If you’ve already hit the brainstorming wall for Valentine’s Day, don’t fret. Long Beach happens to be brimming with date ideas, ranging from the ultra quirky to the fairytale-esque.

Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, but there’s a whole two-day weekend that will happen before and after the beloved (or dreaded) annual celebration of romance. So there’s little excuse not to show your S.O., crush, best friend, special friend—what have you—a good time.

Before you consider the following list, you will probably (no, absolutely) need to feed this date of yours—so check out this list of places to dine and/or grab a cocktail.

Now, a few of these ideas might be a little too cheesy or “Walk on the Wild Side” for you, but hear us out, there are some feasible ones here. Whether you just texted this article to your partner passive-aggressively or you just found it on your own, we’re here to help.

A quick note: some of these activities can also be enjoyed solo. No need to pout at home.

1. Buy some roses—or 48

We thought we’d start off with an easy one. Most people like flowers, other people love flowers. With this gesture, you really can’t go wrong, especially on Valentine’s Day. Harry Goldman, whose family has owned and run Allen’s Flower Market since 1977, knows this better than anyone.

The family-run shop offers floral arrangements ranging from $20 up to $700. The most popular order year-round is a classic bouquet of roses. For those who want to think outside the box (or inside the box rather), the Noir Heart of Roses, a luxury heart-shaped box that can hold up to 48 roses, is another option.

Last year on Valentine’s Day, he said the shop helped 1,200 customers, who walked through the doors of the shop. A majority of that frantic crowd, he mused, were men coming in at the last minute.

This year, he expects the shop to be just as busy.

“It’s going to be crazy,” he said. “On Tuesday, we will probably be serving 1,300 to 1,400 customers. But we are pretty organized, we’ve done this rodeo a bunch of times.”

So don’t let the deadline discourage you. Goldman says he and his staff of about 37 florists and drivers in the city are more than up to the task of fulfilling every online and in person order, even the most last minute requests.

Before the pandemic, Goldman’s family used to keep the shop open 24 hours on Valentine’s Day. Eventually, he says he will do it again, and he plans to bring a taco truck and maybe even a mariachi band.

Goldman helped open the Long Beach location with his father in 1977 when he transferred to Cal State Long Beach.

“Best thing I ever did,” he said.

Another quick note: Allen is not his father’s name—back in the day, he says, that name was merely a shortcut to the top of the phonebook.

Browse specialty arrangements and place an order online here. Allen’s Flower Market is located at 600 E. Willow St. in Long Beach.

2. Get matching tattoos

No one is necessarily suggesting that you get each other’s names stamped, but hey, it’s always an option—and one you won’t forget. There are several shops in Long Beach offering deals on Tuesday from small themed flash tattoos (think cupids and little hearts, etc.) to a bargain price for two ink jobs.

Outer Limits Tattoo and Museum, open since 1927, will have several tattoo artists available to make this Valentine’s Day one you’ll never unsee. Also, this shop is the oldest tattoo parlor in the United States so, it functions as a museum as well.

Other shops offering flash tattoos and deals are Bixby Knolls Tattoo and Red Sea Tattoo.

3. Ride the swans
Several groups and individuals ride the swan boats at Rainbow Lagoon Park in Downtown Long Beach Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

If you’ve driven or walked along Shoreline Drive by the Rainbow Lagoon, you might have scoffed at a gaggle of folks pedaling along the water in swan-shaped vessels—or you might have stared at the spectacle longingly. Either way, now’s your chance to take your date on this fowl voyage either during the day under the sunshine or at night when the city, and the boats themselves, are aglow.

And we’re willing to wager that it’s a darn good time. Don’t believe us? Check out this video of Post reporters Jackie Rae and Cheantay Jensen enjoying the ride.

Swan boats are $12 an hour, per person, and can be found at the intersection of Shoreline Drive and South Pine Avenue. Make a reservation ahead of time here. 

