Sure, there's something to be said for getting dressed up and going out for a prix fixe dinner at a romantic restaurant with your significant other on Valentine's Day. But if you prefer to do something more creative this year, here are six great local options, from Bradenton on down to Venice. Cue the heart-eye emoji.
Galentine's Day at Flour Parlor, Feb. 13
Ladies, this one's for you: Inspired by Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation, Flour Parlor is hosting its first-ever Galentine's Day at its downtown Sarasota location this week. The Thursday-night event is sold out, but there's still space at the Saturday afternoon festivities. $60 gets you heart-shaped pizza from Solarzano Bros., a 6-inch cake to decorate (plus frosting tips from Flour Parlor's pastry chef), coffee and tea, chocolate-dipped strawberries and more. "It's like Lilith Fair minus the angst. Plus cake," Flour Parlor owner Amy Nichols says. For more info and to sign up, click here.
Selby Gardens' Orchid Show, Feb. 14
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens celebrates its 40th anniversary with this show, which opens on Valentine's Day and features thousands of orchids available to view and purchase. We love the thought of strolling through the Conservatory with your significant other and then catching the sunset over Sarasota Bay afterward. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through March 27; for more information visit selby.org.
Say "I Do" All Over Again on Siesta Key Beach, Feb. 14
Is there anything romantic than renewing your vows on Siesta Key Beach at sunset? (OK, so maybe there'll be a few dozen other people there with you, but who's counting?) Couples of all ages are invited to this annual tradition at Siesta Beach Pavilion, which is presided over by a Sarasota judicial magistrate in a nondemoninational ceremony. A $10 fee per couple gets you a certificate, commemorative gift, flower and the opportunity to enjoy live music and light refreshments on the beach. Call (941) 861-5000 to register, but hurry--registration closes today.
Valentine's Day Pop-Up at Retrobaked, Feb. 13
Dietary restrictions, schmietary restrictions. Retrobaked, which produces gluten-free, vegan treats in Village of the Arts, is offering a bevy of treats for the vegan and gluten-free crowd, including fudge-dipped chocolate chip cookie sandwiches, a variety of cupcakes, frosted sugar cookies and cookie cakes. Order by Thursday and pick up Saturday between 2-5 p.m; for more info and to see a full menu, visit retrobaked.com.
Pleasures, Must Be the Holy Ghost, Br'er and Teach Me Equals at Growlers Pub, Feb. 14
Pleasures combines washes of dribbling synthesizers, woozy electric guitars, skittering backbeats and effects-laden vocals from singer Katherine Kelly. Opening bands include out-of-towners like North Carolina's Must Be the Holy Ghost and D.C.'s Br'er, plus Teach Me Equals, the male-female duo of Erin Murphy and Greg Bortnichak, who recently tied the knot at the Cock & Bull and organized a mini-festival to celebrate the occasion. Talk about romance. (Oh, and if you get hungry, Taco Bus will be slinging tacos from 8 p.m. on.) For more info, click here.
Sweeney Todd at Venice Theatre, Feb. 14
Heart-shaped chocolates and red roses not your thing? The Tony Award-winning Sweeney Todd ends its run at Venice Theatre on Valentine's Day; we think it's a perfect way to celebrate the holiday because, let's face it, sometimes love can be scary. For those unfamiliar with the plot, Sweeney Todd tells the tale of a murderous barber whose accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, bakes his victims into pies (read arts editor Kay Kipling's full review here). Tickets are $32 for adults, $15 for college students and $13 for children; get yours at venicestage.com.