A new kind of date, Valentine’s Day in Tampa

A new kind of date, Valentine's Day in Tampa

For those who wish to go the traditional route: L.A. Burdick Velvet Hearts are two heart-shaped velvet boxes stacked together and tied with a sheer ribbon. The top heart is filled with hand-cut, heart-shaped bonbons; the bottom heart holds a half-pound assortment plus two chocolate mice. The hearts are $48 at www.burdickchocolate.com. (Provided by L.A. Burdick/MCT)

Christine Costello, Entertainment Editor

So it’s Valentine ’s Day and you have a Valentine, great! Now there’s only one problem…what do you do?

Some girls may spend painstaking hours pondering over the perfect Valentine’s date. After all, what could there possibly be to do in your home town? A lot, actually. Tampa has an abundance of date options outside of your typical Steak n’ Shake run (not that there’s anything wrong with going to Stake n’ Shake for Valentine’s Day.)

February in Tampa is generally beautiful. Sixty-five degrees and sunny skies provide the perfect setting for your romantic evening. Be it the middle of the day or dusk, the peninsula on Davis Island remains beautiful.

Every teen asked agrees that the peninsula on the way to Peter O’Knight airport is one of Tampa’s true gems. It takes a short while to meander from the parking lot to the end of this strip of land where a couple of run down benches sit. Feel free to take some snacks along or maybe a soccer ball to kick around on the adjacent field. If you’re there at sunset, make sure to find a spot on which to sit down and watch the show. It’s truly magnificent.

Too cliché for you and your date? Try a day at the beach. Although you might think it’s a little too chilly to swim, the weather is plenty warm to throw a Frisbee around or to simply sit in the sun. Whatever you choose to do, the beach creates a romantic backdrop. If you’re in South Tampa and don’t want to drive all the way to Clearwater or St. Pete, Cypress Beach is always a great option. While much smaller, it’s generally less crowded than other beaches. Also, there are plenty of benches and picnic tables for lunch or dinner.

Now, there’s always the possibility that Tampa won’t be sunny throughout Valentine’s weekend. If it’s rainy, there are several ways to re-invent the run-of-the-mill dinner and a movie date. Bern’s is one of Tampa’s most well-known dinner establishments. However, you and your sweetie might not want to blow all your money on an exquisite yet expensive meal. In that case, find dinner elsewhere and come to Bern’s for dessert.

You might want to call ahead of time as Valentine’s weekend is destined to be packed. Bern’s dessert room gives you and your date an individual booth and a full menu with everything from Macadamia Nut ice cream to Banana’s Foster for two to an entire section dedicated to chocolate creations. And nothing says romance like chocolate, especially when it’s prepared by a gourmet dessert chef. Also, a bonus of the dessert room is that you have to get a little dressed up. Your classy outfits will make the night seem that much more special.

Movie dates have been popular for so long, and it’s no wonder why. To get a more old-fashioned feel, try downtown’s Tampa Theater. This gorgeous venue shows a wide variety of new films and older classics. In the beginning of February, the Tampa Theater is showing Blue Valentine, a romance about a modern couple. If that’s a little heavy for you and your date, go to Blockbuster and spend some bonding time renting a movie together. Of course there’s always your average Cineplex or Fun-Lan drive-in theater if you still want to go out.

What you truly need to have in order to have a fun, romantic Valentine’s date is a good attitude. You and your date could spend an hour in CVS and still have a nice evening if you wanted to. Or take a drive down beautiful Bayshore. And remember, there’s always Steak n’ Shake. Splitting a milkshake and fries is both adorable and delicious.