Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2023 and updated in 2024.
Love is in the air, Tucson! Valentine’s Day may be almost a week away, but there’s still plenty of time to plan a romantic date with your boo or a self-care day for yourself. 💖
No matter how you celebrate, here are a few ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Tucson — for all personality types.
For the adventurers 🐎
Take a tour of Colossal Cave
Colossal Cave, 16721 E. Old Spanish Trail, offers a couple different tours including the Classic Cave Tour, which is a half-mile, 40-minute tour through the cave where you’ll learn about the history of the cave and some of the rock formations that have developed over the years. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, check out their Ladder Tour which takes you through narrow passages. Prices start at $24 per person.
Fly above the Sonoran Desert at sunrise in a hot air balloon
Nothing says romance more than flying above your favorite city in a hot air balloon. Tucson Balloon Rides offers a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the Tucson Mountains, Saguaro National Park West and parts of Avra Valley. Each flight comes with a “post-flight continental champagne brunch,” according to their website. Flights start at $250 per person.
Stay grounded with a sunset horseback ride at Tanque Verde Ranch
Not an early bird? Hate flying? Not a problem. We have something a little more grounded for you — a sunset horseback ride through the Sonoran Desert at Tanque Verde Ranch, 14301 E. Speedway. They also offer sunrise horseback rides, if you’d prefer a morning ride. Prices start at $95 per person.
Find your way out of an escape room
What better way to bond with your significant other than being stuck with them in a room until you’re able to find a way out? Tucson has a few escape rooms to test your problem-solving skills (and your relationship), including Fox in a Box, Ace of Escape, Mystery Escape Room and Will You Escape? Prices vary per location.
Food options nearby:
- If you’re going horseback riding at Tanque Verde Ranch, the resort has dining options including a breakfast ride, a cowboy cookout and a classic bistro dinner menu.
- The pick-up and drop-off point for the hot air balloon rides is at the IHOP on Grant Road, west of the highway. Just 10 minutes away is the JW Marriott Starr Pass, where you can double down on great views at the resort's multiple dining options.
- The west side is also home to favorites like El Antojo Poblano and Seis Kitchen.
- If you’re heading as far east as Colossal Cave, another half hour away is Benson’s Horseshoe Cafe, filled with country-western glamor (a neon horseshoe fills the ceiling), great ham steaks and drink specials that can’t be beat.
For the art enthusiasts 🎨
Take a stroll through the Tucson Museum of Art
Museums make great dates with your significant other, or even just for yourself. The Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave., is no exception. This museum offers a quiet and relaxing stroll through exhibits featuring art from all walks of life and eras. Plus, if you celebrate Valentine's Day early on Sunday, Feb. 11, the market is hosting a Lunar New Year bash with performances and activities like calligraphy. Tickets start at $15 for adults on normal days, but it's pay-what-you-wish admission on Feb. 11.
Spend a few hours at MOCA
Luckily for us, Tucson has its fair share of art museums. If you’ve already checked out the Tucson Museum of Art, try checking out Tucson’s Museum of Contemporary Art, 265 S. Church Ave. The museum isn’t open Sunday through Wednesday, so you aren’t able to check out MOCA on Valentine’s Day, but you could check it out before or after the holiday. Tickets are $7 per adult.
Buy tickets for a Broadway show in Tucson
Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., often brings Broadway productions to Tucson through Broadway in Tucson. Although there are no Broadway in Tucson shows playing on Valentine’s Day, the Broadway production of "Chicago" runs Feb. 9-11. Who says you can only celebrate Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 anyway? Tickets start at $40 per person.
Catch a movie at The Loft Cinema
It’s not unusual to watch a movie at a major theater for Valentine’s Day, but consider giving your date a Tucson twist by taking them to a movie at a local theater. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway, is showing "Titanic" on Valentine's Day. Other movies are also on the lineup for the holiday including "The Taste of Things" and "American Fiction," directed by Tucson native and Oscar nominee Cord Jefferson. Tickets start at $8 per person.
Go to a craft workshop
If you want to do something artsy for the holiday, consider a craft workshop. Bonus: you'll get to take home your masterpiece!
- Yōlia Botánica is teaching a workshop on Feb. 9 all about DIY bath salts and body oils.
