Feb 02

Best Places for Valentine’s Day

Top Picks for Valentine's Day

Best Places for Valentine’s Day

By Deanne Hollis-DeGrandpre

Depending on whether you want to stay in town or escape for the evening or a weekend, we have a few suggestions for you.

  1. Treat your favorite valentine to a romantic getaway weekend at Big Bear.Our local mountains have a lot to offer and are often overlooked. Lodging and dining are reasonable up in Big Bear. From the 60/15 interchange it only took us 1.5 hours to get to Big Bear, leaving around noon on Friday. For detailed information, see our recent article on Big Bear: “Bored? Remember Big Bear–Easy Access Even in Winter.”
  2. Just need plans for the evening? Take in a romantic dinner and play in Claremont.

    For a romantic and wonderfully prepared Valentine’s Day dinner, book your table at the Harvard Square Café, in the heart of Claremont’s village. You can stroll the streets and wander into the quaint shops before dinner. Make your reservations as soon as possible; this is a popular restaurant on this special day. 909-626-7763.After dinner, take in the show at the Candlelight Pavillion dinner theatre. Dinner is included in the price of the ticket, so you may just want to take in dinner here. Currently playing is Beehive: a musical featuring 60s music such as Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. Prices range from $59 to $75 for a Saturday night performance.
  3. The Mission Inn in Riverside may be the most romantic
    Valentine's Day at the Mission Inn

    Riverside’s Mission Inn

    setting in the Inland Empire.

    The Mission Inn’s architectural details are like no other. Inside are cozy sitting places near a beautiful stone fireplace. There are four restaurants to choose from inside the inn (each with varying prices): Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, Mission Inn Restaurant, Las Campanas Mexican Cuisine & Cantina, Bella Trattoria Italian Bistro. For an after dinner drink, be sure to stop by the Presidential Lounge, you’ll feel like a millionaire.

    Before or after dinner, take a stroll around outside of the inn and visit the quaint shops.

  4. If Big Bear is too cold for you, but you still want to get away for the weekend, consider South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula.The South Coast Winery offers a one-stop place for the whole weekend.Valentine’s Day dinner is offered at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant and costs $90 per person ($70 without wine). We can’t provide a review since we have not yet sampled their fare, however the menu shows Main Lobster Tail as the “main” event.

    The Winery has villas available for a romantic getaway. From the outside, they look very quaint. There is also a spa on site.

  5. Feel like heading out of the Inland Empire for the evening?
    Valentine's Day dinner at the Laguna Canyon Winery

    Laguna Canyon Winery

    Consider the beach.

    Take Laguna Canyon (off the beaten path) and stop at the Laguna Canyon Winery. Be sure to sample my favorite, their “old vine zinfandel.” The owners have taken home a host of awards for their wines. They are hosting a Valentine’s Day Winemaker’s Dinner, should you decide to limit your stops. Diners will enjoy live saxophone music by Charles Hayes. The dinner cost is $125 per person for non-members.

    Book a table at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. The Ritz has an incredible view and the sunset is phenomenal over the water! Oh, and the meals are quite good as well. Valentine’s Day dinner runs $110 per person and offers a four-course dinner.

    If both of these options are a bit steep, consider stopping at the winery for wine tasting, then traveling on to the beach and taking in an evening picnic sunset. A bit up Highway 1 and you’re at Dana Point. There is a wonderful path to stroll as you watch the sailboats go in and out of the marina.

About the author

TD Hollis