How to Travel for Valentine’s Week Without Breaking the Bank

A College Man’s Guide to Valentine’s Week

Ways to Woo Your Boo That Don’t Involve Chain Restaurants

Written By: David Diaz

Usually, February 14th means a lot more sweat and idling engines than the actual one-on-one with your boo. Of course, we always strive for our perfect John Hughes moment. We plan dinners in downtown the night before, and crave an evening filled with cliches that punch-drunk lovers will certainly find cute. But usually we are consumed by stress up to the very moment. But hope is not lost if you make even just a little effort to plan for Valentine’s day. Think beyond roses and a box of chocolates from Big Lots. Traveling is still within budget, ridiculously fun, and will be an experience that neither of you will forget. And then next year you can act like you get a break or something since you cared so much.


Pelt your lover with snowballs as they carry the luggage inside. Aside from already being a winter wonderland, Mammoth lends itself graciously to putting you and your loved one in constant snuggle mode. Find a cabin and take on the wilderness. Build a snowman together while sneaking Eskimo kisses. Like the oysters, this usually ends up well for both parties. But there are still things to do that can improve the magic that high altitude and snow provide.

The Lakefront Restaurant
163 Twin Lakes Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546 | 760.934.2442 | www.mammothmountain.com

The Lakefront Restaurant at the Tamarack Lodge is one of the best places to enjoy a delicious and fine tuned Valentine’s dinner with your loved one. Their menu changes with the seasons, so patrons never get bored, and the cooking staff doesn’t either. Plus if you’re staying at the hotel, after you load up you can relax by your fireplace and rub eachother’s bellies.


Clocktower Cellar
6080 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546 | 760.934.2725 | www.clocktowercellar.com

Clocktower Cellar on Minaret Road is also an awesome Cellar to visit if you have just finished your dinner and would like a nice Porter to push all those nutrients through your body. This spot closes early (as with most public spots in Mammoth) but the location is perfect. The building has more character than the Looney Tunes, and the people there are friendly. I think that might be the most important part of a good trip, nice people.

Photo Credit: www.onthesnow.com

For some, snowboarding and skiing is the most romantic part of a mountain getaway. If your cabin comes equipped with a full kitchen, pool table, heated bathroom floors, and a jacuzzi, then these other ideas could just be amenities and additions. Just a little pre-game gaming, and you get to trek back to your Lincoln-log sanctuary, and fall asleep while watching Pulp Fiction and spooning on a lazy boy. Or stay awake to hip hop playlists and midnight pancakes, instead. It’s Valentine’s night, and you went somewhere cool, do whatever you want.

Palm Springs

Greater Palm Springs can be described as a beautiful gem, produced from Earth, which lay at the far end of the 10 FWY. Palm Springs is more than a mirage in the desert landscape. The city offers shopping, pools, gambling, spas and so much more. In the past decade, greater Palm Springs has become a hub for music, culture, and should definitely be in the list of romantic options.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262 | 760.325.1449 | www.pstramway.com

A fun, romantic, and probably readily available attraction in Greater Palm Springs is the Aerial Tramway. Especially if you reserve the spot in advance and guarantee your night won’t be ruined by your usual inability to organize a smooth trip. As you scale the side of a mountain in the name of love, rising over 6, 000 feet to an altitude of 8, 500 feet, you are completely hugged by the lush desert landscape of the Chino Canyon. With the desert backdrop and your boo at your side, the view becomes the best part of the experience. This much Earth is enough to make anyone look powerful, and that’s the sort of thing that leads up to real rewards on a day as special as St. Valentine’s.

Photo Credit: Flickr/ Prayitno / Thank you for (5

Once the sun goes down, head on over to Amigo Room at the legendary Ace Hotel. We suggest you should strongly consider booking your stay here, but remember in advance since it’s popular. Or keep going and head over to Melvyn’s for a Whiskey with water.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of the best places for anyone to visit since it appeals to so many different types of people. The city offers options for those that want to indulge in fine dining and concierge service for an unforgettable evening. The city also offers options for those who want to walk back towards the strip through a casino alley, laughing with their lover as the sun comes up behind the MGM.