- Creative Kind has three crafty things going on this weekend: Galentine's Art Night, DIY mosaic hearts and the chance to make your own ceramic trinket dish.
- There are lots of Valentine's Day crafts happening at This n' That Creative Studio, including a couple's acrylic pour alongside treats on Feb. 10.
- Over at Arizona Poppy, sign up to learn how to make a sacred heart wall hanging on Feb. 11.
- Also on Feb. 11, Pure Lotus Scents is hosting an afternoon of painting and candle-making.
- The day before Valentine's Day, head to The Monica to make a strawberry shortcake candle with Di Luna Candles, alongside a glittery mocktail and a strawberry croissant!
- While Painting & Vino has several workshops leading up to the holiday, they'll be at Screwbean Brewing on Valentine's Day, painting a lovebird canvas. Bonus: vegan food truck Substance Diner is parked outside.
Food options nearby:
- Downtown has a bevy of romantic dining options: Cafe a La C’Art, The Coronet, 5 Points, Maynards, JoJo's, Penca or Cup Cafe all have tons of atmosphere.
- Corbett's, Tucson's new restaurant (with pickleball courts), is showing a screening of "10 Things I Hate About You" alongside a special menu on Valentine's Day. Reservations are required.
- If you’re closer to The Loft in midtown, Tito & Pep or Kingfisher are go-to date night spots.
- If you're just looking for something sweet, grab ice cream from The Screamery or gelato from Noodies or Bella's Gelato, all of which are near midtown and the University of Arizona.
- Near Pure Lotus Scents is Mediterranean favorite Zayna. Highly-anticipated new restaurant True Food Kitchen is near Creative Kind. If you're looking for an option near Yōlia Botánica's workshop at Flory's Events, try El Torero or American Eat Co.
For the nature lovers 🌵
Test your green thumb with a succulent workshop
Green Things, 3384 E. River Road, is hosting a Valentine’s workshop that will teach you how to pot and care for a mini succulent garden. The workshop begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 and includes snacks and bubbly. Tickets are $35. Reserve your spot by calling 520-299-9471 or emailing email@example.com.
Take a ride through Sabino Canyon on their electric shuttle
One of the best ways to take in Sabino Canyon's beauty is by taking a relaxing ride through the area on the Sabino Canyon Crawler. The electric shuttle offers daily rides 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., every half hour. Tickets are $15 per adult.
Have a picnic on Mount Lemmon
While you’re on Tucson’s northeast side, pick up some goodies to have your very own picnic on Mount Lemmon. If you don’t want to make your own lunch, check out your favorite restaurant for some takeout or order from one of the eateries on the mountain. Don’t forget to dress accordingly as Mount Lemmon is still snowy as we're writing this.
Pet stingrays at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Did you know there are stingrays here in Tucson? The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, has a big tank of stingrays that you can pet as they swim by. There's also the opportunity to feed them during specific hours of the day. The smooth but slimy creatures are bound to make you laugh when you see their tiny excited faces. Museum admission is $24.95 (for Arizona/Sonora residents) plus an additional $3 to pet the stingrays and an added $3 if you want to feed them.
Food options for nature lovers:
- Pick up your Mount Lemmon or Sabino Canyon picnic at Le Buzz on Tanque Verde, or Renee's.
- If you want to dine surrounded by the beautiful desert, the east side's Saguaro Corners (a stone's throw from Saguaro National Park East) or the Garden Bistro at Tohono Chul are set amid the flora of the Sonoran Desert.
For the night owls 🦉
Relax with a jazz show at The Century Room
If you’re looking for something a little more mellow compared to a Broadway musical or an action-packed movie, check out a jazz show at The Century Room, 311 E. Congress St. The venue has several jazz shows leading up to Valentine’s Day. Prices vary per show.
Grab a drink or two on Fourth Avenue or Downtown Tucson
Fourth Avenue is the perfect place to grab a drink or two with your loved one. The area is home to various bars and eateries, many of which offer their own specialty drinks. We recommend trying a fish bowl at The Hut, a refreshing hard cider at Bawker Bawker or a signature cocktail from IBT’s. If you head outside the avenue, try a drink at Cobra Arcade Bar while you play the bar’s classic arcade games.
