Romantic Valentine's Day dinner spread on a table

8 spots in Phoenix to bring your favorite person for Valentine’s Day

See Phoenix’s best spots for this love-filled holiday.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show your paramour how much they mean to you. Trade that box of chocolates for an unforgettable and uniquely Phoenix experience. From spa treatments at a romantic resort to unparalleled outdoor excursions, here’s where to take your Valentine when Cupid’s arrow strikes.

Explore the Desert Botanical Garden

If you think long walks in the desert are romantic, escape to Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden this Valentine’s Day. With over 140 acres to explore and 50,000 plant displays, the botanical garden is a verdant escape from the ordinary for cacti-loving couples and botanist buddies. The garden is open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Feb. 14, so you can visit for a pre-dinner stroll or snag an early or late dinner (while reservations last) at Gertrude’s, the onsite restaurant. If opting for a late Valentine’s Day, you can visit on Feb. 16 for Music in the Garden, featuring Walt Richardson and Friends, and grab a beverage at the Patio Café.  

Take a trip on the Verde Canyon Railroad

Get carried away on a unique expedition via Verde Canyon Rail. Opt for the Chocolate Lovers’ Special for lovers with a sweet tooth, offered Feb. 10, 11, and 14 while reservations last. You’ll be treated to wonderous views of the canyon and its wildlife while you snack on house-made truffles, mousse cups, and other chocolate treats paired with Valentine-themed cocktails. This event has been charming visitors for 21 years and must be experienced at least once. 

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Have a farm-to-table breakfast at The Farm at South Mountain

If food is the way to their heart, call in late to work and start your Valentine’s Day with a savory farm-to-table breakfast at Morning Glory Cafe at The Farm at South Mountain. Tucked away in the shadow of Phoenix’s South Mountain recreation area, this hidden gem is known for its pecan tree groves and open-air picnic table dining. Take your pick from seasonal omelets and breakfast tacos, or opt for something sweet like the brioche French toast with candied pecans and whipped goat cheese frosting. 

Explore the OdySea Aquarium on Valentine’s night

Get your ticket to the “CraySea in Love” event, which features entry into the OdySea Aquarium, dinner with dessert, plus access to the real stars: sea lions, turtles, groupers, and more who call the aquarium home. As you peruse the indoor attraction, Mesa singer-songwriter Rick Hale will serenade guests, who can find multiple bars and interactive experiences to create their own special night. Select a starting time between 6 – 8 p.m. (while available) to begin the adventure.  

Be pretty in pink at the Phoenix Art Museum

Don your best Barbie attire for the Pretty in Pink Valentine’s Party hosted by PhxArt. The museum is celebrating the opening of its new exhibits, “Barbie: A Cultural Icon” and “The Power of Pink.” Walk down the pink carpet and pose for photos, then journey inside for dancing and light fare, or enjoy hands-on, experiential activities like valentine-making or a scavenger hunt. Learn about the history, fashion, and cultural importance of the color pink on the pinkest day of the year. 

Sip drinks at The Wright Bar at Arizona Biltmore 

Go Gatsby-style this Valentine’s Day at The Wright Bar. The art deco-inspired bar is equally as famous as it is infamous, as it was once a prohibition period hideaway for the who’s who of Hollywood at the time. Local legend has it that the Tequila Sunrise cocktail was first mixed here. The bar is outfitted with lounge and bar seating, with a selection of light bites, including oysters and yellowtail ceviche. Plus, you’ll find live music from local artists on the weekends.   

Book a Rainbow Ryders sunset hot air balloon ride 

Looking for a way to take your love to new heights this Valentine’s Day? Book a swoon-worthy sunset hot air balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders. This bucket list balloon excursion will give you a panoramic perspective of the Sonoran Desert like you’ve never seen before from the basket of a floating hot air balloon. When it’s finally time to return to Earth, you’ll commemorate the experience with your pilot crew and flight companions with a bubbly champagne toast. 

Enjoy a couples treatment at Alvadora Spa at Royal Palms

Take some well-earned PTO and enjoy an entire day at Phoenix’s romantic Royal Palms Resort & Spa on Feb. 14. The 1920s-era winter residence turned luxury resort inspires romance at every turn, from the private poolside cabanas to the fireside patio dining tables. For the ultimate romantic retreat, reserve a couples spa treatment at Royal Palms’ Alvadora Spa. In addition to the side-by-side spa treatments, like the Citrus Ritual or the Desert Juniper Wrap, you’ll have access to the spa relaxation areas as well as the resort pool for the day. 

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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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