A Date to Remember: Valentine Day spots in town

Dating in college can be a challenge for many students forced to squeeze romantic moments between endless 8 a.m. classes, meetings and late night study sessions. Valentine’s Day is no exception, which can sneak up on even the most romantic-minded. To help you avoid a last-minute date night, here is a list of ideas sure to impress your Tuscaloosa valentine.

Arboretum Tree Platform

Take your date off the beaten track for an unforgettable night at The University of Alabama Arboretum. This requires more planning than the typical movie-and-dinner date, but the result is a far cry from the often expensive and stereotypical dinner and a movie Valentine’s night. For just $5 an hour, students can reserve the tree platform within the Arboretum and set up a table, a pre-made dinner, flowers and battery-operated candles to create a special secluded, romantic evening. The platform is an easy stroll through the lush Arboretum woods and offers a unique option for anyone willing to work a little harder for love.

Five Bar

If formal restaurants really aren’t your thing this Valentine’s Day, try out the more relaxed FIVE Bar in downtown. Offering dinner, lunch, brunch, and coffee, FIVE is a unique spot and is always popular for their extraordinary menu. They offer only five types of everything, but they never fail to impress with their concise but quality selections.  

Deadpool Date Night

Ditch the rom-com train and impress your significant other with a trip to the cinema to see Deadpool, a superhero comedy that’s sure to pack a punch. This film adaption of the popular Marvel Comic character and his journey for vengeance boasts a four-star rating on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb with star Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller. Critics enjoyed the raunchy and sarcastic comedy that gives a fresh look to the serious business of saving the world, as our favorite superheroes always do. The movie follows protagonist Wade Wilson who is setting off to find the man who nearly ruined his life by subjecting him to a series of experimental treatments that left him disfigured and with superhuman abilities. Keep things light this Valentine’s Day and enjoy a hilarious fan favorite. 

River Walk

 Another spot to experience the great outdoors, the River Walk along Jack Warner Parkway offers beautiful scenery and trails, and is only a short walk from campus. Take in the views of the Black Warrior River, and then stop at the Tuscaloosa River Market for some fresh produce and local goods. Also nestled along trail is brunch spot Another Broken Egg, a delicious stop at the end of the walk.  

Avenue Pub

This downtown hotspot is known for its specialty drinks and casual environment. You can always find fresh food, signature cocktails, and Alabama beers, paired with local entertainment. This could be the perfect restaurant for a unique and relaxed date this Valentine’s Day.

DIY Date Night

Couples often find themselves stressing over dinner reservations they may never actually end up getting. A thoughtful alternative is taking the night into your own hands. Look up a recipe that suits your skills, nothing too hard, but a dish challenging enough to provoke working together. Take the time to plan out and prepare the meal. Have fun with your significant other, cooking can provide a space for plenty of laughs. Once your dinner is complete, commute to your favorite open venue of your choice, possibly the Riverwalk, and enjoy your meal. Alone, the two of you can get intimate and hold a conversation about anything without having to worry about people sharing the same space as you. This is not only a cost effective date, but can be a fun way to bring you closer to your significant other on this special day.

 DePalma's Italian Cafe

Chances are you are familiar with this ever-popular restaurant on University Blvd. in downtown Tuscaloosa. Their classic Italian menu and charming location are always a hit among students, especially when it comes to dates! Their menu boasts everything Italian, from pizza to pasta to calzones, and specialties such as balsamic pork and pine nut crusted salmon. However, they don’t take reservations, so make sure you get there early for Valentine’s dinner! 

Loosa Brews

As more and more craft beers make their way to Tuscaloosa, Loosa Brews stands out as they offer an inviting atmosphere combined with a package store selling beer and wine. You can take a seat and try any number of rare beers from Alabama and also from all over, and then shop around the store to purchase your new favorite drink. 

Red Lobster

Since Queen Bey mentioned the restaurant in her new single “Formation,” Red Lobster is America's new favorite restaurant. According to CNN.com, Red Lobster sales have boosted 33 percent after Beyoncé's endorsement. The intimate lighting and the aroma of the famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits is always a plus too. Not to mention, since the new menu launch back in 2012, portion sizes have grown with “Maine Stay” options less than $15 which is great for any student on a budget. Some great menu items to try include Admiral’s Feast, Snow Crab Legs and Ultimate Feast for the seafood lovers and Maple-Glazed Chicken, Center-Cut NY Strip Steak and Cajun Chicken Linguini Alfredo for the land lovers. If it is good enough for Queen Bey and Jay, its good enough for the rest of us, right?

Capitol Park

Capitol Park was once the site of the Alabama Capitol from 1826-1846, but now resembles ancient ruins. Two columns remain standing at the entrance of what was once the building, leading into a large open space, a perfect spot for a picnic or hangout. So take some food to-go from DePalma’s, FIVE Bar or Avenue Pub and grab a seat on the grassy lawn and check out this piece of Alabama history.

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