Guide to Valentine's Day in Austin: Restaurants, Events, and Things to Do

Austin City Limits Skyline

In Austin, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day with your sweetheart, whether you're looking for a romantic dinner or something on the quirky side that you can both remember forever. As both the capital city of Texas and the live music capital of the world, Austin offers plenty of creative solutions for making your Valentine's Day celebration unique. And if you don't have a date for the big day, there are even parties and speed dating events for singles to enjoy.

01 of 11

Find a Date

Couple in Austin taking their yearly Valentine's Day picture

jin chu ferrer / Getty Images

Being single doesn't mean you must stay confined to your home on Valentine's Day. On February 14, speed dating events tend to pop all around the city. Some even center on different themes like Speed Dating for Vegetarians at Citizen Eatery or Nerd Nite. If you don't make a match during speed dating, head to the Ratchet Valentine's Day Party, where you can revel in your singlehood at the Terminal Six nightclub.

02 of 11

Ride a Horse-Drawn Carriage

Austin Carriage

Courtesy of Austin Carriage

One of the most romantic things to do in Austin is to take a ride through downtown in a horse-drawn carriage. Carriage companies like Austin Carriage offer a variety of tours throughout the city, but canoodling couples should book the Romance Ride, which passes by many of the city's historic homes without any interruption from the driver. You can book the carriage on the street, meet it at the pick-up spot, or even call ahead and arrange it come to you. So much more romantic than calling an Uber!

03 of 11

Make Dinner Plans

Wink Restaurant & Wine Bar interior

Courtesy of Wink Restaurant & Wine Bar

Make your reservations way ahead of time to nab a seat at any of Austin's most romantic restaurants. These restaurants usually offer special menus and courses for Valentine's Day, plus mood lighting. Foodies should consider Wink, which features a new menu built around locally sourced ingredients every day. For a quiet homey setting, Eastside Cafe is located in a little old house and even has an organic garden on-site. If glamour is what you're looking for, head to Mattie's which is set inside an old Victorian mansion.

04 of 11

Savor Dessert Together

Capital City Bakery

Courtesy of Capital City Bakery 

There's nothing more romantic than splitting dessert (two spoons, please!) and Austin has some incredible places for sweet treats. Looking for something more upscale? The 1886 Cafe & Bakery serves some of the city's finest pies in the setting of the grand Driskill Hotel. And if you or your sweetheart is vegan, the Capital City Bakery offers sweet treats made from 100 percent plant-based ingredients.

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05 of 11

Stay in a Historic Hotel

Westin Austin front desk
Courtesy Westin Austin

Whether you're just visiting or are local to Austin, a night in a hotel is a big move to show your special someone how much you care about them. Downtown Austin has dozens of unique and historic hotels, where you can get away from the stresses of home and enjoy a romantic night on the town. Make dinner reservations or maybe catch a show at the Moody Theatre and then enjoy a retreat back to your luxurious room. Don't forget to place your room service order in advance, so you can enjoy breakfast in bed.

06 of 11

See a Concert

The Continental Club exterior with classic cars

Courtesy of The Continental Club

As the live music capital of the world, there's almost always a performance going on somewhere in the city. Peruse the schedules of Austin's best music venues and book your tickets ahead of time for a Valentine's Day show. The crowd at the Continental Club is usually friendly and eclectic music is great every night of the week. Jazz aficionados, however, may be more interested in the sultry melodies of the Elephant Room.

07 of 11

Visit Zilker Botanical Gardens

A small waterfall in the botancial gardens

TripSavvy / Austen Johnson

Made up of 31 acres stretched along the Colorado River, the Zilker Botanical Gardens has several themed gardens, including a romantic rose garden, a Japanese garden with koi fish, and a butterfly trail and garden. You can enjoy a stroll with your Valentine in these beautiful gardens. If you're planning to pop the question, the gardens have plenty of quiet areas where the two of you can enjoy that special moment alone.

08 of 11

Share a Laugh

Performers at The Institution Theater

Courtesy of The Institution Theater

You’ve probably heard that laughter is the best medicine, but it can also be a powerful aphrodisiac. For comedy-infused date night, Cap City Comedy is the premier venue in town, but there are many other places you could go for a good laugh.

The Institution Theater offers low-priced and sometimes free improv, sketch, and standup shows, and the ColdTowne Theater is known for edgy improv and a smattering of standup shows. The Velveeta Room is another comedy club that features a mix of up-and-coming locals along with national-level rising stars, and if wacky musical comedy is your thing, the venerated Esther’s Follies is right next door.

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09 of 11

Take a Romantic Hike

Woman sitting on top of Enchanted Rock

Peter Tsai Photography  / Getty Images

The peace and quiet of a natural setting can help to calm the mind and allow you to truly enjoy each other’s company without distractions. One of the easiest hiking spots to access in Austin is the Barton Creek Greenbelt, but you can find bigger challenges if you're willing to take a short drive from the city.

There are excellent natural hideaways all over town like the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve where you could spot the endangered golden-cheeked warbler or Reimer’s Ranch, where you can go mountain biking. Drive just a little farther west, and you can enjoy the pink-granite dome known as Enchanted Rock. The views from the top of the hill are stunning and Native Americans even believe it has mystical powers, so you truly never know what effect a romantic hike could have on your love life.

10 of 11

Catch a Movie at the Drive-In

Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In

Courtesy of Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In

Not far from Central Austin, the Blue Starlite Drive-In is the perfect date-night spot. At this outdoor movie theatre, you can snuggle up to your loved one either in your car or on a picnic blanket in the Forest Amphitheater. As if it wasn't already romantic enough, the drive-in will also begin special programming of Valentine's Day-appropriate movies from February 1 to 15, 2020. This includes multiple showings of romantic classics like The Notebook, Roman Holiday, Princess Bride, and more.

11 of 11

Squeeze in a Workout

Women and dog on kayak

Courtesy of Congress Avenue Kayaks

If you're an active or outdoorsy couple, there are a lot of sporty activities around Austin that you can do together. Many places are even offering discounts for lovebirds on Valentines' Day. For example, you can go out for a lover's paddle session on Lady Bird Lake with Congress Avenue Kayaks or scale some walls together at the Crux Climbing Center's monthly date night.

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