Surprise your special someone in SLU
American lovebirds are big procrastinators, it turns out, with candy sales peaking on February 13 and 15. C’mon, Seattle! We can do better… and we can also keep the sweetness flowing year-round at these South Lake Union hotspots.
Fill your next date with laughter and learning with Paint Nite, which adds easels to the easygoing elegance of Art Marble 21. As guests sip cocktails and nibble appetizers, an instructor demonstrates how to make a masterpiece, step by step. Most events focus on decorating a canvas—from madrona trees to Mount Rainier—but you can also capture the Space Needle on tote bags ($45, February 6 and 20).
Keep the creativity burning bright at Glazer’s Camera, the heart of the Northwest’s photography scene. Newbies can choose between a two-hour workshop on digital basics ($50, February 13) and an all-day crash course ($250, March 5). The locally owned store also hosts seminars for more experienced photographers, with classes focused on specialties from travel to landscape.
Wow your special someone with a hands-on experience at REI’s flagship store. Tackle that 65-foot pinnacle—the third largest indoor wall in the world—with Climb Your Way To Valentine’s Day, which includes a personal belayer and the perfect après climb treat: chocolate-covered strawberries ($100-$120, February 14). Other options include backpacking basics, bike maintenance and wilderness first-aid (because what’s sexier than safety?).
Cruise into bliss with The Electric Boat Company, which puts guests at the helm of a 10-seater, 21’ Duffy ($99, two-hour minimum; special rates apply for Valentine’s Day). We recommend a clockwise tour of Lake Union, sweeping past the Sleepless In Seattle houseboat, the rusted splendor of Gas Works Park, and the vintage-RV birdhouses outside glass artist Dale Chihuly’s boathouse studio. Finish with a snuggle as you boat past the downtown skyline.
Moss Bay, the Northwest Outdoor Center,and the Center For Wooden Boats also help romantics experience the life aquatic. For picnic supplies, swing by Whole Foods, the Metropolitan Deli,or the vegan wonderland of the Plum Pantry. Or just hit the Westlake Deli & Grocery, which has an impressive selection of beer and wine alongside chili, made-to-order sandwiches, and menu curveballs like bibimbap (Korea’s signature dish of rice, sautéed vegetable and sliced meat, topped with an egg).
Water babies should also visit the co-ed spa Banya 5, which blends the best of Russian traditions with touches from Turkish hammams, Finnish saunas, and Japanese bathhouses ($40, open until 11pm except on Mondays).
Take your wooing up a notch with Kenmore Air. Its seaplanes launch from Lake Union on flightseeing tours around the metro area ($99 per person for 20 minutes). The company also offers whale-watching day trips and Fly + Stay packages to Victoria, British Columbia.
Back on terra firma, check out the Museum Of History & Industry, which stays open till 8pm on Thursdays. February’s events include free admission on the February 4 and a book-design workshop on the February 27, along with Black History Month celebrations. Or hit a show at Lo-Fi, El Corazon, kakao cafe, or Raisbeck Performance Hall.
Planning to win (or keep) a heart through the stomach? SLU spoils foodies with restaurants like Osteria Rigoletto (elegant Italian) and LOCAL Public Eatery, opening on February 5 (pub classics). And don’t forget the neighborhood’s secret weapon: the Pan Pacific Hotel lobby bar. Tucked into a nameless courtyard—look for the “retail parking” sign on Terry Avenue—this intimate nook serves a full menu from Moroccan-spiced chickpeas to roasted black cod with mushroom ragout. Toast your love with a Smokey Man (a bourbon craft cocktail with grilled orange-peel and a cherrywood-smoked ice ball) or with a glass of champagne, whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just because.