5 things to do for Valentine’s Day weekend, but you’d rather celebrate • the Hi-lo

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If you’re looking for a wine and dine type guide, this list isn’t for you (check this one out instead), but if you’re trying to get out and visit Long Beach, or maybe to do something before the big dinner, here are some options to consider.

Good luck!

ON A BUDGET WITH A VIEW: HILLTOP PARK

Visitors enjoy magnificent views of Long Beach from Signal Hill’s Hilltop Park. Staff photo.

A popular destination for runners, hikers, and sightseers, Signal Hill’s Hilltop Park is also a fabulous place for a date, largely because of its sweeping views of the city.

Facing south, enjoy sweeping views of Long Beach Harbor, the THUMS Islands, and even Catalina Island on a clear day. To the northwest, admire the Los Angeles skyline and the still snow-capped San Bernardino Mountains.

There are plenty of grassy slopes to lay down a blanket, so picnicking is the way to go. Arrive near sunset for a spectacular view of the setting sun, and when it gets dark, the city’s illuminated skyline is just as charming. This is top rom-com tuning material we are talking about here, and moreover, it is free. We love free.

Hilltop Park is located at 2351 Dawson Avenue.

SOMETHING TIMELESS: SWAN BOATS

The illuminated evening version of the nighttime swan boat ride usually starts just after sunset. Photo courtesy of Wheel Fun Rentals.

For better or worse, swan boats are one of those quintessential romantic pastimes that we’d be remiss not to recommend on Valentine’s Day. Luckily for you, Long Beach is home to its own swan boat rental service, which you can find at Rainbow Lagoon.

Rentals are available day and night, but for maximum swooning effect, we recommend venturing out in the evening as each of the craft is lined with LED lights which, when turned on, draw the silhouette of the swan. It’s quite pretty.

Besides the obvious attraction of traversing downtown waters inside a boat shaped like the most elegant of flying creatures, renting a swan boat with Wheel Fun Rentals is also quite inexpensive; $11 per hour for adults and $6 for children 17 or under.

And, as a bonus, finding food after your ride will be a breeze. Shoreline Village and Pike Outlets are steps away.

Rainbow Lagoon Park is located at 400 E. Shoreline Drive. Wheel Fun Rentals is located at the corner of Shoreline Drive and Pine Avenue. For more convenient access, park at The Pike Outlets parking lot (65 Cedar Ave.) and walk through it.

A SHARED ACTIVITY: TOAST-TO-GHOST POTTERY CLASS

Photo courtesy of Clay on First.

The Toast-to-Ghost pottery session at Clay on First recreates the famous sculpting scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore from the classic 1990 film, “Ghost”, where you and your partner can literally sit down together to create a personal piece ceramic of yours.

The session will begin with a pottery tutorial, then the staff will dim the lights, play the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” (the music used in this iconic scene) and leave you behind the wheel.

Class prices are a little high at $175 per couple on February 12 and 13; and $195 per couple on Valentine’s Day, but each session will also include beer, wine, snacks from Olive’s Gourmet Grocer and dessert from Gusto Bread. Note: To have your ceramics glazed and fired with names engraved on the bottom to take home, it costs $8.

Click here for more information and to book a session.

Clay on First is at 406 E. First Street Suite B.

SOMETHING SCENIC: GONDOLA GETAWAY

Long Beach Gondola (Photo Credit: Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau)

The gondola trip, a 40-year-old institution in the Naples area, is one of the most charming ways to experience the area’s canals and waterways, and for Valentine’s Day the excursion can be particularly memorable.

What’s great about the gondola getaway is how committed they are to creating an authentic Venetian gondola experience, from the gondoliers singing classic Italian tunes and wearing traditional dress, to the boats themselves, which are imported from Venice, Italy, according to the company.

Packages for the 50-minute gondola rides for Valentine’s Day start at $220 per couple and include a long-stemmed red rose, a complimentary cork and a commemorative photo.

Click here for more information and to book a ride.

Gondola Getaway is at 5437 E. Ocean Blvd.

PERFORMANCE FAN ART: SMOOTH JAZZ VALENTINE CONCERT

Flyer courtesy of the Long Beach Convention Center and Visitors Bureau.

We don’t know what it is that romantic mood-setting jazz is, but whatever its special magic, it most certainly feels appropriate for Valentine’s Day.

On Saturday February 12, at the Terrace Theatre, singer Kenny Lattimore will be accompanied by the famous saxophonist and flautist Najee. Harpist Mariea Antonette will perform with her Soulful Orchestra with singer Erin Stevenson and flautist Althea Rene.

Tickets range from $85 to $105 for non-dinner tickets. Those who want to dine and watch the show can purchase a VIP package ($165 to $200) which includes prime seating, a three-course dinner and a rose.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

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