Holstein’s Shakes and Burgers
3708 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109 | 702.698.7940 | www.holsteinslv.com

Your arrive before sundown. The first thing you might want to consider is filling that cavernous belly with some grub. For lovers of gourmet burgers, delicious milkshakes, and craft beer, Holstein’s Shakes and Buns on the second floor of the Cosmopolitan is a sure ticket. With the low light, high ceilings, and bar/lounge art-deco, this place is just spiffed up enough to make a flannel seem too casual, although they absolutely would not care. They have delicious deep-fried pickles, options for carnivores and herbivores, and nothing says I love you like a Bulgogi Quesadilla that is off-the-hinges. And yes, their gourmet burgers are ridiculous, as well.


Hugo’s Cellar at The Four Queens Hotel
Four Queens Hotel & Casino, 202 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101 | 702.385.4011 | www.hugoscellar.com

Now that you’ve spent a few hours at the Casinos playing Black Jack and livin’ that high baller life, it’s time to enjoy the anticipated dinner for two. For those who wouldn’t mind taking it up a notch, Hugo’s Cellar in downtown Vegas is one of the best hidden beauties in Sin city. They wine and dine their clients at Hugo’s, and take their service back to an old style that has long been only one in the movies. This restaurant is one of the best places to celebrate a special occasion, especially Valentine’s day, as you order another bottle of champagne and show how easy being cool can be. And then after all the food, remind yourself that you are in Vegas, so it would be best to examine how much cash you currently have and step into the next Casino. Because you decided to come to Diamond in the Desert for a few reasons, and I’m sure food wasn’t the most important one.


San Fransisco

Escape to SF for a fun filled weekend of love, city lights and good food. This beautiful peninsula is so filled with history and things to do that it hurts to smile about it. Explore a variety of eclectic neighborhoods, take a hike, ride an electric bike and perhaps you might want to enjoy a little surf fishing.

The Casa Loma Hotel
610 Fillmore St, San Francisco, California | 415.552.7100 | www.casalomahotelsf.com

If you decide that you are ok with the Hostel feel, (not the murderous movie, more like the docile apartment quarters in inner-cities), then you should consider The Casa Loma Hotel. Not only is it located right next to Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, and Amoeba, but it’s really inexpensive. This means more money for flowers and chocolate.


Cafe Golo
1602 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

Cafe Golo has a small and comfortable dining area, and they offer pastries with strong coffee. Tapped right into the vein of old San Francisco, it makes it easy to imagine your favorite writers eating food through the same kind of window. Their breakfast potatoes (mountain of taters), scrambled eggs and black-Arabica-blast is the perfect start to any day, and digestive system.

Where To Drink Like A Local In San Francisco

424 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 | 415.252.9289 | www.biergartensf.com

For a late night whistle dampening, you should without question visit Biergarten on Octavia Street. Not only is the environment ridiculously comfortable, but the prices are really practical. Sitting outside in a park eating bratwurst and drinking delicious German Beer(s) brings love into our hearts.

New York

There are too many ideally romantic things that you can get purposely or accidentally caught up in while walking down the endless boulevards of New York. Be sure to build your appetite because there are some pretty amazing places to check out when you get hungry.

Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza
32 Spring St, New York, New York | 212.941.7994 | www.firstpizza.com

The first order of business is to eat a proper slice. You better believe that Lombardi’s on Spring street serves some of the best pizza in New York and is recorded as the city’s first pizzeria.


15 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003 | 212.777.5102 | www.ichabodsnyc.com

Ichabod’s on Irving Place in the heart of the Flatiron is a fantastic restaurant with, a full bar and great main course options like oxtail, duck and pure-bred American rib eye steak. Ichabod’s will be featuring a special Valentine’s day menu where you can have most of these options presented in courses throughout the evening (prix fixe), which is a nice treat. Spend less time looking at the menu and more time staring into your sweetheart’s eyes.


The Ship
158 Lafayette St, New York, New York | 212.219.8496 | www.theshipnyc.com

Then later for that essential late night venture, The Ship on Lafayette Street is one of the better cloak-and-dagger sweet spots in New York. Their libations are smart and strong, and they have Kalbi Sliders and Lobster Buns that should not necessarily be eaten at the same time, but definitely within the same time span. So, so good.


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David is a 26 year old bike tech and part time editor for American Mustard Magazine who lives in Lakewood CA. He received his B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach, and is currently pursuing his MFA there. He Loves concerts, poetry readings/book releases, and drive in movies, and he is addicted to Los Angeles.



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