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15 sweet ways to save 'I love you' Cleveland-style: Laura DeMarco's Valentine's Day guide

From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to unique movie ideas, there is plenty to do throughout Northeast Ohio this year.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Candy hearts for Valentine's Day.

CLEVELAND — Valentine’s Day is going to look a little different this year. It’s certainly not an easy holiday to celebrate in a socially distanced manner -- but the Greater Cleveland area offers many fun, affordable and safe ways to celebrate. You just need to think outside the (chocolate) box. Read on for 15 sweet ways to say “I love you,” Cleveland-style...

WKYC exclusive -- Create-Your-Own-Bookstore-Night: Book lovers will swoon over Visible Voice’s fantastic idea: Book the whole Tremont store -- a treasure trove of pop culture, art, music, fiction and non-fiction -- for 90-minutes on Valentine’s Day for a private shopping, plus a charcuterie board for two from Larder; two bars of chocolate from The Cleveland Chocolate Co.; and one bottle of wine or non-alcoholic beverages ($75). Times: 4 p.m., 5:50 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. Only three slots available. CLICK HERE for details and booking.

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“Love Letters” virtual production with Leon Bibb and Sandra Bishop: Spend the evening, at home, with this online production of the classic two-person love story, A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated “Love Letters.” This adaptation is directed by and stars Emmy Award winning 3News anchor/reporter Leon Bibb, and talk show host, minister and motivational Speaker Sandra Bishop. The event that takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 is presented by the Greater Cleveland Association of Black Journalists. Free. Register HERE.

RELATED: Cleveland restaurants offer special Valentine's Day takeout options for a romantic dinner at home

Igloo a deux: I’m not going to lie, booking a table at a local igloo or enclosed greenhouse is probably pretty tough at this late date. Vosh/Georgetown is sold out for the year. But if you feel like working the phones for the chance to dine outside a deux, restaurants and bars with heated outdoor seating include Lakewood Truck Park, 16900 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-715-4032; Merwin’s Wharf, 1785 Merwin Ave., Cleveland, 216-664-5696; Don’s Pomeroy House, 13664 Pearl Road, Strongsville, 440-572-1111;  Felice Urban Cafe, 12502 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland, 216-791-0918; Betts Restaurant outside the Kimpton on East Ninth Street, 216-357-2680; the South Side in Tremont, 2207 West 11th Street, Cleveland, 216-937-2288; and Stonewater Golf Club, 1 Club Drive, Highland Heights, 440-461-4653. Most restaurants at Crocker Park also have heated greenhouses installed.

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Prosperity Social Club, 1109 Starkweather Avenue, Cleveland: Support a local eatery with a unique holiday deal at the quintessentially Cleveland Prosperity Social Club. The Tremont favorite will be celebrating with a retro twist this year — they call it “VAL-en-TIKI-tini Day.” From 10 a.m to 2:30 p.m. they’ll be featuring their brunch menu, followed by dinner until 9 p.m. Specials include Swedish Meatball Poutine, Big Kahuna Biscuit Sliders and Hawaiian Pulled Pork Nachos. It's served with classic tiki drinks, including Hurricanes ($10). Reservations are highly recommended and seating is limited. All tables are socially distanced as well as separated with plexiglass. Bar seats are also separated with movable plexiglass dividers. So get out your Hawaiian shirt and give them a call: 216-937-1938.

RELATED: 5 local places to buy sweets and treats this Valentine’s Day in Northeast Ohio

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I Scream, You Scream … for Ice Cream: Not comfortable dining out for dinner? Take your sweetie for a sweet treat -- or take-out -- at a local ice cream parlor. Seasonal treats include Sweet Moses’ (6800 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland) fabulous Burning Love Sundae—cherry-chocolate-chip ice cream, hot fudge, and a homemade, heart-shaped marshmallow, toasted to a golden brown. This year, Sweet Moses has also partnered with Door Dash for a delivery, make-at-home “Sundae for Two” option, perfect for heating up a cold winter night. Younger kids might prefer Malley’s super-cute Puppy Luv sundae, two scoops of vanilla decorated with candy to look like, yes, a puppy, available at area locations that serve ice cream. (Don’t forget to pick up some of their famous chocolate-covered strawberries, too.)

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Cleveland Museum of Art: Spend a romantic day exploring the newly reopened galleries at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where love is all around, but nowhere more visible than in one of the museum's most famous pieces, Jacques-Louis David's "Cupid and Psyche.”

