Ah, Valentine's Day.

Love it or hate it, it's this weekend — which means it's time to come up with a plan.

Your choice of a date will, of course, depend on how committed you are to the relationship. Afterall, you don't want to freak your new crush out with a date that screams marriage proposal.

On the other hand, you do want to show you put some thought into it.

In the early stages, fun and light is key to getting to know each other. And, who knows, those dates may end up being traditions after you do move into more serious waters.

That was the case for Rebecca Casillas and her partner.

Early on, they just wanted to do something fun on Valentine’s Day, so they decided on a sushi dinner and laser tag at Funtastiks.

Ten years later, it is their annual Valentine’s Day date.

“We get to be active and romantic in one simple date,” Casillas said.

No matter what stage of the game you’re in, we’ve put together some ideas that are sure to be a hit with your sweetie.

Hanging out/dating

During this getting-to-know-you-better part of the relationship, keep things casual. Don’t worry about formal dinners . Do things that will help you learn more about your crush.

Go to an art exhibit

Catch the final day of the “Western Heroes of Pulp Fiction: Dime Novel to Pop Culture” exhibit at Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.

The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. Admission is $12.

Catch an outdoor art festival

Hop in the car for a short road trip to Tubac for the last day of its annual arts festival on Feb. 14.

It’s a casual event with 175 art booths and lots of food — from Greek and BBQ to festival foods like corn dogs and funnel cake.

The festival is located at the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, One Burruel Street.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but parking is $8.

Go online to tubacaz.com for more information.

Check out desert critters

Places like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, offer conversation starters, so finding things to talk about shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, walking along the paths outside is rather romantic.

Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $20.50 per person.

Take a hike

This is the perfect time of year to hike in Tucson.

Sabino Canyon, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road, has several trails, easy and challenging. Plus, there’s water flowing. Pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company. It costs $5 to park.

Seeing each other/
in-between stage

You’ve been hanging out and getting to know each other for a while, but haven’t had the commitment talk yet. You are definitely thinking about it though, so you’ll want to ramp up the romance and fun levels of your dates a notch.

Wine and food pairing at Sonoita Vineyards

Take the whole day to enjoy the scenery and being together at Sonoita Vineyards, 290 Elgin Canelo Road, Elgin.

The wine and food pairing event includes eight sweet and savory pairings from Happy Cooker’s Catering and wines from Sonoita Vineyards.

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 13. It costs $20 per person. Get tickets at sonoitavineyards.com

Dessert and champagne

Your date will feel so fancy nibbling from a decadent dessert buffet and sipping on champagne at The Red Velvet Chocolate Lounge at The Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain’s CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, 15000 N. Secret Springs Drive.

Indulge your sweet tooth with more than 20 chocolate desserts, fresh crepes, a hot chocolate bar and chocolate macaroons.

The dessert lounge will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14. The cost is $28 per person. No reservations required. Call 572-3401 for more information.

P.S. This is a good date for the exclusive couple, too.

Dinner and music at Tucson Botanical Gardens

LoBros will perform love songs throughout history — from Beethoven to the Beatles — while you dine.

There are two ticket options. For $45 per person, you’ll get entry to the gardens, a three-course meal and live music. For $30 per person, you’ll get entry to the gardens, appetizers and live music.

Bring your own wine or beer.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens are located at 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Reservations are required. Call 326-9686.

Rock climbing

Going to the rock climbing gym is a trust-building activity. Plus, the adrenaline and endorphin rush will have you feeling good all day.

Rocks and Ropes, 330 S. Toole Ave., has a first-timer’s package for $30 each, which includes admission, first-time lesson and equipment rental.

For more information, go online to rocksandropes.com


When you’re fully committed, there are no boundaries or worries about scaring your beloved away with a serious date. Go on the most romantic date ever — no holds barred. Or reignite the flame and go back to the fun, light activities of Valentine’s past.

Laugh it up

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” said the late Victor Borge, comedian and pianist. And a comedy club a great date idea.

Laffs Comedy Cafe, 2900 E. Broadway, has a special Valentine’s Day show, featuring Janet Williams, aka “The Tennessee Tramp,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 14. The $30 admission includes free-flowing champagne and chocolate and roses for the ladies. A special gourmet menu will also be available. Get tickets at LaffsTucson.com/Valentines

P.S. This idea would be good for anybody, not just the exclusive. No date? No worries. It would even be a fun friends’ night out.

Demons Milk Valentines Cabaret

This one is sure to get the fire going.

The show promises to be erotic and sensual with performances by Flam Chen in Chinese Pole, Aerial Dance and Sensuous Acro-balance, as well as other “provocative acts to drum and bass music.”

Tickets are $70 per couple and include a glass of wine and flaming dessert from Agustin Kitchen. Show starts at 8 p.m. Feb. 12, 13 and 14 at Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento. Get tickets at flamchen.com


Here’s what we meant by “no holds barred.” Local resorts have many ways to spoil your beloved — from a night away to pampering and dining.

The Red Door Spa at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive, is offering a couples massage that includes two glasses of champagne or sparkling cider and chocolate dipped strawberries for $300.

Or how about a pedicure? Its “Sweethearts Duo” comes with two of its signature pedicures, two glasses of champagne or sparkling cider and chocolate dipped strawberries for $180.

The resort’s restaurant, Azul Lounge, will have a five-course Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu, which includes a sparkling rose wine toast and live music from 5 to 10 p.m. Feb. 13 and 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14. The cost is $82 per person. Reservations are required. Call 742-6000 to save your spot.

The Westward Look, 245 E. Ina Road, also has romantic plans for you, with special Valentine’s weekend packages.

Our favorite is the “Escape With the One You Love” package. It includes a three-course dinner for two at the resort’s restaurant, chocolate-covered strawberries and sparkling wine as a welcome gift and deluxe overnight accommodations. Package is available Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. It costs $299 plus $20 resort fee.

Or you can just go there for dinner. Its Gold restaurant will have a special “Spoil the One You Love” three-course dinner menu for $59 per person.

Go to westwardlook.com for more information and to make reservations.

Lock your love

Commemorate your love by locking a padlock with your names on it on one of four HeART locks sculptures along Fourth Avenue on Feb. 13.

Purchase locks at activity stations at each sculpture for a $5 donation to benefit local nonprofits. You will be able to decorate your lock with oil based pens on site.

While you’re there, have lunch on a restaurant patio and shop the local stores. Many merchants will have special Valentine’s deals.

Go online to fourthavenue.org for sculpture locations and participating merchants.

Once sculptures are full, they will become a display at Haggerty Plaza.

Renew your vows

Surprise your husband or wife by taking him or her to Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress Street, to renew your vows.

The hotel is hosting a free mass vow-renewal ceremony for any couple that wants to attend. No reservations necessary. Just show up.

The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. Couples should arrive by 10:15 a.m.

Go online to hotelcongress.com for more information.

Contact Angela Pittenger at apitteng@tucson.com. On Twitter: @CentsibleMama

Families and schools reporter for #ThisIsTucson. Artist, photographer, mother of one.