Valentine's Day is Friday, and you still haven't figured out what to do yet?
Don't worry, it might be too late to get reservations at some of Tampa Bay area's most popular restaurants, but all is not lost. We've rounded up six, low-pressure dates you can still pull off with minimal planning.
Oscar shorts- The historic (and therefore romantic) Tampa Theatre is one of only a few theaters across the country — and the only place in Tampa — to see the often-quirky, short films nominated for Academy Awards this year. They're premiering Valentine's Day night with a showcase of the animated nominees at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday you can choose from the animated (5 p.m.) or live-action shorts (2:15 or 7:30 p.m.). Tickets are $10.
“Once”- The traveling production of the romantic, Tony-winning musical arrives at the Straz Center just in time for Valentine's Day. Set entirely in an Irish pub, it's the story of The Guy, a down-on-his-luck street singer who meets The Girl, an endearing, resourceful Czech immigrant who turns his life around. Tickets are $46.50 to $90.
Explore the stars - If you're looking for a deal, the St. Petersburg College Planetarium offers free, 45-minute shows every Friday at 7 and 8:15 p.m. in its “star theater,” hosted by resident astronomer Craig Joseph. Afterward you can head to the rooftop observatory for some stargazing through one of the observation deck's high-powered telescopes.
Puppy love - Animal lovers who also want to spend the day with their human lovers can register for the Humane Society's Valentine Pup Crawl, a dog-friendly pub crawl stopping at MacDinton's, Yard of Ale, World of Beer and The Dubliner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday. There will be food and drink specials, giveaways and a drawing for a pet-friendly getaway at the Hard Rock Tampa that includes a two-night stay and gourmet dinner at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood. Registration is $15 in advance, $20 day of.
On the water - It may be hard to get reservations on land, but Yacht Starship still has room on its Valentine's Day lunch ($49.95) and dinner ($119.95) cruises, as well as dinner cruises on Saturday and Sunday ($74.95). The two-and-a-half hour cruises depart from Port Tampa Bay and include amazing views of the city and live music. Want to steer the boat yourself? EBoats Tampa has electric boats for rent by the hour for exploring the downtown waterfront; reservations are recommended.
Live music - If you're nervous about making date small-talk, you can always drown out the conversation with live music. If you're sweetheart enjoys smooth, melodic, prog-rock from the 70s and 80s, there's Alan Parsons Live Project, 7:30 p.m., Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. More of a mosh-pit type of couple? Check out Celtic punk rockers Flogging Molly at The Ritz Ybor at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Prefer a more subdued variety of indie rock, Surfer Blood and Pinback play the annual Whigfest, Saturday and Sunday at Janus Live.