Romance is likely on the mind of every Southland couple as Valentine’s Day heads this way. With that in mind, why not celebrate in a unique way in our very own slice of paradise? All kinds of possibilities are on the horizon as cupid’s arrow hits, from cozy hot air balloon rides to exotic California wine tastings.
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(credit: Jake Worley/Gondola Getaway)

Gondolas D’Amore
14045 Panay Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 736-7301
www.gondolasdamore.com

Few Valentine traditions are more romantic than taking a Venice gondola ride with your sweetheart, but you don’t need to head to Italy for the experience. This Marina del Rey outfit will make sure you’re privy to all the proper accoutrements to ply our local Marina’s waterways while your gondolier sings of love ever lasting. Schedule your gondola ride for sunset and you may just get engaged before that big red ball hides until another day.

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(credit: Shutterstock)

Route 66 Bar  
1160 North Vermont Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90029
(323) 746-1248
www.hollywoodhotel.net

On a Valentine’s date, laughing together definitely establishes the right kind of closeness you are eager to share with the one you love. Enter Hollywood Hotel, where the in house comedy club, bar and lounge is big with couples who drop by to see and hear popular comedians who like to present their best material at this landmark Tinseltown haunt.

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(credit: Alex Murralles)

Duff’s Cake Mix 
8302 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 650-5555
www.duffscakemix.com

For a Valentine’s date that literally takes the cake, head for this tasty enterprise to have some fun with food. Sweet food. You’ll get your hands on the chance to express your love in what is dubbed Los Angeles’ “first DIY dessert design studio” by decorating a dessert to your heart’s content and then some. Those who partake are invited to take their creations home where, on Valentine’s Day, that’s where all the rest of your celebratory time together will surely take off.

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(credit: Malibu Wines)

Malibu Wine Safaris
32111 Mulholland Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
(818) 497-2206
www.lasafaris.com

Lovers who love wine will find the perfect treat at Saddlerock Ranch, the 1,000-acre spot where this Valentine’s date takes place in a splendid way. There, you’ll hop into an open-air vehicle to soak up the scene on your way to a variety of wine tastings as well as the chance to get cozy with exotic beasts–like zebras, camels, bison and giraffes–as well as each other. How romantic!

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(credit: Business stock/shutterstock)

California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures
33133 Vista Del Monte Road
Temecula, CA 92591
(951) 699-0601
www.californiadreamin.com

An ideal date idea to share with your Valentine, a top hot air balloon adventure means you will get out of your urban surroundings by driving to neighboring Riverside County. There, expect a novel experience that is well worth the effort since this Temecula-based family business will get you up, up and above the fray while giving you an all-encompassing glimpse of glorious citrus groves, flourishing vineyards and the beauty that we think of when we celebrate Southern California and each other.

By Jane Lasky
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