4. Catch a not-so-silent silent film

All right, we know we told you to skip the dinner and a movie routine, but here’s an exception. For one night only, The Art Theatre in Long Beach is showing the 1927 silent classic “Sunrise”—but with a live score.

The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble is known for its work adding scores to classic silent films such as “Nosferatu,” “The Golem” and more. On Valentine’s Day, you can catch the group—with flutes, harps, violins and all—right in Long Beach on Retro Row.

Bonus: You can grab a glass of wine on the low-lit patio at Art du Vin next-door.

“Sunrise” is the story of an urban woman who seduces a farmer in the hopes that he will murder his own wife to run away with her to the city. We won’t spoil the rest. Grab a ticket for this romantic musical-visual experience here.

5. Organize a luxury picnic
Olga and Vlad Davniuk, owners of Picnic Makers, offer a luxury picnic service. The pictured picnic was assembled beside the Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach. Courtesy photo.

There’s a couple of options here. You could pack a cute blanket and hit Olive’s Gourmet Grocer on Broadway for some specialty charcuterie and other goodies on your way to set up a spread at Bluff Park, the beach or the Colorado Lagoon.

Or, you could hire Long Beach couple Olga and Vlad Davniuk this weekend or the weekend after Valentine’s Day to do the job for you (they are completely booked for the big day). For the past two years, they have been setting up decadent, luxury full-service picnic experiences around Long Beach parks and local beaches under their business Picnic Makers.

You will pick a place, the occasion and a color theme, and the Davniuks will help you do the rest. The picnic includes two hours with a designer setup, post-clean-up, custom handmade low picnic tables, cozy-chic pillows, flatware and tableware, snacks, flowers and other decor, starting at $249.

“It’s a great opportunity to enjoy Valentine’s Day in a different way than just going to a restaurant,” Vlad told the Post.

Find out more or make a reservation here. 

6. Cinch a love lock to the boardwalk
A man, who works nearby at a nearby restuarant but declined to give his name, looks the various “Love Locks” at Shoreline Village in Downtown Long Beach, which is modeled after the Paris desination, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

If you don’t want to go nuts and get a tattoo, you can lock in your love with an actual lock and key on the boardwalk at Shoreline Village. The “Love Locks” installation was inspired by the Jewetts, a couple who met and later got married at Shoreline Village more than three decades ago.

You can either bring your own special lock or purchase one from kiosk vendors along the boardwalk. Find the iconic spot at 429 Shoreline Village Drive, right outside of Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt on the Boardwalk and the The Village Hatshop.

7. Be Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore for two hours
Photo courtesy Clay on First.

OK, here’s a quirky one. But you have to admit, it’s creative. Clay on First is hosting another year of its special Toast-To-Ghost pottery class, where couples will reenact that one scene from the classic 1990 film “Ghost” with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze.

Pairs will quite literally “straddle up,” and recreate the scene as they find their way around a pottery wheel. Sessions are two hours long and the experience includes beer, wine and snacks. There’s even a point in which “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers begins to play before the class ends. For a fee, couples can select creations to be finished with a glaze and fired with their names engraved.

Spots are available for Feb. 11, Feb. 12 for $195 per couple and for $210 per couple on Feb. 14. More information here.

8. Sing, dance or catch a live band
Alex’s Bar staff prepare cocktails behind the bar and bring the drinks out to seated guests. Photo by Cheantay Jensen.

If music is your fancy, the Long Beach bar scene has a lot going on next week. Here’s a few options.

You can belt a ballad to your loved one at karaoke on Alex’s Bar‘s huge stage this Tuesday, but be sure to get your song choice in early—it’s typically a busy night.

The Hawk, also on Anaheim Street, is hosting For The Lovers & Loners, a night of soul and R&B with DJ Blowup. The bar will also be serving Valentine-themed cocktails.

If you’re looking something a little more indie, check out Long Beach band Darcy Court with Caleb (Uncle) Buchanan and Glue Shoe at Vine, an artsy wine bar on Retro Row.

Kat Schuster is the assistant editor at the Long Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected].