have limited quantities available.) Wynwood mini-pie shop Pink Pie has teamed up with pastry chef Max Santiago to create a special “Bae Box” with two mini pies and two mega doughnuts that’ll be on sale in its store from February 11-14.

Or, get into the dessert making action at Exquisito Chocolates, where guests can take a tour of its Little Havana factory, learn its four-day chocolate making process, and then experience how to create the chocolates themselves. ($40 per person. Purchase tickets here.)

And if your love is in another city and is missing the 305, Vicky Bakery will now even ship Miami staple pastelitos to their door in three flavors — guayaba, queso, and guayaba and queso — by the dozen for $19.99 in its newly launched online shop.

Hit The Bar

Inside Taurus
Blue Shell Media/Official Press Photo

Several drinking dens are getting into the Valentine’s Day action, too. Sneaker-loving Wynwood newcomer Grails is hosting a “Tainted Love” party with stand up comedy, tarot card readings, and plenty of drink specials beginning at 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. Down in Coconut Grove, longtime dive bar Taurus Beer & Whiskey House will be hosting its annual F*** Valentine’s Day party with $10 cocktails and $7 mezcal shots all evening.

And because nothing says romance like stiff drinks in a no-frills watering hole, these top dive bars around Miami will do the trick on Valentine’s Day. Beer pong and cheap beer? Now that’s love.

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