14 unforgettable gift ideas for Valentine’s Day


Flowers and candy are classic, but this year for Valentine’s Day consider gifting your sweetheart with an experience to remember (and possibly Instagram). Whether you opt for a gift certificate to be used on your next date together, or are looking to schedule something special during Valentine’s Week, we’ve found 14 ways to say: “You’re the one I want to spend time with.”

And isn’t that the most romantic present of all?

Racing hearts

Get behind the wheel of a Porsche at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson and drive on almost four miles of track designed to simulate a variety of challenging conditions. Think: handling circuits, an ice hill, acceleration straightaways and more, starting at $385 for 90 minutes. On-site simulator experiences start at $35 for 30 minutes. Reservations:


On Valentine’s Day, Restaurant 917, the center’s fine dining experience overlooking the development tracks, will offer a four-course prix fix dinner ($125 per person) with wine pairing ($185 per person). Information:

Oceans of love

Pucker up those fish lips. On Feb.14, the Aquarium of Pacific is offering sunset drinks on the Veranda (cash bar) followed by gourmet dinner in the Great Hall, $84. Limited VIP seating available in the Tropical Pacific Gallery for an additional $25 per person. Tickets and information:, (562) 590-3100.

Super hero style

Reserve a pod or GloStation at the flagship IMAX VR experience in Los Angeles. There, you can strap on virtual reality gear and step into the shoes of Justice Leaguers, Star Trek or Star Wars characters and more. Shoot, soar, save the world together. Pod experiences last approximately eight to 15 minutes; GloStation is $25 per person for 45 minutes. To reserve tickets:


Lovers leap (without jumping out of an actual plane)

Indoor Skydiving at iFly Hollywood at Universal Citywalk gives you the freewheeling feel of flying (or being suspended on a cushion of air) without the fear factor. Packages start at $59.95 per person and include instruction, gear and personalized flight certificate. Reservations:

Sports lovers

Head to Chavez Ravine for a Dodger Stadium Tour or Dodger Stadium and Clubhouse Tour and an exclusive look into the Dodger Dugout, a trip down to the field, trophy lounge and more. Clubhouse tours include the weight room, batting cages, interview room and bullpen. Adult tickets start at $20. Information and reservations:


Moonlight serenade

Cue the romance. The serenading gondoliers at Gondola Getaway in Long Beach are offering Valentine’s Week packages (Feb. 10-17) that include long-stemmed red roses, a decadent dockside dessert bar and complimentary corkage. BYO wine or champagne (ice, ice buckets and glasses are provided!) and cruise the Naples canals. Rates vary by date, starting at $120 per couple. Reservations:, (562) 433-9595.

Safari so good

Take your wild thing on a Wine Tasting Safari in a zebra-striped truck (starting at $65 per person) at Malibu Wines’ Saddlerock Ranch. The winery is also hosting an extravaganza of Valentine’s week activities (Feb. 9-18) including a wine and chocolate pairing ($15 per person); Outdoor Movie Night featuring the film 50 First Dates, free with the purchase of one bottle of wine; or a 2.5-mile couples-only nature hike to meet and feed exotic animals, including Stanley the Giraffe, and partake in wine tasting with cheese, crackers and chocolate, $160 per couple. Reservations:


Ride off into the sunset

Saddle up and take a trail ride (starting at $50), or pony up for a sunset ride with BBQ back at the ranch for $125 per person. Considering popping the question? Sunset Ranch offers a Proposal Package that includes a two-hour private tour to the top of Mt.Hollywood, starting at $250. Reservations:

Is your love a masterpiece?

Book a Valentine’s Day HeART Tour on Feb. 14 through Dot Red Art Tours that whisks you through L.A.’s downtown arts and culture scene to visit murals, intimate galleries and studios where you can speak with gallery owners and artists about the cities’ ongoing renaissance. V-Day dessert included, $45 per person. For reservations, email or call (323) 473-4810, Ext.102.


Take a hike

Hit the local trails and get your heart pumping. For ideas on the best trails and how to get there, check out the following lists and blogs:;; and L.A. Walks from the Los Angeles Times’ own walking expert, Charles Fleming.

A movable feast

Pack a DIY picnic or order a gourmet basket of Valentine’s goodies-to-go. There are many places to choose from, but here’s one we like: Clementine in Century City or Beverly Hills. Choose from the Romantic Dinner section of the menu and build your own picnic. Picnicking recommendations include grilled steak or chicken, wild king poached salmon, cheese platters, S’Amores and assorted desserts. Starting at $24. Order early. Call (310) 552-1080 or order at


Sail away

Book a Sunset Cruise or Champagne Sail on a J/80 sailboat with a professional skipper at South Bay Sailing in Redondo Beach. Sailors are encouraged to bring snacks or a picnic onboard; plastic cups only; bottles allowed. Private cruises start at $135 for one hour (be sure to check Groupon for specials). Reservations and information: (310) 937-3180.

Trapeze Lesson

Fly through the air with the greatest of ease, or at least give it a try. Join a two-hour class and do something out of the ordinary. First-timers will learn the knee-hang and may try a catch. Starting at $55 with $10 registration fee. Checking off the bucket list: priceless. Trapeze School New York Los Angeles. Information:


Want more ideas?

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Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome


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