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Published February 13, 2015

Museums, Gardens, And Wine: Romantic Raleigh Hotspots

Raleigh has no shortage of romantic hotspots. Whether it’s a nature walk at sunset or a candlelit dinner, the City of Oaks has more than a few enchanting places to visit for Valentine’s day and beyond. No matter what your style, you’ll find something to do with your sweetie!

For the Naturalists

Few things are more romantic than a sunset. Raleigh has lots of hidden nooks for those who like to snuggle up under an oak tree and stargaze. Lake Johnson‘s wooden deck overlooks the peaceful waters, and a long bridge will take you to the many pretty trails you can walk hand-in-hand. The park is often filled with friendly folks taking it easy with fishing lines and tackle boxes. Have a picnic and rent a boat for two to really get the most out of your day there. It’s so romantic, the deck is often rented out for weddings!

Umstead State Park has a lot of that and more, including historic turn of the century ruins and a marvelous view of RDU. Spending time watching planes fly through fluffy clouds emblazoned by the receding sun can be just as romantic as any dinner by flickering candlelight. Camp out for the weekend for an inexpensive getaway, and spend a day retracing the steps of lovers past. If your love is true, you may just want to leave your initials behind for the rest of the world to find.

For the Fancy

There’s more to having a fancy evening out than just opening up those purse strings. It doesn’t even have to start in the evening! Book a wine tasting at the Chatham Hill Winery just off of Chapel Hill Road, or take a tour of the idyllic Cloer Family Winery in Apex. The scenery is elegantly American, as if a Norman Rockwell painting lived and breathed. It’s perfect for a classy couple looking to wine and dine.

Next, head over to Pleasant Valley and have dinner at Casa Carbone, a charming Italian experience that whisks you away to a classic Roman villa for an authentic taste of Italy’s finest. It’s one of Raleigh’s best-kept secrets, hiding in plain sight just up the road from Crabtree Valley Mall. From there, stop by one of the best coffee shops around to give the two of you just enough pep for a stroll downtown.

Visit the local VIP scene at the Mosaic Wine Lounge, Coglin’s 80’s and 90’s Bar, or any number of the city’s clubs and bars. Dance, sing, and be merry with that special someone until the stars call you back home! If you really want to be lavish, hire a chauffeur from Raleigh Dream Limos and let your worries eat your Stretch Hummer’s dust.

For the Price-Conscious

Want to have a great night but don’t want to break the bank? Most shows at the Raleigh Little Theatre are inexpensive, and the recent performances of Much Ado About Nothing just can’t be beat. Shakepeare under the stars makes for a delightfully cozy date night. As a bonus, right nearby the theater is the Raleigh Rose Garden. When the roses are in bloom, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the city. If roses are too thorny for you, then try a different type of beauty in the North Carolina Museum of Art.

The collections range from classic Italian Renaissance to contemporary American and international pieces, and the majority of the permanent collections are absolutely free to view. The museum also hosts indoor and outdoor cinemas with a frequently rotating selection of important and noteworthy films. Grab a seat, put your arm around your loved one, and watch a classic unfold all for less than a multiplex matinee!

RELATED: Raleigh’s Love Story: The Death Of Our City’s Namesake.

There are plenty of places in Raleigh to share with your significant other, no matter what your preferences. Make it a date night like no other!

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  • Greg Trombley


  • I'm an RDU-based novelist and passionate champion of scientific progression. Nature and science live side-by-side in my heart. I clean dinosaur bones in my spare time, and love reading about local history. All my articles.

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