Here’s your Valentine’s Season activity list

Romantic dinners are a tradition for Valentine’s Day and Albany has a wonderful list of places to celebrate with loved ones. And if you are looking for something different to add to the fun, Albany has a long list of adventures, like shopping for that one-of-a-kind gift, taking a special outing by train or getting up close and personal (literally) with art.

It’s all here! Check out this list to help enjoy that special day.

Restaurants

Photo by Barry Hoffman

Many restaurants are providing Valentine’s specials, so calling ahead now to inquire about reservations would be a good idea: They fill up fast. Downtown will be hopping, with patrons taking in delicious fare at spots such as Sybaris Bistro, Sweet Red Bistro, Vault 244, Gamberetti’s Italian Restaurant, and many more. If you need an idea about where to dine, check out our list of restaurants here. And remember, call ahead NOW.

Shopping

If you’re planning on sending a special bouquet to your sweetheart check out a couple of Albany’s flower shops: Bill’s Flower Tree and Flowers N More.

Flowers N More has a wide variety, from beautiful arrangements to small bouquets and chocolate sets, and will customize to suit your loved one’s taste. The shop specializes in delivery service Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 541-928-8285 to place your order by phone, or visit their website.

Bill’s Flower Tree at 305 Washington St. SW is a full-service flower shop offering a wide variety of flowers and bouquets for pick up or delivery. This time of year the shop has a collection of Valentine’s Day items, from cards to sweeten your gift. Visit the website or come into the shop and place an order.

Buying the perfect Valentine’s gift is never easy, but the Valentine’s Open House at The Vintage Roost, 935 Scenic Dr. NW, makes it simple to find a meaningful present. During its Valentine’s Open House, the store is packed with special gifts. There are vintage and collectible items, delicious Belgian chocolate and other handmade items. The Open House will run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on February 4-5 and 11-12. Learn more about the event on The Vintage Roost’s Facebook page.

Speaking of chocolates, Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without delicious truffles from The Pix Theatre. The Pix, 321 2nd Ave. SW, offers a nice selection of the treats, and while you are at it pick up a gift card for a romantic night at the movies!

Fun & Games

Photo courtesy of Splatter Box

Show your love in a new and exciting way at the Valentine’s Day Splatter at the Splatter Box art studio! The bookings are for two people each but can be paired together for a group date-night if you plan to celebrate with friends. The Valentine’s Day Splatter will have bookings from 5 to 9 p.m., and each reservation lasts an hour and a half. The deal also includes a large canvas, two shirts, and 30 2-oz bottles of splatter-safe paint. Reserve a spot through Splatter Box’s website. The event is adults only, which means you must be 21 or over and have ID to attend. And you can bring your own wine!

Santiam Excursion Trains has two great Valentine’s experiences ready for reservations this month.

The first is a “Little Loves Ride” for families with kids to celebrate by departing on an exciting ride through Lebanon. The hour-and-a-half ride will include a complementary small lunch, and beverages, including water, soda, coffee, beer, wine, and mixed drinks will be available for purchase in the bar car. The excursion takes place February 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $33 for adults, $23 for children ages 4 to 16, $27 for seniors 65 and over and $15 for veterans. Book your spot on the Santiam Excursion Trains website (https://santiamexcursiontrains.com/).

The second train ride is the “Valentine’s Dinner Ride,” which will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on February 12 and 14 and is for guests 21 and older. The ride is –half hours long and Honeybrine Catering will set a lovely romantic dinner during the adventure. The train rides take place no matter the weather, so come dressed for the occasion. Tickets are $74 each for adults, $65 each for seniors 65 and over, and $38 each for veterans. Book your spot for this romantic train ride on the Santiam Excursion Trains website.

Events

If you and your Valentine are art lovers, Albany has multiple galleries to check out this month.

Gallery Calapooia is currently hosting its “Big Show of Little Art,” which consists of art pieces that are exclusively 8×8 inches. Come in and take home something wonderful. Gallery Calapooia’s current hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The Crow’s Foot Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and is showing a variety of local artists who work in unique mediums like wood, metal, different types of paints, and more.

Midway Farms is hosting a Valentine’s Day wine & cheese tasting event, featuring noted Winemaker David Anderson of Aurora Colony Vineyards who will be available to answer questions about the wine and help you choose your favorite. The cheese is handcrafted from La Mariposa and will be available to sample with gluten-free crackers. In addition, gift tins, baskets, and chocolates will also be for sale. The event is celiac-safe and will take place from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on February 13.  Find more about the event on Midway Farm’s Facebook page.

Albany’s Historic Carousel & Museum is a great place to spend time with family and loved ones. Enjoy the carousel games and hand-carved animals, then walk through the museum detailing the making of the carousel. The carousel is located at 503 1st Ave. W., and is open Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Outdoors

McDowell Creek County Park

Take a romantic hike through Albany and surrounding area along scenic trails. One of the most interesting is Talking Water Gardens, where wildlife is in abundance along the 2 miles of paths within this 50-acre wetland. Nearby Simpson Park provides a continuation of many Talking Water hiking trails if you want to keep the good times going.

A short drive from Albany just east of Lebanon is McDowell Creek Falls. Hike the 3-mile network of trails, stopping at viewing decks to take in the sight of the majestic waterfalls along the way. There are also picnicking opportunities at McDowell Creek, where you can rest at a table to enjoy a meal together after getting takeout at an Albany restaurant. Read about other hiking opportunities in and around Albany here. For more outdoor recreation ideas, go here.

Parks

Albany has a great park system that offers many a romantic spot to walk, picnic or just sit and enjoy the day. Albany maintains 29 city parks, most of which have the option of picnic tables or covered picnic areas. In downtown Albany, you can head over to Monteith Riverpark, where there are many tables situated close to the Willamette River and right next to the Dave Clark Trail, which hugs the Willamette River for about a mile and a half. Takena Landing Park just across the river also has a trail that follows the Willamette for about a mile and a half. For more park options, go here.

Covered Bridges

Taking a drive to view Linn County’s historic Covered Bridges is a fantastic way to spend quality time with your Valentine. Linn county has eight of the architectural gems, each of them with their own unique and charming features. The bridges offer a great opportunity for scenic photos and relaxing walks near beautiful streams. A loop near Scio takes you to five of the bridges. For a map, go here.

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