Show off your skills at a Cyber Bowl night
Many local bowling alleys have something called “Cyber Bowl” nights. These nights provide a new twist to your typical bowling dates with their black lights, glow-in-the-dark bowling balls and colorful lights.
See the stars at a local stargazing party
The Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association hosts numerous stargazing parties each month, including three in February. The first will take place Friday, Feb. 9 in Catalina State Park. The next is Friday, Feb. 16 in Saguaro National East, followed by Saturday, Feb. 17 in Tucson Mountain Park. Get more info here.
The Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd., is hosting two shows on Valentine's Day, one of which tells ancient stories in connection to constellations in the sky. The second features lasers alongside Disney songs. For $25 per person, you can watch one of the planetarium’s shows, check out the exhibits after hours and view the stars from telescopes set up outside. For more information, check out Flandrau’s website.
Late-night food options:
- If you're looking for late-night dining with atmosphere downtown, Ermanos Bar is open until 10 p.m. on Valentine's Day. Its speakeasy, Portal, is open until midnight.
- For something less formal, split a slice of pizza at Empire Pizza, open until midnight during the week and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Bourbon Bent, a new restaurant in Main Gate Square that's self-described as a "modern country dive," is open until midnight on Valentine's Day.
For the homebodies 🏠
Pick up a book and a game from a local bookstore for a chill night in
Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to pull out all the stops. Sometimes doing the simplest things with the person you love can mean the most. Try picking up your favorite book and a board game from a local bookstore to have a relaxing night at home. Local shops include Bookmans, Mostly Books and Antigone Books.
Grab takeout from your favorite local restaurant
Some of Tucson’s best restaurants tend to book up in advance for Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up some delicious food (to go) from your favorite local eatery. Places like Salsa Verde and Chef Wang have great takeout options.
Have a paint night at home
Don’t want to go out on Valentine’s Day night? Head to a local art supply store and pick up some paints and canvases for a fun paint night at home. Local art shops include Posner’s, Arizona Art Supply and Sarnoff Art.
For the foodies 🍽️
Prix fixe romance
Prix fixe specials can make the holiday feel like a special occasion. This year, The Coronet, 198 W. Cushing St., is putting on a five-course dinner featuring dishes like rabbit confit and short rib for $130 per person.
New restaurant Redbird Scratch Kitchen + Bar, 6444 N. Oracle Road, is transforming into a high-end steakhouse for the holiday, going the extra mile with a candlelit four-course dinner. The main course is filet mignon. Dinner is priced at $130 per person.
Who says Valentine's Day has to be about dinner? Ghini's French Caffe, 1803 E. Prince Road, is hosting brunch! For $30 per person or $55 per couple, you can get entree choices like ham croque madame, strawberry French toast or eggs provençal. Plant-based options are available!
From Feb. 13-17, PY Steakhouse at Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, is serving a romantic dinner that features a menu including filet mignon and chocolate truffles. The dinner is $100 per person.
Rollies, 4573 S. 12th Ave., has two Valentine's Day specials: two heart-shaped quesadillas filled with carne asada and birria, beans, rice and two strawberry horchatas for $30. For any sweet tooths out there, Rollies is also debuting a pink concha ice cream sandwich rolled in Fruity Pebbles.
Bakery specials and cottage baker boxes
Gluten-free bakery Dedicated, 4500 E. Speedway, has released a Valentine's Day menu (or what they're calling the Arizona Statehood menu) including sugar cookies painted like conversation hearts and heart-shaped cake pops.
From Feb. 8-11, you'll be able to curate a Valentine's Day box from Cafe Francais, 7831 E. Wrightstown Road. Treats include pistachio rose macarons, pomegranate cheesecake tarts, champagne truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Home baker Ube Bae Desserts has an ube dream box available, featuring three kinds of ube cookies alongside ube Oreo Taiwanese crisps.
For candy options, pick up the Sweethearts Bon Bon Box from Monsoon Chocolate, which includes flavors like balsamic strawberry caramel and raspberry dark chocolate. Dirty T Tamarindo has Valentine's Day baskets available, including their spicy candies with Hot Cheetos and a chamoy pickle. Over at Tanna's Botannas, get your candy in heart-shaped platters.