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Guide to Valentine's Day in Rochester

If you're wondering where to go or what to do on Valentine's Day in Rochester, N.Y., you'll find there are countless options. Rochester abounds with romance, whether you want to share Valentine's dinner with a loved one or spend the day exploring a museum.

To help you get started, we put together this guide of things to do in Rochester, N.Y., for Valentine's Day. We include classic dates like dining in an intimate restaurant to more unusual experiences to spice things up. Keep reading for inspiration – you're sure to find something you and your valentine will enjoy.

What to Do for Valentine's Day in Rochester

Whether it'll be just the two of you or the kids will be part of the Valentine's Day fun, we found great spots to share delicious food and make happy memories.

For Just the Two of You

Day Trip Valentines Day Idea

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), one way to keep a relationship happy and healthy is to keep it interesting. Trying new things together, like taking a class or tasting exotic food, can break up the routine and rekindle to the fire. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take a day trip: A romantic day trip can create a special Valentine's Day you'll never forget. Consider heading to the beautiful Finger Lakes region with your other half to taste world-renowned wine or visit one of the areas breathtaking parks. For example, you might follow the Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail to find your way to wineries, breweries, shops and restaurants.
  • Enjoy dinner and a movie: Enjoy a classic evening with a romantic dinner followed by a movie. You might have drinks and hearty Italian fare at Veneto and then catch an independent film at The Little Theatre just a short walk from the restaurant. 
  • Have a craft day together: Create new memories with your significant other and have a souvenir to bring home by spending Valentine's Day making art. Attend a paint and sip class at Painting with a Twist or take one of the many intriguing classes at Rochester Brainery.
  • Take a dessert tour: What could be sweeter than spending time together while sampling the city's most delicious desserts? Take a tour with your honey to different restaurants, bakeries, chocolatiers and cafes in the city for a day of indulgence. Sample inventive ice cream flavors at Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream or surrender to temptation at Sinful Sweets.


Kid-Friendly Ideas

Little ones look forward to Valentine's Day treats like candy hearts and special messages from friends. Help them enjoy the day even more by taking them to have an exciting experience. Here are some ways to enjoy Valentine's Day with kids in Rochester:

  • Have a museum day: If Valentine's Day is chilly this year, take the kids to a museum where they can learn, play and have fun. You might take little ones to The Strong National Museum of Play, which features many interactive play-themed exhibits, or to the Rochester Museum and Science Center, where kids can explore the local geography hands-on in the AdventureZone. The George Eastman Museum and the Memorial Art Gallery are also top kid-friendly museums in the city.
  • Spend the day outdoors: If Valentine's Day is sunny and mild, consider bundling up and spending some quality time with loved ones in nature. Rochester offers many recreational opportunities for stretching your legs and enjoying fresh air and sunshine. Go with the kids for an inspiring stroll along the ARTWalk, an urban art trail, or enjoy a lakeside picnic at Ontario Beach Park. The kids might also love to spend Valentine's Day around adorable creatures at Seneca Park Zoo, which is open all year long.


Where to Go for Dinner in Rochester for Valentine's Day

Did you know that eating with your other half boosts intimacy? Psychologists found that eating meals together makes individuals feel more agreeable, more pleasant and better about their partners. It's an easy way to bring you and your significant other closer on Valentine's Day. Here are some ideas for Valentine's Day dining in Rochester, sure to make you and your loved one's hearts and tummies full.

1. Upscale Dining for Two

Dining Valentines Day Idea

Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to spoil each other with fine dining. Here are some of Rochester's most luxurious restaurants:

  • The Revelry: Warm your hearts and souls together at this chic and rustic eatery that specializes in Southern cuisine. You might start the evening with fried oysters and remoulade followed by a comforting dish of fried chicken or smoked brisket.
  • Avvino: Avvino is a contemporary American restaurant which focuses on seasonal and locally-sourced dishes, as well as good wine. Expect to share tantalizing dishes like the Roasted Pear appetizer or Charred Octopus. Dinner entrees offer an array of world-inspired flavors like Squid Ink Cavatelli or Duck Breast. Don't forget the Sorbet Trio to end the meal on a sweet note.
  • Good Luck Restaurant: Enjoy unique upscale dining in a renovated warehouse setting at Good Luck Restaurant. Here you can choose from pizza, meat dishes, creative salads and more – all made with the finest ingredients. There's sure to be something on the menu to make you both feel lucky.


2. Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Do you want to take the kids out for a yummy Valentine's Day dinner? There are tons of kid-friendly restaurants in Rochester to satisfy the entire family. Here are just a few places to consider:

  • Napa Wood Fired Pizzeria: Treat your little ones to a quality slice of pizza at Napa. This relaxing restaurant features homemade fresh pizzas and more using quality ingredients and made with love. Try the signature pizza like the classic Simply Red pie or something less ordinary such as the Cuban pizza. Napa also offers mouthwatering appetizers like their Wood Fired Soft Pretzel Sticks or Fire-Roasted Crab Cakes. 
  • The Playhouse and Swillburger: The Playhouse and Swillburger is an excellent spot for the family because they have an arcade, bar and burgers – what more could you need? Kids can have fun playing over 30 classic arcade games, and you and your loved one should have no trouble finding a hearty meal for the family. Menu items include quality beef burgers, shakes and fun sides all served up in a comfortable, playful atmosphere.
  • John's Tex Mex: Casual and cute with red painted walls and fun artwork, kids can enjoy a satisfying Mexican-American meal at John's Tex Mex in the South Wedge neighborhood. Enjoy classic starters like house-fried tortilla chips and guacamole, and choose from tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more for the main dish. Kids can order a burrito in a smaller size for more manageable dining. 


3. Casual Eateries

If you and your sweetheart are in the mood for something casual on Valentine's Day, there is no shortage of worthwhile eateries in the city. Plenty of restaurants invite you to kick back, relax and enjoy a tasty meal with the one who stole your heart. Here are a few casual dining ideas:

  • Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: With a name like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, you and your valentine can expect massive flavor. Show up hungry and ready to dig into plates of smoky, buttery, award-winning barbeque. They also offer a wide variety of menu items to please all kinds of palates. There might even be a live band playing to enhance the mood. 
  • Dogtown: Do you and your other half adore a quality hot dog? Share your love of one of America's favorite foods at Dogtown. Dogtown is an ideal choice for a quick, casual meal so you and your sweetheart can make it to the movie on time or spend the evening cuddling on the couch. At Dogtown, you'll find a long list of specialty hot dogs featuring unique toppings as well as vegetarian options.
  • The Gate House: Casual, creative and delicious describe this friendly gourmet burger and wood-fired pizza joint. At the Gate House, you and your date can enjoy new flavors in a comfortable environment. For example, you might try the Wease burger, which includes fontina cheese, bacon jam, roasted garlic aioli and onion rings. Their pizza, appetizers and entrees are equally tantalizing and adventurous.


4. Something Different

Different Valentines Day Idea

Do you want to go on a taste bud adventure with your significant other on Valentine's Day? Rochester welcomes you to try exotic flavors and amp up the excitement you share with your loved one. You'll never forget the moment you tried something new for the first time, just like your first kiss. Consider heading to one of these exciting restaurants:

  • Naan-Tastic Indian Grill: Nann-Tastic makes eating about creativity and trying new combinations. If you and your other half love Indian cuisine but want something different, Naan-Tastic a great place to discover new flavors. At Naan-Tastic, you create your meal by first choosing the base, protein, sauce and toppings. They also have yummy sides like Makhani Fries and Punjabi Mac.
  • Nosh: Located inside an inviting restored industrial space, Nosh is all about offering customers a unique culinary experience. For example, their current menu features items like Banh Mi Balls and Duck and Hash. It's the ideal spot for foodie lovebirds on Valentine's Day.
  • Texas de Brazil: Meat lovers should head to Texas de Brazil for a romantic evening of endless slow-roasted meats. At Texas de Brazil, you get to eat to your heart's content without ever having to leave the conversation. Friendly servers bring the meats to you and your date until you turn your card over. Meals also include a quality salad bar and hot food bar. It's the perfect setting to indulge and feel like royalty with your valentine.


