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Last-minute Valentine's Day plans (that don't include dinner)

The Scrooges and the Grinches will say Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday, something Hallmark made up out of thin air to sell more cards.

People hate Valentine's Day for a lot of reasons (BuzzFeed cites 16) but just because it's cooler to hate it, doesn't mean you have to.

Why not treat yourself, your valentine, your galentines and palentines to a special day out of the ordinary? It's not too late.

Dinner is an obvious choice. But while bringing your valentine to a white tablecloth, candlelit restaurant and ordering a special for two is romantic, it's equally as predictable.

No one will suspect that you forgot to make plans when you present your date with a Clydesdale-drawn carriage ride, or a romantic double feature film with a bottle of wine and ice cream sundaes, or R&B karaoke and champagne.

If your significant other has ever said "Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday," take the hint - and go for the Clydesdale.

Valentine's Day Market at Larkin

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 14 at Larkin Square, 745 Seneca St.

For those whose free time falls in the afternoon on Valentine's Day, a romantic stroll through Larkin Square's artisan market kills two birds with one stone, or feed two birds with one scone.

Browse the usual gifts -- chocolate, jewelry, flowers -- and more, from more than 25 local vendors, letting your date choose his or her own present and spending quality time together over two cups of hot coffee and a box of craft chocolates.

[Related: Smiles at the Larkinville Ice Festival]

Valentine's Day Carriage Rides

4 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14 at Hotel Henry, 444 Forest Ave.

Carriage rides are a hallmark of romantic movies. Banner Farm from Perrysburg is bringing its Clydesdale horses and white, old-school carriage for rides around the historic Richardson-Olmsted Complex and fulfill your Disney princess dreams.

Rides aren't cheap, at $50 per couple and $15 for each additional person ( ages younger than 12 ride free with two adults). But the Cinderella-like surprise? Priceless.

On Feb. 14, guests are in for a much different tour at The Martin House. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

The Martin House: A Love Story

6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House, 143 Jewett Parkway

The night begins with champagne for this event. Tours at the historic landmark take a different turn this evening than normal, discussing Valentine's Day-inspired topics of love, family and friendship amid iconic Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Tickets are $60 per person and $50 for members.

[Photo gallery: The Barton House gets $2 million upgrade]


6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14 at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave.

Colorful lights illuminate the Botanical Gardens, turning a sea of green into pinks, purples, blues and reds. On Valentine's Day, the first 300 guests will receive a "surprise." Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $6 for kids and children younger than 2 are admitted free. To make even more of a night out of it, stop by the official happy hour beforehand.

[Photo Gallery: Lumagination lights up Botanical Gardens | Smiles at Lumagination launch]

Valentine's Day Candle Lantern Walk

6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at Deveaux Woods State Park, 3180 DeVeaux Woods Drive, Niagara Falls

A peaceful walk through the woods, with a hot chocolate in hand and guided by a lantern, is a healthier way to spend the holiday than gorging on steak, wine and chocolate. Niagara Region Park Interpretive Programs is hosting this walk. Advance registration is required. To reserve a spot, call 282-5154.

R&B Karaoke - Valentine's Day at the Tralf

7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St.

Everyone has an opinion on certain music genres, like country or punk, but when "My Boo" comes on, we all band together in harmony. Belt out that Alicia Keys ballad and more romantic R&B classics at the downtown music hall while backed up by a live band. A dress code -- dresses, suits -- is strongly encouraged.

Tickets cost $20 and if you'd like to reserve a table for two or look into a package with champagne, call the box office at 852-2860. This event is 21-and-older.

"The Princess Bride" is part of a romance double feature on Valentine's Day at the Screening Room Cinema Cafe.

Romance double feature on the big screen

7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at The Screening Room Cinema Cafe at the Boulevard Mall

As is tradition, the intimate venue shows 1942 romance "Casablanca" at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Then at 9:30 p.m., things get a bit sillier, with "The Princess Bride." Tickets are $6 to $7 for one movie or $10 for a double feature. A special holiday package, for $49 per couple, includes tickets to both movies, a large tub of popcorn, two ice cream sundaes and a bottle of wine, or a bucket of beer.

Lovers & Friends party

8 to 11 p.m. Feb. 14 at Community Beer Works, 520 7th St.

If you're going to attend a Valentine's Day party, shouldn't it be one with a photo booth and baked goods? Community Beer Works' party, hosted with The Public, boasts a live DJ set by Crespo Beats, sugary goods by Mundy Cakes and drink specials.


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