Turn Valentine Weekend into a Five-Star Staycation

I'm in the camp that loves Valentine's Day. Flowers, cards and candy? Yes, please. 

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on the Saturday of a long weekend, for those who get President’s Day off. If you’re sticking around home like me, here are some ideas to turn your Valentine’s Day into a romantic staycation.

Valentine's Day last year -- spending a cozy night at home. For Valentine's gift ideas to feed a traveler's spirit, check out my 2015 gift guide here. 

Valentine's Day last year -- spending a cozy night at home. For Valentine's gift ideas to feed a traveler's spirit, check out my 2015 gift guide here

Set the tone.

Our favorite macarons from the iconic French patisserie, Laduree. 

Our favorite macarons from the iconic French patisserie, Laduree

Where’s the most romantic place you’ve been together, or somewhere you both dream of going? Think idyllic – places like Italy, France, Napa Valley. Surprise your significant other with a bottle of wine and treats from the region, like French champagne and macarons.

Elevate dinner and a movie. 

Who isn't seduced by James Bond's intriguing romp through Jamaica with Honey Rider? Source: Collider

Who isn't seduced by James Bond's intriguing romp through Jamaica with Honey Rider? Source: Collider

There’s something to be said for the old-fashioned dinner and a movie. Give your typical date night a romantic upgrade by coordinating with the restaurant to have fresh flowers waiting at the table on your arrival. Or, make an elaborate dinner at home and pop in a classic film that inspires your wanderlust – think Dr. No, Midnight in Paris or To Catch a Thief.

Be a local tourist.

Chicago's The Langham was just named TripAdvisor's #1 U.S. hotel, and the New York Times calls it an "elegant, tasteful stay." Source: International Housewares Association

Chicago's The Langham was just named TripAdvisor's #1 U.S. hotel, and the New York Times calls it an "elegant, tasteful stay." Source: International Housewares Association

Five-star hotel lobbies have an electric energy, even when you’re not staying there. Head to your nearest upscale hotel or resort, and spend the afternoon as a guest – without checking in. Grab lunch at the hotel’s café, followed by drinks at the lobby bar. Ask other patrons about their favorite things to do, and spend the rest of the day following their best suggestions.

  • Quick tip: Do your research to find a hotel or resort with accompanying restaurants, and keep in mind one or two after-dinner ideas in case you don’t get great tips from fellow tourists. 

Get out and explore.

Last summer, we discovered our favorite restaurant in Chinatown, Lao Sze Chuan, through a fantastic Chicago Food Planet walking tour. 

Last summer, we discovered our favorite restaurant in Chinatown, Lao Sze Chuan, through a fantastic Chicago Food Planet walking tour. 

So often, we’re so busy going through our daily routines we don’t notice all our hometowns have to offer. Spend the day with your love uncovering new things to love about your city.

  • For inspiration: Seek out tours or classes you haven’t done yet, like a cooking class or walking food tour. Visit a museum and try to guess each other’s favorite displays. Hop in your car, put on a relaxing playlist and just start driving; stop periodically to grab coffee or lunch and explore new sights you come across.