Valentine’s Day is notably a day dedicated to romance, meant to show your loved one how much you care about them. Some argue that this love should be shown more than just this one day per year. But why not take the opportunity to go out and do something special?

Traditionally this is with gifts, or flowers, or chocolates and a night on the town. Though these classics are such for good reason, there are plenty of other things to do and experience not only on Valentine’s Day, but the days before and after. And you don’t have to be coupled up to have a good time or show your love to people in your life.

Here is a round-up of some of the things to do in Tacoma and Pierce County either with your significant other, friends or simply by yourself. All events are on Friday, February 14, unless otherwise noted.

Valentine’s Date Night Photos

First, capture a memento of the night when you stop to take some romantic photos at Jenny’s Boudoir. The studio will be decked out in pink and red to set the mood for you and your significant other all evening. It is $25 per print and located at 705 Court C, Suite #301 in downtown Tacoma.

Uncorked Canvas
Uncorked Canvas makes a great night out with a date or with friends. Photo courtesy: Uncorked Canvas

Paint and Sip

Multiple event spaces will offer Valentine’s Day-themed paint and sip nights, where you can create art with your loved one while relaxing with the likes of wine and beer. At Uncorked Canvas’s Valentine’s Date Night on the day of or the day after, bond with your partner by building one painting across two canvases for $75 each. Uncorked Canvas is located at 1121 A Street in Tacoma. At Pinot’s Palette’s Puyallup location, you can get a walk-through on panting Jack and Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”for $37 each on the day in question. Pinot’s Palette is located at 10507 156th Street E, Suite 105.

Valentine’s Day Dance Party

Those age 21 and older can warm up before their date nights or spent all evening dancing at the Tacoma Arthur Murray School of Dance. A variety of dance styles are welcome alongside music of multiple genres and for those interested, dance lessons, champagne and sweet treats. This free event requires registration beforehand and will be located at 5849 Tacoma Mall Boulevard, Suite B.

Pantages Theatre Tacoma
The Pantage is Tacoma’s largest theater, and always a great night out. Photo credit: Kristin Kendle

Opera Night at Historical Pantages Theater

A not-so-traditional Valentine’s date night can be found in the century-old Pantages Theater in downtown Tacoma. Appreciate the arts with your loved one by tuning in to the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini, a dramatic tale of a love triangle in 1800s Italy. This show will be presented multiple times over the weeks surrounding February 14, so you don’t have to fight the crowds on the day of love. Tickets start at $30 and Pantages Theater is located at 901 Broadway.

Heavy Metal at Alma Mater

This isn’t your grandparents’ date night – au contraire, the hippest alternatives just might flock to Alma Mater, an event venue and artistic community space on Fawcett Avenue (which also features an onsite cafe and art gallery) for heavy metal rock beats played by Maiden Seattle and others. Tickets are $15 for this all-age event at 1322 Fawcett Avenue in Tacoma.

Blake Shelton at the Tacoma Dome

Couples can sway to love songs while singles and groups of friends might treat this Friday night like any other at the Tacoma Dome. Blake Shelton will perform alongside the Bellamy Brothers, John Anderson, Trace Adkins and special guest Lauren Alaina. Tickets start at $39 and the Tacoma Dome is located at 2727 East D Street.

Jazz Orchestra at UPS

If you want to hear what your neighbors at University of Puget Sound are up to while setting the mood for a romantic evening, you can listen to the UPS Jazz Orchestra at Schneebeck Hall. Special guest Delfeayo Marsalis is known for his tremendous trombone skills as well as being a composer and producer. Tickets are $15 and Schneebeck Hall is located at 1567-1625 North Union Avenue in Tacoma.

V-Day Drink and Decorate

From those hopelessly in love to those that are bitterly single, you can take the chance to try some cider…and add cookies. Incline Cider will provide cookie decorating supplies for you to share or have fun with all on your own on Saturday, February 8. A $25 ticket covers two pints of cider and a cookie decorating box. Incline Cider House is located at 2115 South C Street in Tacoma.

Tacoma Valentine's Day
Vino Aquino is fun for friends and dates alike! Photo courtesy: Vino Aquino

Galentine’s Shopping and Wine Tasting

Who needs a Valentines when you can hang out with your Palentines and Galentines? Celebrate love between friends (or whoever you’d like) at this wine tasting at Vino Aquino Winery a few days before the big day on February 11. Wine samples and tasty treats are included in the $12 entrance ticket and full glasses can be purchased for $5. You can also shop vendors such as Mary Kay, Kitchen Sink Crafts, Pampered Chef and more. Vino Aquino Winery is located at 4417 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1 in Tacoma.

“All You Need Is Love” A Valentine’s Gala

The Lonely Hearts Club, a Beatles-sound-a-like band, is set to hit your heart with nostalgia when they play classic Beatles beats at Jazzbones in Tacoma. This Valentine’s gala is $10 in advance and $15 at the door and located at 2803 Sixth Avenue.

Sunset on Puget Sound
End the night watching the sun set over Mount Rainier or Puget Sound with your significant other. Photo credit: Nicole Martinson

Pre-Valentine’s Pre-Fixe Dinner Show

If you’re thinking of skipping the craze of Friday-night-dinner at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, the Swiss Restaurant and Pub is thinking the same. They’ll serve a four-course dinner alongside adult beverages and live music on Thursday, February 13 for $72 per person. The Swiss Restaurant and Pub is located at 1904 South Jefferson Avenue in Tacoma.

Many other local restaurants will feature specialty menus for Valentine’s Day. The Cliff House in Tacoma has its special menu posted online, which includes starters, salads, entrees and desserts. The Lobster Shop will have a specialty couple’s tasting menu from February 13 through 16 and a chocolate lover’s brunch on Sunday, February 16. Check with your favorite spot close to the day of to see what their menu looks like.

If you do decide to go out to eat on Valentine’s Day, consider making reservations or leaving extra time to wait for a table. Make every minute count while waiting with a stroll through close-by shops or walking the Ruston Way waterfront. Keep in mind that bar areas of many restaurants are often open-seating and that if you watch closely, you might end up snagging a spot during the dinner rush.

Leaving anything last minute for Valentine’s Day can be stressful for you, so try to avoid it. Restaurant reservations fill up and event tickets sell out quickly as well as flower shops. Many don’t realize that most florists have ordered their Valentine’s Day specialty flowers and roses well ahead of time because of how far they have to ship to get here. Save yourself the stress by planning and ordering ahead of time.