By Christina Campodonico

A romantic dinner for two is a tried-and-true Valentine’s Day date idea, but why not shake things up this year? Here are seven more creative ways to show your sweetheart some love.

Sweet Treats and Loves Songs @ Mar Vista Farmers’ Market

Allow a 16-piece orchestra to serenade your stroll through the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market this Sunday (Feb. 9), starting at 10 a.m. The Love Uninhibited Orchestra will play cherished love songs to make your date’s heart flutter, while you find the perfect treat with your sweetie. Impress your lover with Rose Ave Sweets’ homemade Belgian-French truffles, Hopf Chocolate’s organic chocolate bars, or Coco Bake’s gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free desserts.

3826 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista |

Send Some Love with a Singing Valentine

Sometimes music is the best way to express your feelings. So why not send your beloved a musical message straight from the heart? The Santa Monica Oceanaires, an all-male acapella group, has been delivering heartfelt love songs, or “Singing Valentines,” on Valentine’s Day for more than 20 years. For $50 a barbershop quartet will show up at your beloved’s home, workplace or a romantic rendezvous point and serenade your sweetheart with two classic love songs. But orders must be placed by Monday, Feb. 10.

(323) 247- 7464 |

.. Or a Costumed Singing Telegram

If you really want to put on a show for your loved one, Best Singing Telegrams will deliver a Broadway-style musical message to your boo. Performers steeped in Broadway show tunes and Hollywood showmanship will show up in costume and sing anything from K-Pop to Fred Astaire classics. Telegrams start at $199.

(323) 208-9464 |

Show that your love is true with pure chocolate from ChocoVivo

Say ‘I Love You’ with a Chocolate Experience @ ChocoVivo

If chocolate is your sweetie’s love language, shower them with treats made the Mesoamerican way at ChocoVivo. The cozy storefront on Washington Boulevard has a petite chocolate bar that’s perfect for two lovebirds (or single ones looking for love) to perch upon and sample a slew of chocolate tasting squares made from nothing but pure cacao beans, sea salt and a little olive oil (and maybe some nuts, dried fruit or chilies). Warm things up with a sensuous European-style hot “sipping chocolate” or share a rich and indulgent Mayan Tradition Cacao Mylk that’s served chilled like a milkshake made for two. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.

12469 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City |

Swoon to BJM and Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me” @ The Broad Stage

Allow Leonard Cohen’s sonorous vocals and the steamy duets of Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) put you in the mood for love during the troupe’s tribute to the late great Canadian troubadour on Feb. 14 and 15 at The Broad Stage. Swoon to songs like “Suzanne,” “Lover, Lover, Lover” and “Dance Me to the End of Love” as BJM brings these classic love ballads to life. Tickets start at $69. Put an extra flourish on the evening with fine dining at nearby Citrin (the new Melisse; 1104 Wilshire Blvd.), Fia (formerly Wilshire; 2454 Wilshire Blvd.) or high-end farm-to-table restaurant Rustic Canyon (1119 Wilshire Blvd.).

1310 11th St., Santa Monica | (310) 434-3200;

Play on the Pacific @ Santa Monica Pier

Treat your paramour to a playful date on the Pacific at the Santa Monica Pier. Take a whirl on the pier’s merry-go-round, challenge your beau to a Skeeball match at the Playland Arcade, or take a ride on Pacific Park’s iconic Ferris wheel. On Valentine’s Day from 6 to 9 p.m., violist Daniel Morris will serenade riders with songs that will pull on your heart strings, while the Ferris wheel itself lights up with hearts, kissing emojis and other cute messages. Double your pleasure with a scoop of Lappert’s premium ice cream to share on the ride for $20.

Also on Valentine’s Day, performers from Santa Monica’s Illusion Magic Lounge (formerly Magicopolis) will entertain lovebirds with spellbinding illusions and close-up magic tricks in the pier’s carousel building at 7 and 8 p.m. $20
gets you into the “Magic of Love” show, which also boasts
a cash bar.

Or make your loved one’s heart soar with a special love-themed trapeze show on the pier at 6 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 8). It’s free!

200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. |;

Learn More about “The Mating Game” @ Wallis Annenberg PetSpace

Discover the science behind love in the wild with Dr. Donna Fernandes, an expert on animal courtship and mating. Curious to know which animal species change sex or have two, erm, peckers? Through a night of trivia, wine, light bites and fun facts (for adults-only) on Valentine’s Day, Dr. Fernandes is your guide to the wild world of animal love matches. Tickets are $10. (21+ only).

12005 Bluff Creek Dr., Playa Vista |;

Vino & The Venice Canals

If you’re looking for a low-key (and low-cost) way to express your feelings on or around Valentine’s Day, take your beloved to this intimate nook of Venice with charming little boats, bridges and waterways for a romantic stroll. Watch the sun set at nearby Pier House (7 Washington Way, Venice), where you can raise a glass (or craft cocktail) to a beautiful relationship at the restaurant’s chic coastal bar.

Enter the canals from Dell Avenue and Washington Boulevard |

Interns Anthony Torrise and Stephanie Bell contributed to
this story.