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Date Night in the Beach Cities
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Date Night in the Beach Cities 

Pacific City offers dining with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Huntington Beach Pier. With plenty of dining options, shops, and services, Pacific City makes a great location for a date night or a girls day. All photos by Elizabeth Guldimann
The recently opened 2nd and PCH shopping center sits on the former site of the Seaport Marina Hotel and boasts several dining options with views of the Alamitos Bay Marina.

Love is in the air this month as we get ready to celebrate February 14. Whether you’re observing Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart, “Gal”-entine’s Day with your girl gang, or “Pal”-entine’s Day with your squad, we’ve got a date idea lined up for you. Read on to discover some fun activities to do in and around coastal Orange County, California. 

Rent some water bikes from the Alamitos Bay Marina for a unique date idea, and afterwards enjoy beautiful sunset views at Long Beach’s location of Ballast Point Tasting Room, also located at the same Marina. This is ideal for local craft beer enthusiasts, as Ballast Point is renowned for their Sculpin IPAs. Not into drinking but still love the idea of dinner at the Marina? The new Second and PCH shopping center offers cute patio seating and several sit-down restaurants with great views of the marina. 

With several relics of days gone by such as old signage, the Red Car Museum, and the Bay Theater (currently under restoration), Seal Beach presents a unique blend of the present and the past.

Old Town Seal Beach is a great place for a quiet weekend getaway, or a date night. The charming downtown Main Street is filled with local boutiques, restaurants, and acclaimed Irish pubs (worth keeping in mind for St. Patrick’s Day). The historic pier was recently reopened after a fire caused its closure in 2016, and the Bay Theatre is under restoration, currently slated to reopen towards the end of this year. Its antique facade provides an ideal backdrop for picture taking. Try a seafood dinner at historic landmark and local favorite Walt’s Wharf. Then pick up some ice cream at the corner of Main St. and Ocean Ave. and enjoy it while walking down to the end of the pier to snap some cute pictures.

Long-time Seal Beach establishment and local favorite Walt’s Wharf provides fresh seafood fare in a unique historical setting.

Looking for a girls’ day agenda? Visit Huntington Beach’s Pacific City for facials, nail treatments, and hairstyling. Get your grub on at Old Crow Smokehouse, a country barbeque spot with live music and great views of the pier. With all sorts of offerings from specialty drinks to loaded poutine, this is a great choice for ladies night. Afterwards, enjoy dessert downstairs at Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream, and customize your own frozen treat.

Enjoy an after-dinner stroll down the recently-renovated Seal Beach pier, with views of downtown Long Beach, including the Spruce Goose Dome.

Further down the coast in Newport Beach, several businesses offer boat rentals to tour the waters around Lido Island. Gondola rentals are ideal for couples, while a fun friends’ activity could be renting a duffy boat and enjoying picnic food from C’est Si Bon bakery, across Pacific Coast Highway. Afterwards, head over to Fashion Island to enjoy sorbet from Gelato Paradiso, which offers fresh flavors made on-site daily. 

For something a little out of the ordinary, Costa Mesa offers The Camp and The Lab Anti-Mall located directly across Bristol St. from each other. With a unique atmosphere, both offer local shops and notable eats (including vegan fare), as well as great photo ops and plenty of seating. Different creative classes are offered at each site: May Martin, located at The Lab Anti-Mall, offers beading classes, and The Camp’s ARTime BARRO offers pottery classes. This is also a great place to enjoy dinner before catching a show at the Segerstrom Center.

Foodies may want to consider checking out a cooking class at Prep Kitchen Essentials in Seal Beach. With a well-curated kitchen supplies shop attached, Prep offers a rotating variety of different guest chefs that specialize in different methods and cuisines. Best of all, the end of the class culminates in sampling the fruits of your labor with your classmates. 

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new with loved ones in the Orange County area this Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re getting creative with your sweetheart or dining out with friends this year, there are many different options to keep things exciting.

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