Downtown destinations for lovebirds

The trouble with Valentine’s Day is that it can be terribly unromantic. Don’t blunt Cupid’s arrow by stringing your bow with the same ol’ tired gifts. This February, plan to share some quality time with your special someone in downtown Dallas.

The city center is always a destination, but this upcoming holiday weekend, downtown is practically bursting with opportunities to get a little closer and make some lasting memories.

Dine Out

Downtown Dallas offers an embarrassment of romantic dining riches. If it’s a leisurely brunch that tickles your fancy, check out the menu — not to mention the uniquely intimate atmosphere — at Neiman Marcus’ Zodiac Room. For an unforgettable dinner, you might propose Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty, which occupies the revolving dining space at Reunion Tower; The Palm, a classic steakhouse in the historic West End; or The Woolworth, with its extensive selection of wines and inventive approach to cocktails.

Dine In

Of course, a romantic dinner doesn’t necessarily mean picking up a huge tab. Make a day of it by visiting the recently renovated sheds at the Dallas Farmers Market. Bring a shopping list, pick up some fresh, certified local ingredients and craft a sumptuous meal together back at your love nest. Even if you feel like a kitchen klutz, the Farmers Market has you covered: Every Saturday, area chefs offer master cooking classes for as little as $25 per person. On February 11, chocolatier Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate will show you how to pair wine and dessert for the ultimate indulgence.

Come Dancing

You don’t have to be old-fashioned to think “dancing” when you hear the word “date.” So what if you never learned to waltz? The Medusa’s DJs spin all kinds of music, from salsa to hip-hop, and the huge dance floor means you won’t have to cramp your style while getting your groove on. If two-stepping is more your thing, head to the historic Sons of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum for honky-tonker Max Stalling’s Valentine’s Party and Show. Finally, if you prefer to watch rather than participate, an entirely different sort of dancing will be on display in the Design District. Lollie Bombs Burlesque will present a neo-burlesque program called “Lowered Expectations.” If that description leaves you scratching your head, don’t worry: just bring an open mind.

Have a Beautiful Day

Downtown Dallas’ Museum District is home to stunning collections from all over the world. The Crow Collection of Asian Art and the DMA both have paintings, photographs and artifacts that will beguile, entrance and stir both your emotions and your imagination (and you know what they say about the mind being the largest of the erogenous zones). And make it a point to visit the permanent collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center. There you’ll discover classic studies of the human form, as well as iconic romantic expressions such as Constantin Brancusi’s “The Kiss (Le Baiser).”

Put On a Show

Music and drama can be a magical combination. Who could fail to be moved by soaring melodies given voice by incredible singers, compelling stories and the elaborate sets and costumes that temporarily transport you to another time and place? If you’re looking to make your Valentine’s Day weekend a real production, The Winspear Opera House is home to matinee performances of the Broadway smash “Hedwig and The Angry Inch.” More than an innovative spectacle, John Cameron Mitchell’s musical is a search for the origins and meaning of this thing we call love. If your tastes run to more traditional fare, Dallas Summer Musicals presents “An American In Paris” (ah, Paris…) through Sunday, February 12.

Laugh It Off

Valentine’s Day can be fun, after all. Saturday, February 11, at the world-famous Dallas Comedy House, you and your sweetheart have a choice between some G-rated improv early in the evening and a late-night romp with “Elton John” and “Billy Joel” as they host a special episode of the “Celebrity Dating Game.” For those who like to wear black and pass out ironic candy hearts on Valentine’s Day, consider reserving a room at the Omni for Keith & Margo’s 27th annual St. Valentine’s Massacre, an interactive “comedy murder mystery.”

Take a Staycation

You don’t have to catch a red-eye or commit to a road trip to take a romantic getaway. Downtown Dallas’ hotels have all the state-of-the-art amenities you’ll need to pamper your sweetheart (and yourself). Check out the incredible themed rooms at Victory Park’s W Hotel, which also boasts an on-site spa. The Joule on Main Street is practically a miniature resort. In addition to penthouse suites, The Joule is also home to CBD Provisions’ gourmet take on Texas cuisine, as well as a number of unique shops, including TenOverSix home decor showroom. Finally, The Adolphus on Commerce remains Dallas’ gold standard for hotel luxury. Every Dallasite owes it to themself to stay at least one night in this historic building.

Go Green (Without Envy)

Sometimes, simple is better. In fact, sometimes simple is best. If you find the whole idea of planning an elaborate Valentine’s Day weekend too stressful, remember that you can always make the holiday a walk in the park — literally! What could be more romantic than a sunset stroll through the park with your partner? What’s a bouquet of roses compared to the sight of wildflowers budding and blooming in their natural setting? This Valentine’s Day, make a date with your neighborhood park. Enjoy a picnic, take in views of the city skyline and reconnect with your loved one in the peace and quiet that you can only find outdoors.