STORY BY: ASHLEY PARK
Valentine’s Day is lurking just around the corner, and while it may not be easy for singles to have the lovey-dovey holiday thrown into their faces, it’s still a day to express and feel love for anyone special whether it be a significant other, friends, or family. So, grab your honey or your homie and feel the love with these easy, pocket-friendly activities.
Make A Personal Card
Hallmark Cards make a fortune each Valentine’s Day by selling cheesy, generic cards. Why not have a fun arts and craft date to create personalized cards just for your partner or friend? You can insert inside jokes, photos, or even little souvenirs from past dates like movie stubs as a reminder of how much you enjoy your time with them.
Keep Your Heart Pumping By Hiking
When exercising, your body releases a special chemical called endorphins. Endorphins help reduce stress and create a feeling of euphoria, which could ultimately help your date go even better than expected. Plus, the idea of getting hot and sweaty with your date isn’t so bad. Dominguez Gap Wetlands is a popular place to hit the trails near Long Beach. But the cherry on top is that most hiking trails are free to the public, meaning you can enjoy a day of nature with scenic views for $0. Depending on what you’re looking for you may have to venture outside of Long Beach and head to some of our neighboring cities. Here are a few hiking trails in and around Long Beach:
- For an easy stroll through nature head to El Dorado Nature Center located right here in Long Beach.
For a beautiful hike along the coast try Ocean Trails in Rancho Palos Verdes.
For a moderate and dog friendly hike go to Forrestal Ecological Reserve also located in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Plan A Pretty Picnic
Although restaurants do a lot of special prix fixe menus for Valentine’s Day, it’s essential to make reservations weeks in advance, but who has time for that? A more personal and fun way to share a meal is by prepping a picnic. Perks of picnics include more privacy, a chance to show off your cooking skills, and respecting dietary restrictions. However, if you’re short on time, you can even pick up prepared foods or meals from your favorite restaurants or delis. One great place near Long Beach for your picnic date could be Hilltop Park in Signal Hill. It’s possible to have the perfect picnic at around $20 per person or less… What a steal!
Make Beautiful Memories At A Museum
Take someone you consider a masterpiece to enjoy beautiful works of art for free. The Long Beach Museum of Art is home to beautiful artwork and is totally free on Thursday afternoons or all day on Fridays. The Broad in Downtown Los Angeles is also a popular date spot that offers free tickets. Just make sure to reserve your tickets in advance when they are released on the first of every month for the following month. If tickets are sold out, there’s always a free standby line at the entrance of the museum. However, if you don’t want to deal with any of that, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (or LACMA) also offers locals free general admission after 3 p.m. every weekday. Is there anything more sweet and romantic than walking around a quiet museum while holding hands?
Cuddle Up At Home
If you and your date are the type to prefer total privacy, a stay-in Valentine’s Day is also a great way to celebrate. Impress your date with a budget-friendly home-cooked meal that only looks and tastes like a million bucks. For example, skirt steaks are a popular, cheaper cut of meat that can be prepared to be as tender and juicy as prime rib, and there are a plethora of recipes and advice online at your disposal. After your meal, curl up together to Netflix & Chill while eating some homemade chocolate-dipped strawberries. Or maybe even make a fun or romantic mixtape to have a dance party of your own with nobody else around to judge your dancing skills. The activities you can do with your date at home are endless, and they’re usually free or cheap! So go ahead and get creative- it’s time to earn those brownie points from your bae.