Depending on your relationship status, Valentine’s Day can be a polarizing celebration. Whether you spend the evening indoors eating ice cream and watching movies or go out for a romantic evening with your better half, it’s difficult to ignore the one day of the year everyone gets worked up about love. So, why not give into the pink and red hearts? If you’re single or in a relationship, celebrate the people in your life with some saccharine gifts and treats. We rounded up some of the best Valentine’s Day activities, gifts and salty and savory bites you’ll find in Austin, and we threw in a few other crafts and suggestions that will make your day even sweeter. xoxo, the Sprucettes
- Grab dessert to go from Thrice. Vegan and gluten-free coconut milk ice creams, pastries, and more! Right, photo courtesy Thai Fresh.
Best Place to Eat on Valentine’s Day
Cook a meal at home and bypass the fixed menus and crazy crowds. The hubs and I steam Alaskan king crab legs every Valentine’s Day served up with garlic butter and our favorite dessert (to go) from Thrice, the sister store to Thai Fresh. The best part is, we can tuck our napkins in our shirts, chow down, and lick our fingers without embarrassing ourselves. Buy your crab legs at Costco — you’ll save a fortune!
Best Date Night Outfit (or Gift for Her)
Throw on this lively print paired with some glittery tootsies for dinner and a movie or daytime Valentine’s lunch. Whether you’re alone or attached, this ensemble is sure to add pep to your step. I’m adding these to my V-Day wishlist (wink, wink, Keith!).
- Photos courtesy of Mom’s Best
Best Kiddie Valentines
I remember combing the Valentine’s Day aisle as a child searching for the perfect mini cards for my classmates. I would have jumped for joy to give or receive any of these DIY Valentines. Although my adult friends would enjoy some milk and Oreos, I’ll save these ideas for Lilee’s future pals!
Best Local Jeweler & Box of Chocolates
Although jewelry and a box of chocolates are run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day gifts, I’m a sucker for gifts in small packages. Eliza Page is my go-to for fancy and casual bling. Whether boy or girl, create a wishlist for your next gift, and Eliza Page will email your significant other when it’s time for the next anniversary, birthday, etc.
I know a few chocoholics (Frank and Keith), so I’m always on the lookout for THE BEST chocolatey treats. Try The Chocolate Makers Studio or The Wiseman House for the most decadent, mouth-watering morsels. There won’t be a single piece left in these boxes, and they’re as beautifully crafted as they are delicious!
Lenoir. Courtesy of McCray & Co.
Best place to eat on Valentine’s Day
If you can score a reservation, enjoy a glass of wine with a romantic dinner at Lenoir, an intimate Austin restaurant with a cozy dining room owned by a husband and wife duo. Pro tip: call early because there are only 34 seats!
Best activity to do in Austin leading up to Valentine’s Day
One of the most fun evenings I had with my boyfriend was making little Sculpty sculptures together. Crafts bring a couple closer, no? One workshop happening in Austin that’s super sweet is Botanicals Folklorica’s Honey Infusion Workshop on Sunday, February 9 at Olive. Why not make a little honey for your hunny?
- Photos courtesy of The Purl Bee
Best DIY gift
These felt hearts pins are adorable and easy to make. They’re the perfect little gift for friends and family. Need some more inspiration? Here’s a list of 10 DIY Valentines posted on Camille Styles.
Best Valentine’s cocktail
If you plan on avoiding the crowds, stay inside and treat yourself (and your friends) to some craft cocktails. The 1966 Cosmopolitan featured in designlovefest sounds divine!
Best alternative Valentine’s Day activity
Single? Dating? Forgot to make plans? The Alamo Drafthouse has you covered with The Love Bites Sing-Along. Pump your fists in the air while watching the best power ballads of the ’80s and ’90s. There’s an air guitar competition, to boot! Another alternative: spend the 13th at Thinkery21. The rebranded children’s museum is hosting “Love is in the Air,” an evening of fashion, food and educational activities focused on romance, from 7 to 9 p.m.
- Floral arrangements by Gypsy Floral and Mockingbird Domestics (left), photo courtesy of Mockingbird Domestics; and Lumiere tintype photo (right), courtesy of Lumiere.
Best gift for the ladies
Our friends at Mockingbird Domestics paired up with Gypsy Floral to create these lovely flower arrangements in jadeite tumblers.
Best gift for the men
Commission an old-school tintype portrait at Lumiere‘s photobooth (at Justine’s Brasserie) and get it framed for your dearest. Lumiere’s photos are breathtaking and make great keepsakes.
- Our lampshade class is on April 11 in Austin, Texas.
Best gift for anyone
Show how much you care by purchasing one of our lampshade classes for your loved one. She’ll think of you every time she turns on the lamp. Let your love shine brightly!
- Elizabeth Street Cafe, photo courtesy of Knock-Knocking.
The best place to go to in Austin on Valentine’s Day
Take a walk around Bouldin Creek neighborhood or around Town Lake and Zilker Park. Get a bite to eat on South First Street at Elizabeth Street Café. It’s always dimly lit, romantic and casual; great first date, great 712th date!
Best Valentine’s gift
Not to be so plug-y, but I would truly like to get a gift certificate from Spruce for fabric!
Best food item to give your loved one
Counter Culture’s vegan “cheesecake” made from raw nuts and fruit. It doesn’t have heavy cream, which could potentially upset tummies during a romantic night.
Best song that should be playing in the background
If you’re alone, Split Enz “I Hope I Never (have to see you again).” It’s deliciously melodramatic! If you’re with a partner, Haruko Kuwana’s “Sundown” – a winsome, romantic tune!
Best Valentine’s Day activity
I don’t have a beau in my life so I will be honoring St. Valentine with blood orange margaritas and truffle deviled eggs at Salty Sow with my single gal friends.
Best thing to give your Valentine
- Katherine made this chocolate molten cake with raspberry sauce for her niece Molly!
Best food item to make or give your loved one
When I think of Valentine’s, I think of chocolate and berries. February 14 will be the perfect excuse to make chocolate molten cakes with fresh raspberries! I like to express my love through sugar!
Best Valentine’s crafts
I love any excuse to craft! I found this super easy tutorial, courtesy of Martha Stewart, for making festive heart doilies. It’s perfect for a Valentine’s tablescape!
- Anatomical heart pillow on Etsy by TheTearySeal, photo courtesy of TheTearySeal. Cest la Vie fabric, photo courtesy of Spoonflower.
Best Valentine’s gift
I found this great, hand-knitted, anatomical heart pillow on Etsy. It’s a great way to give your heart to someone. Spoonflower has oodles of sweet Valentine’s-inspired wrapping paper and fabrics. I love this simple watercolor heart design.