Couple Watching a Movie in Their Car at a Drive-In Theater

Where to take your Valentine in Atlanta

Including options for late planners, too.

Love is in the air in Atlanta. As Valentine’s Day approaches, many people will be seeking thoughtful, romantic, and fun ways to show their affection. Whether you’re looking to impress a date or simply have a fun night out with friends, there are plenty of options for planning a perfect night out this February. See some of our favorite ideas, and make sure to book plans when you see an open reservation or available tickets.   

Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Valentines in the Garden

Celebrate Valentine’s Day under the stars at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, perfect for falling in love. Stroll through the Garden and warm up inside with delicious food and live entertainment. You’ll enjoy jazzy live music as you dance, dine, and drink — cash bars and a coffee bar are available throughout. Don’t miss the “Orchid Daze: Reflections in Bloomexhibit featuring Atlanta artist Lillian Blades, which celebrates the Garden’s signature orchid collection that blooms this winter. Renew your vows in Day Hall with a live ceremony and enjoy a “first dance.” Then, head to the rooftop to stargaze with the Atlanta Astronomy Club’s telescopes while cozying up by the fireplace or heaters. (Atlanta Botanical Garden, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 6:30-10:30 pm; $85 for non-members)

Watch a movie together at Starlight Drive-In 

Did you know that Atlanta still has a drive-in theater? Right off Moreland Ave, Starlight Drive-In offers a budget-friendly, romantic date idea. Pick up your favorite takeout (may we suggest the nearby Gaja or splurge at Banshee), some fizzy waters, and head to the drive-in. On most screens, you get two movies for the price of one if you want to hang out longer. Don’t forget to pick up your favorite candy at the onsite concession. Though the drive-in is open seven days a week, showtimes are released on Wednesday and are displayed five days at a time, so visit the website to plan. (Starlight Drive-in Theatre, $10/adult; showtimes on the website)

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Waffle House’s Valentine’s Day dinners

This Feb. 14, almost 200 Waffle House locations across the country offer a unique dining experience that you and your special someone will love. Imagine enjoying smothered and covered hash browns and a chocolate chip waffle under the warm glow of their iconic yellow signs. To find a participating location near you, check out this list and give them a call to reserve your booth. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to have a memorable Valentine’s Day dinner that won’t hurt your wallet.

Valentine’s on the Roof

Whether it’s a romantic dinner date with your honey or Galentine’s with your besties, head to 9 Mile Station at the Ponce City Market rooftop and enjoy those gorgeous views of Atlanta along with a prix-fixe dinner. Did we mention the first course is lobster gnocchi? The five-course menu is $150 per person with an optional wine pairing. Get your reservation for a romantic night followed by a Skyline Park visit for unlimited games. (9 Mile Station at Ponce City Market, Wednesday, Feb. 14, $150/person; reservations required.)

Blind Pig Parlour’s The Blind Cupid pop-up bar

The Blind Pig Parlour is now the Blind Cupid pop-up bar — a Valentine’s Day dream come true! You’ll love the pink flowers, delicious food, and specialty cocktails — don’t miss the Love You A Latte cocktail with espresso, Bare Bone vodka, and chocolate liqueur. It’s open from Jan. 12 through Feb. 29, so you’ll have plenty of time to plan your visit with your friends or significant other. The romance is alive even with the snacks offered, like the Cupid charcuterie board, strawberry ricotta bruschetta, and chocolate lava cake, among other shareable bites. Reservations are strongly recommended. (The Blind Pig, Jan. 12-Feb. 29; reservations recommended.)

Puttshack Couples Outing

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a fun hole-in-one experience at Puttshack! Whether you’re going as a couple or with friends, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy mini golf that will have you laughing together in no time, or opt for low-competition games like skee ball. You can also indulge in craft cocktails, cold beers, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks. Make your Valentine’s Day memories with a special photo op moment. Reserve your time slot and dinner table in advance for a romantic night with your significant other or group of friends. (Puttshack, $14/person per course; reservations recommended.)

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Group of friends enjoying a night at a dive bar

Discover 9 of the best dive bars in Dallas

From legacy hangouts to little-known wonders, belly up to these bars.

If you’re up for a dive into the best dive bars in Dallas, don’t hesitate to jump in. These down-to-earth places to hangout in the Dallas area offer an unfiltered experience that’s as genuine as it gets. Expect to immerse yourself in distinctive atmospheres, be greeted by welcoming bartenders, and bask in a camaraderie that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Mike’s Gemini Twin

1906 S Harwood St, Dallas, TX 75215

Nestled in an assuming spot in the heart of the Cedars, Mike’s Gemini Twin is the rare gem that lives up to its hype. Though this bar earned a reputation through its strong martinis and craveable hot dogs, those are the only salty vibes you’ll find in this warm, inviting environment. Visit during the week to play a leisurely game of pool or darts, or come on a weekend, when the bar is packed with a likeable cast of characters. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to show off to visitors and friends, but don’t blame us when they don’t want to go anywhere else. There’s plenty of parking next door for easy access to your next great night out.

