Love Is In The Air This Valentine's Day
From sandy beaches to city skylines, here are our top 10 vacation picks for lovebirds. Trust us, these locations are guaranteed to spark the romance!
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Nothing quite says romance like the City of Light. Whether strolling through cobblestone streets, taking a cruise on the Seine or sipping wine at a café, "l'amour" is everywhere. Even breakfast, or as the French say, "petit déjeuner," is charming, sweet and moves at a slow pace — croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee. By day, refresh your art-history knowledge at the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay. Enjoy a classic French lunch (think steak-frites, salad Niçoise and wine) at a Parisian bistro and linger as long as you'd like — the French will never rush you.
Save time for a picnic at the Jardin du Luxembourg and watch the world go by. Flower lovers should not miss the one-of-a-kind Marché aux Fleurs, the two-century-old flower market. Savor dinner at the gastronomic Le Grand Véfour, where Victor Hugo and Jean Cocteau once dined. Reserve a room at the ultra-posh Hotel Daniel, a 26-room hideaway tucked away near the Champs-Elysées.
New York City
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With stunning cityscapes, iconic landmarks and exhilarating energy, the Big Apple is for lovers with grand passion. Everything feels like an adventure in this bustling city, whether it’s lounging in your hotel with breakfast in bed, taking a brisk walk through Central Park or lunching at one of the many chic cafés dotting the city. Capture your weekend of romance with quick snaps at the Brooklyn Bridge — these will be framers (and don't be surprised if there’s a bride and groom seizing the moment, too).
Walk hand-in-hand over the bridge and linger over a cocktail at the dazzling River Café — the Manhattan skyline will never look as dreamy. While in Brooklyn, pop into Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for the richest, most-delicious cone imaginable. For dinner, book a table at the date-night hot spot Blue Water Grill (you may recognize it from Sex and the City) and enjoy an evening of live jazz and incredible seafood. Really live it up at the 1920s-era Gramercy Park Hotel. The toasty hotel feels like a homey mansion with three fireplaces and stylish decor — not to mention, it overlooks the beautiful Gramercy Park (perfect for afternoon smooches).
Palm Beach, Florida
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Tropical breezes and an air of luxury make this chic Atlantic-oceanfront town a wonderful escape for those seeking a cosmopolitan, yet relaxing, vacation. Lounge by the pool with a mojito — Cuban influences abound in this South Florida enclave. By evening, choose from an array of casual to snazzy steak-and-lobster restaurants (the Flagler Steakhouse is known for its amazing steaks and fabulous cocktails), or head to nearby West Palm for a vibrant mix of restaurants and cocktail bars.
Check into the Breakers Hotel, the legendary hotel built in 1896, where you and your sweetheart can live like a king and queen for the weekend, or the Brazilian Court Hotel, a classic luxury hotel equidistant to Worth Avenue shopping and the ocean (tan first, shopping second?).
New Orleans, Louisiana
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Maybe it’s the French influence, the vibrant cocktail culture, the leisurely pace of life or Southern charm that give the Big Easy the reputation as one of the world's most-romantic, enchanting cities. For food enthusiasts, New Orleans is the equivalent of Paris in the South — kick off your day with fresh beignets and chicory coffee, grab a shrimp po'boy for lunch and wind down with a candlelight dinner at the French Quarter's Café Amelie, a historic spot known for breathtaking scenery (no wonder it's the setting for countless proposals and weddings). Make your stay extra sweet and book a room at the Hotel Monteleone, known for its rich history, where old-world opulence meets modern-day style.
Traverse City, Michigan
Sip wine, go antiquing, hit the slopes, indulge in a massage — the options are endless in Traverse City, the northern Michigan wine region gaining attention with trendsetters and celebrities like Mario Batali. After a busy day of sightseeing, skiing and running around, ease your tired muscles with a soak in your own private Jacuzzi at Cherry Tree Inn, which is offering a "Romance Package," with a one-night stay, wine and chocolates.
