Who needs Paris and the banks of the Seine when you’ve got Cleveland and the mighty Cuyahoga? While Parisians might have a leg up with all those lights, Clevelanders know that their city is pretty swank at making that special someone swoon. Ready to get your pulse racing? Let’s do this thing.
Warm those buns up for a day of adventure at the uber-comfy Stone Oven Bakery in Cleveland Heights. Everything is made fresh daily at this location, so you can’t go wrong with any of the pastries or sandwiches crafted on housemade bread.
If nothing makes your heart swell faster than rescuing an animal in need, head to the Perkins Wildlife Center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. For a look at love in the animal kingdom, peek in on the sea otters who hold hands while sleeping so they don’t drift apart. Cue the awwww’s.
Don’t worry — we’re not setting you up on an animal-themed date: L’Albatros just so happens to be right around the corner and is also one of the best French restaurants in town. In the summer, the sunny patio is calling your name, but the wine list — and the duck confit — has your number all year long.
We’re seeing a bright future for the two of you, but don’t take our word for it. Pay a visit to the Ohio City Psychic for a dual reading of tarot cards, aura, crystal or palm interpretations. Not sure which one to choose? Just walk in and they’ll make a recommendation based on your energy (because of course they will). Or, call/text Ms. Teresa at (216) 589-0998 to schedule a time to visit.
A contender for the most alluring restaurant in Cleveland, your date is the only one able to outdo the beauty of the Marble Room. Formerly a bank, the space retains many features of its past, including an impressive underground vault. Grab a drink at the bar and gawk at the opulence of the room, which is dressed head-to-toe in (what else?) marble. After dinner, ask for a tour of the space — nothing’s more romantic than fantasizing about knocking boots in one of the secret rooms.
Different musical genres lead to different kinds of experiences. Katy Perry pairs well with tequila shots and bull rides; Beyonce for when you’re in need of a self-esteem boost. And then there’s jazz: perfect for vibing with your SO and setting the stage for curtain call. In Cleveland, jazz equals Bop Stop. You know what to do.
You likely had a late night, so get started on solids mid-morning at the cozy Luna Bakery in Cleveland Heights. The space is small (all the better for cuddling with your cutie), while the food punches well above its weight class. If you’re here and you’re not getting the crepe, it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices.
Cleveland is a city of quaint little areas ideal for meandering and seeing something new. Larchmere Boulevard is one such place. A 10-block stretch of quirky shops, cafes and restaurants, you can easily kill a couple hours bopping in-and-out of the 40-ish odd stores and admiring the street art. If you’re feeling cute (but might delete later), pop into Monarch for a fashion show. Dressed up in old-timey pieces, the two of you can daydream what your love life may have looked like during days gone by.
Crank up the caliente in your courtship by stepping into Hola Tacos in Larchmere for lunch. Start with some beef empanadas or esquite, which is basically all the glory of Mexican street corn in a bowl. Then saddle up for the specialty of the house, birria. Think braised beef tacos filled with cheese, then dipped in broth and seared on the grill. This is a flavor experience you need to have together.
“Let’s. Get. Zen. AF.” - you, at this stage of the game
Walk those tootsies right into Blissful Foot Spa in Woodmere and sink into foot massage heaven. If you can, opt for the 90-minute combo platter, which mixes an hour foot massage with 30 minutes of a fully clothed, full body rub down. More satisfying than a romp with your flame? Ah-hem, we’ll let you decide.
Every city should have a Felice in its back pocket, and lucky for you, you’ve found it in Cleveland. Felice Urban Café in Larchmere is adorable in every sense of the word. Housed in a ... house, it’s a 1910 Victorian that’s been repurposed into a restaurant. It’s quaint without trying too hard and the food is eclectic enough to keep you intrigued — think grilled octopus, mac 'n' cheese and Guatemalan caldo de mariscos, which is a seafood stew with saffron, tomato and cilantro basmati rice.
And so we come to an end at one of the sultriest places in Cleveland. No lover’s rendezvous would be complete without a jaunt to the Velvet Tango Room in Ohio City. A dimly lit, slightly mysterious cocktail bar in Tremont, VTR was made for romance. If you’re looking to score (a seat, what did you think we were talking about?) in the back room, you’ll need a reso.