Valentine's Day

Planning a date is often a tricky thing — even without the pressure of Valentine’s Day — but the Emerald has you covered. (Monika Stawowy/Creative Commons)

Planning a date is often a tricky thing — even without the pressure of Valentine’s Day — but the Emerald has you covered.

Most of the these individual date spots below can be mixed and matched with one another to create a full evening. Whether you’re looking forward to a first date or an anniversary; live on-campus or elsewhere; bike-commute or drive; these places are all tried and tested with the needs of University of Oregon students in mind.

Marché: Many students are only familiar with the Marché Cafe located at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum on the UO campus, but have yet to visit the French bistro restaurant at 5th Street Market. If price is a concern, the Marché happy hour runs every day and offers more affordable options with food, drinks and dessert still in the glowing atmosphere. If you get there early, you can pop by next door to Rhythm and Blooms in the Provisions Market for flowers.

Izakaya Meiji: “Izakaya,” by definition, is a Japanese pub specializing in small dishes meant to be shared over drinks. Located next to restaurants PRI and Board, Izakaya Meiji offers a big taste of the interesting food and culture coming out of the Whiteaker neighborhood with western-themed Japanese cuisine and specialty whiskey drinks. Beware of potential long waits and high noise levels. 

The Vintage: The Vintage is a dreamy little restaurant with an eclectic vibe located in downtown Eugene near WOW Hall (dinner and a show, anybody?). If you’re not up for sharing the iconic sweet and savory crêpes, try the fondue or cocktails. Alternatively, the restaurant offers ordering to-go if you want a taste of The Vintage at your own special spot.

Townshend’s Teahouse: This feels like a Eugene classic — or at least the usual Tinder meetup spot. Whether it’s a first date or simply tea time with your partner, this teahouse offers groovy lighting, local art and comfy couches. Try each picking out a pot and sharing flavors. Be mindful that this is a popular spot and you might need to show up a little early to get the desired seats.

Hideaway Bakery: True to its name, the bakery is easy to miss on Amazon Drive, but offers another cozy alternative to Townshend’s. There’s a moderate selection of both sweet and savory treats and the option for a full meal. Though the space to order is small, the indoor and outdoor seating leaves lots of room to sit and relax. Inside, fireplaces warm the area and provide a calm, romantic mood. Try their lavender latte. If you’re looking for dinner instead of breakfast/lunch, Mazzi’s shares the opposite side of the building and is open for delicious Italian dinners.

If sit-down dates aren’t your style or you want to mix it up with your sweetheart, you can try one of these:

Blairally Arcade or Level Up Arcade: The loser buys dessert. Each place is located near Sweet Life Patisserie and Sweet Life Petite, respectively. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, it might be good to mention that both establishments are bar arcades and only allow minors in until a certain hour. Blairally Arcade — located in the Whiteaker neighborhood — specializes in pinball, but offers vintage games like Pac-Man and Ski-Ball and hosts an ‘80s dance night every Friday. Level Up Arcade is much closer — a mere five blocks off of campus — and offers a late-night haven for pool, air-hockey and other arcade games.

The Hult Center: UO students can often get discounted tickets for events held here. The symphony is playing Rhapsody in Blue this Valentine’s Day and the student ticketing center on the ground floor of the Erb Memorial Union is offering tickets starting at $10. Don’t forget your student ID when you visit the ticket desk.

The Broadway Metro or Bijou Art Cinemas: These are two, more intimate theater settings that usually offer alternative films to the theaters at Valley River Center and Shoppes at Gateway Center. Plus, they offer beer to enjoy while you watch. This week The Broadway Metro is showing The Favourite, Cold War and If Beale Street Could Talk.

Rock climbing at Elevation Bouldering Gym: Consider getting physical with your date.This is an opportunity to take up a challenge or try something new. Bouldering — or climbing — presents the opportunity for problem solving and supporting one another. Elevation offers shoe and chalk bag rentals, as well as discounted admission for students with a school ID.

Lane 25: Lane 25 is a relatively new joint that brings an exciting, new luxury to bowling in Eugene with lounge-style seating, beers on tap and a small food menu. If you and your date are into shuffleboard, Lane 25 has you covered. If you’re feeling nostalgic, are under 21, or simply wish to channel your inner “Big Lebowski,” walk right next door to Strike City for a more classic feel.

Ultimately, you don’t have to spend money to have a good time with your honey. There is a lot of value in staying home together — try cooking, watching a movie or just putting your phone down and giving your person some undivided attention and TLC.

Photojournalist and Sex and Relationships columnist

Dana is a photojournalist specializing in long-format storytelling — particularly regarding gender and social justice topics. She is the Daily Emerald Sex and Relationships columnist. This is her third year at the Emerald.


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