Sporty couples will love the Shanty Creek Resort with 55 downhill ski slopes, Nordic trails, tubing and stunning views of Lake Bellaire. And the resort is offering two-for-one Valentine's Day lift tickets. Celebrate your love over dinner at Bistro FouFou, where chef Guillaume Hazaël-Massieux serves classic French fare, or the romantic Amical, known for its outstanding menu focused on locally grown and raised products.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
The picturesque resort city, located on Geneva Lake, consistently ranks on the most-romantic-getaway list. Situated 80 miles from the Windy City, the tranquil town was historically the vacation spot for wealthy Chicagoans, and today it attracts vacationers year-round with its pristine setting, bountiful activities (from sleigh rides to snowshoeing, skiing to pastry-making classes) and world-class spas.
Romance is in the crisp Wisconsin air at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa where Valentine's Day couples' packages include the "Lift of Love," featuring two-for-one lift tickets, ski or snowboard rentals, cocktails and candies, and "Love is Grand," including a $100 dining credit, red rose and candies. Both include an overnight stay. Unwind together with a "Tables for Two" massage at the on-site spa. End your day with an elegant steak-and-lobster dinner at Geneva ChopHouse.
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Few things inspire passion like watching the sunset cast a golden glow over crashing waves while crisp ocean winds whip your face. Hold hands and look back in time by taking a self-guided walking tour (provided through the Kennebunkport Historical Society) through the town's historic homes, which span Colonial, Greek Revival to Victorian architecture. Stroll through Dock Square and its array of quaint shops, art galleries and antique dealers — perfect for souvenirs and one-of-a-kind gifts.
End the day with fresh-caught Maine lobster at the famed Nunan's Lobster Hut, and make sure to save room for the blueberry pie, considered the best in town. Turn up the flames at the The White Barn Inn, where fresh flowers, plush robes and soothing decor calm the senses. Want to really splurge? Book the spa's "Couples Sojourn," replete with a Swedish massage, facial and body wrap — à deux.
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Foodie couples flock to the Windy City for world-renowned cuisine spanning all tastes and price levels. A breathtaking skyline, awe-inspiring lakefront and quaint neighborhoods make this Midwestern town an easy place to spark romance. Weather permitting, spend the morning biking along the lakefront, and come afternoon, explore centuries of art at the Art Institute, featuring a vast collection of impressionist and post-impressionist work.
Say "amore" and take a virtual dining trip to Italy with the newly opened Eataly, the second in the country after New York, and relish in delectable Italian chocolates and sweets — for Valentine's Day and beyond. Splurge on an awe-inspiring meal at Alinea, under culinary maestro Grant Achatz, and check into the luxury boutique Talbott Hotel, where plushy beds and oversized soaking tubs are made for couples.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Salsa dancing, tropical beaches, historic architecture, rainforest — the island oasis offers something to satisfy everyone's romantic palette. Kick off your morning watching the sunrise or head to a secluded waterfall at Juan Diego Falls in El Yunque National Forest. Spend your day relaxing at the beach or look back in time in Old San Juan — history buffs will love its restored colorful buildings and European influence.
Turn up the heat on the dance floor and learn salsa at the Nuyorican Café. Stay at the lavish Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan, originally a 17th-century convent, or El Conquistador Resort, a Mediterranean-inspired metropolis overlooking the Caribbean and the Atlantic. Save room for a romantic dinner and dine at Perla, set on a pool of water and known for its sophisticated menu, or Roberto Treviño's (Iron Chef) Budatai.
San Antonio, Texas
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One glimpse at the lush riverbank and you know why San Antonio is regarded as one of the most-romantic spots in the country. And on Valentine's Day, the city really turns up the charm — with yellow, not red, roses. The sunny-colored flowers decorate the River Walk, restaurants, hotels and attractions around town. By day, tour the River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, the largest urban ecosystem in the nation. Spanning 15 miles, you can reach all of the big attractions — the Historic District, the Spanish missions, museums, shops and more.
By evening, enjoy a cozy dinner under one of the rainbow-colored umbrella tables along the riverbank and enjoy authentic Southwestern and Tex Mex cuisine. Check into the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk — its Spanish-influenced decor, stunning terrace, modern interior and sleek cocktail bar add to its allure.
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