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A Year’s Worth of Valentines

PSA: Valentine’s Day is next Friday.

And can I be honest? I haven’t really given it much thought. Between our busy work schedules and our 2-year-old’s bedtime routine, we’re mostly lucky to get ten minutes together when we’re both awake. And while I am tempted to dismiss Valentine’s Day as a commercial holiday, I have to admit that it’s a good reminder to slow down and be intentional about making that time for each other.

Celebrating love should be a year-round event Kathie Statler Photography / Courtesy Kristin Gillespie

We may not go all out on February 14 this year, but you can bet that I’ll be setting up a date night soon. Luckily, Seattle has plenty of opportunities to be romantic throughout the year. Here are some of the future dates I’m dreaming up…


(Asian) Food is My Love Language

If my tastebuds are happy, we can call the night a success. Sushi is a crowd-pleaser in our relationship, and for us, Shiro’s in Belltown is a sure bet. My mouth just watered a little bit thinking about it. For a special celebration, however, I’d love to splurge on an omakase, or ‘chef’s choice’, meal at Sushi Kashiba and let destiny guide our meal.

If sushi’s not your thing, there are plenty of other date night options that would lead to happy stomachs. High on my list is newcomer Musang, recently named one of the 5 most anticipated restaurant openings of 2020. And I’m dying for another shot at the 7 course omakase meal at Adana (perfect to pair with their extensive Japanese whiskey options).

Elliott Bay Book Company Kristin Gillespie

Hygge for Two

Of course, romance doesn’t always have to equal candlelight and roses. I love a good day date as well. In my perfect world, we would start with brunch at Oddfellows Café + Bar on Capitol Hill (brioche French toast with mascarpone, please!). Considering that he is an audiophile and I am a bookworm, it’s super convenient that both Everyday Music and The Elliott Bay Book Company are just steps away from the cafe. We could spend hours between the two. The bookstore, in particular, is warm and inviting with plenty of plush seating and high wood beamed ceilings, plus a well-stocked coffee shop in the back to sustain you through your browsing. Once we’ve both purchased the books and vinyl that we can’t live without, we’d make our way toward Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery. Really, all you need to know about this place is in the name. If that’s not hygge, I don’t know what is.

Culture Fix

Seattle is teeming with opportunities to dive into the arts and culture scene, each one just that much sweeter when experienced with your sweetheart. My husband proposed to me at the Seattle Art Museum, so that continues to be hallowed ground for us and we love to revisit favorites from their contemporary collection or discover new artists in their rotating exhibitions. They also just re-opened their sister museum, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, after a $56 million renovation and I can’t wait to explore!

Or perhaps we’ll take a stroll through the stunning Chihuly Garden and Glass or go head-to-head at the Seattle Pinball Museum. Performing arts are strong here as well. He’s a big fan of Seattle Symphony and I’m a sucker for the theatre scene.

Note: If you are visiting Seattle in February, you’ll want to check out Seattle Museum Month anyway – whether you’re with your love interest or not.

A family outing to the Pacific Science Center. Kristin Gillespie

The Third Wheel

She’s not a third wheel, really; she’s the gravitational center around which my husband and I rotate. If Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the people we love, our daughter would have to be part of that mix. For a full day of family love, I’d take my family to Seattle Center. We might spring for entrance to incredible attractions like the Pacific Science Center or Seattle Children’s Theatre or go more low key by taking in some tunes at the KEXP Gathering Space before wandering down to play around the International Fountain. With the help of Seattle Monorail to travel to Seattle Center and back from downtown, we would ensure adventure from start to finish.


At the risk of sounding cliché, I know that any celebration we dream up will be special as long as we do it together. But if this holiday gives me an excuse to get out and explore the city I love with the person (or people) I love, I’ll take it. In fact, let’s stretch Valentine’s Day throughout the year and keep exploring! Do you have more ideas for fun Seattle dates? Share them in the comments below.

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