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Saturday, May 18, 2024 — Houston, TX

The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating Valentine’s Day in COVID Times

Illustrated by Ndidi Nwosu

By Sarah Bartos and Julia Li     2/9/21 10:09pm

Love is in the air, but so is the novel coronavirus. Thus, everyone’s favorite Hallmark-sponsored holiday is going to look a bit different this year. It may seem like the only option for Rice students is to buy your special someone a fancy latte from Brochstein or take a romantic couple’s walk to Reckling Roost for a LAMP test, but we’re here to broaden your options. Whether you’re looking for a socially distant picnic date, cupid-themed photoshoots or even just sending yourself a well-deserved box of chocolates, there’s something for everyone this Valentine’s Day. Check out our guide down below for date ideas, local events, florists and chocolatiers. 

We Heart Houston: Where to Shop Local for Your Sweetheart

Located in the Galleria area, Fancy Flowers Houston offers extravagant floral arrangements on the daily, and its Valentine’s Day selections are no exception. These flowers lean on the pricier side ($65+), but they’re sure to impress that special somebody. Fancy Flowers Houston offers same-day delivery and online ordering, but don’t wait till someone snatches your rose!

Who doesn’t want something sweet on Valentine’s Day? Lucky for you, Houston boasts several dessert options to give something sweet to your sweetheart. 

The Chocolate Bar in Rice Village offers unique Valentine’s Day chocolates and boxes, great for gifting. From mini chocolate sculptures of cupid hearts and keys to specialty chocolate boxes, there’s something to satisfy just about any chocolate lover. But the best part? The Chocolate Bar offers delivery via UberEats and DoorDash, making it easier than ever to send your valentine (or yourself) the most delectable chocolates. 

Another excellent dessert option is Tiny’s Milk and Cookies, a West University establishment that delivers Valentine’s day goodies across Houston. One notable deal is a sugar cookie decorating kit — a dessert and a fun activity all wrapped up in one box. 

Comfy, Classy, Crafty: COVID-Safe Date Ideas 

You can’t go wrong with some Netflix & chillin’, so here are some movies we’d recommend watching this Valentine’s Day. These movies show love in all dimensions and include stories that depict BIPOC and LGBTQ+ characters, as representation is vital. 

Someone Great 

A Walk to Remember 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 

Something Borrowed 

The Vow 

The Notebook 

The Longest Ride 

Brokeback Mountain 

13 Going on 30 

27 Dresses 

10 Things I Hate About You 

When Harry Met Sally 

Sleepless in Seattle 

Love and Basketball 

Love, Actually


Love, Simon

Portrait of a Lady on Fire 


If Beale Street Could Talk 

If you want to leave your home to watch a movie but still be COVID-conscious, the Drive-In Off Navigation is a new drive-in movie venue with a great ambiance. For Valentine’s Day, the drive-in is showing “The Notebook” and “Love and Basketball.” If you want a special Valentine’s Day meal while crying to “The Notebook,” the Drive-In Off Navigation offers two on-site food trucks: Kurbside Eatz, serving comfort Asian-fusion food, and Sizzles HTX, a burger truck that puts their twist on the American classic. 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and there’s nothing just quite as picture-worthy as the stunning Houston Botanic Garden. Take your sweetheart on a heartfelt, unforgettable date at the garden and get Instagram-worthy photos by Joanna Brandt Photography at their Valentine’s Day-themed photo sessions. For more information, be sure to visit their website and book your tickets before they’re sold out.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors, consider a picnic. Since the start of lockdown, picnics have quickly risen to the top of the list of COVID-safe activities to enjoy by yourself or with a socially distanced group of family or friends. Rice students are blessed with mild winter weather, and because we enjoy the sunshine in these months, having a picnic this Valentine’s Day would be a fun way to soak up some rays with your significant other or friends. 

Hermann Park is another excellent place to picnic, with the added bonus of its close proximity to campus. Spend the day there at the lake with pedal boats, an aesthetic Japanese Garden that is great for relaxing and taking pictures, and plenty of space to separate from others. 

Another great picnic spot is the roof of the Cambridge Office Building parking garage, from where you can watch the sunset. For Owls on a budget, this garage’s proximity means that you can easily take servery food there without it getting cold. 

For those looking to up their picnic game this Valentine’s Day, check out Picnics in the City, a picnic booking service that prepares some of the dreamiest, Pinterest-worthy picnics. For Valentine’s Day, Picnics in the City is offering complimentary wine and cookies. Book a picnic at least 72 hours in advance through their website, and the rest will be taken care of — from the set-up to the clean-up. This luxury picnic experience will surely be unforgettable.  

If you want to go all out with a classic Valentine’s Day dinner, check out Roma. This Italian eatery located in Rice Village is offering a special multi-course Valentine’s Day menu with prices starting at $49.50 per guest. Roma offers cozy, outdoor seating, but for those who want to enjoy their meal in the comfort of their own home, they also offer curbside pickup and delivery.

Even though Valentine’s Day will look different this year, we hope these Valentine’s Day ideas will help you connect with the ones you love safely. Happy Valentine’s Day, Owls!

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