RELATED: Valentine's Day in Northeast Ohio: Tell us about your true love

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Parma Animal Shelter Bake Sale, 6260 State Road, Parma: Show your love for all creatures great and small at this annual bake sale to benefit the Parma-area shelter. All bakery is prepared with love by shelter volunteers, and all proceeds go to the care of the sweet animals for adoption. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.

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Homemade Valentines: What’s sweeter than a homemade Valentine? Not much! The Cuyahoga County Public Library Warrensville Heights Branch wants to help you make your cards this year. The library is hosting a Zoom card-making lesson from 3-4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8. They’ll even supply the materials. When you register for the class, specify where you would like to pick up your supplies. You’ll need your own glue, thumbtacks and tweezers. Register HERE.

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Daytrip to the Rock Hall: All you need is love? Well, maybe not all … but the Beatles were on to something. Music lovers won’t find a better place to spend a few hours around Valentine’s Day than the newly reopened Rock Hall (limited capacity, advance tickets only, temperatures checked at the door and masks mandatory). Fall in love with the hall again while learning about the bands behind some the greatest love songs ever written: the Beatles, Beach Boys, Supremes and so many more … Tickets and info HERE.

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Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., 216-721-1600: Even COVID-19 can’t stop the orchids at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. The garden will open their annual orchid show, dubbed Orchids Forever this year, on Saturday, Feb. 13. It runs through April 11. Advance reservations are required, and tickets go on sale Jan. 30. Thousands of exotic blooms will be on display, including Phalaenopsis orchids and a towering orchid sculpture by artists Mark Lagergren and Anthony M. Ball Reserve. More HERE.

RELATED: What dating is like during a pandemic: 3 Things to Know with Stephanie Haney

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Pretty in Pink: Surprise the Gen-Xer in your life with a Valentine’s weekend screening of John Hughes’ classic high school love story. Fathom events is screening the Molly Ringwald “wrong side of the tracks” teen flick, known for its excellent new wave soundtrack, on Thursday, Feb. 11; Friday, Feb. 12; and Sunday, Feb. 14 at several area theaters, including Cinemark Valley View, Southpark, Solon and the Cedar Lee. CLICK HERE for a full list of theaters and to reserve advance tickets. All theaters have limited seating and are enforcing social distancing and mandatory mask wearing. This marks the 35th anniversary of the film, which certainly makes this Gen-Xer feel rather old.

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Glow Tubing, Snow Trails, 3100 Possum Run Road, Mansfield: Hoping to get closer to your sweetie? You can’t help but get close to your date when you hitch your tubes together. So why not head south for some outdoor fun with a tubular twist this Valentine’s Day? Snow Trails in Mansfield offers Glow Tubing, with DJs and LED light streaks over the hill, Thursdays through Sundays. Must reserve in advance HERE.

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Sweet Designs Chocolatier, 16100 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood: Opened by Croatian immigrant Ines Rehner in 1995, this artisanal shop has elevated the Cleveland chocolate experience. Her Valentine’s Day options include a variety of assorted dark and milk chocolate boxes, foil hearts and even vegan cocoa nibs. They have instituted curbside pick-up as well as window shopping. The full menu is available for purchase without entering the store. CLICK HERE for details and ordering.

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Movie for two (and just two): What if you could watch (almost) any film you’d like, and have a movie theater reserved for just you and your date? Well, you can at Cleveland Cinemas. The local chain is offering private theater rentals, for Valentine’s Day or any day. Both the Cedar Lee and Chagrin Cinemas are booking rentals for from one to 20 of your closest/socially distanced friends and family. You can bring your own DVD or watch a new release (also requires purchase of a ticket for each attendee). So pick out your favorite love story -- hmmm, Love Story, anyone? -- and make a booking. Packages as follows:

  • 1-20 guests: $99 for private theater auditorium Monday, plus a minimum $50 concessions purchase.
  • 1- 20 guests: $149 for private theater auditorium Friday through Sunday, plus a minimum $100 concessions purchase.
  • Book your rental here.

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Splash of romance at the Cleveland Aquarium: Love isn’t just in the air -- it’s underwater. Make a date to visit the Greater Cleveland Aquarium (2000 Sycamore Street, Cleveland, 216-862-8803). The Aquarium will be open Valentine’s Day weekend with a romance-themed “I Spy” challenge, animal enrichment, a Valentine’s Day photo op and mood music in the galleries. Advance reservations required. CLICK HERE for tickets and more info: One lucky visitor will also win a prize package valued at more than $500 as part of the Aquarium’s Splash of Romance Giveaway.