Lee Harvey’s

1807 Gould St, Dallas, TX 75215

At first glance, this bar may appear shabby, but it’s actually quite charming. If you’re looking to mingle with the regulars and enjoy the wood-paneling and fluorescent beer signs that make it a vibe, the best place to be is inside. However, if you have a big group or want to enjoy some fresh air, we recommend checking out their spacious outdoor seating area. The drinks here are strong, the food is good (we recommend the steak), and there’s live music on the weekends. What more could you want? 

Grapevine Bar 

2213 Butler St, Dallas, TX 75235

This legendary bar has been a mainstay for Dallas barflies since 1996. While the original location on Maple Ave. has since been demolished, the spirit of Grapevine Bar lives on in its new space a few blocks northeast, which opened in late 2023. Expect colorful lighting, comfortable seating, and stiff drinks. Partake in trivia, karaoke, or just get to know the people around you – this place is like Cheers. Come back a few times, and eventually, everybody will know your name. 

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Sarah’s Place

5223 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

This intimate spot fills up quickly, especially on karaoke days (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday each week), but the lively patrons are part of the appeal. Serving west Fort Worth for years, this bar draws a surprisingly eclectic crowd, from sports fans watching the big game to neighborhood regulars just stopping by. You’ll often find the same friendly staff and well-versed bartenders time and again, creating a familiar atmosphere fueled by high-octane drinks. 


1212 Skillman St, Dallas, TX 75206

Cosmo’s offers a unique combination of a dive bar ambiance and exceptional cuisine. Jackson Tran, the bar manager, not only serves up a variety of drinks but also prepares delicious pizza and a bowl of pho that are among the best in town. However, the real highlight is the kimchi tots – a must-try. The lively and cozy space is adorned in mid-century kitsch, and classic ‘80s movies are played on VHS, creating the perfect backdrop for a date or an Instagram post.

Caves Lounge

900 W Division St, Arlington, TX 76012

Caves has everything you want in a local drinking hole, like cheap drinks (including $2 wells every Wednesday), an expansive patio for people watching, and dim, red-light interiors. The UTA-adjacent spot will also surprise you. For a dive bar, they serve up a top-tier martini that’s best enjoyed dirty. Caves also offers a range of non-alcoholic beverages from Athletic Brewery and Heineken if you’re on the straight and narrow. Look for events like the cult-film club or Caves trivia if you crave some entertainment with your beverage.  

The Chat Room Pub

1263 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104

In Fort Worth’s burgeoning Near Southside neighborhood, there are plenty of choices for drinks. For those seeking an uncomplicated, friendly experience, drop by the Chat Room. This bar is from a bygone era in the best way possible. You can play pool, pick a song from the jukebox, lounge on the small patio, and order reasonably priced drinks. Some places offer unique amenities to draw visitors in, but this neighborhood staple simply provides an inimitable atmosphere that you’ll want to drink in. 

Double Wide

3510 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226

This dive bar on the cusp of Deep Ellum proudly embraces kitsch and quirkiness from the décor to the drinks. We recommend ordering a Yoohoo Yeehaw, a grown-up version of a chocolate slushie with vodka, coffee liqueur, and, you guessed it, Yoo-Hoo. Or the Old Timer, which is basically an Old Fashioned with a splash of Tang. Live music and DJ nights are a regular occurrence here, making it an ideal spot for those who like to dance.  

Lakewood Landing 

5818 Live Oak St #4334, Dallas, TX 75214

This iconic bar in East Dallas has been a favorite spot for locals for decades. Although it may be dimly lit and slightly musty inside, it exudes a certain charm that keeps people coming back. Whether you choose to relax in one of the booths or engage in a game of pool in the back room, you’ll immediately feel at ease in this welcoming atmosphere. Besides the affordable drinks, the food here is excellent. We recommend the loaded cheese fries, which consist of a generous helping of French fries smothered in melted cheddar, bacon bits, fresh green onions, and pickled jalapeños. 

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Table filled with an eclectic spread of American dishes

6 stellar spots with great food deals

Nibble on these dishes without taking a bite out of your budget.

The cost of going out — especially to a nice place — has gotten steep, but happy hours throughout the Valley offer the perfect window to sample the city’s best cuisine without taking a bite out of your budget. The key is knowing which restaurants and resorts offer deals and when to take advantage of them. (Note: Some offers are only good in the bar/lounge at some places; make sure to ask the staff before you’re seated.) Here is a guide to our favorite picks to integrate into your weekly routine.

