We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite things to do around town so you can break out of that heart-shaped box this Valentine’s Day or plan a friend date any time of the year.
1. Make every hour Happy Hour at Mango’s Tropical Café by enjoying a gourmet three-course meal and a dinner show with Latin flair. Your night will not be complete without joining in on the customer conga line.
2. Go straight for the sweets at Sugar Factory. Share a specialty sundae for two or take on the one-and-only King Kong Sundae, which includes 16 scoops of ice cream, tasty toppings and lit sparklers to electrify your night.
3. Pedal your way through historic Sanford on a Limo Cycle Tour with 15 of your closest friends or with your honey and some complete strangers. Along the way, you’ll stop for food and drinks at local pubs and meet new friends.
4. Add a twist to the classic sunset by watching it from the middle of the Winter Park Chain of Lakes by kayak. Gain a unique perspective as you take in Florida’s natural beauty while waiting for the moon to rise.
5. Get up close and personal with alligators and crocodiles at Gatorland. There are a variety of experiences that will teach you about these incredible creatures.
6. Flip through the air on a glider aerobatic ride with Sasha Marvin, a 2012 world champion with team Italy. This unique, new experience let’s you see Florida upside down on individual flights.
7. Pet cats as you sip on coffee at the Orlando Cat Café in Clermont. You may even fall in love and bring a furry friend home with you.
8. Take an American Ghost Adventures tour through downtown Orlando. This walking tour will introduce you to some of the area’s most haunted places, and you may even meet a ghost.
9. Spend a day exploring at the Orlando Science Center. From science stations to exhibit halls, and even special ticketed virtual reality experiences, you can’t help but learn something while you’re there.
10. Give back this Valentine’s Day. With volunteer groups like Hands on Orlando and Feeding Children Everywhere, you can celebrate the day with friends while sharing the love. Couples can get in on the action with Habitat for Humanity’s Couples Build and the Do Good Date Night.
11. Rent a bike and explore the West Orange Trail, which stretches for 22 miles. You’ll breeze by old Florida communities and will have opportunities to stop for meal and shopping breaks in downtown Winter Garden, Apopka and more.
12. Be a tourist for the day and go theme park hopping through a variety of seasonal festivals. Epcot is hosting the brand new Epcot International Festival of the Arts on Fridays through Mondays until Feb. 20, SeaWorld is introducing the Seven Seas Food Festival on Feb. 11 (Saturdays only), and Universal Studios Florida is celebrating Mardi Gras every night starting on Feb. 4.
13. Cuddle up on a picnic blanket to enjoy the 2017 Indie-Folkfest, which will be held on Feb. 11 at The Mennello Museum of American Art. With free admission, you can snack on small plates and sip cocktails (both for purchase) from local vendors, listen to live music and shop local artisans booths.
14. Attend a Plant Nite event to create terrarium, herb garden or other green project as you enjoy a cocktail. Visit the company’s website to find a list of events in your area by month or by the container you prefer to design your tabletop garden in.
15. Test your skills in the kitchen with your honey and learn how to make something new. Check each cooking school’s website for even more menu options and class themes in February.
What: Valentine’s Dinner
When: Feb. 10 and 11
Where: Publix Aprons Cooking School at The Marketplace at Dr. Phillips
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Price: $100 per couple
What’s cookin’: Fried Pistachio Crusted Goat Cheese over Beet and Aurgula Purees, Lobster Bisque, Petit Filet Oscar with Herbed Pommes Anna, and Chocolate Hazelnut Souffle with Salted Caramel Gelato
What: Tribute to Our Greek Sister
When: Feb. 16
Where: Tapa Toro at I-Drive 360
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Price: $49 per person plus tax and gratuity (tapas & dessert included)
What’s cookin’: Spanakopita, tzatziki and lamb kleftiko
What: Fat Tuesday
When: Feb. 28
Where: Truffles & Trifles
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Price: $59 per person
What’s cookin’: A variety of Creole Cajun dishes