Gift Ideas for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day would not feel complete without giving your date a token of love. You can surprise your other half with a classic bouquet of roses before you head out for dinner, or wait for the right moment to present an awe-inspiring piece of jewelry. Gifts heighten the romance and make the day feel extra special. Here are some Valentine's Day gift ideas your other half will adore.

1. Jewelry

Jewelry Valentines Gift Idea

If you are looking to buy the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your girlfriend or wife, you cannot go wrong with a piece of heartfelt jewelry. Just about every woman cherishes the jewelry her significant other gives her because jewelry expresses love, commitment and thoughtfulness like no other gift. You do not need to spend a fortune to give a piece of quality jewelry either. There are many different styles and pieces for every budget.

Cornell's Jewelers is the premier Rochester jewelry store where you can find the ideal piece of Valentine's Day jewelry for the love of your life. Here you'll find everything from jaw-dropping designer pieces to affordable chic jewelry. Women who want to surprise their valentine with a piece of fine men's jewelry will find it at Cornell's. You can even bring your date to the jewelry store and let them pick out the perfect piece. You'll be greeted by a warm and welcoming jewelry expert who will be ready to help you enjoy a unique shopping experience.

2. Flowers

Flowers always make a lovely addition to an ultra-romantic occasion. You might surprise your loved one on Valentine's Day by sending them a bouquet while they are at work, or arranging flowers near the coffee pot to help them start their day feeling filled with love. There are many excellent flower shops in Rochester to help you find a romantic bouquet.

For example, you might choose the rose bouquet delivered in a red glass heart-shaped vase from Fioravanti Florist, Inc. For something different, stop in Wisteria Flowers and Gifts and pick out a gorgeous silk flower arrangement, to symbolize your undying love.

3. Chocolates

If you are not sure what to get your other half for Valentine's Day, you might want to go with chocolate. Just about anyone's eyes will light up when an exquisite box of chocolates heads their way. Choose quality chocolate from one of the city's top chocolate shops, and you'll make someone's Valentine's Day instantly sweet.

Consider visiting Hedonist Artisan Chocolates to pick up a box of assorted chocolates so your loved one can enjoy sampling a variety of chocolates. Laughing Gull Chocolates is another top choice in the city for artisan chocolates, where you can even make a day out of it. They offer a chocolate menu where they integrate chocolate into their drinks and ice cream. For a romantic chocolate gift, buy chocolate covered fruit or their Salted Caramel Chocolate Sauce. Maybe even considering signing up for one of their truffle-making workshops on Valentine's Day.

4. Wine

Wine Valentines Gift Idea

A smooth bottle of wine pairs perfectly with a Valentine's Day meal or box of sweets. For example, you might pair a milk chocolate truffle with a bottle of creamy sherry. Dark chocolate makes magic when paired with port. Match white chocolate with rosé port for the taste of strawberries.

Consider visiting the tasting room at Living Roots Wine and Co. to find a local wine for your sweetheart, or take your date with you to taste different wines before bringing a bottle home.

5. Instant Camera

For something out of the ordinary your significant other will enjoy, consider getting them an instant camera for Valentine's Day. They'll have fun snapping photos as you create new memories on Valentine's Day and beyond. USA Today rates the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic as the top choice.

Visit Cornell's Jewelry Store Today

There are many ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in Rochester, whether your love is newly blooming or aged like fine wine. Start your Valentine's Day off at Cornell's Jewelers where we are thrilled to help you find the perfect piece of jewelry for your valentine. We are proud to offer top-tier designer pieces as well as quality, affordable jewelry to suit every budget. We work hard at Cornell's to ensure each piece meets our standards of quality, offering treasures your loved one will cherish for a lifetime. Visit our stunning showroom today or contact us for more information.

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