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Buck & Rider

When: 3-7 p.m. daily

This perennial hotspot is devoted to serving sustainable seafood, and the happy hour menu doesn’t veer from the course. Start with oysters for $2.25 each and Sea of Cortez wild shrimp for $3. Then, dive into deep deals for just $10, like a heaping platter of shrimp ceviche or Voodoo Fried Rice with shrimp, organic chicken, peas, gochujang, and red fresnos. You might also see a sushi roll or smoked trout dip. Wash everything down with a specialty cocktail for only $10, like the Direct Martini, served tableside from a bottle of St. George vodka encased in a sleeve of ice. (Three locations in Gilbert, Phoenix, and Scottsdale)

Christopher’s at Wrigley Mansion

When: 5-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Christopher Gross is one of the Valley’s most esteemed chefs, and his eponymous French-inspired restaurant is at the top of the heap, both in quality and price — dinner for two easily runs into the hundreds. But last year, he debuted a “petits plates” menu that lets diners experience his culinary chops at the chef’s counter or on the breathtaking patio for up to 90 minutes. Marvel at the stunning setting, including a jaw-dropping view and classy ambiance, while enjoying marinated warm olives ($10), smoked salmon BLT ($14), merguez and couscous ($16), escargot ($18), foie gras terrine ($18), or vanilla-dusted scallop ($24). Pro tip: Don’t miss the view from the bathroom. (2501 E. Telawa Trail, Phoenix)

The Collins Small Batch Kitchen

When: 3-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

It is hard to beat the variety of elevated dishes and drinks at cut-rate prices at this stylish Biltmore-area favorite helmed by Chef Christopher Collins. Nothing is over $16, from the delicate shrimp risotto ($13) to the zesty shrimp cocktail ($14 for half a dozen). The onion dip and chips ($9) and backyard guac ($10) fit the bill for vegetarians. Carnivores will go wild for BBQ chicken sliders ($10), shaved prime rib, and brie sliders with truffle aioli, and spicy tomato jam ($12), or short rib mac ’n’ cheese ($14). The impressive spread includes an extensive and well-chosen list of wines by the glass for $10, draft beers for $5, and cocktails for $12. (3160 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix)


When: 3-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Located in the industrial-chic Lawrence Building, Kaizen feels cozy despite the warehouse digs, with exposed brick and metal tables. That’s probably because the staff here couldn’t be more friendly or gracious. The love extends to the massive happy hour selection, which includes half-off all small plates (which are pretty hearty), several sushi rolls, and a few signature plates. We’re talking creamy, crunchy snow crab wontons for $8, silky “hane” gyoza with a crisp, lacy veil topper for $6, and a sweet-and-savory dragon roll for $8.50, among many other steals. The upscale wine, beer, and cocktail list is all half off, too, so craft beer is $4, and a nine-ouncer of wine is $10 or less. (515 E. Grant St. No. 100, Phoenix)

Person enjoying a cocktail by a sunny window.

Fat Ox

When: 4-6:30 p.m. daily

“Aperitivo Hour” here is a veritable tour of Chef Matt Carter’s prowess with Italian food (he’s also a whiz with Latin at The Mission and French at Zinc Bistro). And he’s not afraid to put his spin on it: Try Burrata di Stephano ($14) with crispy pine nut salsa verde, shishito pepper, roasted garlic, and mint, for instance. Grilled shrimp and beef tartare also get Carter’s signature flourishes, but for more traditional trays, go for Affettati Misti ($20), a shareable, top-quality meat and cheese board, or veal meatballs with polenta ($12). The smartly chosen menu also includes a full portion of Radiatori alla Buttera for just $20, with cured pork sugo, broccolini, tomato, burrata, and salsa verde. Pair everything with a glass of wine or sangria for $9 or a superb cocktail for $12. (6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale)

Mix Up at Royal Palms Resort and Spa

When: 4-6 p.m. daily

Be a tourist in your own town at this charming Spanish Colonial-style gem, which is a Historic Hotel of America. One of the best things about the Mix Up bar here is the incredible setting, whether you snuggle up in the rustic yet elegant bar or sit under the sky in the al fresco Mansion Courtyard. All bites and salads are half off during happy hour, meaning you can get a cheese and charcuterie board for $11.50, zippy honey buffalo wings with blue cheese and cilantro for $11 a dozen, or a Caesar, baby greens or Little Gem salad, all with inspired ingredients, for $8.50 each. Drink specials include $3 off draft beers or specialty cocktails or $4 off glasses of wine. (5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix) 

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