From a Teen Perspective: How to celebrate Valentine’s Day

by Dylan Lanier on February 13, 2023

Tomorrow millions of people around the world will celebrate Valentine’s Day, 24 hours devoted to everything love and romance. And while many people will be celebrating without a partner, lucky couples will take time to celebrate their relationships.

However, the classic Valentine’s dates we envision — fancy dinners with piles of chocolate and gifts — are a bit extravagant and decidedly “mature” for teenage couples. So, as a supporter of all the happy, younger pairs out there, I’ve constructed a list of four spots for the perfect Valentine’s date, whether you’re looking for an adventurous evening or a relaxing one.

1. The Great Outdoors: If you want breathtaking views for a picture-perfect, late afternoon picnic, look no further than the Bay Area’s surrounding hills. One particularly stunning locale is Windy Hill, which is free to enter (pictured top). Park in the lot on Portola Road and take a hike along the stream or just lay in the grass at the top of Windy and watch the clouds above. If you want to see the sunset — and get the best lighting for your Instagram — be sure to get there before 5:47pm!

2. Downtown Dining: Have some fun and sample local cuisine with a viral TikTok trend where partners switch off choosing where to eat for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Head to Santa Cruz Avenue for a wide variety of options to pick from. But do your homework first as some offer only a set price, Valentine’s menu, eliminating individual options. Of course, there is always the simple yet melt-in-your-mouth burgers (with fries, of course!) at McDonald’s!

3. By the Seaside: Want to feel the breeze in your hair and the sand in your toes? Drive to one of Half Moon Bay’s many beaches and spend your time walking, surfing, or sharing chocolate strawberries on a cozy blanket! I personally recommend Surfers Beach or Poplar Beach (above). For the sentimentalists, bring a retro film camera to capture the moment in all its aesthetic glory for your photo wall or VSCO.

4. On the Big Screen: The quintessential movie date — what could be better! Visit Redwood City’s Cinemark or Mountain View’s Century Cinema for a classic romantic evening. The latter has reclinable seats and a student discount (if you bring your ID), but in my opinion the former has far more delicious and various restaurant options nearby that would nicely precede or follow a show.

Whichever type of date you decide on, the most important part is sharing quality time with the person you love. I hope every reader enjoys a wonderful Valentine’s Day to remember!

Top photo by Frances Freyberg (c) 2023; Poplar Beach courtesy California Beaches

From a Teen Perspective is a new column contributed by Menlo-Atherton High School Junior Dylan Lanier, who has lived in Menlo Park since he was two. He enjoys the town’s local restaurants and libraries as well as nearby running trails.

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